Part 2: Slings, Wraps, Mei-Tais, Soft-Structured Carriers: What’s the Difference?

The second in a series of different kinds of baby carriers, we’ll talk about:


  • Knit (stretchy) Wrap: Probably the simplest-constructed, most traditional baby carrier out there, a wrap is a long piece of fabric, oftentimes with a center marker, that is wrapped in a variety of ways around the wearer to achieve a variety of holds. Very versatile. Different ties will create different carries. Knit wraps are stretchy and great for newborns, but can become quite saggy once the baby weighs more than about 15 pounds.
    -Knit wrap examples: Moby Wrap, Sleepy Wrap (now Boba Wrap)
  • Woven Wrap: The same as a knit wrap, only constructed from woven material engineered especially for wrap usage, it has only minimal, diagonal stretch. Woven wraps provide great support for heavier babies and are very versatile.
    -Woven wrap examples: Didymos Woven Wrap, Girasol Woven Wrap, BBSlen Woven Wrap, Storchenwiege Woven Wrap, Wrapsody

Wraps are great for:

  • tiny babies: because it’s possible to get a nice snug carry with a wrap, they’re great for squishy newborns who need the support of the fabric. It’s also easy to nurse in a wrap.
  • versatility: wraps are probably the most versatile carriers out there. There are so many ways to tie a wrap that you’re sure to find a carry (or several) that works for you and your baby.
  • extended useability: the versatility of a wrap (esp. a woven) makes it possible to really only have one carrier and use it from the birth of your baby until the end of your babywearing days.
  • expressing yourself with color: there is a beautiful and dazzling selection of choices out there when it comes to wraps. Many wrap devotees have a hard time choosing just one color-way, and so they don’t! Don’t be surprised to learn that a wrap-devoted friend of yours has a stash of multiple wraps. And you better believe she uses them all.

Wraps have some drawbacks:

  • stretchy wraps will work best with little, lightweight babies. Once a baby gets bigger, they will begin to sag in a knit wrap, which isn’t comfortable to the wearer or the baby.
  • there’s a pretty steep learning curve to using a wrap, particularly when it comes to some of the more complicated ties.
  • it can be hard to keep the wrap from dragging on the ground when getting your baby on outside , which means wet, muddy or snowy fabric if it’s less than lovely out.
  • it’s not the fastest way to get your baby on you. In order to ensure a snug hold, each carry requires that your retie your wrap. No poppability here.