Baby-wearing is big business, so it’s understandable that, as a first-time parent, the variety of different baby carriers on the market can be a tad overwhelming. You can wear your baby on your front, side or back, securing them with buckles and straps or simply just a piece of well-constructed fabric – whatever works best for you and your little one.
To try and better understand the choices on offer, take a look at our handy guide looking at all things baby carrier:
A front carrier keeps your baby close to your chest. They can be used for newborns (over a certain weight), with the addition of padding. At this stage your little one would need to face inwards. Once your baby starts to gain head control, around 5 to 6 months, they can then turn outwards to face the world. Front carriers are generally secured using two shoulder straps. Extra padding and straps are available in some brands which can help support your back, especially when carrying older/heavier children.
A wrap is a simple piece of equipment, consisting on one single, wide piece of fabric that is worn around your body and shoulders. Whilst they can be quite a fiddle to put on, once you get it right they provide a safe and snuggly environment for your newborn. They are also really handy for breastfeeding on the go.
Similar to a wrap, a sling is a wide piece of fabric which is worn across your body and over one shoulder. There are various styles of slings; with or without adjustable rings, padded or unpadded. They fit loosely and allow air to flow so are ideal for the hotter months. However, if you suffer from any neck, shoulder or back pain then they are best avoided as the single strap can start to put undue pressure on one shoulder.
Some front facing carriers can also be used on your back. This is helpful if you have back issues as you are not carrying the weight on your front, forcing you to stoop and causing further pain. There are also a number of carrier backpacks on the market, which are similar to rucksacks. They are structured carriers which fasten securely around your shoulders and waist, and can be used even as your child grows bigger.