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Many parents find a sling or wrap provides a closer and more custom fit with their babies—especially newborns—than more structured carriers. After 250 hours of research and testing, including interviewing five babywearing experts and walking over 100 miles in 15 wraps, slings, and meh dais, we think that the Solly Baby Wrap is the best for carrying younger babies for long stretches, and the Sakura Bloom Basics Sling is the best for transporting a wider age range of children for shorter durations.
The stretchy Solly Baby Wrap is made of a soft, lightweight fabric that makes it the most comfortable and convenient wrap for carrying newborns for longer distances and durations.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $65.
The Solly Baby Wrap has a noticeably lighter weight and softer feel than other wraps we tested, making it more comfortable to wear in all seasons. Because it uses less material, it’s also less unwieldy to tie. The stretchy fabric of the Solly Baby conforms to babies’ bodies, making it a great choice for wearing newborns. It allows for nursing, and is also more supportive than most other stretchy wraps we looked at as an infant gains weight. Even so, its weight limit is 25 pounds, which is 10 pounds lighter than our runner-up wrap pick, and many parents may start to feel the strain of carrying by the time their child is 6 months old.
This cotton knit wrap provides more support than our pick, but some may find its longer length and denser fabric cumbersome and too hot to wear.
The cotton Moby Wrap is not quite as stretchy as our wrap pick and is thus more supportive, especially for growing babies. Its higher weight limit means you may get more mileage out of it. But there’s a lot more of it than the Solly Baby—5 feet more, which makes it somewhat inconvenient to tie and wear. And some people may find the thicker, denser fabric uncomfortably warm. Like with the Solly, it’s easy to pop a baby in and out while the wrap remains tied, and it can be easily shared between people of widely ranging body types.
This ring sling’s linen fabric is cooler to wear and easier to adjust than the cotton of other slings we tested and can comfortably carry babies from birth to toddlerhood.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $100.
If you’re looking for a carrier that works across a wider age range and is simpler to get on and off than a wrap, the Sakura Bloom Basics Sling is a good bet. This ring sling (a different design than the Solly, a stretchy wrap) is easier to secure and more comfortable to wear in various climates and with children ranging from babies to toddlers than the other ring slings we looked at. The single layer of linen in the Sakura Bloom Basics makes it stand out, both in terms of functionality and aesthetics. The fabric is both easier to pull through the ring and stays in place better once adjusted than most other ring slings we tested. None of the ring slings were as comfortable as a stretchy wrap for long walks, but the Sakura Bloom seemed to distribute weight better along the back and shoulders for shorter ones. We like that the sling comes in eight colors.
The midweight fabric and extra-long tail make the Moby Sling somewhat less convenient to use than our main sling pick, but it does the job well and costs much less.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.
For half the price of our sling pick, the Moby Sling brings comparable functionality. As with the Sakura Bloom, the fabric can be easily adjusted in the ring to give the baby a nice deep seat and then stays put for a secure fit. But the mid-weight cotton weave is not as cool to wear as the Sakura Bloom’s linen. Also, the tail is considerably longer, and may get in the way for shorter wearers. Unlike the Sakura Bloom, the Moby Sling comes in only three patterns.
The stretchy Solly Baby Wrap is made of a soft, lightweight fabric that makes it the most comfortable and convenient wrap for carrying newborns for longer distances and durations.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $65.
This cotton knit wrap provides more support than our pick, but some may find its longer length and denser fabric cumbersome and too hot to wear.
This ring sling’s linen fabric is cooler to wear and easier to adjust than the cotton of other slings we tested and can comfortably carry babies from birth to toddlerhood.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $100.
The midweight fabric and extra-long tail make the Moby Sling somewhat less convenient to use than our main sling pick, but it does the job well and costs much less.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.
I interviewed five babywearing experts: Adriane Stare, owner of Wild Was Mama, a Brooklyn retailer that offers products and classes for pregnancy, birth, and parenting; Angelique Geehan, a babywearing consultant in Houston; Rachel Boarman, a babywearing consultant in Maryland; Joanna McNeilly, the president and founder of the Center for Babywearing Studies, a babywearing-consultant training program based in New York City; and McNeilly’s husband, Eric Peterson, with whom she and another partner owned Metro Minis, one of the first shops in New York City to specialize in babywearing. I also interviewed Theresa Carroll, clinical assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Fran Kozen, associate director of the Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation. In addition, Joanna McNeilly walked me through how to properly wear my then-3-month-old baby in a range of slings and wraps, discussing the relative merits of different product categories, best practices, and common mistakes.
During the research process I looked at the (admittedly scarce) published scientific research on the benefits and risks of babywearing; gleaned advice from the Hip Dysplasia Institute and Babywearing International; scoured guides from Lucie’s List, Babylist, and BabyGearLab; and surveyed members of my local parents group in Brooklyn. I then recruited seven of them to help me test the carriers with their babies.
Lastly, I’m a science journalist and the parent of a baby who eschews strollers for walking and bassinets for sleeping. I began testing the carriers for this guide when he was just a week old and have used them every day in the 15 weeks since, as of this writing.
People choose wraps and slings—buckle-free carriers that hold a baby close to the caregiver’s body—for several reasons. Some hope to calm and soothe a fussy baby and foster greater attachment. Others need both hands free to complete tasks or to care for an older sibling. And still others live in an environment—like my fourth-floor Brooklyn walk-up—where strollers are impractical.
There are important developmental reasons one might choose to babywear too, said Carroll, the occupational therapist. Together with tummy time, the benefits of babywearing “far exceed those provided by bouncers, swings, jumpers, and other baby equipment,” she said. An infant in a carrier may tilt her head backward, practice holding it upright, and turn it from side to side, strengthening neck and back muscles and developing visual perceptual skills. And in addition to the sound, smell, and feel of the wearer, babies in carriers experience two other types of sensation that are important for sensory development and soothing, said Carroll. “The pressure of the wrap on the baby’s body, just like a hug, provides proprioceptive sensory input,” she said, which helps the baby to understand where its body is in space. Vestibular, or movement, input, occurs when the wearer walks, dances, bounces, or sways.
Unlike buckle carriers, which have buckles and straps that sit at a fixed place on the body, wraps and slings involve a long piece of fabric that wraps around the baby and wearer. Although they have a steeper learning curve than buckle carriers, they also provide a closer, more custom fit, which tends to work better for newborns than the infant inserts of more structured carriers. “Wraps tend to feel right for some parents who aren’t ready for structure,” said Adriane Stare of Wild Was Mama. “They are snugglier, softer, more customizable, and better for the changing body after childbirth.”
People may choose wrap and sling carriers to soothe a fussy baby and foster greater attachment, to free up their hands to do other tasks, or to transport their baby when a stroller isn’t practical.
They have two other advantages over buckle carriers: Wraps and slings are more portable; they roll up or pack down into tidier bundles. They can also hold up to regular machine washing and can be, in most cases, machine dried. Another difference is that although slings and wraps are great for the first few months—and in some cases years—the best buckle carriers can handle older babies after they’ve outgrown the picks in this guide.
These products generally break down into four categories:
Stretchy wraps: These are often the go-to wrap for newborns because they cocoon the baby in a knit fabric that stretches and conforms to the body like a T-shirt. The type of fabric matters in stretchy wraps. Most are made from cotton or rayon, but some companies add a small amount of spandex, which Kozen, the fabric scientist, calls a “power stretcher”—it’s able to extend up to seven times its length and return to the original shape.
Some people find stretchy wraps wonderfully snuggly; others find them uncomfortable, especially with older babies. Although the weight limit of stretchy wraps ranges from 25 to 35 pounds (or about 16 months to 4 years old for the average child) many people find this type of wrap causes body strain when a baby reaches about half that weight. “When the carrier is asked to stretch more to support the same amount of weight, it puts more pressure on the shoulders or the back of the caregiver,” said Angelique Geehan, the Houston-based consultant. On the upside, once stretchy wraps are tied, you can slip the baby in and out as needed. And the Baby K’tan, which is made of prefab loops of fabric, doesn’t need to be tied at all—it slides on over the head, and so, unlike the other products in this category, comes in specific sizes.
Ring slings: Ring slings are simpler to use than wraps by design: A panel of fabric is threaded through two rings to create a seat to support the baby. It doesn’t involve wrapping, and all adjustments are made at the shoulder. As a result, ring slings are also more finicky, said Stare: “You have to get the adjustment just right to feel safe.” Because there’s usually less fabric involved they pack up swiftly and don’t sweep the ground when you put them on. Plus a baby can be easily popped in and out. People often choose ring slings as a secondary carrier, Stare said, for use at home or in situations where a wrap may be less convenient, like traveling on a plane or on a rainy day.
Compared with long wraps and other types of carriers, ring slings function more like a fashion accessory. They’re easy to wear empty and aren’t much longer than a scarf. Typically made of a woven fabric, such as cotton, linen, bamboo, or silk, ring slings are strong enough to carry older children on the hip—the max weight of most is at least 35 pounds—but a baby can also be dropped down quickly to nurse, using the tail as a cover. “A ring sling can go a long way toward making you feel a little bit put together,” said McNeilly of the Center for Babywearing Studies.
People often choose ring slings as a secondary carrier for use at home or for situations where a wrap may be less convenient.
Woven wraps: These wraps are made from woven fibers—typically cotton, but also linen, wool, hemp, or silk—interlaced tightly at right angles, so that the fabric does not “give” unless it is pulled diagonally (in the direction of the bias). As a result, they are more supportive, even for toddlers—the max weight of most woven wraps starts at 35 pounds, and with the right fabric and hold combination some people find them comfortable for at least that long. Stare of Wild Was Mama said she also recommends woven wraps for people with back problems or babies that have low muscle tone. “It’s easier to get symmetrical support in all the right places for you and your baby’s body,” she said.
Woven wraps are also more versatile than stretchy ones, in that they allow for a wider variety of carries—front, back, or hip—and they can be wrapped with one or multiple layers of fabric over the baby, which means they transition easily between seasons. Woven wraps are typically sold in various sizes depending on body type and the kind of carries you’d like to do (Didymos has a good sizing guide). That makes them less straightforward to share. And though we found the woven wraps we tested to be comfortable and supportive, they were also less forgiving when it came to learning how to tie them tightly, nurse, or pop a baby in and out. (One subway ride that stalled long enough to necessitate nursing ended awkwardly, with one armful of baby and the other of balled-up yards of wrap.) Consequently we did not name any as picks.
Although the weight limit of stretchy wraps ranges from 25 to 35 pounds, many people start feeling the strain when their baby reaches half that.
Meh dais: A meh dai, or bei dai (although the name “mei tai” is still in circulation, much of the babywearing community discourages using it), has a panel of fabric that holds the baby to the caregiver’s chest or back, but is secured by long straps that are wrapped and tied. The max weight limit for meh dais, which are typically made of 100 percent cotton and lightly padded, is 35 to 40 pounds.
Meh dais strike a middle ground between structured carriers and wraps, and therefore may appeal to people who find the latter intimidating, or who don’t fully trust buckles, which McNeilly notes can be a point of failure. Peterson, who co-owned Metro Minis with McNeilly, said this is in line with his experience helping customers—and his own experience. “I was never a good ring slinger and, for me, wraps were too much fabric,” he said. “I needed some strings.” Some versions, however, are overdesigned, adapting features (padding, stitching reinforcement) from buckle carriers that actually make them less versatile than traditional meh dais. We did not name a meh dai pick because the models we tried did not perform as well as our wrap and sling picks, but we plan to look at this category more closely in a future update.
Different carriers excel in different situations, and people gravitate to brands based on their look and feel—as with a pair of jeans. “Before purchasing a carrier, it can be really helpful to feel them and try them on in person,” said Boarman, the Maryland consultant. “I find that everyone has different preferences when it comes to fabric. Sometimes even babies themselves have preferences.”
All of the experts we spoke with recommend envisioning how you will use the carrier: For running quick errands? Taking long hikes? “If you’re looking for one carrier to do it all, it’s choosing to compromise,” said McNeilly. “At some point on the journey it will not be as comfortable—like wearing one pair of shoes or a bra for three years.” She advises parents to think about what’s important to them before they buy their first carrier, including when and how long they plan to babywear. Most people choose a carrier optimized for newborns because they need to be held, McNeilly said. “When babies come out of the womb they are not fully baked—they need a physiological body in order to stabilize themselves.” But if you buy a carrier that’s best for newborns, you may find yourself shopping for a second one in a matter of months.
Although structured carriers tend to differ significantly from brand to brand, wraps and slings are simpler and so nearly identical in form and function. We homed in on six criteria to help us distinguish between otherwise very similar products.
Generally speaking, the stretchier the fabric, the more work the wearer’s body has to do to support the baby.
Ease of use: The number one stumbling block for people who have tried slings and wraps—particularly for those who have tried and given up on them—is the complexity of putting them on. (“I’m supposed to spin around three times, click my heels, and then do what?” one person said with exasperation during testing.) We wanted a carrier that was straightforward for the majority of people to use, even in an inevitably sleep-deprived state, and in which the baby could be popped in and out without having to retie. For woven wraps and slings, having clearly defined top and bottom edges, called “rails,” also matters as that makes the carriers easier to put on correctly and to adjust.
Comfort and support: Carrier fabrics range from super-stretchy to woven with little give. Generally speaking, the stretchier the fabric, the more work the wearer’s body has to do to support the baby. Fabrics also come in various weights, which makes a difference depending on the climate. Because these carriers are worn close to the skin, functioning more like an item of clothing than a piece of gear, we aimed for a product that was comfortable to wear in every season and while standing or sitting as well as over long walks. A good carrier should also provide enough support so that you never feel you have to keep one hand on the baby, and the fabric shouldn’t slip once tied.
Versatility: Some products are sized to the wearer’s frame and height but we decided it was more advantageous to be able to share the carrier with another caregiver. Ideally slings and wraps should work for any body type without being overly cumbersome. Bonus points went to those that could double as a nursing cover.
Washability: Babies are messy. Drool, spit-up, and even the occasional diaper blowout will find its way onto your carrier, and the tails of a long wrap can drag on the ground as you’re preparing to tie it. Experts recommend starting out with a carrier whose fabric doesn’t have to be handled with kid gloves. “I don’t recommend anything beyond what someone does to take care of their clothing,” said Geehan.
Portability: The carrier may be the baby’s primary mode of transportation, or parents may want to tuck it into a diaper bag or the stroller basket for another option while on the go. That means we looked for products that folded or packed down to a portable size and were relatively lightweight to boot.
Although there has been recent consolidation in the industry, the wrap and sling market can be quite boutique and there are many different makers. Fabrics can be very specialized and expensive. Our initial research turned up about 60 wraps, ring slings, and meh dais. We whittled that list to 15 that were widely available, affordable (less than $150), and received either a substantial number of positive reviews or strong recommendations from experts and parents.
Stretchy wraps
Baby K’tan Active
Baby K’tan Breeze
Boba Wrap
CuddleBug Wrap
Moby Wrap
Solly Baby Wrap
Woven wraps
Hip Baby Wrap
Ring slings
Baby Tula Sling
Maya Wrap
Moby Sling
Hip Baby Sling
Sakura Bloom Basics Sling
Meh dais
Infantino Sash
Moby Carrier
We spent more than 250 hours testing wraps and slings, covering more than 100 miles and prepping and eating many meals in the process. I began using the carriers when my son was just one week old, following the directions that came with the products and turning to YouTube for supplemental instruction as necessary. I continued rotating through them every day for another 14 weeks, making trips ranging from one to upwards of three hours on foot around my Brooklyn neighborhood, on the subway, and even on a flight to Pittsburgh for a conference. I also made a point of wearing them while doing tasks that required both hands, such as grocery shopping, cooking dinner, and working on my laptop. I am 5′6″, and my husband, who is roughly 4 inches taller and 45 pounds heavier, wore them on weekends for grocery shopping, museum visits, and dinner out.
Rather than rely on our experience alone, I also distributed the products to seven local parents and their partners, who ranged in height from 5′3″ to 6′1″. They tried them over the course of a couple of weeks with infants ranging from 10 to 14 weeks old, and in some cases with nearly 2-year-old siblings. Like us, they found that some carriers were too bouncy, too warm, pulled at the shoulders, or slipped during wear. None of the products met all of our criteria, which we didn’t find surprising given the fact that different carrier types excel in different situations.
The stretchy Solly Baby Wrap is made of a soft, lightweight fabric that makes it the most comfortable and convenient wrap for carrying newborns for longer distances and durations.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $65.
The Solly Baby Wrap’s noticeably lighter weight and softer feel made it rise to the top of the wraps that we tested. It uses less fabric than most other stretchy wraps, making it less intimidating and unwieldy to tie in the recommended hold (called a front wrap cross carry), and it feels more comfortable in hot weather. It supports the baby better than stretchier wraps and can be more easily left on while popping the baby in and out than woven ones. Its compact size also makes it more portable than the other wraps we looked at, and because it’s less bulky, it dries faster than most of its competitors. We think the Solly is the best choice for most people carrying newborns and young infants, especially if you’re babywearing for hours at a time or over longer distances, but if you want something that can accommodate a wider age range, you should consider our ring sling pick.
The Solly is made of Lenzing modal, a type of rayon fiber sourced from the pulp of Austrian beechwood trees. Though some wraps are as stretchy, or stretchier, than the Solly, their heavier, denser fabrics felt stifling in August, when our testing began. The Solly feels cooler in warm weather and can easily fit under a coat or wrap around a bundled-up baby when the temperature drops. The Solly also seems more supportive than wraps made of a cotton-spandex blend, which feel snuggly with newborns but sag under the weight of babies as they grow older.
The Solly comes in two sizes, standard and long. We like that even the standard-size Solly can be easily shared with caregivers of different body types, and yet has less fabric to manipulate than most of the other wraps, making it a little less intimidating to tie. It packs down into a pocket at one end of the wrap, meaning there’s no stuff sack to keep track of, as with some other stretchy wraps we tested, and it has a second little pocket for tucking away a pacifier. Its compact size and light weight won’t take up as much space as bulkier wraps in a diaper bag or stroller storage basket.
Unlike the woven wraps we tried, the Solly Baby can easily be left on while you remove the baby and worn until it’s time to put the baby back in. We never got the hang of nursing in the Solly (or in any of the other wraps) but one tester used it as a nursing cover and felt it could double as a scarf. “I loved Solly for its weight, ease of use, versatility, comfort,” she said. Another wearer that we surveyed noted the wrap is nice for skin-to-skin with a newborn.
Though not available through major retailers, the Solly Baby Wrap has nevertheless found numerous fans: The Bump named it “the best newborn carrier”; Babylist included it in its list of best baby carriers, citing its “zero bulk” and “super breathable modal fabric”; and more than 200 parents on WeeSpring (Facebook login required) give it positive reviews (just eight regret getting it; 49 feel neutral), with many describing it as “cozy,” “snuggly,” “lightweight,” and “comfortable.”
The Solly Baby Wrap comes in five colors and patterns that are available year-round, including heather gray, black, charcoal Swiss dot, cream with white plus signs, and the best-selling natural-and-gray stripe, as well as in a dozen or so seasonal releases in muted colors and subtle prints and a few limited-edition designer collaborations.
The Solly is rated for use with babies up to 25 pounds—the others we considered go up to 35—so it’s not a wrap for the long haul. And though the Solly’s stretchy fabric makes it great for carrying infants, we did feel the weight of older babies transfer to the shoulders over the course of very long walks. We decided that’s not a dealbreaker, though, because many people want to wrap a newborn but then switch to a different type of carrier by the time their child is a toddler.
The Solly has a learning curve, like all wraps. Because it’s stretchy, we sometimes found that the wrap and baby would sink down over time until the baby’s head wasn’t at the advised “kissable” distance. To prevent that, McNeilly recommends loosely knotting the fabric after wrapping it, then inserting the baby and working any slack toward the knot, retying it securely.
The Solly is sold primarily through the manufacturer’s website, which means you don’t really have an alternative if a style or print you prefer is sold out.
This cotton knit wrap provides more support than our pick, but some may find its longer length and denser fabric cumbersome and too hot to wear.
The cotton Moby Wrap carries infants using the same hold as the Solly, but the Moby has more fabric than the Solly, making it somewhat cumbersome. Because it is both about 5 feet longer and 4 inches wider than the standard Solly (and three feet longer than even the long Solly), there’s more fabric to drag on the ground as it is being tied. The interlock knit construction is also thicker and denser, which we found pleasant as the weather turned cool but uncomfortably warm on hot summer days. The flipside of those drawbacks, however, is this advantage: The Moby is more supportive.
The Moby can carry babies up to 35 pounds, 10 pounds more than our wrap pick. As with the Solly, most people won’t find it comfortable to carry a baby close to the weight limit, but we felt it supported babies up to about 15 pounds well and was comfortable for trips of three or more hours. “I think the fact that there is more fabric is an asset as it seems to help allocate the weight better across the shoulders and waist,” said one tester. Another babywearer we surveyed found the fabric more straightforward to adjust. Unlike the Solly, the Moby can be tied in a hip hold, which can be used for babies with excellent head and upper body control, generally 4 months or older.
Because the fabric has some stretch—though less than the Solly’s—it’s easy to pop a baby in and out while the wrap remains tied. The Moby comes in one length that can be easily shared between people of widely ranging body types and can be machine washed and dried. The Classic Cotton Moby is usually about 20 dollars less than the least expensive Solly Baby. A few years ago the company introduced an Evolution Blend wrap made of 70 percent bamboo, a fabric it says is more breathable in warm weather, and which we may consider testing in a future update.
The Moby Wrap is a longtime favorite of many: Lucie’s List includes it in its list of infant carriers, calling it “a pleasure to wear”; The Nightlight named it the best baby wrap carrier; and Babylist loves it because it’s “soft and comfy.” It has received more than 1,800 positive reviews on Amazon, with many calling it a “lifesaver” or “must-have.” The Moby fits well and doesn’t drag on the ground once on, says one 5′0″ reviewer. “I even wear it to sleep so that if [my baby] wakes up crying and can’t go to sleep I can just … sway him in this,” she writes. “As a plus size mom and dad we were worried this wouldn’t work for our body types,” writes another parent, “but I wear it with extra room and I am a size 20-22 and my husband wears this wrap as well and he is 6.2 and wears a 4-5XLT.”
In addition to making the same critiques as we did, some reviewers on Amazon, WeeSpring, and Target mention that the Moby’s length is overwhelming for smaller-size wearers and inconvenient to carry.
The Classic Cotton Moby Wrap is currently available in seven solid colors and one pattern.
This ring sling’s linen fabric is cooler to wear and easier to adjust than the cotton of other slings we tested and can comfortably carry babies from birth to toddlerhood.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $100.
People who find wrapping overly complicated or time-consuming, or who want another option that can comfortably support older babies, might prefer a ring sling. The Sakura Bloom is easier to secure and more comfortable to wear in various climates than the other ring slings we tested. It can support children ranging from newborns to toddlers, fits any body type, makes nursing easy, and softens with washing into an even more attractive, grab-and-go carrier.
The Sakura Bloom has a nicely defined rail, or fabric edge, which helps you find the right part to pull on to secure a good fit. And compared with the fabric of most other ring slings we tested, the material on this model is both easier to pull through the ring and stays in place better once adjusted. Several babywearers we surveyed noted that it takes little time to get set up, and that it’s easy to pop a baby in and out quickly on the go.
The single layer of linen used in the Sakura Bloom Basics ring sling makes it stand out from the others we tested, which are all 100 percent cotton, both in terms of functionality and aesthetics. Theresa Carroll, the occupational therapist, notes that linen is considered a more supportive fiber and that many caregivers prefer it for longer periods of wear and for larger babies. Cornell’s Kozen adds there’s an important environmental difference in the production as well: Unlike cotton, which is susceptible to pests and needs a great deal of water, linen does not require pesticides or irrigation, she said.
The Sakura Bloom is rated for children up to 35 pounds. We tested it with both an 11-pound baby and her 23-pound brother and found it very comfortable. Although none of the ring slings proved ideal for long walks or durations, the Sakura Bloom seemed to distribute weight better along the back and shoulder for shorter ones than similar carriers did. And though the heavy cotton fabric of some other slings felt oppressive on an 80-degree day, the Sakura Bloom’s linen remained pleasantly cool.
Dozens of WeeSpring reviewers love the Sakura Bloom sling for all the same reasons we do.
The Sakura Bloom Basics single-layer sling is currently available in eight solid colors, and the company also makes slings in premium linen, bamboo-linen, and silk fabrics that cost considerably more than our pick.
Some reviewers on WeeSpring mention that the Sakura Bloom is expensive, but many note its high quality, and the Basics sling costs less than two other models we tested.
The midweight fabric and extra-long tail make the Moby Sling somewhat less convenient to use than our main sling pick, but it does the job well and costs much less.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $45.
The Moby Sling is half the price of our sling pick, but not quite as comfortable or easy to use. The fabric can be easily adjusted in the ring to give the baby a nice deep seat and then stays put for a secure fit. But though the medium-weight cotton weave is more breathable than that of most other slings we tested, it’s not as cool as the Sakura Bloom’s linen. Also, the tail is considerably longer than those of the other slings, which we didn’t find to be an advantage.
Like the Sakura Bloom (and other ring slings), the Moby can be used to carry older babies and toddlers on the hip. It’s rated for children up to 45 pounds. The sling is one size fits all and so can be easily shared with a partner—but it errs on the side of an extra-tall one. For the average-size woman, the tail falls to mid-calf, and so it tends to get in the way if it’s not wrapped around the ring (and petite women may find that too bulky). Though the fabric can be tailored to a custom length, that can eat away at the product’s cost savings.
“The fabric is strong and thick, so [it] doesn’t stretch and the rings hold tightly,” says one Amazon reviewer who calls the Moby Sling “good for hip carrying toddlers.” She adds that it rolls up compactly and so is easy to travel with. “It’s quite comfortable and I was able to carry my sleepy toddler all the way through the airport. It does get pretty warm since the fabric is so thick.”
A few Amazon and Target reviewers complain that the fabric isn’t soft and is difficult to pull through the rings.
The Moby Sling comes in only one solid and two striped designs, which several of our testers commented are nicely gender neutral.
Woven wraps have a steeper learning curve and tend to be more expensive than stretchy ones, which is why we didn’t name one as a pick. But they are more versatile than stretchy wraps because they allow for a wider variety of carries, can be comfortable in all seasons, and work better with heavier children. We found that many high-quality models are available and that all of them perform more or less the same. (Besides the brands we tested—Hip Baby and Storchenwiege—the experts we spoke with recommended woven wraps made by Didymos, Wrapsody, and Girasol.) If you want a woven wrap, it makes sense to choose based on your aesthetic preference. One of our testers preferred the Storchenwiege wrap over all of the stretchy ones because she felt it provided the most secure fit, and found that it evenly distributed the baby’s weight and loosened very little while walking.
We also tested two meh dais: the Moby Carrier and Infantino Sash. The Moby has nice padding and a striking design, however its shoulder sashes are so long that we continually fumbled when attempting to tie it. We appreciated the hood that attaches to the Infantino Sash on a day that was cold and windy, but when we took a closer look at the carrier we realized the stitching was uneven and threads had worked loose. It also seemed too short for a tester’s 25-pound daughter despite being rated for children up to 36 pounds.
McNeilly of the Center for Babywearing Studies said that meh dais should be “moldable, foldable to fit the baby that you have.” But both meh dais we tested swallowed an infant just a few weeks old, and even at 12 weeks the seats—especially the Moby’s—seemed too wide to support the baby’s legs comfortably, and the fabric couldn’t be folded to create a narrower seat. One tester felt meh dais had all the disadvantages of a buckle carrier (bulky to carry around) and none of the advantages of a wrap (easy to wear without the baby in it). A couple who never grew comfortable with wraps or slings, on the other hand, liked meh dais, and two babywearers we surveyed said they appreciated the fact that you could just tie a meh dai and go, with little adjustment.
Stretchy wraps
Testers found the stretchy cotton-spandex blend of the popular Boba Wrap “wonderfully soft” and “snuggly.” When our babies reached about 12 pounds, though, we found that the stretchiness became a disadvantage—they bounced considerably on walks and felt heavier to carry. Testers, other babywearers we surveyed, and numerous Amazon reviewers also say that the Boba is too hot.
The CuddleBug Wrap is similarly cozy but seemed even stretchier, to the point of not feeling secure. Multiple testers didn’t feel comfortable leaving the house with the baby in it. Even moderate walks resulted in backache.
The Baby K’tan functions like a stretchy wrap but comes with prefab loops that don’t require tying. We tested two versions, the Active and Breeze, and found ourselves reaching for one or the other whenever we were running late. One tester called the convenience of the K’tan “unbeatable.” Because they are sized to the wearer’s body, however, they can’t be shared with a caregiver that’s another size. We did not test the Original K’tan because many Amazon reviewers complain that it’s too hot, and a K’tan representative told us the Breeze is now the company’s most popular model.
Ring slings
The Maya Wrap has two innovations that set it apart: a padded shoulder and a pocket in the tail. Although the padding is intended to protect the shoulder from painful pressure, we found it didn’t add much to comfort, and in fact seemed less effective at distributing the baby’s weight because you can’t spread out or reposition the material as needed. We didn’t use the pocket much during testing but one longtime wearer called it a “killer feature—perfect for a phone/wallet plus snacks.”
We sweated while wearing the Baby Tula Sling on warm summer days and found our backs ached after a mile-long walk and, on another occasion, a particularly long nap.
The Hip Baby Sling traveled with me to a conference and made navigating the airport with a 6-week-old a breeze. It was lightweight for tucking into a diaper bag and I could easily pull it on and off while holding the baby at security. But when another tester wore the Hip Baby with an infant six weeks older, she found that the sling loosened more than the others and needed to be continually adjusted for a good fit. It also led to more backache than the other ring slings over a walk of a similar length.
Like any gear, carriers can pose risks. Following a few rules of thumb will help mitigate them.
Safeguard breathing: Ensure the airway remains open at all times by holding a baby upright with their face visible and head close enough to kiss. Continuous monitoring is important because the baby’s position can shift while settling into the carrier or falling asleep.
Prevent falls: Learn how to tie a carrier tightly, taking up the slack so that it’s snug. You shouldn’t have to keep one hand on the carrier for support, and the baby should remain secure as you bend forward. With ring slings, pull the lower edge of the fabric, that reaches from knee to knee, up between the baby’s body and yours to create a deep seat. Be sure to reposition and retighten the carrier after nursing.
Protect hip health: Babies’ hip sockets are made of soft cartilage, so it’s easier for them to become misaligned or dislocated. The baby should be in a “froggy” position, with the thighs supported, hips bent, and knees slightly higher than the child’s bottom.
Babywearing is a skill, and like any new skill it requires practice. “Give some time and space to learn it and be prepared to make mistakes,” said Geehan, the Houston consultant. “Do it with a spotter or practice with a doll first.” If you master a carrier when you’re still pregnant, said McNeilly of the Center for Babywearing Studies, your confidence will skyrocket once you have the baby. She also recommends that first-time wearers seek out help. Babywearing International holds free meetups led by babywearing educators, and the Center for Babywearing Studies has consultants who will video chat. Some stores also offer babywearing classes.
All of the wraps and ring slings that we tested can be machine washed. Most can be dried on low, but several companies recommend line drying instead (refer to the instruction manual of your particular model). The slings should be unthreaded before they’re washed, and Sakura Bloom recommends covering the rings with a sock before putting its sling in a dryer.
Adriane Stare, owner of Wild Was Mama, phone interview, August 11, 2017
Angelique Geehan, babywearing consultant, phone interview, August 8, 2017
Rachel Boarman, babywearing consultant, email interview, November 8, 2017
Joanna McNeilly, president and founder of the Center for Babywearing Studies and co-owner of Metro Minis, phone interview, August 17, 2017
Eric Peterson, co-owner of Metro Minis, phone interview, August 17, 2017
Theresa Carroll, clinical assistant professor in the department of occupational therapy at the University of Illinois at Chicago, email interview, December 4, 2017
Fran Kozen, associate director of the Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation at Cornell University, email interview, December 6, 2017
Safety, Babywearing International
FAQ Child Hip Dysplasia, International Hip Dysplasia Institute
Jennifer Bogo
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We talked to six babywearing experts and had 10 parents test 16 carriers before concluding that the Beco Gemini is the best baby carrier for most parents.
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We tested 24 nursing bras with a panel of 17 breastfeeding women, and found the best undergarments for nursing.
by Christine Ryan
The parents working at Wirecutter have collected a list of the tools they’ve learned to pack to ease the challenges of flying with children.
Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).
© 2023 Wirecutter, Inc., A New York Times Company

At SeeVay, we know that the safety and well-being of your baby is your top priority. That’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to make sure you’re always on top of your baby’s safety. We understand that being a new mom can be overwhelming, and there’s so much information out there that it can be hard to know where to start.


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