When you’re about to become a parent, there then comes the task of deciding which products are going to be right for a child you likely haven’t met yet: a stroller, a crib, a car seat and even a way to carry the baby.
But what kind of carry are we talking about? You may have heard of a “carrier,” “wrap” and “sling” but chances are, if you’ve never had a baby, you’re likely unsure of the difference or which will be best for you and your little one.
In honor of International Babywearing Week, we outline the difference between a carrier, a wrap and a sling — and provide a few options for you to live your best babywearing life.
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1. Baby Carrier
Baby carriers usually have the most fixtures and padded seating for your babe, making them helpful for longer days out and about and physical activities like hikes and theme-park visits, especially after the newborn stage.
These carriers typically come in front or backpack style, adorned with features like adjustable straps, buckles and the ability to easily adjust as baby grows. Bonus for many parents: no tying/wrapping required (and lots of cute designs to choose from).
Buy It! Ergobaby Omni 360 All-in-One Ergonomic Baby Carrier ($169), amazon.com (other options: Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier [$30], amazon.com; Lumiere Baby 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier [$99], amazon.com)
2. Baby Wrap
A baby wrap typically takes a little more time to get used to assembling properly, but once you get the hang of it, there are so many benefits!
A wrap keeps a younger baby snug against you, which many parents would argue is the best thing after skin-to-skin contact. Lightweight and breathable, it leaves your hands free to perform other activities at your leisure while baby is comfy and cozy against your body. Wraps can be worn in various positions, and come in a variety of fabrics to best fit Mom, Dad and baby’s needs.
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3. Baby Sling
Similar to a wrap, a ring sling —usually worn in front, over one shoulder — keeps baby close but has the added bonus of a ring that allows simple adjustment and the ability to leave it pre-tied, saving tons of time in the long run.
Adjustable slings are also ideal for breastfeeding, and allow for a more simple transition from up to down and vice versa. (Bonus: It’s a great way to hold your growing baby on your hip while staying hands-free!)
Buy It! Pura Vida Slings Luxury Ring Sling Baby Carrier ($64 to $70), amazon.com (other options: BabyWombWorld Baby Wrap Ring Sling [$35], amazon.com; Vlokup Baby Sling Ring Sling [$30 to $40], amazon.com)