How to wear Baby Slings

Saturday, April 4, 2009

General tips on how to wear a Pouchlings baby sling

Angela with second child Evie in a Delux ring sling

Babies can be carried in a sling as soon as they are born - in fact, the sooner the better as they will already be missing the warmth, movement and comfort of their mothers womb. There are a number of ways you can wear your baby in a Pouchlings ring-sling but these are divided into two main categories: "newborn holds" and "toddler holds". For all the "newborn holds" it is essential that you pull the back edge of the fabric up against your body to form a pouch into which your baby is laid as though in a hammock. "Toddler holds" don't need the fabric to be folded in the same way as invariably the older child won't be completely enclosed in the fabric.

Using your sling will soon become second nature, although it might take a bit of practice to begin with to get it right. (It helps to start with a happy baby who is well-fed and well-rested!)

The Pouchlings sling can be worn on either shoulder. These instructions are for wearing the sling on the left shoulder so just reverse the instructions if you prefer to wear it on the right.

General Rules

The higher and tighter the baby is carried in the sling, the more secure they will be and the lighter they will feel. Always begin by taking the weight of the baby in one arm, pull on the whole of the tail to get the general positioning right. Then pull on either the front or back hem to take up the corresponding slack To loosen or remove the sling, (hold the baby) lift the bottom ring over the top ring. The weight of the baby will make the fabric slip through the rings so always hold the baby when you do this.

Threading your Pouchlings ring sling

It's worth familiarizing yourself with the threading technique. When your sling arrives:

  • lay your sling out flat on the floor with the POUCHLINGS label face up (this will form the inside of the 'pouch' part of the sling.) (Fig 1a)
  • take hold of the end of the fabric furthest away from the rings (the 'tail') and fold the fabric back over itself up towards the rings. (Fig 1 b)
  • push the tail fabric through both rings, feeding about one half of the tail through.
  • fold the tail fabric backwards over the first ring and under the second; pull it through until you have taken up all the slack.
  • at this point, be sure to spread the tail fabric evenly over the rings so that the left hem of the 'pouch' part of the sling comes out on the left side of the rings and the right hem of the 'pouch' comes out on the right side of the rings. This will make it easier to adjust your sling for comfort and security once your baby is in. (Fig 1c)

    When you wash your sling, unthread it completely and, when dry, re-thread it following the above instructions. 1a Fig 2b Fig 3c

Putting on your Pouchlings ring sling

  • hold the rings in your left hand with the pouch towards you and the tail hanging in front of the rings away from you. (Fig 2a)
  • put your right arm through the pouch and bring the sling over your head (as if putting on a 'Miss World' sash). The rings should rest in front of your left shoulder just below your collarbone. The sling fabric should be spread across your shoulder/ top of your arm NOT your shoulder/neck. (Fig 2b)
  • pull the fabric of the sling pouch forward so that it takes up any slack across your back. (This will ensure that the rings don't slide down to the middle of your chest when you tighten the sling.) If there is a lot of fabric forming the pouch, tighten the sling by pulling on the whole of the tail in a slight up-and-over-the-rings movement.
  • if you are about to use any of the newborn positions, you need to create a secure 'pouch/hammock' at this point. (Fig 2c) You do this by locating the bottom/back hem of the pouch fabric and folding it up against your tummy. Tighten the fabric by pulling on the left hem as it comes over the rings and becomes the tail. Leave the front of the pouch fabric slack enough to be able to put the baby in.
  • Decide which position you are about to use. For all positions start by lifting the baby into the 'burp' position over the shoulder opposite the rings. (Whenever you place a newborn into the sling, be sure to support their head until the sling is correctly adjusted to provide enough support.

Hold the sling in one hand
Fig 2a

lift it over your head
Fig 2b

pull out the hammock for the baby
Fig 2c


For maximum comfort and safety when using a POUCHLINGS ring sling, it is useful to familiarize yourself with these general rules:

  • the higher and tighter the baby is carried in the sling, the more secure they will be and the lighter they will feel.
  • always begin by taking the weight of the baby in one arm and pull on the whole of the tail to get the general positioning right. Then pull on either the front or back hem to take up the corresponding slack.
  • pull the fabric with a slight "up-and-over" movement across the front of your body NOT out to the side, away from you.
  • to loosen or remove the sling, take the weight of the baby, and lift the bottom ring over the top ring (the weight of the baby will make the fabric slip through the rings so always hold the baby before you do this!)
  • if, once the baby is in, something doesn't feel right, it is not necessary to start from scratch. Simply loosen the fabric slightly, make whatever adjustments are needed and tighten again.
You will soon be enjoying the benefits of carrying your baby in a POUCHLINGS ring sling. Using your sling will soon become second nature - however it may take a bit of practice to get it right to begin with.The POUCHLINGS sling can be worn on either shoulder. These instructions are for wearing the sling on the left shoulder so just reverse the instructions if you prefer wearing it on the right.

From Newborn to six months

Tummy to tummy hold (vertical)

This is possibly the most comfortable newborn hold and is particularly good for colicky babies as it keeps them in an upright position. It also makes for a very gentle transition from the womb as they have their ear pressed to your chest where they hear the comfortingly familiar sound of your heart.

  • hold the baby over your right shoulder with your right arm.
  • use your left hand to pull open the front of the pouch. (Fig 3a)
  • keeping the baby in an upright position, with their chest pressed against your chest, slide the baby down into the pouch tucking their feet and legs towards your right hip (or for very new or small babies leave their feet tucked under their bottoms froggy-style. Make sure there is enough fabric at the front of the pouch to completely cover the baby. (If not you may have too much fabric folded against your tummy and will need to start again!) (Fig 3b)
  • press the baby close against you with your right arm and with your left hand pull on the tail to tighten the whole sling and then pull on the front hem to tighten up the front of the pouch. (Fig 3c)
  • [TIP: when tightening the sling, always lift the baby to take their weight; pull the tail fabric with a slight "up-and-over" movement towards the baby NOT away from it. If the baby hangs too low, pull on the whole of the tail to raise the baby up high. Then make smaller adjustments by pulling on the front or back hems as necessary.]

use your left hand to pull open the front of the pouch.

Fig 3a

ake sure there is enough fabric at the front of the pouch to completely cover the baby.

Fig 3b

lide the baby down into the pouch tucking their feet and legs towards your right hip

Fig 3c

Cradle hold 1 (semi-reclining, head towards rings)

  • as with the TUMMY-TO -TUMMY position, start by creating a pouch/hammock at the front of your body.
  • hold the baby against your right shoulder with your right arm.
  • with your left hand, hold the pouch open and lower the baby into the pouch sideways so that their head is close to the rings and they lie across the front of your body. (They may curl into a foetal position with their knees up to their chin). (Fig 4a)
  • tighten the pouch, as before, by pulling on the 'front' hem. If the baby seems lost because the pouch is too deep, make the pouch shallower by pulling the fabric in the middle of the tail, which corresponds to the fabric in the middle of the pouch. Always make sure there is sufficient fabric at the front and back, pulled tight enough to keep the baby pressed close against you and safe. (Fig 4b)

Cradle hold 2 (reclining, head away from rings)

This position is very useful for breastfeeding. Follow instructions as above, but lay the baby into the pouch with their head away from the rings. This position is less useful than the others as the baby grows longer. (Fig 4c)

lower the baby into the pouch sideways

Fig 4a

This position is very useful for breastfeeding.

Fig 4b

ways make sure there is sufficient fabric at the front and back,

Fig 4c

Budda Carry - (3-6 months)

This position is for babies with good head control.

  • start by creating a pouch as for the previous 'newborn' positions.
  • with your right arm hold the baby with their back against your chest and your hand under their bottom. Fold their legs up so that their feet cross over their chests in a foetal position. (Fig 5a)
  • with your left hand pull open the front of the pouch and lower the baby, bottom first, into it.
  • still supporting the weight of the baby, tighten the fabric by pulling on the 'front' hem. If the baby hangs too low, take the weight of the baby and pull the whole of the tail fabric together to lift the whole of the pouch. (Fig 5b)

hold the baby with their back against your chest and your hand under their bottom

Fig 5a

tighten the fabric by pulling on the 'front' hem

Fig 5b

From 6 months to 2 years

Hip Carry - (6 months - 2 years)

Once you are carrying your child on your hip regularly,
you can use the 'hip carry' position with your sling which
will take the weight off your arm, straighten your spine
and allow the use of both your arms whilst still carrying
your child. For this position you do not need to make
the pouch that you need for 'newborn' positions.

Lift the baby into 'burp' position and use your right arm
to support them under their bottom
Slip your left hand under the sling fabric and use it to
pull the sling pouch away from your body whilst guiding
the baby's legs through the fabric (Fig 6a)
Position the baby onto your hip as you would naturally
carry them but keep the baby held quite high whilst you
adjust the sling fabric.
With your left hand, tuck the fabric well under the baby's
bottom so that it reaches the back of their knees.
Pull upper hem of the pouch at least as high as the
baby's armpits (for arms free) or over their shoulders
(for cosy hold). They will not be safe if you only pull it
up to their waist. (Fig 6b)
Lift the baby high and press close to your body. Whilst
doing this, use your left hand to pull the whole of the tail
to tighten the baby against you. Then take up any slack
on the top or bottom hems as required. (Baby's bottom
must hang lower than their knees for safety.) (Fig 6c)
The closer the baby is to you, the less heavy they will
feel. If they fall asleep in this position you can either
pull the fabric up over their head or twist them round into
either the 'tummy-to-tummy' position (legs dangling out)
(fig 6d) or the 'cradle hold 2 (reclining).' (fig 6e).
Alternatively loosen the sling, lay the sleeping child down
and back yourself out of the sling, using the extra fabric
as a blanket.

Fig 6a

Fig 6b

Fig 6c

Fig 6d

Fig 6e

Toddler Back Carry

Put the sling on as though for the hip carry and take up the
slack so that it feels fairly tight.
Now shift the sling right round so that the rings are past
your left shoulder blade. (Fig 7a)
Put the child on your hip as for 'hip carry'. (Fig 7b)
Lean forward, move your right arm in front of the child
and slowly (and carefully) slide (or bounce) the child
and sling round into piggy-back position. The rings
should now have slid back round over your shoulder
into their usual position. (Fig 7c)
Before straightening up pull on the tail to tighten the
sling, pay special attention to tightening the top hem.
Don't let go of the child until you are sure they are
tightly fastened to your back with the fabric well up
their backs to their armpits or shoulders and right to
their knees. (Fig 7d) Until you are confident, practice
this position over a bed or with someone to help.

  • Fig 7a

    Fig 7b

    Fig 7c

    Fig 7

Baby Ring slings

Baby ring slings and pouches are by far the best way to carry your baby from place to place. They are comfortable, strong, secure, attractive and simple to use.

Babywearing is becoming a rapidly growing trend in the west. Celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Courtney Cox and Gwen Stefani, to name just a few, favour ring-slings, wraps and pouches as a hip way to carry their babies. This new generation of babycarriers are extremely comfortable and versatile and enable parents to give their babies the closeness, comfort and security they need.

Babywearing is a hugely rewarding experience which brings many benefits to both baby and mum. In a culture that is geared up to separating mother and child as much as possible, (through the use of car seats, buggies, playpens, bouncers and nurseries, etc) babywearing brings some welcome physical contact to a baby who might otherwise spend entire days without any prolonged human touch.

All our baby carriers are hand-crafted in a range of beautiful fabrics. All Slings are unique hand made cloth pouches. We have a wide range of styles from everyday wear to special occasions, for mums dads and kids.

Ring slings are one of the easiest slings to use as there are no fiddly clasps or buckles, no unmanageable lengths of fabric and no complicated tying methods to learn. They consist of a "pouch", for the baby, and a "tail", which is pulled to adjust the pouch to the size of the baby. In this way, the same ring-sling can be used from newborn right the way through to toddlerhood.

They are extremely comfortable and considerably reduce back strain because the baby's weight is distributed evenly across your shoulders back and hips. It will not pull on your neck muscles like a front-loading-pack style carrier and your spine will stay straight when carrying an older child on your hip. It will also give your arms a much needed break!

Pouchlings ring-slings have a unique shoulder design which firmly grips the shoulder and stops the fabric from sliding up towards the wearer's neck. Light padding in the shoulder also maximises comfort for the wearer without feeling bulky.

Pouchlings ring-slings are one of the most stylish slings on the market. They come in a large variety of machine washable fabrics, in many beautiful colours and original, contemporary designs.

Their wide tail design allows for discreet breastfeeding and can be used as a blanket, sun shade, rain cover etc-The "open" style tail means that the top and bottom edges of the sling can be adjusted independently of each other to give a perfect fit.

Many Pouchlings ring-slings have a pocket in the tail for a phone, purse, keys or nappy.

Pouchlings ring-slings are completely safe and secure. They use anodized aluminum rings which are specially designed and tested for ring-slings.

All about Baby Slings

Types of Slings

Ring slings

These are baby carriers that use dynamic tension, a length of cloth and metal (such as aluminum) or nylon rings. One end of the cloth is sewn to two rings. The cloth wraps around the wearer's body from shoulder to opposite hip and back up to the shoulder, and the end is threaded through the rings to create a buckle effect. The baby sits or lies in the resulting pocket. Once a sling is threaded, it can be taken off and put back on without rethreading. A threaded sling forms a loop of cloth. The wearer can put one arm and the head through the loop of cloth to put the sling back on.

When the baby is in the carrier, the baby's weight puts tension on the fabric, and the combination of fabric tension, friction of fabric surfaces against each other and the rings combine to "lock" the sling in position. This type of sling can adjust to different wearers' sizes and accommodate different wearing positions easily: the wearer supports the baby's weight with one hand and uses the other hand to pull more fabric through the rings to tighten or loosen the sling.

Ring slings may be padded or unpadded at the shoulder, have padded or unpadded edges or "rails", and the "tail" of the sling may be open or closed. Some "hybrid" ring slings have curved seats sewn into the body, similar to the seam in a pouch. Ring slings are most closely related in use to the Mexican rebozo, the rings take the place of the knot.

Whether a user will prefer a padded or unpadded sling, closed tail or open tail, simple or hybrid body is highly individual and often simply a matter of taste. Ring slings are available in a variety of fabrics ranging from lightweight cotton calicos to silk brocade. Tencel, linen, hemp and rayon have also been used. Most common are homespun fabrics, lightweight twills, dupioni silk, and other fabrics with good tensile strength and a fair amount of diagonal "give". The rings may be nylon, aluminum, steel or other materials, but it is important that any materials used be of sufficient strength and that multiple layers of stitching be used to connect rings to fabric, as several recalls of ring slings have been caused by faulty rings (welds breaking) or stitching (insufficient stitching such that if a thread broke, there was no redundancy). Most rings used by manufacturers are either designed specifically for baby carriers, designed for high-tension situations like marine rigging or for securing heavy livestock. Lightweight craft rings should not be used. Fabrics which cannot safely hold a seam without fraying or tearing should not be used. Excessively slippery fabrics should be avoided.

Another significant point of variation is found in how the rings attach to the cloth, commonly referred to as "shoulder style". Basic shoulder styles include gathered, pleated, "hot dog" or "center fold", pouch-style (folded in half) and many variations. Which is more comfortable for a given user may depend on body shape (whether the user has rounded or square shoulders), sling fabric (some fabrics will only be comfortable with padding, others work better in a gathered, unpadded style) and user preference for a wider or narrower spread.

Ring slings can be used from birth through toddlerhood, but many parents find that heavier, non-mobile babies are easier to carry in a two-shouldered carrier such as a wrap or mei tai (see below) when carrying will be extended. However, for short-term use, or for toddlers and mobile babies who want to be picked up and set back down often, ring slings can be ideal. Ring slings are also considered very good for breastfeeding, their adjustability allows them to be lengthened to allow easy access to the breast, and they can then be re-adjusted quickly when nursing is done. Ring slings are often the carriers of choice in the first months of life, when babies are small and nurse frequently.

Pouch slings

Sometimes called "tube", "pocket" or "ringless" slings, these are generally formed by a wide piece of fabric sewn into a tubular shape. Simple, or fitted pouches do not have rings or other hardware. Adjustable pouches may adjust with a wide variety of methods, including zippers, snaps, buckles, clips, rings (these are usually considered hybrids), drawstrings or velcro. Most pouches have a curve sewn in to shape the cloth to the parent's body and hold the baby more securely than a simple straight tube. The wearer slips the pouch over the head and one shoulder, sash-style, creating a pocket or seat to hold the baby in. The learning curve is short; most people find that they can learn to use the pouch quickly.

A properly-fit pouch can be used to safely wear a baby from birth to toddlerhood. Pouches are ideal for situations in which babies are frequently being removed from the pouch and put back in, for older children who do not want to be carried long but are heavy enough to be difficult to carry in-arms, and for young, small babies who are not heavy.

As with most one-shouldered slings, pouches are not ideal for long wearing of heavy babies, as the asymmetrical weight distribution can create back pain for the parent. The better a pouch fits, the more evenly it is spread across the shoulder and back, and the more suitable the fabric, the better a pouch will be for longer periods of use or heavier children. Proper fit generally means that the baby is not sagging away from the parent's body, is not lower than the parent's waist or hip, and is not held uncomfortably tight.


Wraps (sometimes called "wraparounds" or "wraparound slings") are lengths of fabric (usually between 2 metres and 6 metres, or 2.5-7 yards long, and 15-30 inches wide), which are wrapped around both the baby and the wearer and then tied. There are many different carrying positions possible with a wrap, depending on the length of the fabric. A baby or toddler can be carried on the wearer's front, back or hip. With shorter wraps it is possible to do a one-shouldered carry, similar to those done with a pouch or a ring sling, although most carries involve the fabric going over both shoulders of the wearer and often around the waist to offer maximum support. These slings are the most versatile, but have a longer learning curve.

There are two main types of wrap - stretchy and woven.

Stretchy wraps are generally made of knits such as jersey or interlock. Polyester fleece and wool jersey are sometimes used for carrying babies in cool weather. It is easy to 'pop' babies in and out of a stretchy wrap. This can be easier for the wearer as the sling often remains tied on and the baby is lifted out and put back in as required. Stretchy wraps are popular for carrying young babies but the stretch can mean that they are not as comfortable for the wearer once the baby starts getting heavy. Different brands and fabrics vary radically in the amount of stretch, and in general, the more lengthwise stretch, the less supportive the carrier will tend to be for a heavier or older baby. Several factors influence stretchiness: carriers with any spandex or lycra content will tend to be very stretchy, carriers which are 100% cotton or other natural fibers will tend to have less lengthwise stretch. Woven wraps are pieces of woven fabric of varying thickness and are available in a wide choice of colours, patterns and materials. Natural fibers are usually chosen, with cotton being by far the most common, but hemp, linen, silk and wool are also used. A variety of weaves are used. Most common are homespun or handwoven fabrics with simple over-under weaves, twills and jaquards. Most weaves provide some give or stretch diagonally. This allows the fabric to better conform to the baby and to the wearer's body. Thinner fabrics, while cooler, may cause pressure points for the wearer when used for long periods of time. Thinner fabrics are also less forgiving when less-than-perfect wrapping techniques are used.

Cloth slings

Pieces of cloth can be turned into slings by wrapping the fabric around the carer and the baby and either tying it with knots or using a twist and tuck method to secure the ends. Rebozos (Mexico), mantas (Peru), kangas (Africa) and selendangs (Indonesia) are all rectangular pieces of cloth but are tied or wrapped in many different ways. Wraps are also simple pieces of cloth.

The mei tai and other Asian-style baby carriers

Traditionally, the Chinese mei tai was a square or nearly square piece of cloth with parallel unpadded straps emerging from the sides of each corner. It was traditionally secured by bringing all the straps together in a twist with the ends tucked. The mei tai did not become well-known in the United States until 2003, when several designs that added padding, a longer body, longer top straps and a more "wrap like" tying method were created and made popular. A variation on the traditional mei tai was popularized in Australia in the 1960s. There are now hundreds of different brands of mei tai available with a variety of features, but the longer straps, taller body and wrap-style tying method are found in almost all of them. Mei tais are suitable for front or back carries with children ranging from birth to as heavy as a parent can support (usually between 35 and 45 pounds is the upper limit of comfortable wearing, but in emergencies and demonstrations, small adults have been worn. Wraps can be used through the same weight ranges.)

The podaegi (also spelled podegi and pronounced po DEG ee with a long "o", a hard "g" similar to the "g" in "golf" or "go" and a long "e") is a Korean carrier with a medium to large rectangle of fabric hanging from a very long strap. Traditionally the rectangle is quilted for warmth and wraps around the mother's torso, while the straps are wrapped snug under the baby's bottom and tied around to the front to support and secure the baby on the mother's back. Western interest in the podaegi style has led to new wrapping methods which do go over the shoulders, and to narrower "blankets". Variants of this shape include the Hmong carrier and the Chinese bei bei. The structure is similar, but usage can be very different. Hmong carriers and bei beis are both customarily used with over-the-shoulder wrapping and often have stiff sections which help provide head support or block wind, but their traditional, minimally padded or unpadded narrow straps limit their popularity among Western users. Western variants with more strap padding, less stiffener and other modifications are emerging.

Traditional babywearing in Japan was done with a wrap carry, using an obi (sash). In the 1940s, a carrier known as the onbuhimo became popular. Similar to the Hmong and Mei tai carriers, the onbuhimo has long top straps and a rectangular body. But at the bottom of the rectangle, loops or rings allow the top straps to be threaded through and tightened, while the straps are tied at the waist. The body is much smaller than the bodies of most mei tais and other Asian-style carriers, and the onbuhimo is traditionally used on the back. Variations may have stiff headrests or padding in the body.

Variations of these basic shapes can be found elsewhere in the world. Mei-tai-like carriers were used in places as diverse as Sweden and Africa.

Other types of slings and baby carriers

Traditionally, baby slings and carriers were simply adaptations of whatever a culture normally used to carry anything heavy. Baskets, calabashes, animal skins, wooden carrying structures, all have been adapted to carry infants and children. Inuit mothers continue to use the packing parka or amauti to carry children up to two years old. In the west, this phenomenon has resulted in a variety of carriers based on camping backpacks (see below).

One design, used in New Guinea, resembles a small Mayan-style hammock, in which an infant or child is either carried in a net on the back of an adult, or hung on a tree branch or house beam.

Historical photographs of indigenous peoples show babies worn in sashes, baskets and nets hung from the parent's forehead. Cradleboards and carriers hung from one shoulder like a purse have also been documented in several cultures.

Modern structured hip carriers, soft structured carriers which can be used on front or back, structured front packs and hard-framed backpacks are also used. Hip carriers may be closely related to ring slings or they may be more closely related to a mei tai, and several different types of fasteners are used in different models. Most of the soft structured carriers are loosely based on the traditional mei tai, with buckles, padding and clips added.

It is important to note that while structured carriers and other "purchased" carriers are popular, almost any sturdy piece of cloth can be turned temporarily or permanently into a baby sling or wrap. Bedsheets are often folded lengthwise and knotted, rebozo style. Four to six yards of soft, lightweight cotton fabric can be used as a wrap. A sweatshirt can be knotted sling-style or used to stabilize a "piggyback" back carry for an older child. There are a number of websites which provide how-to information on these improvised carriers.


The following benefits may be experienced when appropriate baby slings are used:

  • Freedom to use hands
  • Eases back and shoulder pain if worn correctly
  • Allows view for child
  • May allow hands-free breastfeeding or "nursing on the go"
  • Helps parents meet the needs of babies and older children simultaneously
  • Reduces arm pain for parents who carry heavy babies
  • May reduce fussiness by increasing "in arms" time
  • Allows for less awkward use of public transport (compared with stroller use)
  • Makes kangaroo care easier on the parent

Safety concerns

The following concerns rise from using baby carriers:

  • Danger of dropping the baby if baby carrier is not used correctly
  • Danger of bumping or falling onto the infant (similar danger to carrying in-arms)
  • Risk of burning when drinking hot beverages (same danger as when carrying or holding)
  • There are concerns that there is a risk of damage to a baby's spine or hips when a carrier is used that supports the baby mainly by the crotch, but the issue has not been formally studied.
  • Back pain when adult does not have a suitable baby carrier or is not using a baby carrier correctly
  • Can be fatiguing
  • Risk of suffocation with young babies worn incorrectly*

NOTE: Risk of suffocation can be lessened by positioning infants correctly in the carrier, checking on the baby often, avoiding positions which force the chin to the chest, supporting the back with a pillow in horizontal carries, and avoiding extra cloth, especially blankets, in the carrier.

Research hypotheses

The following benefits are hypothesized and are being studied, but the studies are not yet published or final:

  • Reduces postpartum depression for mothers
  • Improves infant growth and development through vestibular stimulation, increased parental interaction and decreased time spent crying
  • Increases rate (populations), frequency (individuals) and duration (both) of breastfeeding
  • Increases parent feelings of competence and satisfaction with parenting
  • Improves wearer's physical condition, particularly leg and back strength
  • Reduces child abuse in at-risk populations
  • Improves oxygenation in newborns when positioning is correct

Known issues

  • Many baby carriers have been recalled due to faulty design or manufacturing defects (usually in limited numbers of carriers from one particular time period.) Carriers are only as strong as their stitching, fabric and connectors. Most baby carriers are safe, but it is important to check your carrier for broken threads, holes and excess wear before using, and to check periodically for recalls if buying used, or if you have had a carrier for longer than a few months.

Common worries and misconceptions


  • People often express concern that excessive holding or wearing will "spoil" a child, make the child overly dependent on the parent or hinder a child's development. This has not been borne out by research. Research on kangaroo care has shown that premature infants (Feldman, 2002) and newborns (Ferber, 2004) who are held sleep more, cry less, grow faster and get sick less than babies who are given "standard" care with minimal holding. In addition, a study which specifically examined the effects of increased in-arms and in-carrier time on infants found that babies whose parents increased holding by about 3 hours per day cried significantly less, spent more time in a quiet alert state and fed more often. (Hunziker, 1986)

Hip position

  • It is a common misconception that certain baby carriers can increase or decrease the risk of hip dysplasia. Some baby carrier companies claim that their carriers reduce the risk of hip dysplasia because the fabric is wide at the base such that the baby's kees are higher than the baby's bottom and spread wide. As a result, some parents are concerned that a baby carrier without a wide base actually increases the risk of hip dysplasia. However, while some websites make assertions about a relationship between carrier position and hip dysplasia (Orthoseek), those assertions are not supported by peer- reviewed scientific studies, because there are currently no published scientific studies that either confirm or refute a relationship between hip dysplasia and baby carrier position. This issue remains hotly debated and peer-reviewed research on the issue would be helpful.

Baby falling out

  • One reason some parents may shy away from a baby sling is because of a fear that the baby may fall out of the sling. The worry is because there are no straps or buckles to hold the baby in place that the baby "could" slip out and fall. Both wrap type and pouch type baby slings are very secure for the baby. The wrap simulates a strap/buckle situation with soft and comfortable fabric. The pouch style baby sling secures the baby by gravity holding the babe in place. If you were to say, jump on a trampoline while wearing a baby you could expect the baby to fall out. But with normal mother/father behavior, walking, shopping, working the baby is relatively safe.