If you’re new to the world of babywearing you may feel overwhelmed with all of the different types of carriers. We like to say that baby carriers are like jeans – no one carrier will fit every caretaker the same and it’s best to try out several before deciding which is best for you. Below are just a few of the common types, which all have a wide variety of sizes, styles and budgets to suit every taste. Mid-Atlantic Babywearing maintains several lending libraries and our educators are passionate about helping each caretaker find the perfect match.
Wraps come in a variety of fabrics and lengths. Stretchy wraps can be used to carry an infant on the front, while woven wraps can be used to carry an infant, toddler or child on the front, hip or back. Wraps have a steeper learning curve (our educators would love to help you master this!) but are extremely versatile and adjustable.
A ring sling offers a one-shoulder carry by using a pair of rings attached to one end of a piece of fabric. The sling is threaded through the rings, and can be quicker to adjust and secure than using a wrap. Ring slings can be used for front or hip or back carries and are found in a variety of fabrics, sizes and shoulder styles. Ring slings are great for newborns all the way through toddlers, however since they distribute the weight over one shoulder only they often become less comfortable to use for long periods of time as the child grows.
Pouch slings are pieces of fabric sewn into a loop, which are worn over one shoulder, in a fashion similar to a ring sling. However, a pouch sling is not adjustable and must be sized to the caretaker. When sized properly these are a safe, comfortable, economical carrier that takes up less space than many other carrier types.
Pronounced “may tie”, this Asian-style baby carrier consists of a panel of fabric to support the child, two short straps that are tied around the caretaker’s waist and two longer straps that are used to secure the carrier around the caretaker’s shoulders. Some meh dai straps are padded, some are made from a woven wrap material, while others are made of a simple canvas material. Meh dai’s can be used for front, hip or back carries and are generally easy to learn to use.
Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs)
SSCs are one of the most popular types of carriers as they provide convenience and an easy learning curve due to the fact that they go on and off similar to a backpack. Most SSCs have buckles to secure the waistband and shoulder straps to the caretaker and can be used for front and back carries (some, not all, can be used for hip carries). Some have adjustable panels for infants, while others require infant inserts. Many have accessories such as hoods and pockets.