Baby wearing has tons of benefits! It's a wonderful way for parents and caregivers alike to bond with baby while still being able to tend to daily life or other children in the family.
But which one is right for me? Let's learn what some of our options are first.
A ring sling is a long piece of fabric with a set of two rings on one end. The fabric is fed through the rings to create a pouch for your baby. You can front, hip, or back carry in this type of carrier. I would reserve a back carry for an older infant or toddler. Rings slings are wonderful because they are easily adjustable to for any caregiver to use. It's kind of a one size fits all! These carriers are a great option for quick in and out which is useful for newborns that need frequent changing or for those toddlers that still want to be held. They can provide hands free support from newborn to toddler so it's a carrier that you can use for all of the years you intend to baby wear. Depending on the fabric these can be inexpensive or very expensive.
Soft Structured Carrier
These are the carriers that the dads are usually drawn toward. They have more of a heavy duty feel. That said, you are trading compact-ability with a much higher comfort level. While you can toss a ring slip in your diaper bag easily, a soft structured carrier doesn't roll up as well. Soft structured carriers usually have a padded belt and some come with lumbar support too! Great features when you are carrying a larger infant or toddler. You can front, hip, back, and even face out carry with some options. Check out my favorites!
It is a simple piece of soft stretchy fabric wrapped around the wearer in a variety of ways to produce the most comfortable and ergonomic carries. A stretchy wrap can be used for front or hip carries, but should NOT be used for carrying baby on your back. A back carry in a stretchy wrap is unsafe because baby could push against the fabric causing it to roll down and release baby.
While most stretchy wraps come as one long piece of fabric there is one called the Baby K'tan takes some of the learning curve out of it. The downside to the K'tan is that is is sized to the wearer so it isn't great for sharing between parents and caregivers.
This truly is just one long piece of fabric. A woven wrap is the one carrier that does everything well -- front, back, hip, newborns, toddlers, you name it. However, that versatility comes with a steeper learning curve. But your doula can help!