Baby Carrier Bonanza

I’ve been asked to do a sling post for a while now, and I’ve never really gotten around to doing it before now. The last few evenings I’ve been slowly adding to my list, and pulled out some of my old photos, so I finally got my stuff together and actually got around to it.

By popular request, my personal babywearing review:

My first introduction to babywearing came via a box of gently used, newborn cloth diapers that I bought of Ebay. The mama who sold them to me sneaked in a ring sling. I started literally on day one with Tempest, and got my hands on new slings and carriers to test as often as I could. With shoulder, hip and back problems it was imperative that I found one that worked well for me. I had several custom makes, I won some in contests, I bought used, second hand, clearance and discontinued and went through a lot of different styles.

These reviews are limited by my own experience, and should probably be considered moderately outdated as I have zero introduction into the modern babywearing world.
Also, for transparency’s sake, it’s worth mentioning my size and any special circumstances that would affect my babywearing experience: I’m about 5’1″ and extremely petite, large-busted and exclusively breastfed both my babies. Curtis is 6’4″ and averages about 220lbs and I added in his thoughts at the end of each review, where applicable, as a few were specialty orders and couldn’t fit anyone but me.

I’m going to be ranking each carrier in different aspects, on a scale from 1-5. 1 being poor, 3 being average, 5 being exceptional.
These are the criteria:

Portability – Ease of carrying the carrier. Does it fit in a diaper bag or purse? Does it have it’s own carrying bag? Is it weigh your bag down? Will it never leave the backseat of your car?

Prep – A rank on how long it takes, or ridiculous it is, to prep the carrier for baby insertion.

Sharing rank – Ease of trade between parents.

Shame factor – The neutrality of the sling and whether or not you’ll be embarrassed to wear it out in public because it looks like some sort of celestial Niqab. High scores can go to easily customizable carriers that have lots of options. Bonus points if you can send in your own fabric to have it made.

Flash factor – How easy is it to breastfeed in it without having to sit down, juggle the baby, take them out, hold your boob, etc…

Ideal age – Self explanatory. This doesn’t count toward the final score and purely for informational purposes.

Versatility – How many different ways can you carry it? Ease of this counts toward a lot. If it has 17 different ties but it’s not reasonable to do more than two, you don’t get extra points.

Cost – Expensive ranks low, affordable ranks high. Value is also taken into account, so if it’s expensive but has lots of options and is of high quality stuff… that counts for a lot.

Resale – Will people actually buy this from you when you’re done?

And finally “Overall Rank”, which is averaged from everything together.

Nojo

This was the carrier I received in the box of cloth. It was obviously very well loved, and well washed, so the siderail wasn’t as stiff as it would be if it was brand new. In appearance and function it’s almost indistinguishable to the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder, and is modeled after the standard adjustable sling design.
It prides itself on being an exceptional nursing sling, and having multiple carries including tummy-to-tummy, cradle, back, hip and facing outward. The photo above is demonstrating the outward facing carry, and I could never get this to work in such a way that the baby didn’t start keeling over sideways toward my hip.

One of my major problems with this sling is that I had to pad it more than it already was because when pulled open, the inside was absolutely cavernous. It was like a circus tent, or a black hole. Babies got lost inside, possibly crushed down to subatomic particles.
It was a good starter sling, but there are plenty of carriers that are way, way better. This was like the Bjorn of ring slings.


Tempest in a Nojo at about 5 weeks old.

Curtis weighs in: I didn’t like it. It never felt like it fit properly, regardless of how it was adjusted. I felt like I could never get either of the kids in a good, comfortable position.
Dad Rank: 2.

Portability: 2. Like most ring slings, this is bulky and hard to fold up nicely and fit anywhere other than the backseat of your car. It’s not at all discreet, in fact I was asked to remove it on airlines because they imagined it was a “safety hazard” since it was so large and tent-like. It even got mistaken for a Hooter Hider more than once.
Prep: 4. You just have to put it on and tighten the ring, and that’s pretty simple.
Sharing: 3. It could easily fit a variety of body types… as long as none of them were petite. If you’re under 5’5 and skinny, this was not for you. The smaller, the worse.
Shame: 1. This thing looks like it came right out of the 80’s. I never saw an attractive or interesting fabric pattern. It’s always dots and stripes, which are really good at drawing stares.
Flash factor: 3. You can pull the outer edge up quite far (part of the whole cavernous thing) and easily cover your breast. Or your head. However, it’s difficult to breastfeed in, so they cancel each other out.
Ideal age: 8+ months. This was impossibly difficult to use with a newborn, but once babies can sit on their own really well and have a good amount of growth on them, it got way easier.
Versatility: 2. Everything seemed “too big” about it, and all the carries were difficult to maintain without that obnoxious “leaning back” thing.
Cost: 5. It’s pretty cheap, and you can get them at thrift stores because people don’t generally want them over the more modern, popular brands. It seems to be averaging around 25 new.
Resale: 1. Good luck with that.
Overall Rank: 2.8

Baby Trekker

This is almost like a soft, oversized version of the Bjorn. It’s another crotch-hanger style of carrier, but it’s much larger, more heavily padded and easier to adjust. It has a pouch-like body with long, heavily padded shoulder straps covered in small metal rings. It’s designed to either cross over your back (for more support) or go under your shoulders (less support) and is secured by clipping the metal rings into small catches stitched into the side of the pouch.
The body is shaped kind of like a fluffy triangle: widest at the shoulders and gradually thinning down to a section attached to the heavily padded velcro fastening waist strap.

This can be worn a number of ways, but unless your baby is very small or has abnormally short legs, they’re going to be hanging straight down with all their weight concentrated on the padded crotch area. The crotch is thin and isn’t designed to have full coverage over the butt and thighs, so it’s almost impossible to direct baby’s legs around your waist. I found this to be a huge pain in the ass.
Admittedly a Trekker is much more comfortable and easier to use than a Bjorn, and I’m pretty sure the risk of spinal and hip problems isn’t nearly as severe, but it’s still uncomfortable. Not only that, but for a short person like me, it isn’t long before every step down the road results in a kick to the kneecap by dangling legs. After a while it sort of felt like it was less of a ‘carrier’ and more of a ‘child half my size duct taped to the front of my body’.


In this image Tempest is in the trekker and zipped inside Curtis’ coat. It was way too bulky to fit under my coat, but was perfect for Curtis’. Unfortunately I have none of her uncovered in it. The best way I found to carry it was to fold up the waist strap so I shortened the body, and poke Tempest out the top with her arms outside. This gave her more freedom and seemed to make the carrier less bulky, but you’re not actually supposed to wear it like that.

Curtis weighs in: This one was nice. It was a little bulky, but I found it a comfortable carrier. Definitely not for a short person, though – it was easier for me to use.
Dad Rank: 3.

Portability: 2. It’s extremely bulky, padded several inches high, and did not come with a carrying case. The straps sort of fly all over the place when you’re trying to fold it up. It will not easily fit in a diaper bag.
Prep: 3. If you have any sort of shoulder difficulty, this isn’t kind on you. To fasten the shoulder straps to the catches is really frustrating if you’re not very flexible, and I found it easier to actually memorize the setting I needed it at, then fasten it before I put it on.
Sharing: 4. It easily fit both Curtis and I. The waist strap is velcro, which made it very fast and very easy to change sizes. I strongly prefer the velcro over a buckle: way better.
Shame: 1. Limited colours, no patterns and it has a frilly-looking pocket in the front. This carrier is another one that looks like it came out of the 80’s.
Flash factor: 3. With a baby facing inward it’s pretty easy to expose a breast to them without the world seeing, however, you can look in through the *side* which is totally uncovered.
Ideal age: 8+ months. It would not be easy to put a newborn in this at all. Your baby needs to have significant length before you can successfully carry them in this.
Versatility: 2. This is only good for two basic carries. Putting a baby on your back means they will be too far down to see over your shoulder, which makes most kids pretty unhappy.
Cost: 2. More expensive than a sling, but cheaper than an Ergo. I found it overpriced for what you got.
Resale: 1. Most people hadn’t even heard of this, and it lacks features that would “grab” someone into buying it.
Overall Rank: 2.1

The Ultimate Baby Wrap

This is a standard wrap: 15 feet of thin black material that’s a mix of cotton and lycra. The lycra blend gives it a little stretch in all directions, which makes it differ significantly from the woven wraps that don’t have any give once you’ve tied them on. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that all wraps are created equal: the fabric used really does make a huge difference.
I bought this brand new, and it came with a DVD instruction video as well as a carrying pouch made of the same material. It has a nearly-invisible pocket that wasn’t very functional but did make an ideal landmark for finding the middle when starting your wrapping.

This was my #1 go-to carrier for Tempest. Its thinness made it very easy to put it on underneath a coat (like in the picture) and venture out into the bitter, bitter cold of the North where we were living at the time. It was the only carrier that could easily handle Tempest in a snowsuit without adding any extra bulk. Also, like all wraps, it had versatility limited only by your imagination. I very much enjoyed the fact that this had no buckles, straps, velcro or anything else to weigh it down. This was perfect for a little baby, especially a sleepy one, and was so comfortable and secure that I could bend over and fold laundry without ever feeling Tempest slip. It was an instant favourite.

The light stretch worked perfectly for Tempest, who was very long and wasn’t that fat. Her weight was spread evenly around her body, and the wrap worked perfectly to give me very uniform support from shoulders, hips, butt, legs and across my back. The only thing I had to watch out for was the straps twisting as I crossed them around my back. When they twisted, you would immediately feel the strain. Sometimes that was a bitch to ensure, but once you got used to how to hold the fabric during tying it was fine.

 
Pictured: front carry while breastfeeding discreetly. My breast is completely hanging out of my dress in this shot, with Tempest latched on, and you can’t even tell.

I kept this until I had Xan, and then realized that in no way could I carry him in it. He was a bowling ball of unbelievable fat, all of which was concentrated in his walrus-like gut. Since the wrap is made without any extra support in the middle, the extra weight there would end up straining against the stretchy fabric… which gave me a little *too much* give and ended up hanging down like a pendulous uniboob. This led to intense strain on my neck and back, and the constant pull of his weight would end up twisting and bunching the fabric around my back and shoulders. I tried every way I could think of to tie it and nothing worked: eventually (and quickly) it would start to loosen up from Xan’s mass and hang down. I was forced to retire it.

Curtis weighs in: Once on it was very comfortable, it distributed the weight very evenly and was good for longer wear. However, not great for *really* long wear (several hours) because I found it would bunch up in places and start to strain my shoulders. I also found it a real chore to put on, and I never really got the hang of tying it quickly.
Dad Rank: 4

Portability: 4. Thin fabric makes it easy to fold into a pretty small square, and the carrying pouch was very unobtrusive.
Prep: 2. This is where it fails. It’s not exactly fast to fold 15 feet of fabric, and the length of the learning curve varies for everyone. If you’re the impatient type, this is not for you. It’ll take you at least a week of pretty dedicated use to get the hang of it. Once it transfers to muscle memory, you’re all good, and it IS worth putting your heart into it… but a baby carrier newbie is probably not going to enjoy this as a first step.
Sharing: 5. Easily fits both partners, even if there’s a large difference in size.
Shame: 5. Curtis and I could both wear it comfortably and without drawing any attention. I would often put it on over top of a black shirt or dress and literally no one realized it. I was asked constantly if I had Tempest just sitting inside my top.
Flash factor: 5. That light stretch made it easy to bring the middle part completely up over a baby’s head, which you could then tuck inside one of the shoulder straps. Nursing in it was 100% discreet, and easy.
Ideal age: Newborn+. This is an easy choice for all ages.
Versatility: 4. Like I said, the carries are only limited by your imagination — BUT — it definitely works better for a skinnier “Banana” baby. Superfats just weigh it down.
Cost: 3. About the same cost as a sling, and a lot cheaper than the higher end wraps. I still found it a little overpriced considering the material, and the fact that it frayed very quickly. The pocket was useless by a few months in: the stretch would strain the stitching and it ripped all the time, and I had to resew it often.
Resale: 4.5. It went fast and easily.
Overall Rank: 4.6

Over the Shoulder Baby Holder

I bought this sling on clearance after I’d heard some very good things about it, and it didn’t disappoint. For a ring sling it was by far the easiest to use and the most comfortable. It still has the bulk of any padded sling, and was significantly more bulky and stiff than the Nojo (they recommend washing it a couple of times before use to ease that up) but it also stayed in place a LOT better. No matter how much weight I put in it, in any position, the rings never slipped… Whereas the Nojo I was constantly readjusting and feeling paranoid about the safety.

The pouch of the sling was much shallower than the others I’d tried, which made it far easier to carry a tiny baby inside and still be able to see them.
The ability to tighten the rails was a little uneven, and I found that sometimes the bottom would pull tighter than the top, and vise-versa, and that got pretty annoying especially for the upright positions like the hip carry. Even in their official picture you can see the woman leaning back a little to balance that out, and you’ll find yourself doing that too, which causes a strain on your back. It’s never a good sign if you’re forced to lean all the way back while walking with your baby in a carrier.

My favourite position for this was the tummy-to-tummy for sleeping, with the top rail pulled up over them and secured tighttighttight. Another good one was to plop them in with their legs crossed and face them outward, but you had to be sure to center them exactly underneath your opposite breast, otherwise they’d start to tip over.

I almost never used it following Xan’s birth because I found it a little too “much” for a newborn, and quickly developed other favourites. It was also hard to nurse easily in without having to lift the baby up and support them. However, it’s still a go-to sling to loan out to people and it’s a good introduction to the babywearing world.

Portability: 1. Bulky and does not have any carrying case. It will not fit easily in a diaper bag and will probably explode your purse.
Prep: 4. Easy even for a newbie.
Sharing: 3. This could be easily shared between partners of similar size and shape, but because it comes in different sizes you’re SOL if you’re extraordinarily larger or smaller than your significant other.
Shame: 3. It had a much better selection of fabrics, but none were anything I’d consider “gorgeous”. Pretty average overall.
Flash factor: 4. With a baby cradled inside you can easily pull up the side rail and cover your entire breast: no one will ever know.
Ideal age: 3+ months. I find it a little much for a newborn, but once they’ve passed the floppy stage it’s a lot easier to maneuver them.
Versatility: 2. This seemed to be stuck at a few front carries. While they boast both a hip and back carry… I’ve never known anyone who mastered this comfortably and easily.
Cost: 4. Mid-range price, and well valued. There really is a quality difference between this and other padded ring slings.
Resale: 3. Not much demand for it nowadays, but the name has permeated enough of the community that someone will buy it on familiarity alone.
Overall Rank: 3

As a postscript, I also tried the several varieties of unpadded ring sling including a Maya. I gave those away rather quickly as I found that the shoulder strap and ring were extremely uncomfortable by comparison to the OTSBH. I also found it slipped once the baby was big enough to weigh it down. The metal rings would loosen on thin, slippery fabric, and they often got very hot in the sunshine.

Unadjustable Pouch

Included in this category are a number of different brands and styles of slings, including the Hotsling which is a huge company founded by a friend of mine (who has since sold it and gone on to become a singer).

An unadjustable pouch sling is essentially a tube of fabric with a single seam. Sometimes they’re larger on one end and smaller on the other (with the larger side made to be more “pouch like” for baby to sit in).
The most important part of buying a pouch sling is to get it in your size. I cannot stress this enough. This sling will be yours and only yours, and it needs to fit your body in order for you to get the best results out of it. Something too small will be tight and hurt both you and the baby, something too big will make you feel like you’re hanging a boulder off your neck with a noose, but a well-fitted pouch will feel absolutely fantastic.
Most websites will have an easy-to-follow fitting guide that you should look at before you buy. Custom orders from WAHM’s will need your shoulder to opposite hip measurement (over your bust), but some will require your whole body measurement: from the front of your shoulder around your opposite hip back up to your shoulder again. The more accurate the measurement, the more comfortable your pouch will be.

Most of these pouches are made of a thin, cotton or cotton-blend material and have a very lightly padded “rail” along the edges. Padded slinged like the OTSBH have abut 3-4 inches of rail padding, whereas these have about 1-2. The ideal way to wear these is to line up the middle seam underneath the breast opposite to your carrying shoulder, and plop the baby in with the bulk of their weight around that seam – this results in the best weight distribution. If the baby feels too loose you can do a “shoulder flip”: take the upper layer of fabric on your shoulder and flip it down over your shoulder, onto your upper arm – this tugs the upper rail in a few inches and pulls the baby tighter.

I used a couple of these with Tempest, but didn’t get into the nicer brands until I had Xan. I found them to be excellent with tiny babies, but not so great with bigger ones. The newborn phase is complimented very nicely with a a pouch, and I do think it’s a necessary part of your newborn care. They’re easy to wear, easy to learn, easy to nurse in and are generally light enough to carry around in your purse. Plus, they’re adorable.
My only major complaint is that they can be a little uncomfortable on your shoulder if they’re made of a fabric that has no give. You don’t need one that’s made of spandex (and quite honestly that would probably suck), but even a fleece carrier has a tiny bit of stretch to it. I strongly preferred my fleece over my Hotsling, even in the summer heat. It wasn’t as hot as I thought it would be, and the stretch felt very cozy and never put strain on any one spot… whereas the cotton Hotsling would have pressure points where the edges of the fabric dug into my shoulder and neck. This only started to happen once the baby gets bigger; newborns were never a problem. Unfortunately, the most beautiful types of carriers – the silk – were often the worst for this.

Another plus about these carriers was that cotton fabric made it an ideal pool sling.

We could easily bring a baby into a pool without ever causing a ruckus from the lifeguards.

I have used a cotton Hotsling, a custom made fleece pouch, a Maya, a New Native and a denim sling. There’s probably been more, but I honestly can’t remember off hand.

Tempest in an XL denim sling that was purchased for Curtis.

Curtis weighs in: Fabrics that didn’t have much stretch (like denim) were really uncomfortable. It didn’t fit well against my body and it felt “gap-y” up in the top. It almost seemed to be made gender-specific: it would better fit someone with breasts. I would not wear this more than a few times.
Overall Rank: 1.

Nursing carry in the Hotsling.

The fleece pouch.

You can even get baby ones!

Portability: 5. This carrier is by far the easiest to carry around. They fold into small squares and are light as air. Fleece are a little bulkier, but still far from a hassle.
Prep: 4. This has a small learning curve. Just slip it on and it’s done.
Sharing: 1. Unless you and your partner are exactly the same size, you’re probably screwed in the sharing department.
Shame: 5. These come in a huge assortment of beautiful fabrics and prints, even designer and organic. Silk brocade is by far the most beautiful. If you’re very adventurous, you could coordinate these slings with your wardrobe.
Flash factor: 3. Simple to nurse in, but not much coverage. You could walk around hands-free but it’ll be obvious that your breast is sticking out
Ideal age: 0-5 months. I never had much luck with these in a baby big enough to fit a hip carry. It started to seriously strain by that point.
Versatility: 3. Lots of front carries, but impossible to carry on your back comfortably.
Cost: 4. The price varies considerably from vendor to vendor, and it depends a lot on the fabric choice. With that in mind, the prices are pretty fair.
Resale: 5. Everyone loves these, and they’re easy to sell.
Overall Rank: 4.2

Mei-tei

(from an old DITL, ignore the text).

Included in this category is the Babyhawk, Kozy and the Frankenkozy.

All Mei-teis have the same basic design: a square of fabric with horizontal waist straps coming out the bottom, and diagonal shoulder straps coming out the top. You can carry easily on back or front with a lot of support. If the straps are long enough it’s also really easy to share it between partners.
The frankenkozy I won in a contest was a custom make. I found the body too thin, and the straps too short. Curtis had no hopes in hell of wearing it, and I could barely keep it on. I ended up never using it.
The Kozy carrier I had before that I used quite frequently. I got it when Tempest was about one and a half and we used it constantly. It immediately became my new favourite.
It was also the only carrier that was easy to wear while pregnant.

I didn’t get a chance to use it on a small baby until Xan was born, and then immediately noticed a problem:

If you tied it too loose the baby got lost inside, but if you tied it securely the baby’s head was smooshed and Xan really did not appreciate the lack of adequate view. Without something for head support, it was not great for little ones. Thus, I was led to purchase my Babyhawk.


Muuuuuuuch better.

I love love love love LOVE my Babyhawk. Love. There is no other word to describe the affair I’ve had with it. I have used it with every age from newborn to 3 year old. I have learned every carry I could, all the interesting ties, and shown it to everyone I know. If I could have only one carrier: this would be it. On the plus side, the HUGE amount of colour/pattern combinations is endless. You can even get minkee. You can even send in your favourite fabric and they’ll make it FOR YOU.

We had a custom order done, and other than the obscene amount of time it took (which I was told was NOT normal and I was offered a discount on future purchases as a result), it was a great experience. The woman who makes them has excellent customer service, as well. That’s a huge bonus in my book.

It’s only problem was once Xan got to get a little taller than the body…

It didn’t hurt him, but the “help” we got from onlookers began to get seriously annoying. People would rush up behind us while we were walking around and grab him. CONSTANTLY. So, we had to get a Toddlerhawk.

The toddlerhawk is exactly the same as the Babyhawk, except it has a longer body and a higher headrest. In the future, I think I’d stick with a Toddlerhawk from the very beginning and just roll up the bottom to ensure a proper fit on a newbie. It has much more staying power than a Babyhawk does, but with all the same awesomeness.

Curtis: Love love love them. Comfortable and easy to put on. I didn’t so much like the front carry, but I loved the back carry using the Santa Toss. By far my favourite carrier.
Overall Rank: 5! If I could give it higher, I would.

Portability: 3.5. No carrying case, and more hassle than a pouch. I found the easiest thing to do with it was to fold the body and tie the straps around it to create a sort of ‘package’. I could easily fit it in a diaper bag, but it took up 70% of the space.
Prep: 3.5 – For new users, a mei-tei could be a bit of a challenge to learn, especially putting your baby on your back as a first timer. HOWEVER the learning curve is very fast and once you do get it figured out you’ll be able to successfully get baby in and out in seconds.
Sharing: 5. Ideal for sharing between partners.
Shame: 5. Beautiful fabric and colour choices make this an ideal “show off” carrier. On par with the Hotsling as far as style is concerned. With the reversible option, you AND your partner can each get your own fabric choice in and never have to embarrass the other by wearing hot pink begonias when you’re really into camo print.
Flash factor: 4. With the head rest there’s ZERO flash, but if you decide against it you’re probably going to be a little more obvious.
Ideal age: All. This and the wrap are the only carriers I’d happily and comfortably use from birth to “outgrow”.
Versatility: 5. Front, back, inward and outward… I even devised a way to carry Xan in it with his legs crossed.
Cost: 4. You’re going to pay for the good quality fabrics and the better options, BUT it’s very worth it and there’s an obvious jump in worth from the Frankenkozy to the Babyhawk that explains the $80 price difference.
Resale: 5. No problem.
Overall Rank: 5.

Ergo

Ergo is a backpack style carrier with flexibility. It has a sturdy, well-padded waist strap that’s quite thick and goes right over your hips. The design of the waist strap is a large part of why this carrier is so comfortable for long-term wear: it takes weight extremely well and doesn’t have any strain points. It fastens with both velcro, and threading through loops.
The body of the carrier is like a canvas backpack, but the bottom is a little pouchy and much wider than other pack style carriers like the Trekker, allowing baby’s legs to be directed out toward your hips rather than hanging down. This makes it much less likely to feel weighed down and pulled by baby’s weight. The straps come straight out of the top and come over your shoulders, connected to the body by being sewn in. You can adjust it by pulling on the buckle, almost exactly like a backpack strap.
The shoulder straps have a little buckle that fastens them together across your chest or back, this is particularly handy if you’re wearing it on your back as it can take a lot of the strain off your shoulders.

I don’t have any photos of my kids in this one, sadly. I won my first generation Ergo in a photo contest for LLL Canada when Tempest was around 1.5. As far as comfort goes, this one reigns supreme – it really is incredibly comfortable, particularly for long walks. It looks, and feels, like one of those awesomely ergonomic camping packs… and it kind of acts like it too. It’s ideal application would be when you’re carrying baby on a long walk or a hike through the forest, and we found it by far the best carrier to use in those situations.
BUT – all the bells, whistles, velcro and buckles made it a bitch to get on and off, not to mention to carry around with you. It’s the heaviest carrier I’ve ever owned and took the longest to get on. While it was extremely comfortable, I found myself rarely taking it out of it’s carrying pouch because I didn’t want to face the trial of using it. If I was going on a trip where I knew I’d be taking my baby in and out frequently (eg. car rides, small baby that needs nursing frequently) it was my *last* choice. I had trouble using the back carry independently and it was incredibly hard to carry a tiny baby inside without buying their separate “insert”. The carrier seemed to emanate a “super organic hiking” aura, and if you weren’t very active with a lot of flexibility this was a bit of a monstrosity. I hated having to pull loose and readjust the straps every. single. time. I took it on or off.

Curtis weighs in: Overall fairly comfortable for both me and the baby in it, never any pinching and the straps never twisted or bunched. However, it was pretty bulky, especially in the straps, and was quite an ordeal to get on and off. I didn’t use it that much because we got the mei-tei soon after and I liked that a lot better.
Dad Rank: 3.

Portability: 2. Even though this came with a carrying pouch, it was a bitch to lug around and this was one of the prime reasons why I didn’t use it as much.
Prep: 1. By far the most complicated to get on and off.
Sharing: 4. The waist strap had to be on it’s absolute tightest to fit me, and loosest to fit Curtis – neither of us were extraordinarily big or small, so it definitely has an “ideal range”.
Shame: 3. The colour schemes aren’t particularly awesome, but it’s not an embarrassment either.
Flash factor: 2. I’m ranking this a 2 due to the fact that you kind of have to slip it off a shoulder to nurse, and it’s not newborn-friendly.
Ideal age: 6+ months.
Versatility: 2. Tummy to tummy and tummy to back. That’s it.
Cost: 3. I find this to be an expensive carrier, and although it is well crafted I wish it had more (or less, maybe) for the money.
Resale: 3. This doesn’t go as fast as the hand made brands do, but the name is well known enough to garner attention.
Overall Rank: 2.8

Standard disclaimer: your mileage may vary. This review is only based on my own personal experiences, and my situations (chronic pain, super tiny, etc) gave me unique needs. Everyone is going to have their preferences and this guide is intended to be used as a helper to find what suits you best. In no way do I mean to say that any one carrier is absolutely, unequivocally better than another; everybody is different and your experiences will be based on your needs. Happy carrying!

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96 Comments

  • I LOVE my ultimate baby wrap. I wonder if they’ve improved the pockets? I got mine in 2005 and the pocket is great. I can carry my phone,keys,etc in it and it’s never broken plus has a lot of stretch. The pocket on mine isn’t identical to the wrap either. It’s a thicker ribbed fabric but it is the same colour.

    I do really want to get a babyhawk though so thanks for this 🙂

  • tastyanagram says:

    This is a fantastically well-done guide. Thank you, thank you, thank you – and this is from someone who doesn’t even have kids.

  • I will be referring back to this both for my new niece/nephews impending birth and for my own eventual children! This is such excellent information, especially that about subtle breast feeding!

    Thank you!

  • genbean says:

    Hehe, I actually altered a pair of men’s overalls and sewed a stretchy pouch thing inside it for chub monster Jane be cause she was just too darn heavy for a lot of carriers I tried (and I was too roly-poly for all the rest!) I wish I had a pic of her in it, it really did look like I was just carrying the baby in my overalls when I had a jacket on. I have found with the ergo that short=suck and short and fat= extra suck, but tall people were able to wear my super toddler with little complaint. Of course Jane is 5 now, so there’s a lot more stuff available, but with the twins I’m not brave enough to try wearing them both at once.

  • Anonymous says:

    Excellent post! Hopefully I will be able to use this info very soon.

    I was hoping for a Becco review (looks to me like a Babyhawk with buckles instead of ties), but maybe someone else will chime in! I’m curious to know if there is a big difference between how a Babyhawk and a Becco feel.

  • nerdular says:

    Thanks for this! I make myself ill sometimes reading all the various reviews on Amazon. It’s just too much! It’s nice to see someone comparing many of the different types. Thanks to this, I added a ToddlerHawk to my registry (on top of the Moby.) I’m due with my first in August. 🙂

    Did you use a cosleeper? I’ve been having a hard time deciding on one of those, too. Would a pack & play or plain old bassinet be better? Do we even NEED one? Decisions, decisions…

    • admin says:

      We had a cosleeper before Tempest was born. It was the most expensive laundry hamper we ever owned.

      • nerdular says:

        this is exactly what I’m afraid of! so did your kids just sleep in bed with you?

        • admin says:

          Yup. We family bedded until they wanted their own space. Tempest by a year, Xan at 3.

          • nerdular says:

            I feel like such a paranoid first-timer wanting to get a co-sleeper. I know the risks of rolling over onto the baby are slim, but it still freaks me out. No one in my family did co-sleeping (and I doubt any of them will be very supportive of it) so I feel like I’m in unchartered territory here. 🙂 I’ll just keep on reading up until the baby comes! I definitely know it’s something I want to do.

            One more question: what size is your bed? My boyfriend and I aren’t large, but we are both tall and tend to sleep curled up. I feel like our Queen is too small for 3. heh.

            • admin says:

              You don’t roll on your baby for the same reason you don’t fall out of bed at night: it’s instinctual. When your instincts would be altered (ie. drugs, or alcohol) then there’s a risk.

              Our bed is a queen. We’ve slept with both of us, a large toddler and several cats. Sometimes both kids get in bed.

  • zepharum says:

    Love love love my Ergo. I still use it for my 3 1/2 year old on occasion, which just baffles people. But last year, at Folk Fest, which is on a giant hill, it was so awesomely helpful. A picture of a nearly three year old in an Ergo on my back:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=8168758&l=3361efb9b2&id=785040362

  • My best friend used a style I don’t see in your review – it was sort of like a combo between the nonadjustable pouch and the ultimate baby wrap/moby. It was essentially 3 nonadjustable pouches used in combination. The resulting look was the same as the UBW, but it didn’t require all the wrapping. I think it was made of a stretch jersey sort of material.

    She loved it, but I’m not sure if you’re familiar or if you have an opinion about that style?

    eta: I’m 99% sure it was this one: http://www.babybuddha.ca/
    in which case, it was 2 nonadjustable pouches and a sash.

  • bluealoe says:

    This post should be required reading for all new parents.

    I find it amusing that you say you have no introduction to the modern babywearing world, but your youngest is only three…does the babywearing world change that rapidly?

    I am absolutely DYING from the photos. Itty bitty Tempest and Xan! And the picture of Tempest with her sling…*keels over and dies from cuteness*

    Admittedly a Trekker is much more comfortable and easier to use than a Bjorn, and I’m pretty sure the risk of spinal and hip problems isn’t nearly as severe

    Are the spine and hip problems in reference to the baby, or the person wearing the baby?

    Is that an LC I spy in the DITL picture?

    • admin says:

      Yup, that’s LC. 🙂

      Spine problems with the baby. Newborns whose bones aren’t fused yet.

      Modern babywearing world: yeah, there is a TON of new styles and new great brands that I’ve never tried. From the time I started this (7 years ago) to now… there’s been a huge explosion.

      • jenrose (@jenrose) says:

        A babywearing revolution happened between 2003 and 2005, and continues to this day. We had a hard time in 2005-2006 getting enough moms together for a regular babywearing group, now some of the moms in the babywearing group that started recently in my area are more junkies than I am… I’ve been babywearing since 1993, and it is amazing how much things have changed. In 1996 my reviews were of odd contraptions and various ring sings and pouches were the huge thing. In 2005 it was all mei tais. Now it’s wrap conversions and structured soft carriers.

        Anyone who is interested in babywearing should start at http://www.thebabywearer.com. Find a group or another mom in your area. Try things. Experiment. Don’t expect to buy one thing, expect to start with something like a Moby or Wrapsody stretch wrap, then sell it if you want and buy a mei tai, then maybe you may sell that and get a buckle pack or not. Or you may discover the wrapping love and end up spending crazy money on wraps, I’ve never quite gotten the hang of back wrapping so have been spared the wrap craze. Mei tais are another story.

        The great tragedy of babywearing to me is that I don’t dare develop favorites, as the companies tend to come and go, and my hands-down favorite is not being made anymore (One will be coming to you Babs, soon, and you’ll see what I mean about the tragedy of it…)

        What works for me with a newborn is so different from what works for me with an older baby. I have a number of stretchy wraps I wore all the time right up until Miles hit 16 pounds. Then it was simply impossible to be comfy, and thank God for mei tais, you know? Then he hit 7 months old and I got my Calyx fixed where a strap had come out, and the heavens opened and angels sang and suddenly I was babywearing all the time.

        Anyway… I wouldn’t recommend Nojo to anyone anymore, and OTSBH is just kind of ridiculously large, I feel like I’m wearing a couch in it. Maya wrap changed their shoulder, they’re now lightly padded in the shoulder but not in the body, it’s a damn near perfect ring sling. I only recommend pouches when someone can try them on before buying, fit is so crucial. Wraps… Wrapsody. Seriously. perfect stretchy wrap. For wovens, I don’t have a fave, there are so many options out there. For mei tais? Kozy and babyhawk are excellent carriers still… but my favorite mei tai is the ridiculously expensive Tettitett from Norway, I think. Grippy straps, just right padding, brilliant sleep hood, so supportive. My husband will wear it even though it has pink flowers on the hood when the purple silk side is out. PURPLE SILK MEI TAI. It’s a thing.

        But I keep coming back to the Calyx. I want to browbeat the inventor to make more of them, which I can, because she’s in my town. Shaped straps that never pinch. A buckled seat that means if my belly is sensitive I don’t even have to do up the waist belt. Super comfort for me, for baby… I can wear for hours and will end up only with sore feet from the extra weight, but my back is fine. Epic. And it goes on so fast. Unbelievably fast.

  • tooby3 says:

    What’s everyone’s beef with the Bjorn? Just curious, I keep seeing comments about it everywhere. I know I found it really hard on my lower back but my 6’4″, thin husband liked it the best.

    One other note for anyone thinking about a Moby (aka: the ultimate baby wrap). This wrap came very highly recommended to me and I totally second everything you said but have to add how sucky I found it outside of the house while living in the city.

    After a day of walking around in this, it would inevitably loosen up (or I would just get hot and need a break). Re-wrapping without sweeping the ground was damn near impossible (I’m 5′ 4″) and usually meant it got pretty dirty. And refolding it after cleaning, ugh…

    • admin says:

      Bjorn is just overall poorly made for support, and is a crotch hanger: it’s not good for baby’s spine and hips.

      Maya: that’s exactly why I want to go to a woven wrap next time. However, I’m 5’1″ and never had the issue about it touching the ground…. I just got very fast. 🙂

      • jenrose (@jenrose) says:

        I don’t like the bjorn because it tends to be uncomfortable right around the time a baby gets heavy enough that you NEED a carrier, but there is not sufficient evidence, IMO, to condemn it for “causing spinal and hip damage”. There’s a bit of a circle jerk of opinion with a bunch of people reinforcing each other without actual research to support the claim that crotch dangling can negatively affect skeletal development (or even more silly, that the level of stimulation from facing out is damaging to neurological development). Simply put, the vast majority of users do not use the Bjorn long enough, continuously enough, to actually cause that sort of damage. If there was actual research supporting the ideal, the media would be all over it and we’d be scrambling to distinguish the bjorn from “good” carriers ahead of a witch hunt. Show me actual research that shows harm from the bjorn, and I might change my tune. The opinion of a chiropractor does not count as research, nor does the (very reasonable) research on swaddling–swaddling tends to be done closer to 24/7 and actively binds hips together, it’s not the same thing.

        I’m not saying people should run out and get Bjorns, but for god’s sake, hate it for the right reason, and don’t make parents feel guilty for using them if they work for them.

        • Babyslime says:

          Actually there was just a thing passed all over my babywearing groups, by the hip dysplasia association, about how crotch-danglers are associated with a high incidence of it and they showed little drawings about proper support in both dangler carriers AND slings.

  • chadwah says:

    Personally, I only carried my daughter in three different carriers before deciding on one. I had a ring-sling (Maya) and a vintage corduroy Snugli from the beginning (both were gifts), but was never completely happy with either. The Maya sling was okay for short periods of time, and it was better when she was littler — by about 3-4 months, it was a pain to use.

    The Snugli didn’t have anything to join the two shoulder straps together, so wearing it on my front I felt like I had to keep my shoulders awkwardly thrown back to keep it from slipping. I did wear my daughter on my back in it at about 4 months — not because it was comfortable, but because I was desperate to be able to get housework done while I held her. But that dug into my shoulders pretty quickly, too.

    I first tried the Ergo when a friend of mine lent me hers for a few days. I bought one before I gave it back. It was incredibly comfortable, for me as well as for my daughter (she didn’t cry in it like she did in the Snugli). As far as portability, I use it so much that I usually just wear it snapped around my waist, so I can always throw the baby in it. Snapping the shoulder snap and getting her in on my back took a little getting used to, but now it’s no problem.

    As far as nursing goes, I’ve never gotten the hang of it, but my friend (the one who lent me her Ergo) has nursed in it and I didn’t even notice. So there is a way to do it, I just haven’t learned it yet.

    I started using it with my daughter when she was about 4-5 months old and had very good head control, but I’ve seen people use it with younger babies with a blanket stuffed in for support, so I might try that with my next one…

  • Love this post — I totally want to use these once I have children, I appreciate the work you put into the post and can imagine the hard time of testing it all over the years!

  • alexparte says:

    I totally read every word of this post, and I don’t even have kids. There is something really intensely cute about baby carriers. That said, I am total fail at tying knots (I am the kind of person whose laces often come untied) so they make me nervous.

    Also, how have I previously failed notice that you are so stacked? Maybe because you don’t have an obnoxious icon of your cleavage. 🙂

    • admin says:

      LOL!

      Knots: I also can’t tie knots, but I learned this thing about tying a bow backwards that makes it stay (it’s a really simple change). I don’t remember the names of the knots. Granny vs… something. Anyway. It honestly was never a problem. The fabric is way less “slippy” than shoelaces and I’ve never had it come loose.

  • gardenmama says:

    Awesome 🙂

    Awesome reviews! I had no idea you had tried so many different slings/carriers. Also, so awesome that Curtis tried them all and was able to weigh in with the dad POV. I never could get my husband to baby carry 🙁

    I thought I would like a backpack style carrier, and ended up getting a Kelty-style framed backpack. The only thing that I liked was that it had a kickstand so you could take it off and set it down with baby still inside. But it wasn’t comfortable for me on long walks, with limited adjustability as to where it sat on my hips. I always felt it was for someone taller and eventually I bought an Ergo.

    Love, love, loved my Ergo. So sad to see my last child outgrow it 🙁 I found it easier and faster to put on than a Mei Tei and ended up giving my Mei Tei to my sister once we were out of the newborn stage and Nick fit comfortably in the Ergo. I did have to lay it on a bed or other surface in order to get baby in and get it on my back, but I got practiced enough I could do it on the back of my car. Mine had a buckle at the waist, and once it was adjusted to my waist I never had to readjust. I think there’s even a newer style than the one I had, and they came out with other fabric options after I got mine, which was plain denim. It wouldn’t have been comfortable during pregnancy, with that thick waist strap. I was actually able to put Scott in the mei tei while I was pregnant with Nick. And it’s not great for tiny babies, as you mentioned, where the mei tei is. And nursing in the mei tei is feasible, whereas you can’t really nurse in the Ergo, at least not easily.

    I experimented with making my own wraps out of various fabric that I picked up for $1/yard. Loved them for long walks and for tiny babies who need to be cinched in tight. But found them too cumbersome and hard to put on to just put them on in the store, etc.

    I started with a Maya sling, but never got the hang of it. Had a friend custom make me a fleece pouch and I was hooked. I had a new native also, but preferred the fleece. I got a Hotsling with Nick, thinking I’d want a lighter fabric option, but never found it as comfortable. I always keep a pouch with me “just in case” since it was still easier to carry a larger child on your hip with it than without it, even though it pulls on the shoulder after a while.

  • sofamiliar says:

    I’ve been reading your journal for awhile, but never commented, but I found out I was pregnant over Christmas and I’ve been doing so much reading about babycarriers and my brain was about to explode and this post is totally the most useful thing I’ve seen for reviewing. Thank you.

  • Thanks so much for that. I wonder if Babyhawks are easy to get in the UK.

    On a different point – we’ve been hearing a fair bit in the news about warnings on babycarriers and that some can cause deaths due to the way babies are carried and so blocking their airways. Have you heard about this and which sort should I be wary of as a result?

    • admin says:

      I’ve heard about it, and as far as I recall those are for some pretty poorly made slings. Could be wrong. But to be honest I have never ever heard of a suffocation case (nor injury) in a hand-made, quality carrier. I would not worry about this.

      • jenrose1 says:

        I have.

        Here’s the deal. Some slings are *never* safe. The Infantino Sling Rider that was recently recalled fits in this category. There is no way to safely wear the baby even according to manufacturer’s instructions.

        Pouch and ring slings carry a risk if not used correctly. Closed-tail padded slings are harder to use correctly with a child under 4 months old, the baby tends to ball up in the bottom of the sling and it is hard to adjust the rails individually. Pouches need to be the right size to work safely with a newborn, and a small towel or pillow under the baby may be necessary to good positioning to keep the baby’s airway clear. In all slings, the baby’s face MUST not be covered by cloth, the parent must be able to see the baby and check the baby easily, especially babies younger than 4-6 months.

        Babies have died in quality slings–a certain notable death of a baby in a maya pouch (being used incorrectly) at a meeting (LLL I think) stands out. Positional asphyxia is a danger in any carrier used incorrectly, if the baby’s head drops forward to the chest, it can pinch the airway. This is why Sling Rider and bag-style slings are so terrible… they lock the baby in a position that pushes the head towards the chest, hide the baby deep in a fabric pouch and tend to turn the baby toward the mother’s body so even if the head doesn’t drop forward, it ends up smashed into the mother’s side.

        Upright carries tend to be safer for little ones, IMO. There is much recently on the web about safe positioning.

        Shiny had an oxygen issue in a sling I designed… either inadequate airflow or just her peculiar issues, but I ended up not able to use ring slings or pouches with her *at all* due to her low muscle tone and immature nervous system.

        It is important not to be cavalier about any baby carrier. But the safety rules are pretty simple and easy to learn. Keep the baby’s body as straight as possible. Keep space between chin and chest. Keep them close enough to kiss. Pay attention. Don’t cover baby with blankets or anything that could potentially block airflow, not even a little bit. If baby is grunting, change the position. Don’t nurse in the sling until you are confident of your babywearing ability. When you do nurse in the sling, pay attention to airflow. The sling presses the baby “artificially” close to the breast. Some women’s breasts are fine for this, mine are too squishy.

        Hope that helps.

    • admin says:

      Did some searching. I was right. The CSPC is ridiculously stupid and issued a warning for ALL sling-style carriers even though the problem was related to this horrifically made, baggy, badly conceptualized and overall TERRIBLE sling: Infantino.

      Seriously, just take a look at this and you’ll immediately see why.
      http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2010/03/baby_slings_by_infantino_recal.html

      NOT ALL SLINGS ARE CREATED EQUAL. Issuing a warning on all “sling like carriers” is like issuing a warning on “all four wheeled automobiles” for the Toyota/brake incident.

      • jenrose1 says:

        I agree the CPSC warnings were overbroad, but I really do think people should not think that all slings other than the infantino are inherently safe. Anything can be dangerous used correctly, and not all products come with “safety-correct” instructions.

        • admin says:

          I figure that’s common sense and common knowledge. All the things you mentioned in the previous post are kind of a “duh” issue, and I can’t imagine smothering your baby in a sling with things over top of their head and imagining that’s safe. That’s more like “unsafe carrying” rather than “unsafe sling”. Like the deaths caused by sticking a newborn inside a huge mountain of blankets, walking away for four hours, and them blaming cosleeping as a whole.

          • jenrose1 says:

            It bears mentioning if only for the fact that for many years *many* babywearing educators including me were relatively cavalier about position of the baby in the carrier in regards to airway. The consensus at the time was that if a baby was having a hard time with breathing, they’d fuss and the parent would know… that’s been shown to be not the case in some babies, whether like Shiny they had underlying issues or were just not that strong, we don’t know. There have been a few cases where positional asphyxia has happened to babies of “crunchy granola common sense moms” a whole lot like us. It’s not widespread, and mostly common sense will prevent it, but having a baby die in a pouch in a room with a number of babywearing gurus present has been a real wakeup call to the babywearing community.

            The last thing I want to do is scare people away from babywearing. The opposite. But I’m no longer as relaxed about poor fit and poor position, especially cradle hold in one-shouldered slings. FWIW.

  • j_lew says:

    http://www.davidmorgan.com/nursingshawls.html?products_id=176&

    scroll to the bottom for instructions, thought you might like this, The Welsh ‘cwtching’ ( is a word for hug or snuggle ) shawl, my great gran used to carry me round like it. I used to do it with an ordinary blanket with mine.

    • admin says:

      One of my first carriers was the rebozo my mother bought in Mexico from some woman when she was visiting the country with my brother. He was an infant at the time and she was SO HOT and SO TIRED of carrying him. She saw this lady with her baby and was like, “I need that”. We still have it, and I used to swaddle Tempest to me with it when she was new. Tempest uses it as a “cape” now (tied loosely around her shoulders or neck) and wears it to school all the time.

  • gerimaple says:

    Excellent post. I”m referring my two pregnant friends over here.

  • Totally bookmarking for future reference 😀

    Just curious, did you ever use a stroller? Or just babywear? I know some people do both but from pushing around a friend’s daughter, I don’t like how cumbersome strollers are (and how people just don’t get out of the way!).

    • admin says:

      We have an X-trail jogger that has a detachable clip-on toddler seat, so it converts to a double stroller without taking up any extra space (SO HANDY). It was definitely a necessity for us, because I was often out alone and there were days when the pain was bad enough that I couldn’t handle Xan on my body.
      But yes, all strollers are going to be a bitch to maneuver. There was no time when I thought to myself, “wow the stroller is so much easier”. Not even once.

      It’s funny because most of the time we would have Xan in the babyhawk and Tempest sometimes hanging off the stroller (like a shopping cart) on a long walk to the grocery store, then carry the bags home in the stroller. Xan never left the back. People would ALWAYS comment on how weird it was to push an empty stroller with Xan on our backs.

      • gardenmama says:

        Lol. I was going to reply that the only time it is easier with a stroller is at the airport if you are lugging a huge diaper bag, etc, it’s easier to hang that stuff off the stroller than your body. But I’ve totally had a baby on my back while pushing a stroller loaded down with all the kid paraphanalia.

  • mammaopal says:

    Oh my gosh, thank you so much for this post!!! It’s exactly what I needed.
    I’m due in August and totally lost on the baby wearing. It’s exploded into this whole universe of language and options that I feel totally alien to.

    9 years ago when my son Linden was born, I was given a pouch sling in a basket of second hand stuff, and while I loved the concept of having him close to me, I felt like he was burried and suffocating in it. He was so tiny and his little chin would dip down and the sling would close up and I couldn’t see him. It was a heart attack with a shoulder strap. I never even tried to go 3 feet in that thing with him.
    I gave up wearing him until he could strongly hold his head up and then used one of those 80’s aluminium backpacks, which I adored, to get around Vancouver on the bus.

    Man, times have changed!

    • admin says:

      Omg the KELTY. I know all about that one. I think everyone in the 80s and 90s had one of those in my area…

      I JUST TODAY saw a woman being sold on modern Keltys. She was going on and on about how she’d just tried a sling for the first time and clearly needed something “real” so the store owner was trying to sell her on which Kelty was best.
      When the owner walked away I took my pen and wrote “babyhawk” on one of my cards (I didn’t have notepaper with me…) and told her that I’d overheard her talking and wanted to recommend an awesome carrier that’s way easier to use and move about than the Kelty.

      She looked at me like I’d suggested she shit on herself and wipe it on the walls. I mean, nose crinkle with her mouth half open and everything. It was totally weird. I just kind of smiled and said it was really awesome and started to back away and she’s all, “Uh, and something like *that* would work on a hike?”
      “Of course! They’re really comfortable. A lot more comfortable than the aluminum ones.”
      “… right” – fake, disgusted smile – “Well, okay, thanks for that.”

      SO WEIRD.

  • florassecret says:

    Woot thank you for this post, I am having another baby (August 12thish) and I really am needing a new carrier.

  • singhappy02 says:

    I wish I was still working as a nanny, I would have sent the mom this list in a heartbeat.

    I’ve spent the past three weeks lugging around a 12 pound 10 week old in a shit-tastic Bjorn that made me want to walk out in front of a bus. Not only did it not adjust to fit my height (I’m almost 5’10) and boobs (D cup, baby), but I felt like the kid was smashed in there. Also, those things don’t breathe…AT ALL. I was a walking pool of sweat, and ended up stripping the kid down to her diaper b/c she was getting so hot. And when you’re walking around with a bowling ball sized baby strapped to your front in 85 degree weather to go walk 30 blocks in NYC to deliver a packet of paperwork to a lactation specialist b/c the mom wont let the baby go on the subway yet…you start cursing anyone and everyone who had a hand in the development of a Bjorn.

    /end rant.

  • marbyco says:

    Woot! Awesome. Kyla’s had to put up with me showing her all the babywearing websites for years, bookmarking the ones I want to get. Which pretty much followed exactly the same arc you did with yours, from the sling, wrap, babyhawk, and possibly Ergo ’cause of hiking trips.

  • Okay, so I know this comment is probably going to be a little weird, but I was wondering if you could tell me which slings these are? They look really comfortable and I’d love to file them away for future use.

    sling number one.

    sling number two.

  • danica says:

    we have used most all of these and settled for the ergo, I found the resale of the ergo to be enormous, as they are NEVER up for sale, I sold a first gen one for nearly about 20 dollars cheaper than a new one.

  • ppplmgwiw says:

    Oops, that was me moaning about the size of my ass–I didn’t realize I wasn’t logged in so it posted anonymously. Sorry.

  • Anonymous says:

    Awesome write-up, but omfg my ass in that mei tai photo. Holy shit. Now lots of people will be looking at that for years to come. *sigh*

    I really hope I’ve undergone some shrinkage since then because that is seriously disturbing.

  • alathia says:

    My husband agreed with all your husband’s rankings. He also thinks that a lot of the slings are heavily woman-body biased, and will ditch them in favor of the mei tai any time. I think he’d marry the mei tai if he could! 🙂

  • lolacat says:

    Gah, I wish I could love my babyhawk like that. I’ve never been really comfortable with it. I adore my ring sling. It’s pretty much all I ever use (hip carry!). Funny how these things tend to play out for different people. You really do have to try several and you come across one that makes you go AHA!

    • admin says:

      Yeah, I totally advocate trying as many different styles as you can. Try them on at consignment stores, borrow, buy from a place that has a return policy, trade, etc etc… do what you can to find the one that works for you.

  • smellykaka says:

    In 2002 when my middle niece was about four months old, the family went ice-skating for her older brother’s birthday. They had a baby holder thingy which SiL was carrying her around in. Not that much like any you have reviewed here – she was held in front and there were a multitude of clips like you find on car seats to hold her into it.

    When SiL was getting tired of watching and wanted to have a skate, she asked me if I’d like to have a go and watch #2 for a while. I said sure, why not?

    So after what seemed about five minutes of faffing about trying to make the clips go together in the right sequence, we finally managed to get both myself and Little Miss into the thing and off we went.

    (First thing I noticed was that suddenly about every tween in the building wanted to talk to me.)

    Unfortunately after about 20 mins I was busting for a leak and it didn’t seem terribly appropriate to take my niece to the urinal with me, so I had to wave SiL over and go through the process in reverse. What a pain in the arse.

    • admin says:

      What you’re describing sounds like a Baby Bjorn. They’re very popular, and are kind of the mainstream introuction to babywearing. Unfortunately, they’re kind of shitty. :-/

      • smellykaka says:

        Not one of those, but having googled them to see what you’re referring to, considering how SHITTY their site is I’m not surprised you think the product is arse.

        • admin says:

          While that does help… 😉 That’s definitely not the reason. The Bjorn is manufactured and not made ergonomically. It pulls and strains within a few short months and usually ends up being a pain that discredits the actual babywearing world. On top of that, there are real health concerns with the way it’s made. It’s a crotch hanger, all baby’s entire weight focused between their legs and zero body support. For newborns whose bones haven’t fused yet, this can be the cause of serious problems in their spine and hips when used long term. For short term, babies don’t often find themselves that comfortable in it and squirm or cry. 🙁

          Buying a product made by a company that knows *NOTHING* about babywearing is like buying a breastpump from a formula company: you’re doomed to sucktitude.

  • sraedi says:

    I have absolutely no need for a baby carrier but I think I might have hurt myself squeeing over the extreme amount of cute pictures in this post. Even though I don’t need a carrier, I appreciate the amount of work you put into this! ^.^

  • ashosaurus says:

    “Shame factor – The neutrality of the sling and whether or not you’ll be embarrassed to wear it out in public because it looks like some sort of celestial Niqab.”

    LOL x infinity.

    Also, I don’t have kids, but I’m bookmarking because I really don’t like strollers and my parents were 80s style babywearers (baby backpacks and similar products). I don’t like strollers unless they’re absolutely necessary, probably because I was rarely ever in one. This might be really useful someday!

  • I loved this! I’m only 5ft tall and I’m heavy and I have HUNORMOUS boobles. I love my ergo! I just got it, though, it’s brand-new and the way it’s designed now there is no velcro and it does the front, back and hip carry. I agree it’s cumbersome, though, and it’s portability is irritating. That said, day-long grocery trips are not much easier on me.

    My all-time favorite carriers are probably the mei-tie style carriers. I just retired one I’ve had for 4 yrs (it died a long and slow death). I’d absolutely love a Baby-hawk but since I just bought an ergo, not sure I could convince dh. 🙂

  • neuraltube says:

    This is great!

    I love love loved my OTSBH, in that exact print. I had it custom made in my size and it was perfect for me until my kid hit about 15 pounds. I used it up to 18-20 pounds for traveling only, just to slip on with kid sitting cross-legged in the middle of my chest, on top of backpack straps while I lugged a rolling carseat in one hand and a rolling suitcase in the other.

  • smellykaka says:

    I rather like your hair in the “The Ultimate Baby Wrap” shots!

    • admin says:

      Thanks. 🙂 I had my hair short for a LONG time, and sometimes I do miss it… but it’s been forever since I’ve had it this length and I’ve finally started to love it again. I do tend to get bored fast, but the length is so fun I don’t know that I could sacrifice it without spending at least a few years celebrating it’s length.

  • Bookmarking this! Thanks for providing such a great resource.

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