Baby Sling vs. Wrap: Picking the Correct One for You

A happy baby and happy parents make for a happy house. Studies have shown that babywearing has a plethora of positive benefits. You may, however, get confused when it comes to picking between a baby sling and a baby wrap.

Definitions of a Baby Sling vs Wrap

Baby Wearing International defines a sling as:

Any baby carrier consisting of one strip of cloth of approximately even width (rather than one with straps); i.e., a wrap, ring sling or pouch; any one-shoulder baby carrier; i.e., ring sling, rebozo or pouch; or any unstructured baby carrier. Not a preferred term due to the multiple common uses, which render it ambiguous.

A wrap is defined at the site as:

A long, more-or-less rectangular piece of cloth used as a baby carrier by means of wrapping the entire cloth around the caregiver’s and baby’s body and tying or otherwise securing the ends, without the use of separate ties or fasteners such as buckles or rings. Sometimes called a “wraparound carrier.” Most often, but not always, refers to a long wrap, 4 meters or more.

They are similar in some ways, but there are some differences in the fit, function, and practicality of the design that may matter to you.

Do your homework and then make the choice that best fits your needs. Part of being a good parent is being an informed parent.

The Baby Sling

With the baby sling, there is no wrapping and difficulty putting on and taking off the device. Yet, it is still small enough that it will not take up too much space in your bag.

The sling comes across the shoulder and has a pouch. It is ready to use out of the box, with no wrapping involved.

Check out the demonstration below:

It is better suited to babies under the weight of 10-15 pounds. This may vary depending upon the parents’ body structure and strength. Remember, there are many variables in the selection process.

The National Childbirth Trust out of the UK has an interesting piece on different slings. The ring sling has a ring at the top near where a shoulder bag would rest.

The other type of sling is often just referred to as a pouch, and the strap is seamless and usually padded. It does not have a ring or metal near your shoulder top area.

Advantages

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to put on
  • Very breathable
  • Suitable for breastfeeding
  • The pouch seat is comfortable
  • You can make one yourself

Disadvantages

  • Can strain shoulder and neck
  • No structure
  • Ring component can be uncomfortable
  • The sling is only as strong as the knot tied off
  • Not gender neutral – Dad may not want to use it
  • Most suitable for smaller infants

The Baby Wrap

The baby wrap is used for newborn babies. When baby gets older and heavier, using a wrap will cause the parent excessive pain on their back, neck, and shoulders.

While completing your shopping, chores, and errands, you can hold your bundle of newborn joy near you for optimum bonding time. Baby can listen to your heartbeat, hear your soothing voice, and touch and experience the warmth of your body.

Calming your fussy little one is convenient and easy. You can quickly remove him or her for feeding time and diaper changes.

Placing your small one back into the wrap is a snap. You can use a wrap for all of the newborn baby’s needs.

The wrap is less costly at a time when money may be very tight. The good news is that you can buy fabric make your own wrap.

Note that a wrap will have less structure and is a bad choice an older child who weighs more, is growing to get more active and is curious to explore the world.

It takes a bit more work to secure your baby, but it is the optimum environment for an infant especially once they are in there.

Check out the demonstration below:

 

Advantages

  • More control over snugness of fit
  • Multiple positions available
  • Closer nurturing environment
  • Suitable for nursing
  • Easy for bub to fall asleep when carried
  • Gender neutral
  • Better weight distribution across back & shoulders

Disadvantages

  • Wrapping technique takes practice
  • Time-consuming to put on
  • Higher price point
  • Your baby may outgrow this quickly
  • It can get hot inside when wrapped

Final Word

The wrap has a number of clear advantages over the sling. The only downside being the time it takes to be able to master the wrapping technique, and to get that wrap done every time you want to strap your baby in.

Once you get the hang of it though it will become second nature.

The instant calming effect of putting your baby in a wrap will be a godsend when you just cant get your baby to stop crying, or settle them before sleep. I know that it was my go to carrier at these trying times and it worked without fail.

Some may prefer the sling, and it certainly has its place for the more casual baby wearer. For us though the wrap never let us down and it is a clear winner in this race.

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