Baby Slings and Carriers

A great overview of baby slings and carriers.

Babycarriers can usually split into a few different categories:

1. Pouches

2. Ringslings

3. Asian Style Carriers

4. Wraps

5 NOS

 

 

Pouches

Essentially a "ring" of fabric, folded in half lengthwise to create a pocket for the baby. Worn over one shoulder like a ring sling. Can be used for the same carries as ring slings. Can be made of woven or slightly stretchy fabrics. Some have a certain amount of adjustability allowing two people of different sizes to use the pouch, usually achieved with zippers or rows of snaps.

Pros:

Very easy to use

Okay for nursing

Excellent for quick trips/errands and versatile – can be used for newborn carry, upright carry, hip carry

Cons:

Weight distributed to only one shoulder – not as comfortable for a heavier baby/toddler

Accurate size is important – sometimes tricky to determine correct size

Parents/caregivers cannot share pouch if they are different sizes

Wraps

A wrap carrier consists of a long piece of cloth (2 to 6m) that is wrapped around the wearer and baby and then tied. There are many different ways to tie a wrap, enabling your baby to be positioned almost any way you choose. Most of the wraps go over both of the wearer's shoulders and around the waist, giving very good support, great security, and spreading the baby's weight. However there are also ways of wrapping that go over only one shoulder and these generally use less fabric.

Pros:

Very versatile, you can wear your baby in almost any position

Most people find them extremely comfortable to wear, even with a heavy baby/toddler, as the baby's weight can be spread widely over both shoulders and the waist/hips

Great for nursing

Very secure

Can be used for newborns, toddlers and even preschoolers

 

Cons:

Some learning curve, especially for back carries

Long piece of fabric can be intimidating. It can also be hot, depending on the fabric.

Can be tricky to avoid dragging the fabric on the ground, which makes wrapping problematic on wet or muddy surfaces.

Wraps come in many different fabrics from interlock cotton, linen, gauze, woven cotton and even organic cotton. There is a huge variety and depending on your child's size and the type of carry you would like to use it for.Wraps generally can be divided into 3 categories
*Woven Wraps
*Stretchy wraps
*Gauze wrapsStretchy wraps are great for smaller babies and especially newborns. When your child gets heavier parents usually move on to a woven or gauze wrap. Some prefer one over the other but it is really a personal choice. There are so many different wrap styles currently on the market in varying length, textures, colors and thickness so we cannot cover the whole spectrum in this little guide. One more thing we want to mention: A wrap is so versatile it can be used as a blanket, hammock, belt, nursing cover-up and I am sure you can even think of more uses

 

Buckle Carriers

So you like the Baby Bjorn ? You found it easy to put on and you like the idea of a more main stream look and buckles but your shoulders are starting to ache after carrying your baby a few minutes. What to do? Are your babywearing days over? Of course not! And you are in luck: There are quite a few carriers on the market that have been constructed in a way so you can wear your kiddo that weighs up to 60lbs. Very popular here in NYC are buckle carriers. They easy to use, easy to adjust and affordable. Pros:
Weight distributed over both shoulders - good for heavier babies/toddlers, Easy to use amd The look appeals to daddies and as well mamas, Straps do not drag on the floor

 

Cons:

Some are not recommended for newborns but it really depends on the model ( eg. Ergo has newborn insert)

Usually padded so not as compact as other carriers

Sometimes very petite woman have difficulties with waist belt being too big.

 

Asian Style Carriers

The simplest form of two shoulder carriers is essentially a square of fabric with straps at each corner. Two straps tie around the wearer's waist. The other two straps go over the wearer's shoulders (they may or may not cross over) then attach to the carrier or tie to themselves. The Chinese Mei Tai is an example. There are also other Asian style carriers like the Onbuhimo (uses rings on the waist) and the Podeagi that only have the shoulder straps attached.

 

Pros:

Weight distributed over both shoulders - good for heavier babies/toddlers

Easy to use

One size fits most – (some may need XL straps)

Great for back carries and front carries

Wide variety of styles, fabrics and body lengths

 

Cons:

Not as good for a newborn, but can be done by rolling the body of the carrier to make it shorter ( note some mei tais have short bodies or infant option)

Straps drag on the floor and need to be tied around wearer’s body when not in use.

 

Ring Slings

Rings are used for adjusting the size and fit of the sling. The rings can be made of metal, nylon, plastic or wood. Metal and nylon are the strongest and the most common. Ring sizes vary according to the type and width of the fabric used - small enough to offer traction and large enough to be able to adjust the sling easily.

 

Pros:

Good for quick trips/errands

Excellent for discreet nursing and quick adjustment

Versatile – can be used for newborn carry, upright carry, hip carry – good with toddlers

Adjustable – can be used by parents/caretakers of different sizes

Cons:

Weight distributed to only one shoulder

Some learning curve; must get used to adjusting fabric through the rings