Babywearing is a wonderful tool to help you keep your little one close and allow you to get things done. However, all the options available can be overwhelming. Here is an introduction to the most popular carrier choices for babywearing.
Stretchy Wrap– Stretchy wraps are long pieces of stretch knit fabric and are great for newborns up to around 20 lbs.
Common brands include Moby, Boba Wrap, Solly Baby. and Happy Baby. Stretchy wraps tend to run from $25 to $60.
Pros: Stretchy wraps are great for skin to skin and is a good one size fits all carrier. They can also be pre-tied.
Cons: With a stretchy wrap you can only carry the baby on the front or the hip because the stretch makes it unsafe to use in a back carry. Some stretchy wraps can be very hot.
Woven Wrap– Woven wraps are woven pieces of fabric that are great for carrying all ages.
Common brands include Natibaby, Tekhni, Lenny Lamb, and Girasol, but there are many more. Woven wraps come in a variety of sizes and blends and go anywhere from about $60 and up.
Pros: Woven wraps are very versatile and can be used to do a variety of carries including front, hip, and back carries. Some carries can be pre-tied.
Cons: Wrapping definitely takes practice and has a learning curve. It can be overwhelming with all the choices there are available from the different sizes and blends.
Ring Sling– A ring sling is a piece of fabric with two rings sewn at one end and used for one shoulder carries. They are made from a woven fabric and can be used for newborns through toddlers.
Most wrap companies also make ring slings but other common brands include Maya Wrap and Sakura Bloom. They run from about $50 to $200.
Pros: They are easy to adjust for multiple caregivers and good for quick ups and downs. They can be used for front and hip carries and are compact so easy to throw in a diaper bag.
Cons: A one shoulder carry can be uncomfortable especially as the baby gets heavier. Ring Slings have a learning curve and require practice to use properly.
Mei Tai– A mei tai is a rectangular piece of fabric with waist and shoulder straps that you tie.
Common brands include Catbird, Fidella, Infantino, and Babyhawk and run $25 and up. They can be used with newborns through toddlers.
Pros: The straps help distribute the weight. They can easily be used for multiple caregivers.
Cons: They can require adjustment to work for a newborn. The seat may need to be rolled up to prevent gaps near the legs.
Soft Structured Carrier– A soft structured carrier has a buckled waist belt attached to a piece of fabric with shoulder straps similar to backpack straps. SSC come in sizes that include baby, toddler, and preschool. They cost about $30 and up.
Common brands include: Ergo, Infantino, Beco, and Tula.
Pros: Easy to use and adjust, SSC can be worn by multiple caregivers. SSC are easy to find in stores.
Cons: These are not the best carriers for newborns and some require an additional insert. Different brands fit differently so it’s best to attempt to try before you buy.
There are tons of resources available online and many cities have local babywearing groups that can allow you to try carriers in person. Do some research, try a few out, and find the carrier that best suits the needs of you and your baby.