Types of Baby Carriers and Baby Slings

Modern babywearing is characterised by a wealth of choice, so much so that many new parents feel overwhelmed.  In reality, there are actually only a few main Types of Baby Carriers and Baby Slings.

Stretchy Wrap

A long piece of t-shirt like material that you wrap around yourself before putting baby in.  Suitable for newborns (including prem babies with some brands) up to bigger babies.  Most commonly worn on the front, though hip carries are comfortable too.  Potentially the easiest sling to use as the fabric is very forgiving and the sling can be pre-tied so you don’t need to juggle baby and sling at the same time.

Brands – Hana Baby Wrap, Moby, Boba

stretchy wrap for baby from The Natural Nursery


Newer designs include carriers made from the same type of material with added rings or shaped pieces to make it easier to put the sling on and to adjust.  Some families prefer this ease, other prefer the adaptability and simplicity of traditional stretchy wraps.

Brands – Close Caboo

close caboo baby carrier with rings

Woven Wrap

Another long piece of material that you wrap around yourself, this time made from specially woven fabric that moulds itself around you and baby.  Suitable for newborns right the way to pre-schooler, potentially the most versatile of all carriers but does come with a steeper learning curve.  Can be used on front, hip and back.

Brands – Calin Bleu, Girasol, Didymos, Woven Wings, Ellaroo

 Types of Baby Carriers and Baby Slings - woven wrap

Mei Tai or Asian Style Carriers

One of the most traditional designs, consisting of a rectangular shaped panel with 2 short straps to go around your waist and 2 longer straps to go up over your shoulders and back around baby before tying off.  Some brands come in sizes, so can be suitable for newborns, others are generally suitable for babies aged 3 months up to pre-schooler.  Can be worn on front, back and hip.

Brands – Baby Hawk, Nap Sack

 Types of Baby Carriers and Baby Slings - Asian Style

Buckle Carriers

Sometimes referred to as Soft Structured Carriers (SSC), they are similar in design to Mei Tais but have shorter straps and fasten with buckles rather than knots.  Some brands can be used with an additional insert to make them suitable for use with newborns, others are best used from around 6 months.  Depending on the age of baby, they can be used on your front, hip and back.

Buckle carriers vary enormously from one brand to another with differing levels of padding to the panel, shoulder and waist so it is a good idea to try a few out before making your purchase.  Some brands come in sizes too, so do check to see if you need baby, toddler or larger.

Brands – Ergo, Tula, ABC, Connecta, Rose and Rebellion, Boba, Beco

 Types of Baby Carriers and Baby Slings - buckle carriers

Ring Slings and Pouches

Often grouped together as they both involve carries over one shoulder only.  A ring sling is a long piece of fabric that it threaded through 2 rings to create a pouch for baby.  The size and fit is adjusted by moving the fabric through the rings.  Personally, I prefer them for older babies and toddlers but they are suitable for use from newborn upwards.  They can be a little tricky to master but do provide a lightweight and quick carry.

Can be worn on front and hip and some brands suggest they are suitable for back carries too.

Brands – Ellaroo, Tula

 Ring Sling types of baby carriers and slings

So now you know all about the Types of Baby Carriers and Baby Slings, would like to find out more about babywearing with a newborn?  Sign up for our tips and tricks ebook.

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