Though there are an incredible variety of baby carriers on the market today, they can actually all be placed in one of the following four categories.
Also known as tube slings, pouches have the shortest learning curve of any babycarrier. Pouches are a simple tube of fabric with an open edge and a seam in the middle to create a seat for baby. Pouches most often come sized but some pouches offer adjustability (with zippers, buttons or snaps). There are fleece pouches for winter babies, solarveil pouches for water fun and cotton pouches for year round use. Some examples of pouches carried at Milkface are Hotslings. Pouches are fabulous as they fold up nicely and are small enough to always have one in your bag. They’re perfect for toddlers who want to be up then down then up then down…and for small babies who enjoy the cradle hold.
Ring slings offer more versatility and adjustability and are the staple of many babywearers sling wardrobe. Ring slings are a length of material that adjusts by pulling the material through the rings – either nylon, aluminum or metal. Ring slings can be padded (in the shoulder and/or along the edges – known in the sling world as rails) or unpadded with an open or a closed tail. They also come in various shoulder styles. Some examples of padded ring slings at Milkface include the Heart to Heart Baby Sling and the EllaRoo Lightly Padded Sling. Unpadded ring slings include Zolowear Slings and Maya Wraps. Ring slings are the easiest slings to breastfeed in for most moms and are very suitable as slings for sharing between differently sized partners.
Wraparound carriers, or wraps, are the ultimate in babywearing comfort but have the highest learning curve of any sling. Basically just a long, shaped piece of material that can be tied in various ways to support your baby, the wrap is the earliest incarnation of baby carriers and it continues to serve moms and babies worldwide well. Wraps come in two basic styles – stretchy (like the Hug-a-Bub Baby Carrier ) and woven (like the Storchenwiege). I’m biased as wraps are my personal favourite but there really is nothing like them! They offer the most versatility and can be used for front and back carries from birth to toddlerhood (and beyond!). Stretchy wraps are heaven for newborns and smaller babies in the front carry (stretchy wraps are not recommended for back carries) while woven wraps offer the support and stability needed for larger babies and back carries.
Soft Pack Carriers
Soft pack carriers cover a wide range of carriers and tend to be best for babies of 3 months and older. At its most basic, the soft pack carrier consists of a rectangle of material with straps coming off of each corner. Soft pack carriers can be traditional – such as the Kozy Carrier or the Freehand - or more structured like the ERGO Baby Carrier or the Baby Trekker. Soft pack carriers can be used for front and back carries. They have more limitations than most carriers in terms of the number of positions that can be used. Structured soft pack carriers tend to the favourites of dads.
Confused about what’s what on our product pages? Each product page will tell you what type of sling it is in the bulleted text on the page.