Compare Baby Carriers – Baby Slings

Sakura Bloom baby sling babywearing toddlers

Take a wrap baby carrier and sew it together (pouch sling) or add rings to enable easy adjustability (ring slings), and you have our next category of baby carriers: baby slings. A baby sling is as uncomplicated as any baby carrier gets.

Baby Slings are compact, sleek, and easy to use. Their simple design makes them one of the most popular baby carriers available. We firmly believe that NO new mother should be without a simple baby sling for an easier adjustment to life with baby. You will be an expert at babywearing in minutes.

Using a baby sling or pouch couldn’t be easier. Just put it on and take it off like a shoulder purse. The baby pops in and out quickly, making a sling the perfect choice for a little one who wants up and down (and up again!) all day long.

Slings are a favorite baby carrier for carrying a newborn and for nursing hands-free. When paired with a soft-pack baby carrier, you’ll have the perfect baby wearing combination from birth to toddlerhood.

This post is part of a series in which we give an overview of baby carrier styles, comparing the specific baby carriers available within each style. Despite the variety of baby carriers on the market today, nearly all fall into one of four basic styles.

  • Baby Wraps
  • Baby Slings (includes pouch slings and ring slings)
  • Mei Tai Baby Carriers
  • Soft Pack Baby Carriers


Ring Slings

Maya Wrap baby slings with dad

A ring sling takes the simple wraparound cloth baby carrier a step further. Rather than tying the fabric and using knots to secure it, attach two large rings and you have yourself a ring sling.

When the length of fabric is threaded through the rings, a pouch is formed where your baby will sit. You can adjust the size and shape of the sling through the rings. Baby can be worn snuggled in, laying down, facing out in front like a kangaroo, on the hip, or on the back looking over your shoulder.

Sometimes padding is sewn into the sides (“rails”) or shoulder of the sling, and a tail is left from the fabric that has been pulled through the rings. Some ring slings include a pocket in the tail to carry your extras while out and about.


Pouches

Hotslings adjustable baby pouch carrier

A pouch is a tube-style baby carrier, generally one long circle of fabric sewn with a curved seam to provide a pouch for your baby to sit in. There are no rings for adjustment, so usually a pouch sling is sized to fit the individual who will be wearing it. This is perfect for a baby who wants to sit on your hip.

Innovations to the basic pouch sling design have included zippers or snaps to make them adjustable, and a hybrid pouch—a pouch sewn into a ring sling for both comfort and adjustability.


Advantages

  • short learning curve
  • very compact, so it will fit into a purse or diaper bag easily
  • most loved for the newborn stage – easy transition from snug environment of womb to compact sling
  • easy to move baby in and out of carrier
  • easiest for hands-free nursing
  • pouch has no extra tail fabric to figure out
  • tail of ring sling can be used for a nursing cover up


Disadvantages

  • Sizing is important in a pouch sling for the most comfort. Ring slings make this easier, but some parents find the rings more difficult to adjust.
  • only one-shouldered support, so a sling is less comfortable for extended wearing or for heavier babies and toddlers
  • a pouch is less versatile for carrying in different positions


Sling Baby Carriers Compared

Upmama baby ring sling made in Canada

Upmama Hybrid Baby Slings
Style: Adjustable Unpadded Ring Sling Hybrid (ring sling/pouch)
Age: Newborn to toddler (35 lbs)
Carrying Positions: Cradle, Kangaroo, Tummy to Tummy, Hip/Side, Back (toddler only)
Fabric: Cotton Sateen (97% cotton, 3% spandex)
Origin: Made in Canada

Maya Wrap baby ring sling


Maya Wrap Baby Ring Slings

Style: Adjustable Lightly Padded Ring Sling (padded in shoulder only).
Age: Newborn to 35 lbs.
Carrying Positions: Cradle, Kangaroo, Tummy to Tummy, Hip/Side, Back (toddler only)
Fabric: 100% hand-woven cotton
Origin: Hand-loomed using fair trade labor in Guatemala

Sakura Bloom ring sling for dads


Sakura Bloom Baby Ring Slings

Style: Adjustable Unpadded Ring Sling
Age: Newborn to toddler (35 lbs)
Carrying Positions: Cradle, Kangaroo, Tummy to Tummy, Hip/Side, Back (toddler only)
Fabric: 100% Irish linen
Origin: Made in USA

Hotslings adjustable pouch baby sling


Hotslings Adjustable Pouch Baby Slings

Style: Adjustable Pouch Sling (one-size)
Age: Suitable for newborn to 30lbs+
Carrying Positions: Cradle, kangaroo, front facing in & out, hip carrying
Fabric: 97% Cotton Sateen, 3% Spandex
Origin: Made in USA

I Wore My Baby in a Sling

Baby in Maya Wrap sling baby carrier

I wore my first baby in a sling starting the day she was born. I knew no one else in person who owned a baby carrier, but another local homebirthing parent recommended that I read Dr. Sear’s Baby Book. I learned about babywearing from Dr. Sears, and my local baby store happened to sell ring slings with big, padded rails in pastel baby patterns.

I practiced wearing a 10lb bag of flour while I was still pregnant and had my husband do the same. I told him it was only fair he carry around the flour all day long since I was carrying at least twice that much baby weight.

By the time my daughter was born, my husband and I both wore her tucked up close to our chests.

This was a baby carrier lifetime ago.

Once I discovered Maya Wrap ring slings, I never wore another pastel nor padded sling. My daughter was close to me all day long. She loved facing out, seeing what I saw.

Several people told me that my daughter must be uncomfortable sitting in her sling, but I reminded them that she was, until very recently, quite a bit more tightly packed inside me and that I was quite confident that she was comfortable and happy.

And safe.

I carried my daughter safely and happily in a sling until she was a toddler and just stopped asking to be carried. She often slept nuzzled into my neck, hid in my hair, and watched my students as I taught university classes. The sling made my life easier and kept my baby close to me when she wanted to be close.

I can’t imagine how I would have parented my babies without a sling, but this is a real possibility for future parents in Canada and the U.S.

Baby sling safety has been called into question by consumer groups, Health Canada, and the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission. Most baby carriers on the market today are similar in style to traditional carriers around the world. These are time-tested carriers that give mothers freedom to carry on with their work while giving a baby closeness that helps with physical, mental, and emotional development. Unfortunately, the CPSC “has mistakenly lumped all carriers together and inadvertently tainted our industry as a whole.”

“Baby slings are the optimal place for babies to spend time safely developing and bonding to parents in a nurturing environment. Research shows that this caregiver attachment and stimulating, safe environment are critical to early childhood development. Parents, educators, advocates, manufacturers, and our civil servants need to stand together to maintain the rights of babies and allow parents to buy, make and use baby slings.” From “Position Paper on Babywearing and Kangaroo Care,” Baby Carrier Industry Alliance, October 2010.

The Baby Carrier Industry Alliance (BCIA) has gathered 50 years of scientific research showing the benefits of infant carrying and kangaroo care in their recently published “Position Paper on Babywearing and Kangaroo Care.” They are working to ensure continued “access to the safe, quality baby carriers that emulate in-arms carrying, providing the greatest benefit to both caregivers and children.”

If you care about the future of babywearing, the BCIA can use your donation and your offer of help now at http://babycarrierindustryalliance.org

Babywearing – The Ancient Made New Again

The art of babywearing is very old, but, through new products and innovations, baby carriers are made new over and over again.


Ancient Art of Babywearing

Mothers have always had the same reasons for keeping their babies close: baby is happy and mother is free to move.

Wearing a baby carrier made of cloth or leather is an ancient tradition that is still widespread throughout the world.

The Rebozo from Mexico and Guatemala is made from a length of colorful, woven cotton tied around baby and mother. The baby can be worn in a front, back, or side carry. The Kanga from Kenya is a large, printed cotton scarf that is tied in the front with the baby on the back. Many Native Americans carried babies on their backs, either on a leather-covered wooden cradleboard or in a carrier more closely resembling today’s baby slings or rebozos.

Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark’s early 19th-century Shoshone guide to their exploration of North America, was six months pregnant when she set off. She gave birth along the way and carried her baby for the rest of the journey. When the U.S. Mint researched Sacagawea for their Golden Dollar coin, in production since 2000, they determined that “she could reasonably have learned to carry Jean Baptiste slung from her shoulder, as was the Hidatsa custom.” The final design of the coin shows the infant nuzzled into the back of her neck as she looks back over her shoulder at the viewer, the baby sling a prominent part of the design.


Baby Slings, a Popular Style of Baby Carrier

Ease and simplicity make the sling a popular baby carrier. Slings, baby carriers that go over over the shoulder and the opposite hip, change traditional knotted designs like the rebozo very little. A ring sling takes that simple shape and makes it more convenient by making adjustable the overall size and the snugness.

When the length of fabric is threaded through two large rings, a pouch is formed where your baby will sit. Baby can be worn snuggled in, facing out in front like a kangaroo, on the hip, or on the back looking over your shoulder.


Sakura Bloom Baby Ring Sling

One of the newest baby carriers Parenting by Nature has added to our line up is the Sakura Bloom Pure Linen collection.

These rings slings are adjustable to any size baby and to most parents. They come in beautiful colors that are interesting yet neutral enough that either a mother or a father would be happy to wear the Sakura Bloom baby carrier.

These finest Irish linens are breathable, wicking moisture away from a hot baby and a hot adult to ensure that the sling stays cool even in tropical climates.

The Sakura Bloom sling is machine washable on cold and hangs to dry very quickly. Flax linen is a strong fiber that becomes softer and stronger over time.

Each sling comes with a detailed booklet of instructions, tips, and many photos. Whether a special treat for yourself or a gift for a friend or loved one, each Sakura Bloom baby sling is beautifully packaged and sent with care.


Ancient Art Is New Again

The reason Sacagawea wore her baby was the same reason you and I wear our babies.

Mothers strap their babies on their backs so they can have their hands free to work and play. It’s simple! Baby is safe and happy, and mother has freedom of movement.

New Sakura Bloom baby ring sling

Throughout March we will offer guides to getting started with some of the basic practices of attachment parenting. This is Babywearing Week with coverage of benefits, products, resources, and personal experiences.