Types of Baby Carriers - What's the Best Baby Carrier for me?

Types of Baby Carriers - What's the Best Baby Carrier for me?

Learn about the differences between Baby Wraps, Ring Slings, Buckle Carriers and Tie Strap Carriers as well as how to use them and choose the best baby carrier for you.
Babywearing and The Fourth Trimester Reading Types of Baby Carriers - What's the Best Baby Carrier for me? 9 minutes Next What is 'Breaking in' a Woven Baby Sling?

Learn everything you need to know to learn about different types of baby slings and carriers so you can choose what is the best choice of baby carrier for you and your family. You can also find babywearing tutorials to learn how to use each type of carrier as well as top tips for getting comfy carries in any type of baby sling. This is your comprehensive guide to choosing and using a baby carrier!

Jump To:

Woven Wraps
Ring Slings
Buckle Carriers
Tie Strap Carriers

Wraparound Sling / Woven Baby Wrap

Baby wraps are a length of woven fabric specially designed to allow you to comfortably carry your child from newborn through to toddlerhood. Baby wraps can be tied in a variety of ways making them perfect for carrying children of all ages.

Wraps are the most versatile of the woven baby carriers. The way they wrap around you and your little one allows the fabric to mould to your body shape while evenly distributing your child's weight; making carrying them close a continually comfortable experience. Baby wraps are easily shared by both parents, with no fiddly re-adjustment of buckles and straps needed.

Baby wraps are infinitely adjustable, so if you are looking for a baby carrier with the most comfortable & snug fit this is a great choice for you.

The best part? With one woven baby wrap, you and your partner can carry your child for your family's whole babywearing journey - and you can change the carry as time goes on according to your needs - including front, hip and back carries.

Wrapping can look intimidating, and the long length of fabric might be overwhelming at first glance, but you'll be surprised how quickly you and your little one will be snuggled up with a neat double-knot securing your carry. In this video you can see how to tie a baby wrap in a secure way that is fast to do:

A Front Wrap Cross Carry is the carry most new wrappers learn first, it uses a versatile size of wrap which will last you from newborn to toddlerhood and introduces the basic skills of babywearing. Here is a video tutorial showing you how to tie a front wrap cross carry (FWCC).

Woven wraps are the core of what we do here at Oscha - we work exclusively with a renowned Lancashire Mill and have specially developed our fabric to be perfect for babywearing. We continually experiment to find the best ethical and organic yarns to create a baby wrap that is soft and strong. Creating bespoke designs, tailored for baby slings, is our great joy and we spend a great deal of time focusing in on the optimum combinations of pattern, colour and yarn to create the most beautiful and comfortable baby slings in the world.

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Ring Slings

Ring slings are made from a length of woven fabric, secured on the shoulder through a set of rings. Quick to use, they are perfect for carrying your child on short trips and for children who like to be up and down often.

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Ring slings are suitable from birth through to toddlerhood. They are most commonly used for hip and front carries, although back carries with toddlers are possible.

The elegant style of a ring sling is wonderful for special occasions such as christenings and weddings. They are lightweight & pack up small, and are very fast to use, making for an amazing tool for the busy parent. 

Ring slings can take a little getting used to - there are some common mistakes that can cause issues - but they are easily made comfy if you know how to trouble-shoot (see video below). It's worth figuring out these few tweaks as this is the carrier we'd recommend having in your car ready for quick trips to the shops, having in your handbag in case your toddler wants up and down a lot, they are also lovely with newborns.

Oscha ring slings come with two shoulder options, Pleated and Gathered, to best suit your unique shape and carry style.

Learn more about these styles and find out which one is best for you.

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Soft Structured Carriers

Unlike wraps and ring slings, soft structured carriers (SSC's) are cut and constructed very specifically for carrying. The upside of using this style of carrier is that the learning curve tends to be easier and they are generally faster to use. The downside is that they are more difficult to adapt for different users and the size of your child, whereas a wrap can be infinitely adjusted due to its lack of structure.

However, there are clever ways around this and many manufacturers have come up with ways of making soft structured carriers more adjustable. At Oscha we have made the best of both worlds with the Cairis Baby and Toddler Carrier which gives you some of the adjustability and cosy feel of a wrap with the easy of use of a buckle carrier.

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Full Buckle Baby & Toddler Carriers

A Full Buckle Carrier typically has a waist belt and shoulder straps with buckles to secure each section and a 'body panel' to seat your baby in. There is often a 'chest strap', which is either used to draw the straps together at your back when carrying your baby on your front, or used across your upper chest if you are carrying your baby on your back.

A variety of Full Buckle Carriers in front and back carries, straps cross and uncrossed. You can shop the Oscha Full Buckle (the Nook) on our Made to Order and Preorder Listings
Browse Cairis Carriers

Tie Strap / Half Buckle Baby & Toddler Carriers

Tie strap soft structured carriers may also be referred to as a Meh Dai, Bei Dai or, previously, a Mei Tai (MT). They are very similar to a Full Buckle Carrier except that there are long lengths of fabric for the straps and waist band which are tied together, instead of being buckled, to secure the carrier. They also have a 'body panel' to seat the baby in but may not have a 'chest strap' to draw the shoulder straps together as the tails of the long ties can be used for this instead.

There are many versions of this style of carrier and some may have a buckle in place of the waist ties or the shoulder straps, in which case this would be referred to as a 'Half Buckle Carrier'.

The benefit of these kinds of carriers is that they are usually simple to use but allow a bit more adaptability due to the long straps - for instance, the ability to spread the straps under baby's bum for extra support, or creating a 'fancy finish' across your chest in a back carry. Some people find the long straps intimidating or find they drag on the ground when putting the carrier on, so prefer Full Buckles.

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Cairis Baby & Toddler Half Buckle Carriers

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Simple & stylish, the Cairis is a lightweight, easy-to-use half-buckle carrier. It features a padded waistband with a buckle fastening and ‘wrap shoulder straps' which provide adjustability, comfort and support.

The Cairis features our unique Strata-linea ® waistband, which prevents digging in at the waist & avoids any discomfort from the buckle. Our specially developed ˜wrap straps': padded shoulder straps that fan out, provide cushioning over your shoulders and allowing you to spread the fabric out under your child to increase support.

The Cairis carrier is available in two sizes, each with unique features to suit your child as they grow.

  • Baby Size - The baby Cairis is highly adjustable and suitable for carrying from newborn up to around 30 months old, at which point the toddler Cairis becomes more comfortable.
  • Toddler Size - Extra padding has been added to the waist band of the toddler Cairis for additional lumbar support. The body panel has seat darts & ˜legs out padding', contouring a larger child's shape & aiding comfort. Suitable from 2-5 years.

Learn How to adjust the Cairis baby carrier for a newborn

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Why Choose an Oscha Carrier?

Oscha slings are woven in the British Isles from natural and organic yarns and crafted in our workshop in Scotland. The purchase of each sling contributes to our growing grove of trees in the Caledonian Forest. Our slings were developed by Mum of 3, Zoe, with a focus on design and comfort, they have been approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as a ˜Hip Healthy' product, this means it will hold your child in the ‘M' position which is optimum for hip development.

Learn more about Oscha