Carrying aids at a glance - What to consider?
In the meantime, there are various carrying aid systems. It is not always easy to keep track of them. Here I would like to give you a small overview, which different variants there are.
Woven slings are available in different lengths (and widths). The sling offers an incredible versatility, because it can be tied in many different ways. It can (properly tied) perfectly adapt to baby and wearer. With a little practice beforehand, it can be used from the beginning to the end of the carrying period. Slings are available in different materials such as cotton, silk, linen or hemp. Slings also differ in thickness, the weight per unit area. Well-known manufacturers of slings are, for example, Didymos, Hoppediz or Girasol.
If you want to learn the most common way of tying a sling, you can book my online course Wrap Cross Carry.
Elastic slings usually come in one length and give a little when pulled. They are much less versatile than woven slings. In this case, three layers must always be tied to the child's back so that the child is adequately supported. Especially in the beginning, some parents find elastic slings very comfortable, but with increasing weight, it is recommended to switch to a woven sling, because it can then better absorb the weight. Manufacturers with good, supportive elastic slings include Cybex and Je porte mon bébé.
I already have several test articles on elastic slings in my blog. I can especially recommend the test report The elastic sling by Mammacita [test report].
For tying elastic slings, I have also created the online course Windelkreuztrage mit dem elastischen Tragetuch.
Ring slings are short, usually woven slings that are sewn to two rings on one side. Since the fabric is pulled through the rings, there is no need for knotting. The one-set load (on one shoulder) is rather not suitable for long carrying. For short distances, as well as carrying newborns, they are very suitable, because they are quick to put on. Almost all manufacturers of woven slings also produce ring slings.
Ring slings tested by me include Experiences with HÄNSCHENKLEIN sling and ring sling [review] and Kaami Slings Flora ring sling (prototype) [review].
I will show you the differences of the systems right here. In general, they are usually easier and faster to put on than slings. On the other hand, most prefabricated carriers cannot be used from the beginning to the end of the carrying period and therefore grow only to a limited extent. Because the fit varies greatly, a baby carrier should be tested beforehand to ensure that it is comfortable to wear and does not lead to frustration. What criteria a good baby carrier should meet in general, I describe in my article What makes a good baby carrier?
Wrap conversions are so-called "sling conversions". They belong to prefabricated baby carriers, but are still very sling-like. The straps can be fanned out on the shoulder to provide good weight distribution. However, this limits arm mobility, so they do not necessarily need to be fanned out. The waist belt is often for knotting, but now there are also some models with a buckle on the waist belt. They can be perfectly adapted to different wearers, because nothing (or at most the buckle on the waist belt) needs to be adjusted. Well known wrap conversions are the HopTye from Hoppediz, the Wrap Tai or Wrap Star from Kokadi or the DidyTai from Didymos.
I have already featured wrap conversions on my blog in the articles HopTye Conversion by Hoppediz [review] and Mami Wutz Wrapcon [review].
Mei Tai's are originally traditional Asian baby carriers where four straps were attached to the corners of a cloth or towel. Nowadays, the carriers meet all the necessary criteria for ergonomic and comfortable carrying. The abdominal belt and the straps are for tying. The straps cannot be fanned out, but are almost always padded. These types of carriers are also very suitable for different types of wearers. Among the Mei Tai's are the MySol from Girasol or the LueMai from Tragebaby.
For Mei Tais you can find a number of test reports from me. For the most popular models, there are the articles MySol from Girasol [review] and LueMai baby carrier [review].
Here, just like mei tai's, the straps are for tying, but on the waist strap these types of carriers have a buckle. The name actually gives it away, so they are "half buckle carriers". With the half-buckle baby carriers, the belly strap may need to be adjusted for different wearers, the straps always adjust when tying. This also makes these baby carriers well suited when both parents want to carry. Among the best known models are the Fräulein Hübsch and the TaiTai from Kokadi.
By the way, I have written a test report on both carriers: Kokadi TaiTai Baby Carrier [review] and Fräulein Hübsch Half-Buckle Baby Carrier [review].
These carriers, as again the name suggests, are full buckle. In this case, the padding is often thicker. If both parents want to carry, more adjustment is needed if there are significant differences in sizes and proportions. Full-buckle carriers include the manduca, Ergobaby carrier, emeibaby baby carrier and buzzidil.
You'll find plenty of reviews of full-buckle carriers on my block. Two examples are my articles Fidella Fusion carrier [review] and [review] Ruckeli baby carrier.
Onbuhimos, also known as onbus, are carriers without a belly strap. This means that the entire weight is on the shoulders, which can lead to tension more quickly. On the other hand, the carrier is very easy to put on, especially for children who are already walking, and takes up little space in a bag. I would recommend the carrier only from sitting age because of the increased pressure on the child's neck. Well-known Onbuhimo manufacturers are Lenny Lamb, Madame Jordan or baby-roo.
If you are interested in reviews of Onbuhimos you can read my articles Onbuhimo by Fidella [review] and Lenny Lamb Buckle Onbuhimo [review].
As you could see, there are now many ways to carry a baby or toddler, even besides the classic sling. There are incredibly many different sling manufacturers and also companies that produce their own carriers. I have only listed a few well-known models here. If you are unsure which is the right sling for you, you can try it out in a babywearing consultation. Alternatively, some stores also offer rental packages so that you can try out the carriers before you buy them.
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