If you've browsed baby carriers around you know how many choices are out there! From Wal-mart and Target carriers to big brand names like Maya Wrap or Ergo available on-line or in small boutiques only and finally to WAHM made ones that are flooding e-bay, Etsy and the like.
How do you ever make sense of all of this variety?
DON'T buy your carrier from a local big department store. Yes, it's convenient, but besides supporting a big corporation who exploits little children and desperate women in China, it is very unlikely that you'll find something of great quality.
Please read the article on safe babywearing! In a nut shell, your carrier should allow you to position your baby correctly and at the same level as you'd hold her in your arms with the baby's legs hugging you. The baby's knees should by higher (or at least leveled with) the buttocks, with the shoulders close to you, providing support all around the baby's back. If the baby is laying down, the head should be on the rail with the little mushy tushy deep inside and the chin should not be touching the chest.
Say no to front packs where the baby is hanging by the crotch or the so called bag slings that bury the baby deep inside making them curl in there in a ball with their chin touching their chest.
DON'T expect to make do with just one carrier. Check out the article about different types of slings. They are like shoes. You can totally survive with just one pair of sneakers, but why would you want to? No, you need a pair for jogging, a pair for long walks, a pair of flip flops for the beach, some comfy uglies for around the house and something fancy to go out in. You won't lace up your sneakers to go check the mail and you won't jog in your flip flops. Slings are the same way. You need something for quick trips to the grocery store for when you forgot to buy an onion for dinner and something completely different for a long day at Disney. Besides, many moms find it convenient to have something to wear when your favorite sling is in the wash or have something to match every occasion, mood and outfit.
DO find support. Most of the carriers out there come with wearing instructions, but sometimes it is still hard to figure them out. 20 minutes with another mom who knows what she is doing will save you days if not weeks of trying to figure it out by yourself. Check to see if you have a local babywearing group (there is a list of them on www.wearyourbaby.org and on www.thebabywearer.com). Try your local La Leche League group (http://www.llli.org/webindex.html) which is a breastfeeding support group, but there's always a babywearing mom or two. Finally, see if you can find a natural parenting group in your town.
You'll meet like-minded moms and make new friends, you'll learn a ton, you'll be able to try before you buy and you'll save yourself the frustration of figuring it all out by yourself. Any good carrier can hurt or even be unsafe if not used correctly. GO!
Use on-line resources! There's a ton of helpful videos on youtube.com. Register at www.thebabywearer.com, it's the ultimate babywearing web site. THERE'S SO MUCH information that it can be overwhelming at first, but hang in there, the stuff you'll learn is so worth it! They also have a mentor program where you'll be assigned a person who knows her way around, so you can come to her with all of your questions about the website. They are a nice NICE bunch of ladies and I am honored to be a part of them too :). Of course there's more on-line, but those are 2 great starting points for wearing your baby.