Newborn babywearing is so special; the scent of their little head sleeping on your chest is magical.  Slings help them settle and cry less, and build your confidence - win all round!Deciding what kind of newborn baby carrier will suit you and your baby best and that you will use and enjoy the most can feel very difficult, especially with all the choice available. We have years of experience helping people choose. This is our guide to get you started with our top picks!

Let’s start at the very beginning, when newborn babies have the most intense need for holding and cuddling, the “4th trimester period”. Their bodies have not yet developed independent control and they aren’t able to hold their heads up unaided for very long. They are usually happiest resting on their caregiver’s chest in the classic snuggled-up shape with knees tucked up and head under the adult’s chin. Their chest will be resting against their parent and their chin will be raised so their ribcage can expand fully and their airway is unobstructed. Read more about baby safety here.

Wraparound Carriers

A good baby carrier will help to support them in this position and avoid any slumping over. One of the most popular options for newborns are wraparound carriers  – as these mould perfectly around the shape of baby and parent together. They will therefore fit every combination of parent and baby size and can be used by both partners and other family members.

These types of carriers are easy to breast or bottle feed in (read more here for how to do it safely.)

Stretchy Wraps

We particularly love stretchy wraps that have a good level of multi-way elasticity, as they can be put on at the start of the day like an item of clothing and baby can be popped in and out easily without retying.

You can see how to use a stretchy wrap in our photo tutorial and video.

Key tips for success

  • Ensure the slack is removed and the fabric is nice and snug.
  • Check how much space there is for your baby before you put them in
  • Put each leg into each pass and settle your baby down to the seated squat position before you spread the passes one by one.
  • Spread each fabric pass across the bottom to each kneepit and pull up to the nape of the neck.
  • Learn how to flip the shoulders for visibility!

This keeps baby well supported and also supports your back; a good carrier should not make your back hurt. Your baby should be close enough to kiss, chest to chest and with their legs in the tucked M shape (usually out of the carrier). Please get in touch with us if your baby is under 6lb so we can offer you some specialist support. We offer one to one help at our Sheffield premises.

(As an aside, please note most of the cheaper brands only stretch one way and are much harder to use. The brands we work with are excellent quality and fully safety tested for durability and dye safety, etc.)

You can see how they work by clicking on the image for the tutorial or video below.

Close Caboo 

Close Caboo carriers are another excellent choice as they have much of the cuddle of the stretchy wrap but come “pretied” so can just be slipped on and tightened around baby. This can suit those who feel a bit overwhelmed by long lengths of fabric or just want something to slip on.

The fabric is less elastic than the stretchy wraps, so there are two sets of rings on each side of the parent’s body, to tighten each cross strap.

Key tips for success

  • Check how much space there is in the cross passes before you put baby in and tighten through the rings till it feels right.
  • Put each leg into each pass and settle your baby down to the seated squat position before you spread the passes one by one.
  • Spread each fabric pass across the bottom to each kneepit and pull up to the nape of the neck.
  • Pre-flipping the shoulders is a very useful trick.

You can see how the Caboo works by clicking on the image for the tutorial or video below.

Woven Wraps

Woven Wraps offer the same mouldability as the stretchy and the Caboo but as there is no stretch, they will feel more supportive and strong for much longer, well beyond six months and into toddlerhood. They will also allow you to back and hip carry, and fit every size caregiver and child. They’re the kings of versatility, and not difficult to use. We love showing people how to use carriers so please come along and we will share our skills with you with great delight. Come and see us! We have a whole library to help you learn and workshops to teach you.

Key tips for success

  • Keep the fabric relatively snug before you put baby in. This helps to hold them in place.
  • Tighten the fabric strand by strand
  • Support your baby with your wrist and forearm as you work on each pass.

Please click on the image below to see a simple photo tutorial or watch the video for the most common carry used with young babies.

Soft Structured Carriers – Buckled Carriers (with clips)

Some families prefer the idea of clip or tie on carriers, or may find this feels more their style. There are plenty of excellent options around. They will all have a waistband that clips together, a panel that holds baby against your chest, and shoulder straps that fit around your back and attach to the panel.

The key thing is to find one that fits your baby (and will grow with them) and also fits you. We highly, highly recommend coming to see us first (or emailing us for help) before you buy, as buckled carriers are like jeans or shoes. Everyone has a different body shape, different levels of flexibility and stands in their own particular ways. Taking the time to try a few out and getting a sling that fits will significantly improve your long-term comfort.  

Meh Dais are similar; they are the original panel carrier before plastic webbing and buckles were invented!

We have a wide range of fantastic options; all of which can be used from birth (typically from about 8lb) to toddlerhood. All will carry your child on the back when they are old enough (typically with a buckle carrier this is sitting up age; please get in touch if you have a child with special needs and want to back carry. We are here to encourage and help you find solutions!)

Buckle carriers can feel pricey compared to supermarket or eBay options, but there are very good reasons for this. These carriers have all been through extensive safety testing, and have been designed for long-lasting comfort, flexibility and ease of use. They will last you far longer and bring you and your child many moments of happy connection.

Our favourite carrier for those who want stretchy-like cuddles for their little one, but in clip form is the Mamaruga ZenSling. It moulds and adjusts to you and baby, and has spreadable shoulder cross straps. It is very comfortable, and one of our best-sellers. It is hard to beat! See a video for it in action here.

Mamaruga Zensling Grey Llamas

Another top pick for those who love lightweight and simple with fun fabrics is the Integra Baby Carrier; easy to use, packs down small and a very affordable price! You will need to use the accessory strap for newborns. See it in action here.

fleur integra baby

Some carriers like the Beco Gemini are padded and super simple, no adjusting needed, just clip and go. It’s beloved by those who like sturdiness, the feeling of structure around the waist, and no-nonsense! As baby grows you just set it to the larger size! This carrier allows forward facing out from about four months (as does the Ergobaby Omni 360, Tula Explore, Izmi Baby and Soul Anoona.)

beco gemini geometric dusty pink

Some families like the feel of rucksack strap carriers; this can suit those who prefer wide-set straps. We recommend the Tula Free to Grow and Lenny Lamb Up carriers for these folks. They have an extra clip to join the rucksack straps together like, well, a rucksack! The Lenny Up carriers are made from woven wrap and have a very luxurious feel (in a range of prices to suit every budget).

Lenny Lamb UpTula Free to Grow Doodle

Ring Slings

Ring slings are the unsung heroes of newborn carrying; once you have the knack they can be a fantastic tool in your parenting armoury. They’re great for feeding on the go, lightweight, fit every baby and every parent as they are very adjustable, and are nice and cool in warmer weather, not to mention very pretty. We love them! If you’d like some hands on help getting to grips with one, book an appointment with us.

Key tips for success

  • Get the fabric nice and floppy so it moves easily through the rings when you are tightening it.
  • Prepare the pocket so it is the same shape as your baby and have the shoulder fabric well spread.
  • Get your baby well positioned in the M/J shapes before you pull the panel up.
  • Tighten strand by strand.

Our photo tutorial and video can be found by clicking on the images below.

In summary, there is something out there to suit every child and adult combination, everyone is different.

The type of carrier doesn’t matter; being close and comfortable, and building connections is what matters. We are always happy to answer queries

You can find us on facebook and instagram and contact us there too! We have an online chat group called the Virtual Sling Surgery as well for support. We offer one to one help as well!