Maybe you’ve been juggling your baby and toddler on the grocery line and looked enviously on as another mother moved freely and gracefully, baby wrapped closely to her body. Or perhaps you’ve seen the celebrities carrying their babies, safely scurrying away from the Paparazzi. Possibly you’ve even done your research and know that mothers in almost every traditional culture have carried their babies–benefiting from the convenience, bonding, and security that comes with baby wearing.
Most of the hottest slings are going to run you over $75, many are over $100. Are they worth it? Yes. Every last penny. I will share some of my favorites with you, too, but I thought I would start with budget baby wearing options for mamas who are not yet convinced, or those who maybe want an inexpensive second sling to stash in the car.
When I registered, slings were not widely available on standard registries so I chose the only option at the time–it was a disaster. Baby Diva sat too low in the sling and it looked as if the fabric would cover her face. And she did not just cry, she HOWLED. Now, whenever a new mom looks covetously at my sling and says, “I’d love to use one of those, but I just couldn’t get it to work,” I know her bad experience is with that awful contraption I first tried. Mama Luxe prefers to accen-tu-ate the positive, so I won’t mention the name of the sling, but it has since been recalled and it is black with black and white toile on the inside. Just put it down and back slowly away.
Fortunately, there is actually now a wide range of quality, safe, comfy sling options available from almost every baby store in existence. Here are Mamanista’s Budget Buys:
Padded Ring Sling
Slings fit over one of mom’s shoulders and then wrap around her waist. Ring slings have a “tail that fits through a series of rings. You pull the tail to tighten the sling. Many novice baby wearers and some experienced baby wearers feel more comfortable with slings that have padding on mom’s shoulder and on the “rails” that wrap around baby. Padded ring slings are simple to put on and are very versatile. You can wear baby cradled, as if in your arms; facing towards you, facing outwards (kangaroo hold), or on your hip. These slings are ideal for a napping newborn or a nursing baby of any age. My first (working, comfortable) sling was a NoJo Original Baby Sling Soft Carrier – Black Chambray: Baby Universe in Denim ($29.95); Black Chambray ($36.99); Target: ($29.95).
Baby wraps provide another great babywearing option. This is a long length of fabric mom wraps around her body to form an “X” across her chest. Mom then ties off the wrap with a knot or using a pair of attached rings. Baby is slipped into this wrap in any of the many baby wearing positions, including on the back. At first this is a little more complicated than the ring sling, but soon it will take less than a minute to be wrapped and ready to go. I like the more structured positioning that the wrap provides for longer baby wearing trips. Good budget wraps include The Ultimate Baby-Wrap Carrier from Target ($39.99) or from Amazon.com in Black ($39.99) or a fun Lime Green ($26) and the Moby Wrap Inc. Moby Wrap: BabyCenter ($31.45) or Amazon.com in Indigo and other colors ($34.95).
I know that if you try these baby carriers, you and your baby will love them–and you will end up looking for more slings, wraps, and other carriers in other nurturing styles, fabulous fabrics, and chic prints.
Keep checking back at Mamanista! for more top baby wearing picks.