« Baby Health

Baby carriers and slings

Babies carriers, as well as slings and wraps, can be a great way of bonding with your baby, as well as offering all the practical benefits that come with being hands free. You can get things done, attend to other siblings and it can be so much easier to get around without the confines of a bulky pushchair. Babywearing can also help soothe and calm baby, which can be great for aiding sleep, and both parents can get involved too. Here you’ll find reviews from parents as well as tips for helping you choose the right one for you and your child.

You can also get advice and information from parents and experts in our Baby Clinic.

Baby in sling with mum

What’s the difference between a baby carrier, sling and wrap?

Baby carriers are more structured than slings and wraps. Soft baby carriers or buckle carries are the most widely available. They allow baby to face inwards or face outwards when older. Three-way carriers also have a back position. All hold baby in an upright position, with padded headrest built in for younger babies. Slings and wraps are typically made of fabric which form a pocket in which baby rests. Some go over the shoulder like a sash, whereas others tie securely around the body.

Best sling for newborns

The best sling for your newborn will be the one that leaves you and baby feeling comfortable. You’ll also want one that’s flexible and fits snuggling so baby isn’t sitting in a slouched position. One size does not fit all so it’s worth knowing a little about the different types available, so you can spend time finding the right one for you.

Pouch slings, as the name suggests, form a pouch or pocket in which baby nestles. It is basically one piece of fabric sewn together at either end. The sling goes over your shoulder and folds to create the pouch.

Ring slings, are a little different as they include two rings, which the single piece of fabric is threaded through. It also goes over the shoulder and is fastened by pulling the rings until you have adjusted it to the right position.

Wrap slings are a piece of stretchy fabric that is simply wrapped around the body and tied to you to hold the baby securely. You put the wrap on first and then slip baby in once you are comfortable with its position.

Is babywearing safe for baby’s hips?

The International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI), encourages parents to choose a baby carrier that allows healthy hip positioning, in addition to other safety considerations. They advise that when babies are carried, the hips should be allowed to spread apart with the thighs supported and the hips bent, particularly in the first six months before baby’s hips become stronger.

Baby Wearing Safety

Use the acronym T.I.C.K.S to ensure a baby’s airway does not become blocked, some slings have been recalled as they were found to be unsafe. It stands for
Tight,
In view at all times,
Close enough to kiss,
Keep the chin off chest and
Supported back.
Read more about safe sleeping here.

Health Visitor approved advice

This guide has been checked and approved by our in-house Health Visitor, Maggie Fisher in September 2018.