If you've ever typed 'baby carrier' into Google, you will have been bombarded with pages upon pages of different types, styles, sizes, shapes, colours and everything in between.
It can be very overwhelming, so here's a guide to main types of slings and carriers that are out there, who they are good for, how they work, and what you can do with them.
By far the most common type of carrier out there, buckle carriers consist of a soft structured panel, straps and of course, buckles! Within this category of carriers there are tons of variations, some carriers will cross the straps on the back, some will have rucksack style padded straps, some have a soft panel and some are more structured with little bucket seats for babies to sit in.
What? Front carry from birth, world or hip facing from 4 months (depending on carrier type) and back carry from 6 months.
We always tell our clients that buckle carriers are like jeans, just because they are your size on the label, it doesn't mean they will fit or feel how you like them to.
Therefore we highly recommend booking a consultation to try a range of different types of buckled carriers to ensure you find one that you are comfortable and confident in using before parting with your hard earned cash.
2. Stretchy Wraps
The bread and butter of new born wearing. Stretchy wraps are one long piece of super soft jersey stretch fabric. They work by being tied around the caregiver, baby is then placed carefully into the fabric which is gently wrapped around then to hold them in place. The beautifully soft material moulds itself around the baby and caregiver, ensuring a snug and custom fit each time. The stretch of the fabric gives a gentle bounce to soothe baby off to sleep.
The stretchy wrap is second to none when it comes to re creating conditions of the womb in which a brand new baby is accustomed to, easing the transition Earth-side and throughout that fourth trimester.
Who? New born through to when the carrier is no longer comfortable for the wearer (usually between 6-9 months)
What? Front carries with variations.
3. Ring Slings
Ring slings are arguably the most pretty of of all carriers. They consist of a long piece of woven fabric with 2 metal rings sewn in at one end. They are wrapped around the care giver in a single layer over one shoulder, with the rings acting as a buckle. You then tread the material through to creating a pouch which baby sits in. Ring slings are my personal favourite slings for feeding in (breast/chest or bottle) due the speed in which you can change positioning.
They do take a little practise to thread and get the 'knack' of, but once you've learnt how to do it, there is nothing like a ring sling for quick ups and downs.
Who? Perfect for all ages, amazing for new born yet equally as amazing for toddlers and beyond
What? Front carry from birth, hip carry from 4 months, back carry from 6 months.
4. Meh Dai
Meh -Dai carriers are a tie on carrier. Originating from China, they are one of the most ancient forms of baby carriers that have inspired many of the modern carriers we see today. The Meh-Dai is typically made of woven fabric, with a soft structured panel and long straps.
The carrier is tied onto the caregiver, the baby sits in the panel and the long straps are wound around both the baby and wearer, and hold you beautifully together.
There are many variants of this type of carrier, such as a 'half buckle' which consists of a buckled waistband and wrap straps.
Who? New born, toddlers and beyond!
What? Front carry, hip carry and back carry.
5. Woven Wraps
The Holy Grail of baby carrying, behold! The Woven Wrap. These beautiful pieces of fabric are expertly woven to create strong yet soft holders for our most precious possessions. Humans have carried their young since before the beginning of time, as soon our ancestors developed cutting tools, we used animal skins to bind our babies onto our bodies. These have evolved into some of the most beautiful works of art.
Learning to wrap your baby with a woven wrap is definitely a skill, but once you have learnt the basics then the possibilities are literally endless!
Who? Newborn, toddler, pre-school and beyond. There is no upper weight limit to most woven wraps!
What? Front, hip and back carry. Fancy finishes, hammocks, blanket, fort making. The most versatile piece of material you'll own.
So there it is, my guide to the 5 main types of carriers. They all have their place in the world of baby wearing and it's certainly not un common to have more then one type for you different needs (like shoes!)
If you would like to know more about the types of carriers available to hire or purchase, or would like to learn how to use any of the carriers in this post, then book a consultation and we can help you decode the wonderful world of baby wearing.
Love Stella | MotherRucker