When I "wear" my baby, I am reminded of all the women I saw in southern Africa who carried their babies on their backs using nothing but a rectangular piece of fabric (practical, cheap and oh-so-sensible!). I watched a woman in Swaziland bend over, put a baby on her back and then wrap the fabric around herself (under the arms) so the baby was nice and snug, and tie it in the front with two knots. In Zambia they wrap one end up over a shoulder and fasten it with one knot. Voila!
I still have yet to try it, but I have the fabric for it, purchased in Zambia. I decided that since I'm not familiar with how to do this and don't have anyone present to show me, I'd wait until Edwin was no longer a newborn. One of these days I'll get around to it. Until then, I've been using other carriers such as these:
The snugli is my least favorite. I think it's the most uncomfortable, actually, and have only used it once or twice. But it is more masculine-looking, for the guy who is concerned with that type of thing. Thankfully, as you can see from the picture below, Dan is not.
This is a carrier I made from a pattern. It's similar to a mei tai. The nice thing about this carrier is that you can use it for front carrying or back carrying. Dan carried my 2 year old nephew on his back with this a couple of weeks ago. It also folds up nice and small for stashing in a diaper bag. Definitely the most portable. The down side to this carrier is the narrow shoulder straps. If I make one again, I'll widen the straps in order to disperse the weight across the shoulders.
And our 3rd carrier is pictured below. The Moby.A friend gave this to me, and it's definitely the most comfortable carrier I have. It's one long piece of knit fabric that is folded in half width-wise and then wrapped around in certain ways. (A manual is provided that included pictures.) The fabric is super soft, stretchy - which can make it tricky to know at first how tight to tie it so it doesn't stretch too much - and breathable. Plus, the should straps can be nice and wide. I've never felt them digging into my shoulders. This can be worn forward facing like shown or the baby can be facing towards you for when they are littler. See this previous post.
The only down-side to the Moby is that it is so long the ends trail on the ground while you're wrapping it on so it can be tricky if you're putting it on at the beach. Then you just need to have someone hold the ends so they don't get dirty.
When I finally get around to putting Edwin on my back "African-style", I'll post a picture.