What are baby carriers and baby slings?
The baby carrier or baby sling is a brilliant option for carrying your baby with you, while giving you the freedom to move and do other things.
Many parents (and babies) also prefer the closeness that they offer. Slings and carriers are an easy, hands-free option for getting outside – particularly if you are using public transport in busy towns and cities.
Products range from a simple cloth sling, suitable for newborns, front-facing carriers, to aluminium framed backpack style, suitable for toddlers. Choosing the right style is down to your baby’s age, your lifestyle and your preference.
Slings – Sometimes called wraps, are swatches of material designed to keep baby close to you in comfort. The majority of slings wrap around your body and shoulders, holding your baby towards you. There are outward-facing wrap options, for when your baby gets older.
Baby carriers – Also suitable from birth, these handy carriers often offer more padding than a sling, yet still allow you freedom of movement. Ergonomically designed for maximum back support for you and your little one, they are a sturdier option than a sling. Several models also convert to a back-carrier to accommodate your growing baby. Check the specifications.
How much do baby carriers and slings cost?
Slings and wraps vary from around £30-£40 to around £60-£70. Baby carriers start at around £50 for a basic model, but can reach prices of around £230 for an aluminium framed hiking carrier, with sun-shade and rain cover.
Top tips for buying baby carriers and slings
Baby carriers are perfect where there’s very little space for, or you haven’t got access to, a pushchair.
Some mums find that a baby sling is useful when they are breastfeeding, to help closeness and keep their hands free.
Carriers are fab for dads. We know many dads who love using a baby carrier. It gives you a break and lets them feel closer to their baby.
Safety first – don’t forget the T.I.C.K.S.
When you’re wearing a baby carrier, sling or wrap, there are some important safety rules to keep your baby close and safe.
- Tight – Wear them tight, as loose material may allow baby to slip down
- In view at all times – You should be able to see their face unobstructed by material or angle
- Close enough to kiss – As close to your chin as possible – can you kiss their head easily?
- Keep chin off the chest – At least a finger width of space between their chin and their chest
- Supported back – Hold your baby close, so their back is supported, with tummy and chest against you.
Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA)
Advocates products that keep babies upright and allow parents to see their baby and to ensure that the face isn’t restricted.
Ready to buy?
Take a look at some of the popular baby carriers and slings below.
Mamas and Papas Morph Baby Carrier
RRP: £80 - Buy now
Award-winning carrying system which is great for young babies as it’s minutely adjustable, and you can put baby down without waking them.
- Harness is worn like a jacket; easy to put on
- Lumbar support and thick padding with wide straps
- Leg and waist sections grow with baby
- One-handed adjustment
- Unique hand sleeve at the front to provide feeling of security
- Inward and outward facing (from 4 months)
Age:Birth (3.5kg) to 12kg
Product weight: 1.1kg
Why we love the Mamas and Papas Morph Baby Carrier....
- If you know you’re going to love carrying your baby around right from birth, this carrier could be the one for you: it’s best suited to younger ones as you can get a really snug fit and – the Holy Grail of carriers – if baby is asleep, simply detach their pod and lie them down
- Lots of buttons and clips for tiny adjustments, which might put some people off, but it does mean a perfect fit for your baby.
- No more desperately trying to pull your coat around the carrier in the rain – we love the brilliant rain cover that you can buy for this.
- You know how you convince yourself your baby is going to fall out of a carrier, even though you’ve carefully done up every catch? Well, this one has a ‘sleeve’ at the front which you can slip your hand into and feel like you’re supporting them. Clever.