Baby Carrier Guide
Welcome to the world of babywearing! There are so many different designs and styles, here is the foundation on the main categories of baby carriers and what you should know in your search for what is right for you and your sweet baby or toddler. Start with something you like the look of and is the right size for your baby or toddler. If you like the way it looks you’ll be more interested in wearing it and taking the time to learn how to wear it and soon you will love it!
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HERE is a sizing guide.Woven Wraps
Woven wraps are a piece of cloth from about 2.7 to 5.6 meters long and 25-30" wide designed specifically to be worn as a baby carrier. These beautiful wraps are woven on a loom and come in an unending variety of colors and designs from a simple broken twill weave to intricate jacquard weave designs. Many are made with cotton and many blend cotton with linen, wool, hemp, bamboo, silk, cashmere and other fibers. If I could only have one baby carrier it would be a wrap because of the incredible versatility of ways to wear the wrap, support, style, and infinite adjustability to myself, my husband, and my little ones.
There are many ways to tie a wrap, called a carry, and there is a learning curve to using them. Don’t be intimidated – start by learning one front carry and practice for a week or so until you have it down before moving on to another carry. Soon you'll wonder how you lived without it! Woven wraps can be used to wear baby on your front, hip or back and are excellent for newborns all the way up to toddlers.
Made of a soft knit fabric that feels like your favorite t-shirt, stretchy wraps are amazing for newborn cuddles. They are also a long piece of fabric and often come in one size as there are only a couple ways to tie them and because of the stretch they are only used to wear babies on the front. Stretchy wraps can be easier for some to learn with as the stretchiness creates a little extra give so getting a good fit requires less adjustment. The cost is lower so this can be a great entry into babywearing for both parents and baby.
Wrapsody makes a Stretch Hybrid wrap that has the t-shirt feel and some stretch but the support of a woven wrap so it can be used for back carries and with toddlers. Bali Stretch is breathable and a great summer wrap. This is a great option for newborns up through toddlers and is an excellent wrap to start out with.
Cotton Gauze wraps are another option that are ideal in hot weather and better for babies under about 20 pounds depending on how long you plan to wear your baby.
The go-to carrier for many parents of newborns through toddlers, ring slings offer quick on and off and a cool carrier for warm weather. Ring slings are a shorter length of fabric (from 70-85 inches) with a pair of specially made and tested aluminum rings sewn into one end. The rings work like d-rings to tighten the fabric. Ring slings can be made from a variety of fabrics: linen, silk, and woven wrap material (called a "wrap conversion") are the most supportive and comfortable. Ring slings provide a wrap-like feel but have a much shorter learning curve. Ring slings can be worn on either shoulder for front and hip carries.
Mei Tais (pronounced may - tie)
Mei tais are Asian-inspired carriers that bridge wraps and buckle carriers with support, simplicity and style. Mei Tais are made of a panel of fabric where your little one sits with straps to tie around your waist and long shoulder straps that wrap around you and the baby. These carriers can be used for front, hip, and back carries. The fit is adjustable to different size adults and each brand is sized differently some better suited for younger babies and some better suited for older babies and toddlers. The waist band can be rolled to shorten the panel allowing for a proper fit for younger babies. The features vary and can include a padded waist, infant insert, hood, wide straps, and padded neck support. Some wrap manufacturers are now making mei tais that offer the look and comfort of a wrap with wide shoulder straps. If you are wanting to learn back carries but intimidated by woven wraps, a mei tai will be easier way to learn to carry your baby or toddler on your back.
For a quick off and on and wonderful support for babies from about birth up to 3-4 years old - buckle carriers are the favorite of many families. Buckle carriers have many options for colors and designs, from solid neutral colors to beautiful fabrics and wrap conversions (a buckle carrier made partially or completely from woven wrap fabric). These carriers can be worn for front and back carries and some for hip carries. Buckle carriers have a back panel where the baby sits like a mei tai but have a waist strap with a buckle and the shoulder straps are backpack style. Most buckle carriers have a wide range of adjustment for different height and size of adults.