Wraparound Carriers, or “Wraps”
~ This is my favorite type of carrier, which is also the simplest, conceptually. A wrap is just a strip of fabric that is tied around parent and child, traditional to many cultures around the world. It’s deceivingly simple, extremely versatile, and incredibly comfortable. How it is used is somewhat dependent on the length of the fabric, so we split this category into “short wraps” and “long wraps”.
~ The simplest and most convenient of all baby carriers, rebozos are the traditional woven shawls used by Mexican women to carry all sorts of things, including their babies and young children. Typically 3-4 meters long, they are beautiful and very lightweight strips of fabric. The baby can be on the front, hip, or back in a rebozo. This type of “traditional sling” inspired the design of the modern ring sling, and possibly that of the modern pouch, described below.
~ In some cultures the traditional wraps are more than 4 meters long, and they’re worn wrapped around the mother’s body and baby several times. Most of the ways to wear a long wrap are symmetric, using both shoulders, instead of the sash-style one-shoulder method used with the short wraps. The baby can be worn in many different ways on the front, hip, or back. The traditional long wrap is typically made of lightweight woven fabric , but now there are heavier versions and also knit wraparounds known as “stretchy wraps.” Long wraps are rapidly gaining popularity lately as modern parents discover their versatility and unparalleled weight distribution.
~ The common modern form of the rebozo in the U.S. and Canada has a pair of aluminum, non-welded rings attached to one end. The other end is sometimes sewn into a narrower strip so that it can be easily threaded through the rings. It is worn like a rebozo, with the ends kept together by the rings instead of a knot. In a ring sling, the baby can be on the front or hip. Ring slings sometimes have padding added to the shoulder and the “rails” (edges of the fabric), which can be barely noticeable or so thick that it is almost pillow-like. Ring slings are especially appreciated for their easy, on-the-go adjustability: a big benefit for nursing and for quick changes between different adults and different carrying positions.
~ The pouch is another version of a rebozo or ring sling. There are no knots or rings in this case though, usually just a strip of fabric sewn into a loop, worn like a sash. The baby can be on the front or hip in a pouch. While the traditional slings can be tied to any size, and the rings are used to adjust the ring slings, a typical pouch cannot be adjusted, so that sizing becomes more important. Some pouches are adjustable, though, with snaps, buttons, or zippers for adjusting the size.
~ These carriers are inspired by the Chinese mei tai, the Korean podaegi, and other traditional Asian carriers. They are most basically constructed of a rectangle of fabric with straps coming out near the corners (two in the case of a podaegi and four in the case of a mei tai). Just like the ends of a wrap, the straps of an Asian-style carrier are wrapped around the baby’s and babywearer’s body in various ways and tied, but in this case there is a wider rectangle of fabric that goes over the baby. These carriers can be worn on the front or the back. Asian-Style Carriers are a very convenient and comfortable option—the mei tai in particular is the fastest growing type of carrier at the moment in terms of popularity. The secrets to the mei tai’s popularity are its easy-to-learn back-carrying option, its comfortable and effective weight distribution, and its stylish fabric choices.
Soft structured Carriers(SSC) or Buckle carriers
~ These carriers usually keep their shape somewhat without a baby inside (unlike all of the cloth carriers above), a soft body and they have buckles as well as other modern closures.