Types of baby slings and baby carriers

There is so many different types of baby slings and baby carriers available that it can be confusing.

Here is a classification of the different baby slings and baby carriers to help you have a better picture and make an informed choice.

 

Woven wraps

A woven wrap is a length of fabric wrapped around the body of the babywearer and the baby.

The length of the fabric may vary from 2.5 metres up to 6 metres. The length depends on the size of the babywearer and the carrying positions that the babywearer intends to practice.

The fabric is usually made of cotton. It can also be made of linen or wool.

 

Ring slings

A ring sling is a length of fabric with rings sewn into one end, worn over one shoulder. It can be adjusted by pulling the fabric through the rings. Ring slings are made of a variety of fabrics: cotton, silk, and solarveil are a few. Ring slings are available in different options which can affect how they are used and how comfortable they are for different people to wear.

  • it can be either padded or unpadded. An unpadded ring-sling would be easier to adjust.
  • it can have open or a closed tail. Although less “bulky” a closed tail will offer less room for adjustment.
  • and finally a ring sling is also identified by its shoulder style : gathered, hot dog, accordion and pleated. The shoulder style impacts on the comfort of the wearer and the easiness of adjustment. The level of comfort of each shoulder type depends on each babywearer.

 

Soft structured carriers

A soft structured carrier is similar to a Mei Tai, except for the straps that, instead of being tied with a knot, are tied with buckle fastenings.

 

Stretchy wraps

A stretchy wrap is a long piece of fabric (usually a little bit less than 5 meters oin length) that the wearer wraps around her or him to carry baby. The fabric is usually made of cotton or fleece. The stretchy quality of the fabric is due to its weave. Spandex can also be used to add stretchiness to the fabric.

 

Mei Tais

A Mei Tai is an Asian style carrier that consists of a rectangular body panel with wide straps for the waist and the shoulders. a waist strap and shoulder straps.

The Mei Tai is the most popular type of Asian-style carrier, it has four straps (one at each corner, and the top two straps are longer). 

Other less common Asian-style carriers are the Podaegi and Onbuhimo. They only have two straps but are just as comfortable when worn properly. 

All can be tied in a variety of ways to suit one's needs and comfort, and may be worn on the front, back or hip.  

 

Pouches

A pouch is a simple pocket of fabric worn over one shoulder. Some are adjustable (with buckles, zips, etc.) so that people of different sizes can wear them. Most are sized to fit one specific body size (usually measured from hip to opposite shoulder).

Most pouches have a curve sewn into the fabric that will hold the baby more securely in place.



Stretchy hybrids

A stretchy hybrid consists of a pre-sewn  loops of fabric or straps attached to a belt.

 

Other types of baby carriers

  • Front carriers : The most famous brand is Baby Bjorn. However the position of the baby in the carrier is such that we do not recommend it.
  • Bag slings : The Infantino Slingrider has directly caused the death of multiple infants. Its sale is now completely banned in the US. While the Premaxx has not yet been recalled, it has the same problems as the Infantino Slingrider. The key problems are: 1) designed to place baby in a poorly supported cradle position, often chin to chest, which hugely increases the risks of oxygen deprivation, rebreathing and positional asphyxia, 2) nearly impossible to adjust to fit correctly or use with correct positioning, 3) baby is not secure to the wearer, which negates a lot of the usual benefits of babywearing. More on the dangers of bag slings on Baby Sling Safety blog.