What’s the Best Baby Carrier? Wraps, Slings, and More

Babywearing- it’s not just a trend. It has many benefits for mother and child. But which type of baby carrier is the right one for you? We’ll explain the different babywearing methods to help you get started!

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Baby Carrier Options: Getting Started

The art of babywearing can seem pretty daunting to new parents! With unlimited options of materials, colors, and styles, where do you start?

Do you want a simple sling or a carrier with adjustable shoulder straps and lumbar support? Or maybe something that makes it really easy for you to wear your newborn while pushing your toddler in the stroller? Moby wrap or Ergo? Lillebaby or Tula? It’s overwhelming! We’ve got an overview of some of the most popular styles and extra things to consider, from buckles to backpacks.

Here are some great options.

The Basic Baby Wrap

A baby wrap is a great choice if you have a newborn or your baby is under 35 pounds, and you want to keep them close. You can even breastfeed while wearing one! It’s probably the simplest baby carrier since it’s basically just one big piece of fabric you can wrap around to secure your baby. Boba wraps and Moby wraps are two of the most popular designs, but there are plenty of options when selecting a baby wrap.

When you first look for a wrap, you’ll notice that they come in many different lengths.  But fear not!  These are now standardized and the same for all manufacturers. Depending on the type of binding and the size of the wearer, companies recommend slings in different lengths. The standard size for babywearing beginners is 6 (approx. 15 feet) or, for smaller persons, the 5 (approx. 13 feet). With these lengths, it’s possible to wrap the baby in all the most common variations.

Baby Wrap Materials and Weavings

Baby wraps also come in several different materials- so how do you know what to choose? Some of the most popular choices include cotton, hemp, silk, wool, or mixed fabric. What are the major differences here?  Temperature. A wool cloth provides extra warmth on cold winter days, while silk is cooling in summer. Hemp is particularly robust and suitable for heavier loads.

In addition to the type of fabric, you also need to consider the weave of each material. A special kind of weaving ensures that slings can withstand their high loads. The most common- cross-body and jacquard weaving, are true all-rounders. They ensure high elasticity and strength at the same time.

Wraps to Use With Caution

Most materials are great, but be careful with slings made of elastic cloth. Carrying professionals are divided about recommending this material. It must always be tied perfectly to provide ideal support and therefore requires more practice than a normal sling. So if you want to use it, make sure you know what you’re doing! Be sure to ask a professional to show you how to correctly bind this type of cloth to prevent postural damage to your child and yourself.

Scarves are also not an ideal babywearing choice. While they’re usually quicker and easier to wrap than a standard sling, they don’t always offer adequate support. Make sure the scarf is made of sling fabric so that the elasticity allows your child’s back to stay rounded.

Ring Sling – A Simple Baby Carrier

A ring sling helps keep your newborn and little infants cozy! It’s really similar to a baby wrap, with the exception of two rings that help secure the wrap. A lot of parents prefer this configuration since you don’t have to do any crazy knots to secure everything in place. The rings, rather than any knots, support your chosen binding method. Popular ring sling carriers include the Maya wrap or Lillebaby Eternal Love ring sling.

Pouch Sling

The Onbuhimo, or pouch sling,  looks a little bit like a toddler backpack. Since it doesn’t have an abdominal belt, it’s less expensive than many other baby carriers. Pouch sling users also love that it’s relatively easy to put on, and a great solution if you just need to pick up your toddler for a little bit when their legs get tired.

This design also has some drawbacks. First of all, without the belt, all of the child’s weight stays on the shoulders, so you probably don’t want to wear this for too long. Furthermore, since you can only use it on your back, it’s not ideal for infants.

Meh Dai / Bei Dai Baby Carriers

Literally meaning “strap carrier” this Chinese-inspired style carrier has adjustable straps with a sewn-in hip belt. Moby’s Baby Hawk carrier is a popular version of this style in the U.S. It looks similar to the Soft Structured Carrier at first glance, but these are fastened with different knots instead of buckles, so they’re versatile enough to fit several body types

You can snuggle your baby in this carrier starting at birth, but if you’re not good with knots and don’t want to have to deal with long straps, this might not be the carrier for you.

Soft Structured Carriers

We saved the most popular for last! Soft Structured Carriers SSC carriers are among the most popular baby carriers in the U.S., and many you just know by their brand names, like Lillebaby, Ergo, Tula, or Baby Bjorn.

They’re relatively easy to clip together, and many can hold up to 45 pounds, so you can use them well into the toddler years. Within this category, there are lots of really great options. Here are some good ones:

Ergobaby– These durable carriers are built to last, and provide great comfort for parents and babies! You can start with an infant insert, and then when your child outgrows that, you can carry them around like a mama kangaroo with a little joey. With comfortable padded straps and an adjustable waist belt, this baby carrier will last for years.

Lillebaby- This company offers several varieties of wraps and baby carriers at a variety of price points, including its best-selling Pursuit Pro. Lillebaby has a great brand ambassador program so parents and babes can adventure together.

Tula– Baby Tula carriers are an investment, but when you see the functional and luxurious fabrics, you get what you pay for! Fortunately, you can find a great sale selection if you’re looking for a good bargain, and these fantastic carriers are easy-to-adjust will last for years and multiple babes.

What’s the Best Baby Carrier for You?

Every parent and child is different, and different baby carriers meet different needs. It’s possible that you’ll need to switch up your carrier style as your child grows, so don’t feel like you have to stick with just one.

Some baby carriers can get expensive- so if you want to try out something new, see if a friend will let you borrow theirs before making the investment. You can also get advice from friends and family on the FamilyApp. Regardless of how you’re babywearing, be confident that the two of you are spending some quality time together!

If you’ve chosen a carrier, which one did you pick, and why?

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