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Basic Baby Carrier Types

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 1 views
by Giselle Baturay

Baby slings are carriers used to carry a child. Slings can be used from newborn stage through toddlerhood. The six basic baby sling types are woven wraps, stretchy wraps, ring slings, pouches, mei tais and buckle carriers.


woven wrap is a long piece of fabric used to carry a child in various positions, including hip carry, back and front carry. It’s often chosen for its versatility, as well as support and weight distribution on the wearer. The lengths vary from short to long and choosing the length for you is determined by your body size and the carries you’d like to do with the wrap. If you are unsure about what size and/or brand is best for your needs, please contact me.


Stretchy wraps are a long piece of fabric (usually comes in one size fits most) that, unlike woven wraps, has stretch to it. It’s similar to t-shirt material and is often used with newborns and young babies. It is used mostly as a front carrier and while there may be instructions on using it as a back carrier, it is not recommended, as there’s not enough support in the stretchy fabric to do a back carry safely. Stretchy wraps are a favorite for newborn babies and can be used through toddlerhood if wrapped tightly. But, most stretchy wrap users switch to a woven wrap or other type of carrier at around 18 lbs – 20lbs.


Ring slings are one shoulder slings made of a long piece of fabric that is attached to a pair of rings. It is adjustable and can be worn by multiple care givers. Ring slings can be used from newborn stage through toddlerhood. For newborns, these work well in either a cradle style carry or upright. Ring slings are particular great during the stage when a child wants up and down often, because it’s easy and quick to put on/take out a child as needed. Ring slings can be used as a front carrier, a hip carrier and also a back carrier (recommended with a child that has good head support). The tail of a ring sling comes in very handy as a burb cloth, a nursing cover and a sun protection cover for child.


Mei tais are Asian-inspired carriers that consist of a rectangular (sometimes square) body and has four straps attached – shoulder and waist straps. It is used as a hip, front and back carrier and provides two shoulder support. Mei tais can be used from newborn stage through toddlerhood. Mei tais with headrest gives the head support needed by newborns and also for toddlers who fall asleep in carriers. The learning curve of a mei tai is shorter than using woven wraps and mei tais provide similar support and comfort. Because it is easy to adjust (just tie as tight as needed for your shape), it is a good choice when used by more than one caregiver.


Buckle carriers are soft structured baby carriers inspired by mei tai baby slings but with side release buckle closures. They have a main supportive panel, padded shoulder straps and can be used on the front, hip and back. Buckle baby carriers are easy to learn and use, since you simply buckle on and go!

Giselle Baturay is a mother of three children (currently expecting her fourth) and owner of Granola Babies. She is a Green Baby Educator, Certified Lactation Educator, Babywearing Educator, and an API Leader. For years, she's taught parents the importance of raising babies naturally and is thrilled to continue this outreach with ongoing classes and support groups at the Granola Babies store.

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