Babywearing 101 Baby Carrier and Sling Basics
Overwhelmed with information? Saw someone wearing a great baby carrier and want one like it? This chart gives you a quick primer on the basic types of baby carriers.
If you are buying a gift or aren’t inclined to do a lot of reading and research, scroll down for a quick list of recommendations for our favorite carriers for new babywearers.
For an even quicker chart comparing the basics of the different types of carriers: click here. To dig deeper about any particular kind of carrier click these links:
|What it is: rectangular piece of fabric threaded through through 2 rings to create a seat and fasten the baby to your body. The size of the pouch which holds the baby can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the the fabric through the rings.|
Age of baby: Birth through toddlerhood (or until too heavy to wear).
Positions: front carry (both facing in and out), breastfeeding, hip carry (for older kids) and limited back carry (older children)
Activities we choose a ring sling for:
Get a ring sling if:
What it is: A wrap is a length of fabric that is tied around the baby and the caregiver. Wraps offer the most versatility of all carriers and also have the highest learning curve. Wraps can be stretchy or woven
Age of baby: newborn on up
Recommended positions: all of them (unless it’s a very stretchy wrap, in which case back carries are not recommended)
Activities we choose a wrap for:
Get a wrap if:
What it is: a rectangular piece of fabric with 4 straps that you use to tie your baby onto you.
Age of baby: newborn through preschool age
Positions: front carries (facing in and out) and back carries. Can be used for high back carry. Hip carry, but a bit awkward.
Recommended positions: Upright facing in, upright facing out (Pikkolo only), back carry (older infants with head control, and toddlers)
Activities we choose a meh dai for:
Get a mei tai if:
|What it is: a modern version of the mei tai – a rectangular piece of fabric that secures with buckles or clips rather than knots.|
Age of baby: Newborn (may require insert or other adjustments) through pre-school
Activities we choose a buckle carrier for:
Get a buckle carrier if:
What it is: a piece of fabric sewn into a tube shape, baby sits in the pouch created by the fabric.
Age of baby: Newborn to early toddlerhood
Positions: Front facing in, hip carry
Activities we choose a pouch for:
- quick trips into the store
- short cuddles throughout the day
- parties, bbqs or anywhere you want to socialize while cuddling your child
- around the house
- No adjusting required, just pop baby in and go!
- super simple to use, very little learning curve
- easy and fast on/off
- small and compact
- sleek look
- Dads like them
- limited or no adjustability
- fewer positions
- one-shouldered, so not as comfortable for heavier kids and longer carries
- fewer manufacturers make them so they are hard to find
Get a pouch if:
- You want a super simple, no fuss option for your infant or toddler.
- You have a child who wants to get up and down a lot
- You want a small carrier for quick carries that will fit in your diaper bag.
Quick Buying Guide:
|You want:||We recommend:|
|An easy to use carrier for a new parent||Pouch or Pikkolo|
|An easy carrier as a gift for a new parent||Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Pouch or Pikkolo|
|A very supportive carrier to carry and an infant for long periods of time, including breastfeeding||Moby Wrap or Bali Baby Stretch Wrap|
|A back carrier for an infant/newborn||Kozy carrier or wrap (except Moby)|
|A hiking carrier||ERGO baby carrier|
|An easy hip carrier||Pouch or ring sling|
|A carrier for an older or very heavy child||ERGO baby carrier|
|A carrier like the Baby Bjorn, but more versatile||Pikkolo|