How to choose a Baby Carrier (or wrap (or ring sling!))
So, you have a baby and you’d like to carry them, but you’re looking at all of these contraptions and don’t know where to start. Sound familiar? With the large range of carriers, ring slings, woven wraps, knit wraps, the choice can be daunting. Working out what ticks all of your needs will help.
Start by asking which type of carrier appeals most. Below are some simple descriptions to help:
The perfect newborn carrier. Often a long length of fabric, that you need to wrap around yourself before popping your baby in, but not always (see Caboo), they’re soft – perfect for newborns delicate skin. If a length of fabric is daunting, a Caboo is likely ideal. Some of the regular long length Slings and Close Caboo (Lite) are lightweight enough for summer. Due to the stretch in the fabric, your baby can start to feel heavy at about 8kg. For this reason, if you’re looking for a carrier and your baby is already 3 months old or more (I know, where did the time go?!), we suggest purchasing a more supportive carrier.
Our recommendations on Stretch Wraps are:
Caboo – simple to use, goes on like a t-shirt, yet adjustable and secure.
A versatile choice. Woven wraps are suitable from newborn, right through to toddlerhood or preschool should you wish to continue carrying your little one. The options can be overwhelming, sizes, blends, what??! The easiest way to learn to use a woven wrap, is to learn one carry well. Don’t overly worry about sizes, this one carry may be all you need.
The most used ‘first carry’ is called a Front Wrap Cross Carry (you may see it abbreviated to FWCC). The most popular size is a size 6 (approximately 4.6 metres of fabric). This is sufficient for this carry. If you’re small, try a size 5, larger, try a size 7. A Front Wrap Cross Carry will help you learn how to tighten well and thus be supportive for your baby.
If you worry about getting red dirt on your carrier, or rain in winter, or you’d like somethink more ‘click and go’, then a woven wrap may not be the choice for you.
Our top recommendation for woven wraps is Storchenwiege. It’s a long standing brand, that is known for being sturdy and supportive right through to heavy toddlers, while the diamond weave ‘Leo’ is still soft and smoochy for a newborn. They also colour differentiate the top hem and bottom hem, making them perfect for learning how to tighten.
Buckled carriers are the most popular type of baby carrier available. They’re easy to use and quick to put on (for the most part). Those that offer adequate support for your baby have a wide base or an extending base.
For a newborn, there are two options, either a baby carrier that requires an infant insert for adequate support or a baby carrier that adjusts to fit and grow with your baby. Considerations to make regarding an infant insert are convenience (do you want to spend the time putting your baby into an infant insert and then into a baby carrier?), cost (do you mind the additional cost if the insert is an additional purchase on top of the baby carrier purchase cost?), weather (many infant inserts are a similar feel to a doona, does the climate allow for your baby to be hugged into a doona?).
Our top choices are:
Ruckeli – no infant insert needed, it adjusts in both height and width to fit from newborn up to approximately 3 years. Designed by Dads for simplicity and comfort. A uv rated hood and a removable nappy area for a quick wash and dry in case of nappy leakage. Tucks away neatly into a smart pocket on the waist belt. Fits a large range of shapes and sizes and we also offer waist extenders at no additional cost if required.
Integra Baby – a popular choice with the wide range of patterns available. No infant insert is needed. Lightweight and easy to use, just ‘click, click, click’ and away you go. Compact and fits into a bag easily too. *by the designer of the modern Connecta Baby Carrier, with a few upgrades, such as head support.
Soul – Adjustable, so no infant insert needed, making it a ‘not too hot’ choice of carrier with infant insert. Can face baby forward.
For the slight alternative, we stock Storchenwiege Half Buckle Carriers. These have a buckled waist, yet straps like a woven wrap at the shoulders. These adjust in both width and height and are ideal for people looking for a half way point between a baby carrier and a woven wrap. They do take longer to put on that a buckled carrier, so are not for everyone.
*we no longer stock Tula Standard Baby Carriers due to their lack of adjustment for size of both baby and user. We also feel that once a carrier is purchased, an additional cost of an insert should not be necessary. There are, in our opinion and experience, better options. *updated* We do now stock their amazing Tula Free-to-Grow (FTG) Baby Carriers though. They adjust from birth without an insert! Perfect for those who already know and love Tula’s, but without needing to use an infant insert (no longer stocking due to inflated rrp price increase). Other brands such as Emiebaby won’t be stocked at Carry My Baby due to their lack of simplicity. We feel that baby carriers should be the easy, convenient, get up and go option. All baby carriers stocked by Carry My Baby have the option to cross the shoulder straps on the users back, offering additional back support and weight dispersment. This is why we have taken the decision to no longer stock Kokadi Flips.
Once a ring sling has been threaded, it doesn’t need to be taken apart after each use, it can be slackened and left ready for next use, making it a quick, easy to use carrier, once you know what you’re doing. They’re the perfect, quick, fuss free carrier for a newborn, but there can be a learning curve to be had to begin with. If you’re preferring the idea of quick and easy for a newborn, a Caboo may be a better choice, or for longevity, a buckled carrier. As a one shouldered carrier, a ring sling may not be suitable to you if you have a shoulder or back injury as your babies weight won’t distribute evenly across your body. Ring slings are great for quick trips and for sitting down in, for example, with a small, sleeping baby or for an aeroplane trip.
Our recommendation is a Comfy Joey ring sling. These offer good support, being linen, as well as airy and lightweight. Ring slings come in varying shoulder styles, with a Comfy Joey being a hybrid shoulder, the most versatile and comfortable shoulder style available.
For a cotton option, we also offer the budget friendly Soul ring slings, with a gathered shoulder. If you have narrow shoulders, you may prefer to flip your ring sling (twist at the back) for comfort.
Why are we confident in recommending the brands that we do you may ask. All products sold by us at Carry My Baby have been tried and tested by our family of 5 children. A vast number of brands have been tried and tested with our family and friends and many haven’t made it onto our shelves. We are confident that we have a good range of products for all needs and that are the most versatile for all people.
Please contact us if you have any questions. We offer fitting services in Mandurah WA and Maitland NSW by appointment, to help you find the ideal carrier for your needs.