I love the Internet. I love shopping. I even love the logical mix of the two: online shopping!
However, I hate that so much of what I find online I can't find in any stores. There are just some things I want to TOUCH, TRY ON, and PRACTICE with before shelling out big bucks. Especially when the return policies and refunds can be a little hazy for a large online purchase.
I have been on the hunt for a good back carrier for my little JR (and perhaps my Little Dude too, since I am sure once he sees JR being carried that way he will at least want to try it), but I have been unable to find any stores that carry the kinds I have looked at.
I'd love to try a baby hawk or free hand Mei Tai, but honestly, I am just too nervous to think of trying to do the tying for a back carry alone. I don't know anyone that uses them here around me, so beyond online pictures or videos, I am not quite sure how to do it. I also want this to be something I could use when I am out alone, and unless I have someone to help, I just don't trust myself to tie everything well enough.
I'm also in love with this ergo, but I wonder how hot the material would be compared to this sport ergo. Since both places I live (AL and NC) have pretty hot summers, and it looks like this summer will be spent in AL (unless hubby gets laid off...)then air flow and the thickness of the material about JR would be very important. Something I just can't tell until I touch and check out the carriers. And I certainly don't want to buy BOTH and then fight to get a refund back on one...
I also am intrigued with this beco butterfly carrier, because it solves my personal hesitation over getting a back carrier to begin with: it has a built in panel that you can put you child into before putting them on your back; so you can do it alone, and they can't fall out. No tossing your child on your back and holding them with one hand while you tie straps or hook buckles. But again, I can't find a place that sells them in REAL stores, so I don't know if the material would be so close to JR that he would get hot and sweat all the time, or if I like the construction and sewing better than on the ergos.
And what about the padding? Though some of the carriers I like mention how much, it really can depend on how the padding is put in and what is used for padding as to make it comfortable. Both my ring slings were advertised with "light padding of 1/4 foam" but they both sit differently and feel differently just because of the design. Again, something I feel I need to try and touch to decide on which back carrier I want to buy. The padding is esp important since I would love to go hiking with the boys, and JR is just too little to do any real traveling except by stroller or carrier, and a back carry would be tons more comfortable on a good trail.
If these items were $30, or even $50, I wouldn't worry about it, and just order a couple and sell the ones I didn't like at a loss, or give them as gifts to other mom friends. But all of these are anywhere from $80 to $140, with the Free Hand being the cheapest (and only one under $100 after shipping and taxes), but also the one I know the least about and feel the most uneasy about trying. And even though I have money set aside and saved just for one of these carriers, it did take me a LONG time to save, so I want to pick a carrier I will be happy to have, be comfortable wearing and using.
I would love to try a wrap, but since they are only for front carry, it seems to make more sense for me to get one that can do front and back instead. And I think JR is getting a little big for a wrap anyway, as he is almost 18 pounds now...maybe with my next baby.
So, other moms out in the blogosphere, what are some of your opinions on the carriers I mentioned? Any one know a store in Mobile, AL or Raleigh, NC that might sell any of these? Can anyone show me how you get your kid on your back when you don't have a chair? Like, if you are out shopping? Or do you always have to sit in a chair to get your child get in the Mei Tai?
I'm so confused; if only I could touch the carriers....