A Comprehensive Guide to Deciding Which Sling is Right for You
With my firstborn, I had a late start to baby wearing. I really didn’t get a chance to find a sling that I loved for each developmental stage. The second time around, I had a house to run, a son to home school, and I needed to remain hands free. So I wasted no time testing out different wraps and slings. I didn’t want to just give you an overview of what I love though, so I consulted with other baby-wearing Momma’s to compile a list that to help you figure out the right wrap for you!
Did you know that baby-wearing for 3 hours a day has been shown to reduce symptoms of colic? It is also associated with earlier language development, more confident parents, and more restful babies. It was surprising to see how much more in-tune to my daughters needs I was from baby-wearing. Interpreting her needs was incredibly instinctive thanks to the very close-contact we experienced daily.
Moby, Boba and other woven wraps
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For the newborn stage, my Moby was irreplaceable. It is truly a hands-free wrap and requires very little adjusting once it’s on just like Boba wraps. I would put it on in the morning, and not remove it until it was time for my evening shower. Other Moms commented on the wonderful squishy newborn snuggle feeling their Boba gave too. For this reason, I have to say woven wraps are the absolute best for the newborn stage!
Pros: Require almost no adjusting once on. It holds baby close for a secure hands-free feel. It offers support on both shoulders for moms with back pain.
Cons: It can be difficult to get the hang of using. It’s extremely warm. It is not so easy to use past the newborn stage. It’s not great for back wearing, and has to be readjusted more when baby becomes mobile.
Peanut Shell Slings
Peanut Shell slings are a great on-the-go alternative to woven wraps. They can be purchased in different sizes to fit different body types. It can be a bit awkward to get used to at first, because baby needs to be positioned carefully for proper spinal alignment. It also is not the best hands-free option if you are doing a lot of bending or leaning, because it swings with you instead of staying close to your body.
Pros: Taking it on and off requires no special skills or training. It works for older toddlers as well as babies. It comes in a variety of sizes so you can find your perfect fit.
Cons: If you suffer from chronic back pain this is not the wrap for you. It’s one shoulder designs does not offer much support. It shifts and moves freely, so can’t be used if Mom is super active.
Maya Wraps and ring slings
I was really shocked to find this was the least loved wrap when consulting a group of peers for their opinion. These gorgeous wraps can be adjusted and worn in different ways to offer more security. The basic hold offers very little support or cushion for Mom. When I used my ring sling, I always walked away from it in excessive pain. It also has a tendency to shift while in use which can cause spinal alignment issues for baby. Luckily for Maya, she still has some devoted fans that sing her praises. It could be coincidental, but there did seem to be a trend in which the moms who loved their ring sling the most were taller than average.
Pros: Absolutely gorgeous patterns. Easy to breastfeed in. If you aren’t married to buying name brand, there are a few places you can buy ring slings online that support the indigenous women who make them! It’s easy to know if your form while wearing it is good or not as the ring shifting is your first indicator something is wrong.
Cons: The basic hold offers almost no back support. It can be hard to keep in a good position.
The Baby K’tan
The wrap you don’t wrap came highly praised. It was easily the most popular option, and was loved by Moms of all sizes. I have never worn a K’tan, but have added it to my personal wish list for my next baby after hearing everyone’s opinions on it! Everyone seemed to agree it is easy to use, and holds little babies close and secure. Leaving Mom free to bend and move without fear of shifting.
Pros: It is stretchy and good for different sized mom’s. It offers a very secure hold for newborns. It is easy to position correctly.
Cons: Can be hard to find in-stores to try on before buying. Not as practical with older more mobile babies.
Ergo and Lillebaby Slings
These are my favorite slings for the larger more mobile stages. They are both offered in a variety of fabrics including breathable mesh fabrics. They both offer tons of support and cushion. I have heard a few women say they prefer Lillebaby on their larger frame. But a couple women commented that they prefer Ergo because it is easier to put on by yourself, and more comfortable on their pear-shaped frame.
Pros: They both offer breathable material options for warm climates and seasons. It’s easy to breastfeed in. It offers tons of support for back pain sufferers. It’s easy to wear on your back.
Cons: There are adjustments you can make to wear newborns, but they just don’t feel very secure. If you are sharing the wrap with a spouse, you will need to adjust straps before each carry.
Mei Tais are another great option for most moms. They feel as supportive as a woven wrap, but because of their rectangular seat for the baby, they are easier to wear on your front or back. They are good for a variety of ages and stages, and come in different sizes, for small or plus-sized parents.
Pros: It’s very easy to learn. You can adjust it to your comfort easily. No uncomfortable buckles. It distributes weight very evenly for back pain. They come in gorgeous, colorful fabrics, similar to a Maya Wrap!
Cons: The straps are very long and sometimes drag. They can be used for hip carrying, but it’s difficult. Some women say it’s easy to breastfeed in, but others say it is impossible.
There are obviously countless options for baby-wearing and this list in no way covers them all. But hopeful I was able to answer your burning questions regarding the most popular, accessible, and common options. If you are new to baby-wearing, I suggest looking for regional support groups online to get personal recommendations and help to adjust fitting properly. I have found the baby-wearing crowd, to be filled with generous, knowledgeable, and helpful parent’s that would love to help you succeed at baby-wearing.
What was your first baby-wearing experience? Did you love it or hate it? Comment below and share your experience!