One of the most common questions we get asked is "what's the best sling for a newborn?". The answer is - there isn't one! The best sling is the one that you find comfortable, suits you and your families needs and does what you need it to do. That will be different for everyone. A great way to get some more information on what may be best for you is to book a sling library appointment , an online consultation or a place at one of our online newborn workshops.
Carrying a newborn is so useful for so many reasons. Newborn babies want to be held, this is biologically normal, and often wake when laid down. Using a sling/carrier can help to meet both of your needs. It can give you your hands back, baby gets the cuddles they need and you can even learn to safely feed in it too!
Sling safety is so important and you can read more about that in this fantastic article by Dr Rosie Knowles of Carrying Matters here.
So where to start? There are so many options! This video may help you to narrow it down. Here are some of the options and the pros/cons of each of the different types of slings/carriers available.
A stretchy wrap is a long piece of soft fabric, generally around 4-5m, that you can pre-tie and then pop baby in and out as needed. There are one way stretchy wraps (only stretch along the width) and two way stretchy wraps (stretchy along the width and length). Two way stretchy wraps can be easier to use with smaller babies.
The ability to pre-tie is a huge bonus. Some people are put off by the length but it is just like learning to tie a shoelace! Stretchy wraps can be used from birth, even with small babies, and are perfect for those early day cuddles. Most people look to move on from a stretchy wrap between 4-8 months but they can easily be used up to a year and beyond, if you're comfortable and happy.
A Close Caboo is a pre-formed sling with two rings to tighten the material once baby is in. Some people find this an easier option than a stretchy wrap as there is no tying. As shown in the video, there are two parts and both should be used for safety.
One downside is that the rings can sit in uncomfortable places but you can either fold the fabric around the ring or wear it in a slightly different way if that bothers you.
Again, most people tend to find the next option at around 4+ months.
You can try a stretchy wrap and/or Close Caboo on our 2 week FREE hire scheme here.
There are a HUGE amount of buckled carriers on the market that are suitable for newborns. It can be quite overwhelming looking for the right one to suit you. I would always suggest a consultation with your local sling library, or an online consultation, so that you can get tailored support from a professional with experience of supporting families in finding the right option for them. The Mamaruga Zensling is the most hired option in our library. It has the benefit of being a soft stretchy like fabric but in a buckled form which makes it feel like the best of both worlds. It's super adjustable so grows with your baby and usually lasts to around 2 years. Given the similar price point of this and the Ergobaby Embrace, the Zensling (below) tends to be the favourite as it will last much longer.
You will probably have heard a lot about the Ergobaby Omni 360 and Tula Free to Grow/Explore carriers too. These carriers are very popular but they are also very much love/hate. The Ergobaby offers all carrying options and both rucksack/crossed straps. The Omni 360, although it states that it is suitable from birth, can be difficult to get a good fit with smaller babies. The Omni Breeze/Dream is more adaptable and does fit a bit easier.
The Tula Free to Grow is adjustable from birth and offers front/back carries with rucksack style straps. The Tula Explore is also adjustable from birth and in addition offers world facing from 5 months.
The KahuBaby carrier is another highly popular option in our library. It is suitable from 0-2+, offers cross & rucksack straps as well as parent facing, world facing, hip and back carry positions. It has inbuild adjustability for the width and comes in so many beautiful patterns!
Beco are another great brand. The Beco Gemini and Beco 8 are both suitable from newborn. Both have two adjustable points on the base for width (newborn and older baby setting), allow crossed & rucksack style straps as well as parent facing, world facing, hip and back carry positions.
The Boba X is another favourite newborn to toddler carrier. It narrows down well in the width and height for a small baby then extends out for a toddler. It makes a great option if you have a small baby and toddler, and want to carry them both separately in the same carrier. The Boba X has options for parent facing, hip and back carries as well as offering cross and rucksack style straps.
Izmi Baby Carrier is another popular option. This provides adjustability from small newborn to older baby. It offers crossed & rucksack style straps, as well as parent and world facing, hip and back carrying options.
There are other brands of buckled carrier including Lenny Lamb, Isara etc that I have not mentioned here. Please do either contact me or book an appointment to discuss the right carrier for you.
A Meh Dai is a formed panel with a tie on waist and wrap style shoulder straps. A half buckle has a buckle waistband with wrap shoulder straps. These two types usually give a good fit as the material can be tied snuggly to fit any body shape well. As both have the formed panel, there is the security of knowing baby has a 'seat' that is pre-made.
A ring sling is a long piece of fabric (usually around 2.2 metres) that has two rings sewn on to one end. The fabric is then threaded through to make a pouch for baby to sit in. They are absolutely fantastic slings which can be super quick and easy to use. The disadvantage is that it sits across one shoulder so could be uncomfortable for long periods.
They come in beautiful prints and patterns, as well as different materials (cotton, linen, wool, muslin, stretchy etc).
Woven wraps are beautifully versatile - easily used from newborn to preschool & beyond. They are long pieces of fabric that come in varying sizes and fabric blends. You can carry baby on your front, hip or back with a woven wrap and there are so many carries you can learn!
Most people find that a size 6 or 7 is the most appropriate size to start with. Your base size is the size that you can do a basic front carry (Front Wrap Cross Carry) with.
So if you, after reading this, need any more help finding the right option for you, then do click the button below! I'll be more than happy to help you narrow down the options with my experience and knowledge.