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Baby Wearing Carrier Pros and Cons

POUCH SLING (or Pocket Sling)

A pouch sling is by far the easiest of the baby carriers to use. It is a tube of fabric which you wear diagonally across your body (on one shoulder like a sash). The tube is folded double, forming a pocket which you can pop baby into.

Pros:
  • Very easy to use
  • No real learning curve Ideal for newborns and small babies
  • Streamlined look – not bulky
  • No clips, buckles, rings, tying or adjusting
  • Lightweight and folds slim to fit in any bag
  • Possible to breastfeed with baby in it
  • Excellent for quick trips/errands

Cons:

  • Weight distributed to only one shoulder
  • Not Adjustable – baby cannot be pulled in close to the body
  • Not specifically practical with toddlers
  • Comes in different sizes – correct size is important
  • Can be difficult to determine correct size
  • Parents/caregivers can’t share pouch if different sizes
  • Less discreet for breast feeding (does not provide cover)
  • A bit of a maneuver to take off if baby falls asleep
  • Though it does free up your hands it is not hands free (specifically once baby sits upright)

PADDED RING SLING

A length of fabric with padding in the shoulder area and the edges of the fabric. Some are thinly padded in the body of the sling. The one end of the sling is sewn closed to form a tab or point and this is threaded through 2 rings on the opposite side to form a circular tube. It is similar to a pouch in that it has limited adjustment but is easy to use (pro’s and cons are similar apart from that the Padded ring sling has slightly more scope for adjustment and it is a bulkier carrier)

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • No real learning curve
  • Ideal for newborns and small babies
  • Possible to breastfeed with baby in it
  • Excellent for quick trips/errands
  • Easy to take off if baby falls asleep
  • Padding provides a little cushioning on contact points (shoulder)

Cons:

  • Weight distributed to only one shoulder
  • Not wide range of adjustment – baby cannot be pulled in as close to the body
  • Comes in different sizes – correct size is important
  • Can be difficult to determine correct size
  • Parents/caregivers can’t share pouch if different sizes
  • Less discreet for breast feeding (does not provide cover)
  • Though it does free up your hands it is not totally hands free
  • Because of the padding it can appear to be bulky and can be hot to wear
  • If the body is lightly padded the sling becomes less flexible around the body
  • Does not fold up small but can fit in a bigger nappy bag

UNPADDED RING SLING

An unpadded ring sling is the most practical of the carriers. It is a length of lightweight fabric with rings sewn in on one end. The open side of fabric is fed through the rings (like a basic belt buckle) to make a secure pouch/pocket for the baby. The sling is worn over your shoulder and across the body like a sash. You adjust the size and fit of the carrier by pulling the fabric through the rings to get excellent support and comfort for you both.

Pros:

  • One size fits all – can be shared with all caretakers
  • Unlimited adjustment ** – the top, bottom edges and the centre (body of the fabric) can be adjusted independently to custom fit your needs.
  • The close fit allows for comfortable and secure hands free carrying.
  • Easy to get baby in high and snug
  • Good for the snugly tummy to tummy position
  • Good for quick trips/errands and longer periods of wearing (even with bigger babies)
  • The open tail makes it excellent for discreet covered breast feeding
  • Has the most options of all the carriers on positions in which baby can carried – lying down (on back or tummy to tummy); upright (facing in or out – legs in or out); hip carry, back carry and hammock carry (for preschoolers)
  • Lots of room to get longer legs in and out.
  • Easy to take off once baby falls asleep
  • Folds up small, fit in practically any nappy bag
  • Non bulky to wear
  • Light, flexible and breathable fabric

Cons:

  • Weight distributed to only one shoulder
  • Takes practice to get used to adjusting fabric through the rings and getting a comfortable carry
  • Some people do not like the extra fabric in the tail
  • Rings can appear to be in the way if not correctly fitted
  • If not used correctly it can be uncomfortable and cause strain

SOFT STRUCTURED CARRIER

Soft structured carriers are more conventional back-pack type carriers. Ideal for heavier, older baby and toddler carrying. They have an approximately rectangular section which holds your baby securely against your body and straps to attach the carrier to you. Some tie on and some fasten with clips. They are generally easy to use and distribute the weight of your baby evenly, and vertically on your back much like a rucksack or backpack.

Pros:

  • Easy to learn to use
  • Can be used on front or back
  • Relatively adjustable in size
  • One size fits most so can be shared by parents/care givers
  • Has a padded waist belt to support under babies bum
  • Weight distribution is balanced over both shoulders, back and waist
  • Good for heavier babies/toddlers
  • Comfortable for long periods of wearing and carrying of heavy babies
  • Usually have highest resale value
  • Sturdy fabric

Cons:

  • Adjusting of belts and buckles can take a while to figure out.
  • Uncomfortable if not correctly fitted
  • Can’t really be used for comfortable breast feeding
  • Not recommended for newborns and babies under 3-4 months (lack of neck/head control)
  • Does not hold baby as snugly against body as some other options may
  • Can only be carried in upright position
  • Child is always inward facing (towards parents body)
  • Very bulky to store

WRAP

A wrap comes in either stretchy or non-stretchy fabric. It is the most versatile and probably comfortable baby carrier but the one most difficult to learn to use optimally. It is a length of fabric with which you wrap the baby onto your body in different positions.

Pros:

  • Two-shouldered carry – most people find them extremely comfortable to wear
  • Fit any size and shape perfectly
  • Gives baby’s head, neck, back, hips and legs ideal support
  • Holds baby high and snug
  • Grows with baby
  • No baby too small for this style carrier (perfect for premies & kangaroo care)
  • Can pre-tie and pop baby in and out for quick errands
  • Versatile – you can wear your baby in almost any position, choosing a wrap that suits you. Can be used for newborns right through to older toddlers

Cons:

  • Greatest learning curve, especially for back carries
  • Occasional carers are less likely to try using it
  • Long piece of fabric can be intimidating and overwhelming when wrapping.
  • Can be bulky to store
  • Some people feel constrained or engulfed by the amount of fabric around them.
  • For some it is not an easy on and off option so only used if wearing baby for long periods.
  • It can be hot, depending on the fabric and season


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