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Types of Baby Carriers
The Babywearing World can be confusing and overwhelming to those that are new to it!
You'll find LOTS of helpful babywearing and baby carrier information on our blog, Babywearing Buzz but here is a quick breakdown of the different types of carriers.
Soft Structured Carrier (also can be referred to as a buckle carrier): Soft Structured Carriers are probably the most common and popular. There is a very small learning curve to buckle carriers and they're pretty quick to get on and off. Most buckle carriers can be worn with babies from newborn to toddler or preschooler. Most can be worn on the front and back and in some cases on the hip. Most buckle carrier manufacturers do not allow for front facing out on their carriers as it's harder to design it to be ergonomic for mom/dad and for baby when wearing in that position. Soft Structured Carriers have padded waists which take the weight of the baby off of your shoulders and back and transfer it to your hips and quads. Some examples of great soft structured carrier brands are: Beco Baby, ERGO Baby, Boba Baby and Action Baby.
Mei Tai: The Mei Tai is a traditonal Chinese style baby carrier that has ties instead of buckles. Like the SSC, the Mei Tai can be worn front, back and hip. There isn't a padded waist on most Mei Tais and straps are usually lightly padded. Some great Mei Tai brands include: Babyhawk and Freehand.
Slings: There are a few different types of slings. Pouch slings are slings that are fitted to your body. You can wear a baby in a pouch sling in several different positions on your front and hip. It can be used newborn through toddler. It can be difficult to get a good fit with a pouch sling. When baby is in the sling, the lowest point of the sling should be right at or a bit above the babywearer's belly button. The second type of sling is a Ring Sling. A ring sling is an adjustable sling and it adjust by it's rings and the two rails of the sling. A ring sling has a tiny bit of a learning curve and can be used to wear newborns through toddlers in several different positions. Both types of slings will not distribute weight evenly since they are only one shouldered, but when worn correctly, can still do an excellent job of keepinng the babywearer comfortable. Pouch Sling brands are Slinglings and Ring Sling brands are Sakura Bloom and TaylorMade.
Wraps: A wrap is a long piece of fabric that you use to wrap around your body and carry baby in. With a wrap there is a learning curve, but you can wear newborns through toddlers is many different carries. A wrap is very versatile and offers LOTS of support because the fabric is spread out over your entire torso and distributes the weight as such. There are a couple different types of wraps. A stretchy wrap is great for newborns. It is made from jersey cotton/french terry and is stretchy. It does a fantastic job of mimicking the womb for a newborn baby. A woven wrap is a piece of woven fabric (can be several different types: wool, silk, cotton, bamboo) at it has a lot less stretch to it than a stretchy wrap, but offers excellent support for older babies. Stretchy Wrap brands include: Moby Wrap and Boba Wrap. An example of a Woven Wrap brand is Elleville.