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    Top 5 Best Baby Slings | 2017 Reviews

    May 11, 2016

    Top 5 Best Baby Slings | 2017 Reviews

    When baby slings and baby carriers became popular in modern society, they were largely the province of the holistic, “all natural” world. You’d be as likely to see a pair of cutoff jeans at a fancy restaurant or gathering, as a new mother with her child in a baby sling.

    Today, baby slings are ubiquitous and there are very few expectant moms who don’t have a sling on their baby registry list. It’s become obvious that these carriers aren’t just a cool way for mother and baby to bond – they’re an incredibly convenient way for moms and dads to transport their little one around the house or around town.

    It’s important to discuss terminology when discussing baby slings and carriers, because even though the words are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. Especially, if you are a first time parents, you really need to know this. Baby carriers usually have some sort of safety system to keep the baby in place, usually intricate buckles, buttons or clips in conjunction with fabric straps and/or metal braces. Slings, sometimes called wraps, are simply made of fabric that wraps around the parent’s body to hold the infant close. Some people even make a further distinction, saying that “true slings” are suspended from just one shoulder – but we won’t nitpick to that extent.

    For the purposes of these reviews we’ll be looking at the top 5 best baby slings, whether they’re of the one-shoulder or two-shoulder variety.

    You may also check out our comprehensive Best Baby Sling Buying Guide here.​

    Quick Comparison Table

    Baby K’tan Original Baby Carrier

    Moby Wrap Baby Carrier (Modern)

    Boba Baby Wrap

    Maya Wrap Ring Sling

    Munchkin Jelly Bean Reversible Sling

    Baby K’tan Original Baby Carrier
    Moby Wrap Baby Carrier (Modern)
    Boba Baby Wrap
    Maya Wrap Ring Sling
    Munchkin Jelly Bean Reversible Sling

    $$$

    $$$

    $$$

    $$$

    $$$

    Cotton

    Cotton

    Cotton/spandex

    Cotton

    Cotton

    Shoulder loops

    Wrap

    Wrap

    Ring

    Tube

    Baby K’tan Original Baby Carrier

    Baby K’tan Original Baby Carrier

    There are many baby slings which feel like they should complete with an assistant (or what they used to call in Hollywood, a dresser), to help you get in and out of them. As you’ll see, you might actually need to watch a video to understand how to use several of the slings on this list. The Baby K’tan is a breath of fresh air because it’s easy to slip the wrap on and put baby into it, in just seconds.

    The reason this is such a simple carrier to use is that you don’t have to wrap a long scarf-like fabric around your body. The Original Baby Carrier has two loops which slip right onto your shoulders like a backpack, and a sash (which has an included pocket, and doubles as the bag you pack the wrap in) that then goes around the torso for use in some of the different baby-carrying positions. It’s easy, and intuitive. It also folds up extremely easily for transport, and even looks fashionable enough as a wrap that you can wear it regularly and then slip your baby inside when it’s time to use it as a carrier.

    One of the best features of the Baby K’tan is that there are six different positions for carrying an infant, as opposed to the two or three allowed by some competitors. You can carry baby facing in (in either a “hug” or “kangaroo” position), facing out (“explore” or “adventure”) or in two different side-carry hip positions. The sling comes with a manual showing photos of each alternative, although the company does also have videos available on their site if you need help. We don’t think you will.

    This is a very comfortable sling to wear. It has the less fabric than most of the baby carriers on our list and since the cotton is lightweight, there’s no problem with air flow or the drag on your body. There aren’t any clips or buckles to dig into your skin, and when baby is loaded into the sling her weight is well-distributed so that there’s no problem with neck or backaches. The Baby K’tan scores well on safety too, with all of the necessary support for baby’s upper body and plenty of additional head support for a sleeping infant, and a lower design that lets an infant’s legs spread properly. The fabric doesn’t stretch out over time so there no issue with sag developing in the sling.

    The Baby K’tan comes in five different sizes (XS to XL) which is unusual for a carrier; that can help you find the perfect fit, but means that the same sling will be unlikely to fit both mom and dad. It can go into the washing machine, is available in organic cotton, and even comes with a matching hat.

    The only other negative you may find is that this baby sling is only suitable for newborns and infants; like most slings, it isn’t strong enough to properly support a toddler (or mom’s back when she’s carrying a toddler). But for only about $50, the Baby K’tan is a terrific infant sling that’s inexpensive enough to be worth buying until baby outgrows it.

    Details of the Baby K’tan Original Baby Carrier

    Age/weight range

    Newborn to 45 pounds

    Style

    Shoulder loops with sash

    Material

    Cotton

    Sizes

    XS, S, M, L, XL

    Weight

    1 pound

    Moby Wrap Baby Carrier (Modern)

    Moby Wrap Baby Carrier (Modern)

    The Moby Wrap has been a mom-favorite for many years. There are now two versions of the Moby available, the Original and the Modern; we chose to review and recommend the Modern because it is made of fabric that is lighter in weight and more breathable. That makes baby – and mom – more comfortable while wearing it.

    Once you’re on your second child, you’ll really appreciate the security and comfort the Moby provides. When you’re using it for the first time, though, you may be a bit overwhelmed putting the sling on. The reason is that this carrier is simply one piece of fabric that’s 18 feet long (yes, you read that correctly) and can be a bear to figure out initially, particularly since the carrier must be wrapped differently for each of the four different holds that are possible. An additional issue is that the sling is so long that you’re likely to end up running it through the dirt (or worse, the mud) if putting it on outdoors. There are directions that come with the Moby, but you’ll probably have better luck watching their online videos for help (be warned: it will look something like a magic act) the first few times.

    The advantages of this carrier become apparent after you’ve gotten past the learning curve. It secures well to provide the full body support that an infant needs, and since it’s just one piece of fabric it is simple to make any necessary adjustments on the fly. As we’ve mentioned, there are four different basic positions for baby: three facing in (kangaroo, hug, newborn hug) and one hip; the Baby K’tan is more versatile, but the Moby Modern is more than sufficient if you’re a fan of baby facing in. The cotton makes the sling extremely comfortable for the rider (a little hotter than the Baby K’tan, but definitely cooler than the Moby Original) and it’s even more comfortable for mom because the width of the carrier distributes the weight along the full width of her back. The huge size of the wrap does make it easier to cover baby’s head or nurse in private, too.

    The Moby can supposedly handle toddlers since you just have to wrap them differently, but that can be a chore; once again, we think this sling is best for infants. It’s machine washable, only comes in one size, and is also available in organic cotton as well as designer prints (which cost more, of course). You’ll pay around $35-40 for the Modern or Original models.

    Details of the Moby Wrap Baby Carrier (Modern)

    Age/weight range

    Newborn to 35 pounds

    Style

    Wrap

    Material

    Cotton

    Sizes

    One size fits all

    Weight

    1.3 pound

    Boba Baby Wrap

    Boba Baby Wrap

    Another venerable baby sling, this model used to be known as the Sleepy Wrap. The Boba and the Moby Wrap have been widely viewed as the two top slings on the market for quite a while, and they’re quite similar. The Moby is a bit shorter (17 feet vs. 18 feet) but you put it on in the same way: wrapping it around your upper body – with great difficulty, until you get used to the process. Once again, you’ll probably do best watching a video the first few times you give it a try.

    The basic advantages of this baby carrier are also the same as the Moby’s. It’s quite comfortable for both mom and infant, the width of the sling allows you to distribute weight across your entire back, it’s easy to adjust with plenty of fabric for private moments and it is machine washable. The reason the Boba ranks lower on our list of top 5 best baby slings is that instead of being 100% cotton, there’s also some spandex in the fabric – that makes it more stretchy than the Moby, and more likely to sag or loosen after being worn for a while. The continual adjustments made necessary by the sagging aren’t that difficult to perform, but you have less of a sense of security for the baby as the wrap loosens. That’s not a good feeling. The spandex also makes the Boba feel hotter than the Moby.

    Even though the wrap is almost identical to the Boba, for some reason the manufacturer only specifies standard facing-in positions. We don’t see any reason you can’t use it for a hip carrier as well (except for the stretchy fabric issue). This uni-sized baby sling costs around $40, and is also available in organic cotton. Don’t get us wrong, it’s a very good baby sling. It’s just not the best.

    Details of the Boba Baby Wrap

    Age/weight range

    Newborn to 35 pounds

    Style

    Wrap

    Material

    Cotton and spandex

    Sizes

    One size fits all

    Weight

    1.2 pound

    Maya Wrap Ring Sling

    Maya Wrap Ring Sling

    Some moms prefer a different style of sling, called a ring sling. There’s still a wrap, but it’s about half the length of the ones we’ve just looked at; the wrap is threaded between two rings in the same way that you would thread a belt, and it then goes over your head like a sling for a broken arm – baby is held to the side, rather than directly in front. The big advantage is that after you put the carrier on, it’s fairly easy to adjust the fabric to fit your body perfectly just as you would do with a belt. Naturally, you can adjust the fabric on a regular wrap sling as well, but the rings make it much easier and the learning curve for the ring sling is much shorter.

    The Maya Wrap is comfortable and lightweight (there’s a “Lightly Padded” version that is even more lightweight but also more expensive, for some reason), although it does have a tendency to ride up the shoulder and hit the neck after long periods of time. What’s nice, though, is that you can simply rethread it and use it on your other shoulder if that happens. This sling can be used for either front- or hip-carry and is quite strong, so the baby is secure once inside. Since you’re carrying the infant’s weight on one side of your body, however, you may not feel totally comfortable with the safety issue until you get used to the feel of this carrier.

    There are four sizes of the Maya Wrap available, it’s machine washable, and has a small pocket which is a nice convenience. It is more expensive, at $60-$70, but you may find that the style fits you better.

    Details of the Maya Wrap Ring Sling

    Age/weight range

    Newborn to 35 pounds

    Style

    Ring

    Material

    Cotton

    Sizes

    S, M, L, XL

    Weight

    1 pound

    Munchkin Jelly Bean Reversible Sling

    Munchkin Jelly Bean Reversible Sling

    Those who don’t want to worry about folding, threading or other techniques that require manual dexterity – and only want a simple-to-use sling that doesn’t cost a lot – should give the Munchkin Jelly Bean a look. This sling is simply a long loop of cotton fabric with folds that form a pocket for the baby; you sling it over your shoulder like a Girl Scout sash, and baby fits right inside.

    The Jelly Bean can be used for front or hip carry (facing either out or in), and theoretically for a back carry if you feel that’s safe. Comfort and security are both good (with the same caveat as for the Maya Wrap, since the baby’s weight is borne on one shoulder), the sling is machine washable, and the reversible feature gives you a “fashion choice” of either a pattern or a solid color, depending on your mood. There are pockets on each side of the carrier, but an even better feature is the price: less than $30.

    Details of the Munchkin Jelly Bean Reversible Sling

    Age/weight range

    4 months to 35 pounds

    Style

    Tube

    Material

    Cotton

    Sizes

    S/M, L

    Weight

    13 ounces



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