One of the questions I get asked frequently from my clients is "What type of carrier / wrap / sling should I buy for my baby?" As much as I love babywearing, I don't love this question. It's a difficult question to answer because every mom/dad + baby combo is unique! I want to share some of my favorite baby carriers / wraps / slings and a few pros / cons with them so that you can decide what you might want to try.
I'm not a trained expert on babywearing. I love it, I've done it almost daily for about 6 years, and I can't imagine parenting young babies without it! In this post, it's my goal to share some of my knowledge and opinion on the topics and to share some of my favorite products. The experts in our area are the Triad Tot Toters in Greensboro and Cozy Up Baby in Winston-Salem. These two groups have babywearing educators who run the groups and the groups have a lending library of baby carriers. You can go to the group meetings when you are pregnant to learn more about your options or take your baby. The leaders can show you how to use your carriers and introduce you to new carriers / wraps / slings in their library.
So lets get started...
The Ring Sling
The ideal time to use a ring sling is the newborn period and then you can continue to use it for as long as you and baby both enjoy it. To me there's nothing like a squishy newborn in a ring sling. Once you get your sling adjusted and have the hang of it, it's very easy to pop the newborn in and out of the sling. The sling molds and perfectly to fit your baby, so it's very supportive in that way. Ring slings can be used with older babies and toddlers, but because the weight isn't easily distributed across the back, I prefer using it for just the first 4-6 months. Here's an awesome video showing how to use a sling with a newborn. As far as brands for slings, I like the Tula ring slings or Skura Bloom ones.
When it comes to wraps, the options can be overwhelming. There are stretchy wraps like the Solly or Boba which are affordable and good options to learn to wrap. The stretchy wraps are also good options for newborns, but there is a lot of fabric involved, so I prefer these long wraps for winter babies more than summer babies because it can get hot. Wraps, like ring slings, are best used for newborns / the young baby phase. My first baby was born in December and I had a Boba wrap that I absolutely loved with him. We went on walks together in that wrap all winter and were so cozy. Here's a video showing how you use a stretchy wrap with a newborn.
Woven wraps are more sturdy and flexible in their uses than the stretchy wraps. There are almost endless ways to use them. They are also more expensive typically than a stretchy wrap. If you think you might be interested in a woven wrap, try one out from a lending library or friend before buying to see what kinds you might like. There are tons of woven wraps and it's easy to become overwhelmed when looking.
Soft Structured Carriers
Once babies turn about 4-6 months old, my favorite way to wear my babies is in a soft structured carrier. My current carrier for my youngest baby is a Standard size Tula. Tula now makes their Free To Grow carrier which you can use from newborn to toddler and I've heard great things about it. In the past I've also owned a Boba carrier and a Lenny Lamb carrier. I would recommend any of those. You can wear your baby on your front (video) and then also on your back (video) once they are able to sit up on their own. The ease of these carriers and the way they are comfortable for your back make them great options.
I hope that this helps a little! Please reach out if you have any questions. One of the topics I cover in the Natural Baby Doulas Postpartum Preparation Class is safe babywearing and I get moms to bring their wraps to share and learn how to use them during pregnancy. All the Natural Baby Doulas love babywearing!