Once we understand the benefits to carrying our babies in a sling we are faced with the next big question; which one is best? This is of course unique to each family, budget and need. But after trying a few of the most popular carriers and slings myself, I wanted to review them here. These carriers are tried and tested by me or close mother friends of mine and are only recommended from experience.
I bought the Baby Bjorn Original when my baby, Seb, was about three months old as it’s one of the most popular carriers out there. But in my opinion it’s just due to the length of time it’s been on the market as opposed to its functionality as a baby carrier.
If your baby weighs more than a bag of sugar, then expect backache, unfortunately.
- In itself it’s lightweight and very user-friendly; it literally clasps together in two pieces making it quick and convenient
- Easy to clean, wipe-down fabric
- One important factor of the Baby Bjorn Original is the position it leaves the baby’s hips. When carrying a baby their legs need to be in a frog position, bottom down and knees up, with legs up at a 90-degree angle and thighs supported. The Baby Bjorn Original does not allow for this; carrying a baby in this carrier leaves their legs dangling down freely, much more so than do some other carriers.
While there is no direct evidence to suggest this can cause hip dysplasia in babies, it isn’t the most supportive carrier on the market, for baby or wearer. I did not learn the correct way to carry a baby in a carrier until after I had bought the Baby Bjorn and having a breech baby, it did concern me (See more on this here)
- No waist support = Backache. Aside from the baby’s position, for long-term wearing of an older baby, I found it useless as it provides the wearer very little support. Even with a younger baby, when you’re recovering from birth and your stomach muscles aren’t functioning like normal, you need something more supportive, one that will distribute the baby’s weight more evenly using your whole body strength
While we’re on Baby Bjorn, a good friend of mine swears by the Baby Bjorn One so I think it’s worth a mention, even though I haven’t tried it personally. Just to note, it’s quite a structured carrier, not a sling.
- The One does allow for more support on baby’s thighs to enable the correct hip-positioning.
- Baby can face inwards or outwards and it can be used as a back carrier
- Easy to breastfeed in
- It does have waist support, designed to prevent the backache that is quite unavoidable in its older model, the Baby Bjorn Original
- Comes in a range of colours
- Much more expensive than the Baby Bjorn Original
- Apparently it doesn’t wash that well
I love this type of sling for carrying a baby. Essentially it’s just a huge piece of material that you wrap and wrap until it creates a space to place your baby. Initially it looks complicated to put on but after practicing a few times, it does become easy, although slightly time-consuming.
- Great for newborn – this is a really safe, secure and warm environment for a newborn to be close to their parent while allowing the wearer to be hands-free
- Great for longer wearing, it’s really supportive for the wearer so it can feel comfortable for a good few hours
- No buckles or clasps to tend with, it’s just one huge piece of material and is easy to transport
- Offers excellent value for money
- Easy to breastfeed in
- As it’s a lot of material it can make the wearer hot and sweaty, not great for an older baby, or for use in the warmer months (when I used this indoors at home when Seb was tiny I stripped him down to just his nappy and vest to avoid him overheating)
- It’s somewhat time-consuming to put on and take off, not great when your baby is screaming and you have to put them down to assemble the wrap, or if your baby suddenly decides to vomit a days-worth of milk all over you while in the sling. It takes a while to unwrap yourself from it so unfortunately, there is no way to avoid or protect yourself from getting completely covered by any lovely baby excretory products
- Once baby falls asleep it can be tricky to take them out without waking them
The ring sling is a great option for an older baby or toddler. For those times when they’re around 10 months old and can’t decide if they want to be picked up or put down, or when you’re trying to make dinner and they are demanding your attention; the ring sling is a versatile piece of fabric that is quick to put on and doesn’t require buckles. I have to admit I’m fairly new to this sling and haven’t had it long enough to review it extensively. I will update this post in a month or so with more of an opinion!
- Quick and easy, great for carrying a toddler on your hip whilst keeping hands free
- Simple and lightweight with just two rings, no buckles
- Doesn’t feel quite as secure as some other slings
This is by far my favourite of all the slings I’ve tried. This carrier has been a life-saver for me in so many ways, for the entire almost-year we’ve had it. I didn’t need to buy the infant insert for Seb when I bought this so unfortunately I can’t comment on this as a newborn carrier. But friends who have used the infant insert, say it functions really well and keeps the baby in a safe and secure position.
- The Ergobaby has a really solid waist support band to prevent backache and padded shoulder straps for comfort
- Very easy and quick to put on with buckles – easy to take off when baby falls asleep
- Made with lightweight cotton material so less risk of parent or baby overheating compared to other slings, and folds well for easy transport
- Once on, the carrier creates a “seat” for the baby which allows for correct leg and hip positioning
- Ease of breastfeeding – I found it so easy to breastfeed discreetly in this sling, when Seb was small and even when he grew much bigger
- My favourite aspect – a hood. This became immensely useful to me when Seb was going through a “distracted by everything” phase and wouldn’t feed or sleep without a fight. Putting him in the sling with the hood over his head allowed me to shut out his world and feed him discreetly without any distractions, which always ensured he would fall asleep. I could then gently take him out and put him down allowing me some much needed free time while he napped. For a baby that would otherwise NEVER fall asleep without me, this became a lifesaving tool to get him to sleep.
- The hood also meant I was less likely to drop food on his head if I attempted to eat anything whilst carrying him (soup is NOT a babywearing-friendly food to attempt)
- The hood offers weather protection (I didn’t realise how handy this was until I got caught out with Seb in the sun and had forgotten his hat)
- Option to wear baby inward-facing, on the hip and back
- Comes in a range of colours
- No option for wearing baby forward-facing. This didn’t prove to be a problem for me but of course it depends on how you want to carry your baby. Even though he’s now a toddler, I still carry Seb a lot and I find it really calms him down if he’s being a bit rambunctious in a situation, or if he’s upset or just wants a cuddle. So I don’t really feel the need to have him facing outwards at this age since he is physically able to roam free and explore his world the rest of the time. At around five months I think it can be nice for baby to have an option to see the world whilst still experiencing the security and attachment of being held by their parent, so an outward facing option may be useful
- Quite tricky to put the baby on your back (without help)
- Expense – this is not the cheapest carrier on the market (but WELL worth the money, in my opinion)
When I had decided on the Ergobaby brand, I was then stuck with the dilemma of the original or the 360. They are very similar but the 360 –
- Has the option to wear baby forward-facing
- Is more expensive
- Can’t take as much weight as the original
- Has Velcro straps
And this last difference is what deterred me from buying it over the Ergo Original. I desperately needed a few Seb-free moments during the day and his sleep time was my only opportunity, so having anything that could potentially make noise and wake him during the transition from carrier to bed was a huge no-go for me. However, a good friend of mine who has the 360 has said that she can take her sleeping baby out of the carrier without needing to undo the Velcro straps. So then I guess it’s just down to personal preference of whether you want your baby to have a forward-facing option. And since this wasn’t a huge necessity for us, I chose the slightly cheaper option and I can honestly say it’s absolutely been our best purchase since Seb was born, and will likely last us many years to come.
What about you? Any experience of baby carriers you’d like to share or questions on them? Any you’ve found worked really well, or didn’t for that matter? Comment below!