What’s that buckle for? If I want to do ring finishes with my woven wrap, do I need special rings? How do I carry stuff around if I’m wearing a child on my back? What do you call that piece of fabric on someone’s back when they’re wearing a buckle carrier with the baby on the front – it looks comfortable! Any of this seem familiar? Below is a list of babywearing accessories with definitions and pictures that might help. It isn’t exhaustive of all possibilities out there but it covers many of them! Note, these are accessories – many of them are not required or necessary to wear a baby or child (though some are!).
ABCs of Babywearing Accessories
- Carrier cover or babywearing coat
- Comfort Pad/Lumbar Support Panel
- Demo Doll
- Hipsack/Waist Pouch/etc
- Infant Cinch Strap
- Infant Insert
- Reach Straps
- Sling Ring
- Suck/Drool Pads
- Waist Extender
- Waist Support Panel
Carrier Covers and Babywearing Coat
These range from basic little ‘pouches’ that fasten onto or around a carrier to jackets made with babywearing in mind with panels that zip in and out and cover you and baby in front and back carries. This is another thing on DIYer lists and that accessory artisans make. Some baby carrier companies also make these, like Ergo, Lenny Lamb and Baby Bjorn. Watch for these to be added to the library in the near future!
Comfort Pad/Lumbar Support Panel/Waist Support Panel
If the webbing on your soft structured carrier feels diggy on your abdomen you can give the comfort pad a try. This is a rectangular piece of foam that has loops for the webbing to go through. Lillebaby is one manufacturer that offers these. Lumbar support panels are great for caregivers that want a little extra support for their back. Made of foam, they have loops that the waist webbing can go through to hold it on. Lillebaby, Beco and Ergo offer models of carriers that come with these. You can also buy them from Lillebaby.
The waist support panel will turn a non-structured waistband of a soft structured carrier (or certain meh dais) into a structured waistband. We have several in the library – Catbird Pikkolo and Connecta brands.
When trying on a carrier to see the fit and fell on your body, a demo doll comes in handy. These dolls are weighted for a realistic feel. We have these at every meeting. Educators and educators in training also use these to practice teaching and trying out new carries.
Hipsack or Waist pouch
These are handy for when you need somewhere for your keys, a spare diaper, lip balm, phone, etc. Waist pouches are made by several carrier manufacturer to fit onto the waistband of the carrier – Kol Kol meh dais come with one, Ergo sells them separately, with some basic sewing skills you could make one. Or, find a small business that makes baby carrier accessories. A couple companies have made their version of fanny packs to match their carriers – Tekhni offers a Hipsack and Tula calls their version a Hip Pouch – which can be attached to a Tula or worn on a waist belt.
Some carriers come with an attached hood. Other carriers have the hood snapped or buckled to the carrier. Some manufacturers sell hoods separately, in case you lose one or want a different color. There are many accessory artisans that sell custom hoods – made of wrap scrap, with details like pintucking or bear ears, or different ways of cinching them smaller and attaching the top to the carrier.
Infant Cinch Strap
This strap comes standard on Integra carriers. It is used to make the panel narrower to fit a small baby. Lillebaby Complete models have a similar strap, except it loops through the inside of the carrier and buckles around baby as a harness.
This is one accessory that is not really optional (blog post on “Newborn Insert”). Some inserts look like little pillows (Beco 8, Lillebaby, Boba and Kol Kol) and give a needed height boost for baby. Other inserts have a full body support that surrounds baby and keeps them from slumping. (Tula, Ergo) Manufacturers suggest that only the insert that goes with the carrier (Ergo insert w/ Ergo carrier) be used as they have not been safety tested otherwise. We do have several inserts in our library that can be checked out. Let us know which style/brand you are looking for!
These little straps are attached to a carrier hood to make putting it up on a sleeping kiddo a little easier. Some carriers come with them – the hood cinches along them and they are long enough to reach. You can make a set yourself or find someone who makes carrier accessories.
These rings are specifically made for babywearing – they are aluminum or nylon, have no weld joints, and are safety & weight tested. Available in sizes small – extra large they are used not only to make ring slings, but no-sew ring slings, chest belts, ring waists or on traditional or reverse onbuhimos. Sling Rings also are handy to have on hand if you are a woven wrap user as they extend what you can do with your wrap – also handy as bracelets, tunnels for toy cars or hula hoops for dolls. They come in a variety of colors and a few different finishes.
These foot supports can be attached to a baby carrier to make it more comfortable for a larger wearee. Often a toddler will not quite fit a carrier knee – to – knee, and although that is perfectly safe to continue using, an added stirrup will help keep their legs bent and give a little support. They can also help contain wild, swinging legs.
These handy strap coverings are to offer baby a place to suck or chew on, keeping your carrier safe. Some styles have little loops to attach toys or pacifiers, some are rectangular and some are curved to cover a little more space. Easier to toss in the wash than your entire carrier and a faster drying time too! Many carrier companies offer their own, but they are generally interchangeable. This is another accessory that can be made with basic sewing skills or bought from an accessory artisan.
This buckles onto the existing waist strap of your carrier to extend the length. Lillebaby makes one and Ergo used to. Ergo has since made the the waist straps of their carriers longer. Manufacturers suggest to not use with a different brand as they have not been safety tested with other carriers.
Blog post written by Adele (Librarian for Babywearing Twin Cities) and Stephanie (Digital Marketing Coordinator for Babywearing Twin Cities).
If you have any questions about babywearing, we encourage you to contact us and/or come learn in person at one of our meetings! Check out our Instagram @Babywearing.Twin.Cities and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BabywearingTwinCities/).
Images have image descriptions in the alternative text accessible to those who use screen readers.