Types of Baby Slings and Carriers
Latest update: September 19, 2018
Author: Heidi Holvoet, PhD
A crisp overview of all existing types of baby slings
and carriers helps you find out which
baby carrier is best for you. We check out the
main features and highlight
which best help your baby sleep.
So, how to
choose a baby sling?
When looking for a sling, you may easily be overwhelmed with the
numerous choices you find. Which one is best for you, depends on your
baby and your preferences and situation.
There are basically 4
types of baby slings: wraps, slings, ABCs and pre-shaped
A quick-start selection guide:
You and your
newborn or young baby and ready to invest minimal practice for best
newborn or young baby and want to get started in no time?
or growing-up baby and you prefer to carry on the back?
Asian Back Carrier
growing-up baby and you don't mind a bulkier carrier?
courtesy by N.R.
A wrap sling is a
long piece of cloth that you wrap
around you over both
shoulders and knot cleverly to make a comfortable and
tight baby seat
with perfect support.
Baby's posture in a wrap is safe
and supportive and promotes
good muscle development.
A baby wrap carrier is the
most ergonomical of all types of baby slings: you carry
the weight on
both shoulders, and if desired, partly on your hips too, so you do not
put unwanted pressure anywhere.
A wrap is definitely the best choice if you have any neck or
I recommend Hug
wrap slings because of their safety for your baby and because they
leave your back, neck & shoulders stress and strain-free. See
A Bub review for more on my personal experience.
It can flexibly be used in the front, on the hip or on the back
with baby lying down or sitting up. Baby can face you or the world accessory
on her age.
Speaking of age, you can use some of the good-quality well-wrapped
wraps from DAY 1
the closest ever first days with your newborn baby.
Please do not scare away from a wrap because it is supposedly
complicated to wrap and tie. A good set of instructions - which comes
with each good wrap - and a few practice sessions are all it takes.
Needless to say that the wrap is perfect to help baby sleep
too. As discussed in baby
slings and sleep you will be carrying baby at nap or other
sleep times around the house and during walks. This is possible with a
wrap as it is ergonomical
for you and safe for your baby.
A sling is a
piece of cloth worn over
one shoulder. Different props
are used to
create the hammock-like baby seat:
one or more
rings in a ring sling
or ring carrier,
knots in a knotted sling
and a pre-sewn shape in a pouch
courtesy by amcdawes
are padded versions of these slings too which can offer extra support
but this is not absolutely necessary for a good quality sling.
Because a sling of this type only hangs from one shoulder it is a bit
less ergonomical than the wrap. However, if the sling is of good
quality and has a broad supportive shoulder piece, and you do not have
specific shoulder or neck problems, this is still a most reasonable
Baby is safe and well supported in a good quality sling.
The huge advantage
of a ring, knotted or pouch sling is the ease of use. You throw it on you and
you are ready to put baby in straight away. That makes it a great beginner's
your baby sleep in the sling: it may be a bit
more challenging to carry baby for long naps and walks in a sling,
compared to a wrap. But that is mainly if you have rather weak shoulder
or neck muscles.
But since you can literally have your baby in the sling within seconds,
it can be a true lifesaver to
calm baby down quickly when she is fussy or
Back Carriers (ABC) or Mei Tai
An ABC or Mei Tai is a
square piece of cloth with cloth stretches and/or straps at each corner
be wrapped and
knotted/fixed around you to create baby's seat.
courtesy by clairity
In spite of its name 'back carrier', this type of carrier is pretty flexible: you can
carry your baby on the
back but also in the front or on your hip.
Some ABC can safely be used for newborns as well but not all
so it is best to always check before you buy.
Having your baby on the back can be quite comfortable if you are doing
things around the house. Also it can be a good light option for
both of you when it is hot.
your baby on your back can also ease the pressure on your breasts,
something breastfeeding moms can definitely appreciate.
A good-quality ABC can be ergonomical and therefore has the same
advantages as a wrap when it comes to helping
your baby sleep.
can be a little bit less comfortable though for a sleeping baby
compared to a proper wrap but ABCs are definitely a good alternative
amongst other types of baby slings.
courtesy by ewen and donabel
A pre-shaped front or back carrier has a fixed seat for baby made
of padded material, that you usually buckle around you.
There are exceptions, but in general these carriers are not suited for newborns
and should only be used from six weeks or even two or six months old.
can be great for older babies and children as they offer good support
and carrying comfort in spite of the increasing weight.
carrier can be a bit bulky to carry around. This in contrast with the
plain cloth of wraps, slings and ABCs which you can easily stow away in
This carrying comfort is a
plus with regards to sleep:
your child will be able to take good naps during longer walks or going
about the house.
Always make sure though that your baby is comfortable
In all, each
of these types of baby
slings can be a great help with sleeping. Just
adapt your choice according to your baby's age and your own needs.
In my opinion the perfect sling situation: have a good wrap for the longer
stretches and then a
sling or ABC for the shorter and urgent ones.
Choose a design and colour you like too as it may quickly become part
of your outfit...