“Before you were born I carried you under my heart. From the moment you arrived in this world until the moment I leave it, I will always carry you in my heart.” – Mandy Harrison
There are a ton of options when it comes to baby carriers. Here is a quick and basic breakdown of some available options and some places where you can buy them. There are other types of baby carriers out there besides what I have listed below but here is a list some of the mainstream ones to get you started. I’ve also included links to other resources that have a TON more information if you choose to go down the rabbit hole of babywearing! Know this is just a starting point for your own research. Always read any safety instructions that come with your specific carrier. Know every carrier has different safety guidelines. Keep calm and carry on mamas!
A long piece of woven fabric specifically designed to carry a child. Comes in a variety of sizes and offers what seems like an endless amount of carrying options. You can do front carries, side, and back carries (depending on the fabric).
Soft Structured Carrier (SSC)
A ‘backpack’ like carrier. Easy to use and comfortable. Some require an extra infant insert. You can do front, side, and back carries.
*Note that back carries can only be done in a SSC with a child that can sit unassisted (no help) and has excellent head control.
These are baby carriers that use ‘stretchy’ fabrics. Great for smaller babies and beginners. Typically has lower weight limits for either safety and/or comfort.
You can ONLY do front and side carries with stretchy wraps. You can NOT do back carries with stretchy wraps, babies can lean back and fall very easily.
A ring sling carrier is a long piece of fabric with a metal or nylon ring that is used to adjust according the the size of you and your baby. Good for quick ‘ups’ and come in a large variety of fabrics.
Always have baby in an upright position, not a cradle position unless actively nursing so you can monitor their breathing. Make sure babies chin is NEVER slouched and touching their chest, this can cut off their airway especially with newborns. Once done nursing, move baby back up to upright position (head on your chest, close enough to kiss).
A pouch sling is a continuous piece of fabric. It’s similar to a ring sling but does not have the ability to adjust the size. Good for quick ups and convenient. Typically very inexpensive.
Bei Dai / Meh Dai
Pronounced Bay-Dye/Meh-Dye. Sometimes referred to as a Mei Tai. A carrier that has a panel of fabric with 2 shorter straps that go around the waist and 2 longer straps that wrap around the shoulder and body. Can be adjusted to fit a variety of body types. You can do front, side, and back carries.
Important Babywearing Safety Notes:
- Make sure baby is ‘Close enough to Kiss’.
- Make sure baby’s airway is always open. Newborns or babies with poor head control can lean their head forward and cut off their air supply. Make sure you are always aware of their breathing.
- It’s not advised that you wear a newborn on your back unless you are a very experienced baby wearer and NEVER use a stretchy wrap on for back carries.
- It’s not advised that YOU sleep with baby in the baby carrier on you. You aren’t in a state that you can safely monitor your child and are at danger for potentially smothering them.
- Back carries are intended AFTER forward carries have been mastered. They are also meant for children that can sit up unassisted and have good head control.
- Use common sense when babywearing. If you wouldn’t do it holding a baby in your hands, you probably shouldn’t be doing it with a baby in a carrier (Examples: driving, motorcycles, bicycling, horse riding, running (can shake baby too vigorously leading to potential brain damage), on workout equipment, around flames or sharp objects, in water (unless in a water specific carrier).
- When practicing new carries, always do so on or near a soft surface just in case you accidentally drop your child. Another option is to have a trusted spotter to help you.
- Always check your baby carrier for tears, loose threads, or too much wear and tear. This is to help avoid the baby carrier breaking, potentially causing your baby to fall and/or get injured.
- Never wear your baby drunk or on drugs (legal/illegal or prescription such as sleeping pills or narcotics). Never babywear when you are in an altered mental state of any kind that can put your baby at great risk. Also, make sure there is someone you trust in a sober state-of-mind to watch after your child.