Something between a wrap and a carrier for a baby
July 3, 2020 7:36 AM   Subscribe

Baby 2 is on the way and I would like your recommendations for a baby sling that's between a long piece of fabric and a padded out and bulky carrier.

Remembering our last experience, I think one strategy I would like to deploy for this time around is the liberal usage of a baby carrier for the first few months. I currently have a Beco Gemini, which I really like but I would like something less bulky.

However, I had one of those slings that are basically one long piece of stretchy fabric that you wrap around yourself and tie and I did not like that at all. I never got the tension right and just found it very fiddly to take on and off.

I know there are slings that are a sort of middle ground, where it's just a layer of fabric without padding with some rings and maybe a clip(?) but I don't know where to start searching for such a thing. I used to have access to a sling library where I could borrow one but that's no longer a thing with Covid, so I thought I'd turn to AskMe for some leads.

If relevant for stock/brand availability, I am based in the UK. Also if relevant, I'm about 5'3", which also posed an issue with the fabric ones as they were so long and awkward to manipulate with my shorter frame.
posted by like_neon to Shopping (19 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Congratulations on Baby 2!

I am not able see your first link, but I am around your height and also found long wraps awkward. I alternated between a carrier similar to the bulkier one you linked, and the Baby K’tan, which is essentially a sling wrap that is already tied (sewn together) with no clips or rings. It is thus a bit more snug fitting but that is the intent and the fabric itself does have stretch. I am unsure about local stockists but it looks like they do have a UK site.
posted by subwaytiles at 8:00 AM on July 3, 2020

I had a K'Tan; the one issue is that they kind of stretch out- you need to wash it to get it to snap back into the proper fit (and then it might feel over-snug for a bit). It was also a bit fiddly to get used to in the beginning- you are still doing some wrapping and tying.

I had friends who had ring slings and enjoyed them; here's a UK seller. It seems like they're a bit more "drop baby in and go", and they don't have the stretch issue.
posted by damayanti at 8:08 AM on July 3, 2020

Seconding subwaytiles. We used the K'tan and an Ergo. K'tan was my go-to for the first several months (maybe almost a year?) but my partner used the Ergo because the K'tan is sized to the adult who wears it. Ergo was also useful when baby got too big for the K'tan. I appreciated having both and recommend that strategy if it works financially.
posted by TrixieRamble at 8:09 AM on July 3, 2020

I was gifted this thing. It seems to be close to what you are talking about, it wasn't as long and "wrappy" as most slings or wraps, and it had a little more structure with padded edges. I could never get it to work right from newbornish through 2 months and I gave it away to a lending library. I LOVED the idea, but it could have just been my new mom worry. It just felt like her airway was in danger of being compromised. I ended up using and loving a very old Ergo organic, it was so old it felt very different than the newer carriers.
posted by stormygrey at 8:19 AM on July 3, 2020

It's not a sling, but you might be interested in the Nesting Days shirt-style carrier. I found it absolutely lovely for exactly the time period you're talking about. I was using it post-c-section too, which I am somewhat dubious would have been possible with a sling or structured carrier, but perhaps.
posted by teremala at 8:37 AM on July 3, 2020

I also used the Nesting Days thing and it was way better for me than any of the wraps I tried.
posted by brainmouse at 10:06 AM on July 3, 2020

I had a carrier that was a square of fabric with long fabric straps. The bottom two straps tied around the waist, and the top two crossed the back, went under the baby’s butt (outside the fabric) and then also tied in back. The closest thing I can find online is the Boba Wrap, but that has more structured straps.
posted by Orlop at 10:42 AM on July 3, 2020

Should add, the fabric wasn’t stretchy at all—it was cotton or cotton-like.
posted by Orlop at 10:43 AM on July 3, 2020

I used a previous (simpler) model of the Close Caboo and liked it a lot - good mix of structured and comfortable, and no danger to baby's airway. 7 years on, I still have it, and am in the UK - let me know by MeMail if you'd like me to post it to you :)
posted by altolinguistic at 11:23 AM on July 3, 2020

Happy Baby Carriers might meet your needs. It's close to "between" a wrap/sling and a more heavy duty carrier. The K'tan is great, but it won't last very long; I don't think most people can use it more than the first few months.
posted by MeadowlarkMaude at 11:28 AM on July 3, 2020

This is 10 years old information, but given how great the moby wrap was for us I would imagine that their ring version would be something to look at. Also available on Amazon UK, lasts from newborn to toddler. Fabric, no padding, was super durable for us.
posted by true at 12:25 PM on July 3, 2020

Congrats on your growing crew!

Shortly after my kid was born last year, I was Instagram-fed ads for a Korean fabric carrier brand called Konny. I’d tried a couple other carriers — Ergobaby, a gifted wrap from India with an extremely long sash, and a used K’tan — and ended up feeling frustrated during newborn haze. I ended up trying the Konny and was just relieved at how easy it was. You put the main fabric part over your head like a T-shirt, put the baby in front, and tie the other part (a sash) around like a belt. As a little one she would either pop her head out or lean it against my chest while sleeping. Now we’ve done front facing and she’s 13 months. Hasn’t felt unsafe yet.

It is fabric with a tiny amount of stretch, but since East Asian sizes skew smaller than in the UK/US, perhaps it could work for your frame? There’s a lot of sizing info on the site, and the customer service seems pretty engaged. (I’m 5’8” and pear-shaped, basically at the beginning of plus-ish size — I got an L.)

Worldwide shipping is actually super fast (DHL from Korea), and if you wait the site often has sales and/or free shipping deals.

The downside is that when my kid’s in it, I can’t raise my arms completely straight over my head without having to readjust the fabric on the shoulders, but that just means I don’t do jumping jacks while carrying a baby.... so, it’s fine.

(The Konny may even be similar to a K’tan, sorry I can’t remember — in trying k’tan, I seriously only remember getting tangled and then rage-throwing the thing against the wall in sleep dep frustration. For whatever reason, the Konny worked for me.)
posted by cluebucket at 12:33 PM on July 3, 2020

Literally 20 years ago, I used an Over The Shoulder Baby Holder: it's a ring sling, non-stretchy cotton, with padded rails on the edges. I thought it was terrific -- took my two kids from newborn to three, and they were big three-year-olds.
posted by LizardBreath at 1:24 PM on July 3, 2020

My first thought, and what I think Orlop is describing, was a Mei Tai baby carrier. Rectangular panel of fabric with straps that you tie. I always preferred my Ergo to my Mei Tai though. It was nice to just snap the buckles and cinch it up versus wrapping and tying the straps. My second thought was just a plain ring sling. I have a Maya Wrap one and it's nice. The shoulder is comfy, the cotton fabric isn't too hot and it has a little pocket.
posted by velocipedestrienne at 2:16 PM on July 3, 2020

I made several of the mei tai carriers - kiddo's dad preferred them, I quite liked them, and you can sew them fairly easily. Last I heard the one I made from sari fabric and duck cotton, with a pocket, was on its fifth kid and is ten years old. I also had a DIY ergo I liked when kiddo was a toddler. Both could be front, side, or back carry, which was useful. There is about a half a foot height difference between me and my ex, and I have a hell of a lot more hip/waist/boob, he has a much longer armspan, but the mei tai suited us both and was what we used when travelling.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:43 PM on July 3, 2020

Mei tai. And if you are in the UK, have you looked at a sling library? We rented ours for two weeks to check how we liked it in normal use before we bought it.
posted by tinkletown at 2:50 AM on July 4, 2020

There are whole ranges of soft, structured carriers with buckles that range in bulkiness. I ended up using a Connecta a great deal. Integra is essentially the same design but a bit improved.

Sling libraries have moved online! My local sling library does video call consultations and I think will hire by post. If not then "it's a sling thing" definitely do postal hire. I would strongly suggest hiring before buying as fit is very personal.

If you do want to buy new, buying through a sling library will often get you discounts.

I encourage you to consider buying second hand - there are many buying and selling Facebook groups and i have had great experiences. But hire before you buy as there are many low quality brands that just aren't comfortable and you can get much better for slightly more money. Also avoid buying Ergobaby second hand as there are many fake around.
posted by kadia_a at 5:05 PM on July 4, 2020

Response by poster: I double checked and commenters are right, the sling library is operating remotely so I will try that route. Thank you for all your suggestions on what options to consider!
posted by like_neon at 2:40 AM on July 6, 2020

I recommend borrowing a ring sling from the sling library. I loved them and still occasionally use them with my two year old. If you end up liking it, you can look for Buy/Sell/Trade groups on Facebook to get a used one from someone already in the UK and save on shipping costs. Wildbird is a good brand to look for as they have fairly active Facebook resale groups but also fairly cheap prices compared to many other sling brands. There are lots of companies that make them though. That's just one possible suggestion where I know you could find used ones already in the UK.
posted by horses, of courses at 2:39 PM on July 6, 2020

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