The Pros & Cons of Each Style of Baby Carrier

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The Pros & Cons

of each style of baby carrier

Walking in to a baby store and looking at all of the different carriers can be super daunting. There are so many different kinds of carriers and it can be hard to know the differences between each one.

While the selection can look overwhelming, there are four main types of baby carries. And there are pros and cons to each kind.

To make it easier for you to find the right carrier for you, here are the differences between the main kinds of baby carriers on the market.

Wraps

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There are two main kinds of wraps – ones that are made of stretchy fabric or ones that are woven. Wraps are one long piece of material that needs to be tied around your body before you can place your baby in.

Babywearing with a wrap is a very traditional way to carry your baby and wraps have been used for centuries all around the world.

Pros

✖︎ Can be easily adjusted and can be worn by people of different sizes
✖︎ You can tie your wrap before you leave home and then add baby in when you arrive (ie. when you’re driving to the shops)
✖︎ Many wraps are made from lightweight, breathable material
✖︎ Wraps keep baby tight, close and snug
✖︎ Good for wearing around the house or for short distances
✖︎ A range of colours and patterns are available in wraps so it’s easy to find one that matches your style
✖︎ Fold down to a small size and are easy to store when not in use
✖︎ It’s possible to purchase stretchy wraps that aren’t too expensive
✖︎ Woven wraps can be used well into toddlerhood

Cons

✖︎ Wraps can seem confusing at first, although you can easily learn to tie them and most people quickly get the hang of it
✖︎ Stretchy wraps often have a short lifespan and can only be used when your baby weighs less than 10-12kgs
✖︎ Limited ways of wearing baby. You can only usually carry baby on your chest, facing inwards (however woven wraps do allow a back carry)
✖︎ Knots can be uncomfortable depending on where they are tied and the layers that wrap around your body can get hot

 

Slings

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There are two kinds of sling carriers – ring slings and pouch slings. Ring slings are long pieces of material with two rings on one end. To use a ring sling you need to thread the bottom end through the rings and then adjust. Pouch slings are one tubular piece of material that don’t need much adjustment.

Slings are worn over one shoulder at a time.

Pros

✖︎ Ring slings are easily adjustable
✖︎ Multiple ways of wearing baby – on your front, hip carry and often back carry too
✖︎ Keeps baby close and secure
✖︎ Easy to breastfeed in discreetly
✖︎ Great for use at home or for shorter stints
✖︎ No real learning curve to putting on a sling so can be used easily by several different people
✖︎ Lots of colours to choose from
✖︎ Can be cheaper and great for those on a budget
✖︎ Can be used a lot longer than stretchy wraps
✖︎ Light material so great for warmer climates
✖︎ Easy to store when not in use

Cons

✖︎ Only worn on one shoulder so can get uncomfortable when worn for a long time or when baby gets heavier
✖︎ Pouches are not usually easily adjustable and can be hard to use by people of very different sizes
✖︎ Some people are intimated by ring slings and worry about not wearing baby correctly
✖︎ Not really a suitable option to wear your baby while exercising or hiking
✖︎Not the best option for anyone with back pain issues
✖︎ The extra fabric on ring slings can be bulky, especially for smaller women

 

Mei-Tais

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Mei-Tais are modernised versions of traditional Asian-style carriers. They are a mix between a woven wrap carrier and a structured carrier. They have wide straps but are generally free from buckles and Velcro that are common of structured carriers.

Pros

✖︎ More structured than a wrap or sling
✖︎ Can be worn while walking or for longer periods of time
✖︎ Baby is held securely
✖︎ Can be used for a longer period of time, including for toddlers
✖︎ Good support for wearer and baby
✖︎ Lightweight and not bulky
✖︎ Wide seat which provides good hip support

Cons

✖︎ You need to learn how to tie each side correctly, so can take more time than other carriers to put on
✖︎ Not always available in baby shops to try on
✖︎ Some models are not suitable for use with newborns
✖︎ Can be expensive
✖︎ Long straps which could potentially get dirty
✖︎ Straps don’t always have padding so can get uncomfortable

 

Soft Structured Carriers

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Structured carriers are probably the most popular of all carriers. As the name suggests soft structured carriers are structured and most have buckles and Velcro that secure the baby into the carrier.

There are many different brands that offer soft structured carriers, with differences between each brand, but these carriers are very versatile and long-lasting.

Pros

✖︎ Many different ways to wear your baby, including on your front, facing out and on your back
✖︎ The modern clips, buckles and Velcro mean that soft structured carriers are easy to put on and easily adjustable, even with baby in the carrier
✖︎ Can be worn by people of all sizes
✖︎ Lots of support for the wearer
✖︎ Can be used for toddlers and newborns alike
✖︎ Often favoured by dads
✖︎ Usually very ergonomic for baby
✖︎ Many provide shade or cover for baby
✖︎ Great for longer trips or for hiking
✖︎ Widely available in baby stores

Cons

✖︎ Many models require a newborn insert for use with a newborn baby
✖︎ Can be bulky and hot to wear
✖︎ Hard to store in your nappy bag or under your pram
✖︎ Some are expensive
✖︎ Some smaller women find soft structured carriers are too bulky for their bodies
✖︎ Some people struggle to do all the clips up on their own
✖︎ Velcro means it can be hard to get your sleeping baby out of the carrier without waking them up
✖︎ Can be harder to breastfeed in 

BabywearingErin Williams