Confused about the differences between a carrier vs wrap vs sling? I was too. After checking them all out, here's what I've come up with. (All points are based on the most common products in that category)
- High weight capacity
- Waist belt helps support the child's weight, taking some pressure off the back
- Usually allows for carrying baby on your back safely
- Adjustable for mom and baby
- Allows mom to be "hands free"
- Works to strengthen core muscles
- Up to 4 positions: front inward, front outward, hip, back
- Various features
- Defined positions
- More involved adjustment
- One size fits all (dads included)
- Less expensive
- Easy to use for nursing
- Allows for the kangaroo hold
- Multi-positioned: front, side, rucksack
- Very long and a bit cumbersome
- Most positions
- Easily transportable
- Super comfy
- All price ranges
- Super easy to use for nursing
- No padding
- Cuts into shoulder
Carriers are used most comfortably for the longest time period. While they are usually a bit more expensive, they are very comfortable even as the baby grows older and give parents excellent hands-free experiences.
Wraps and slings are very similar in that they are both fantastic for when the baby is a newborn. It's easy to use them while nursing, doing housework, and for going around hands free. They also have more flexibility in positioning, but that's at the expense of structure and support. Hence, you would not want to use either one as the child grows bigger.
To sum it all up: If you are getting only one, I think going with the carrier is the wisest. If you are getting more than one, get one of each.
What do you use and why do you love/hate it?