Varieties and Brands of Baby Carriers
Ring Slings: Ring slings are composed of a single, very long piece of fabric and a couple of rings. It takes a bit of practice to properly fit and adjust them. Some women prefer ring slings to the backpack style of babywearing, believing them to be more fashionable.
Pouch Slings: Unlike ring slings, pouch style slings are sized for a customized fit. Usually you will buy them in small, medium, or large. They do not adjust so you must be sure of the size before you buy. They do not contain any extra fabric, making them compact enough to fit into a purse or backpack.
Wraps: Wrap style baby carriers are versatile. Most can be worn in many different ways, and they are somewhat compact. Wraps work very well for a newborn baby and equally well as the baby grows into a toddler.
Soft Structured: Soft structured baby carriers are adjustable backpack style carriers. As with many carriers, there is a learning curve for placing the baby on the back, but once you get the hang of it, they are great for carrying children long distances or for long periods.
Infantino Ergonomic Carrier
Mei Tai: Mei Tai, or Asian baby carriers, are easy to use, adjustable, and versatile. Many are also reversible, so mom can have a fun print and dad can have a solid color!
Infantino Sash Mei Tai
Mai Tai Baby
Carriers I’ve Tried
There are so many baby carriers on the market, it would be a full time job to try the all. So naturally, my experience is limited. I have worn the Bjorn, Ergo, Peanut Shell, Seven Slings, Infantino Sash Mei Tai, and the Infantino Ergonomic Carrier.
- The Sash Mei Tai is almost perfect in my opinion. It easily carries a brand new six pound baby with no need for one of those infant inserts (for head support). The baby fits perfectly behind the pouch with her head safely against mom or dad’s chest. Since it is a tie carrier, there are no straps to adjust so it can be easily shared between mom and dad. The front fabric is a little slimmer than some of the backpacks on the market, so if you feel totally eaten up by the Ergo (which I always did) this is a good alternative. The only thing I don’t like about it is that the ties lose their tightness ever so slightly after walking around for a long time so that the baby kind of dips lower and lower. It only takes a minute to bounce the baby back up and retie so it hasn’t been enough for me to switch. Oh yeah, and the price is amazing. Instead of paying anywhere from $45-$110, this thing only costs $35. The Infantino Mei Tai comes with a head cover to protect baby from cold and sun but it doesn’t have any pockets, boo. maybe I’ll attach a fanny pack to the waist band. Do they even make those things anymore?…
- The Ergo is the carrier I wore when Evelyn was 6 months to 3 years. While it’s kind of bulky, it is perfectly functional. It even has pockets for your keys and wallet and stuff. I never wore it with her in front. I think it would have covered her and me both! I carried Evelyn in this carrier almost every day for 2.5 years. The longest distance I carried her was on a backpacking trip. We went 8 miles in one day. She was one and a half years old. The biggest fault with these is the price. New, they cost $110.
- The Peanut Shell is simple. There are no straps, no adjustments, no ties. It’s a single loop of fabric that drapes over one shoulder. There is a small pocket for keys and wallet, but that’s it. I didn’t like this for the newborn. As you can see in the picture, she was kind of lost in there. I found myself constantly checking to see if Maya was alive while wearing her in this. It’s a good one for a slightly bigger baby with head control, though. The child sits instead of lays in the sling. It is compact, functional, and super cheap. I got mine for $5 on sale. New in stores they cost around $15.
- The Bjorn has been found to affect proper spine development because the baby is held up by the crotch instead of by the butt. I used this carrier when Evelyn was a baby, not knowing about the spine thing back then. She doesn’t seem to have come out with any problems. Her posture was always perfectly straight but, whatever, this is what science is saying, so I’ve chosen to steer clear of the Ergo this time around. Besides this, the carrier isn’t even all that comfortable and definitely not too stylish. The baby’s legs dangle ridiculously below.
- Wraps look funny to me. I haven’t tried them. They completely cover the woman’s body. I understand they are exceptionally comfortable but I don’t like the way they make women look.
- Ring slings look a little better but still they are so bulky and expensive. A new sling costs about $80.
- The Infantino Ergonomic Carrier was cheap and the fabric was hard and rubbed my baby’s face. They do make different versions, though, so one of the others may be alright.
- Seven Slings are a lot like the Peanut Shell but the fabric is cheaper and there is no pocket.
Carriers You’ve Tried
This post won’t be complete without experience from you! I know you’ve got your own opinions and have tried different carriers than I have tried. Please leave pros and cons and feel free to add links.