Baby Carriers or Slings?

Updated on April 17, 2010
C.G. asks from Chicago, IL
24 answers

Any advice on baby carriers for newborns and beyond six months? Feedback on pros/cons on brands like the ERGO, Baby Bjorn, Beco and Infantino backpack carrier would be great. I'd also love to hear feedback on reasons why someone would use a sling (I'm a bit afraid to use it given the recent recall) vs. carrier. Thanks!

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So What Happened?

Wow - this is awesome... thanks for everyone's feedback! I had the Bjorn for my first baby, and while useful -- it didn't seem the most ergonomic. This info will definitely be useful in figuring out what will work best for us for our 2nd baby due in 2 months... thanks again!

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answers from Chicago on

You've gotten a ton of answers already but....I LOVED my Hotsling. I used the Bjorn with my son, and the sling is so much more versatile and comfortable I wore her until she was over 2!

As far as safety goes, slings are safe if used right. The recall involves bag slings, here is a really great post on it:

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Looooved the Ergo. It is very comfortable. My baby was at the 95-100 percentile up to this day and I found it to be great. The last time we used it was when he was around 4 months ago (2yrs old) and I think we could still use it now. I am tall so I needed something that would offset the weight more evenly through the back and into the hips, kind of like a backpack with a hip belt support. Only used my baby Bjorn once, what a waste.



answers from Chicago on

I've tried Infantino and it was small and uncomfortable. I love Baby Bjorn. I have owned 2 (I had given mine away too soon). It can be uncomfortable for children after 1 year depending on the weight of the child. I also found that if I had to use baby bjorn in the winter, I could use it better over my jacket even when the child was heavier. I switched to a lightweight stroller and it worked for me. My husband can handle wearing the bjorn with extra weight when necessary. And if the child is over 4 months, he or she can face forward. They love that. I have a friend that loves those slings. I was too worried to try those. What if you didn't tie it tight enough? Can't they fall out?

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answers from Chicago on

You got lots of great information but wanted to put in my 2 cents. I loved the ultimate baby wrap. Though it was a bit cumbersome to put on, once on it was cozy for my baby and soooo comfortable for me. It is made of stretchy t-shirt type material that you can spread across your back and distribute the weight. I bought mine at Babies R Us for $40.



answers from Chicago on

I loved my sling!! I used it from infancy to when my kids were almost four. A great resource where you could try the different products out is a store caled Be-By-Baby. It is on the corner of Lincoln and Roscoe in Chicago. I have had good experiences with the staff there because they know the pros and cons of each and help you try it on (either with your own kid or with a realistic doll-baby.) They also offer classes on using slings and carriers.

I also really don't like the Baby Bjorn because I think it is actually really bad for the baby's hips. I might be wrong about that, though.



answers from Tulsa on

I absolutely loved my backpacks buy they were not the kind that had the metal on them. I used them on both of my boys till they got too heavy. I didnt like the slings at all.



answers from Chicago on

I love my sling and I couldn't live without it. I also own a Beco, a few wraps, etc. but I love my sling, and I've been using it, even with the bad press, with a newborn. I just make sure I follow proper baby carrier rules( head must be kissable by mom, knees above butt, etc.) Why is the sling so awesome:

1. the "popability" factor cannot be beat by any other carrier system. I have a two year old, so I quickly need to be able to pop the baby into something.
2. It's just fabric, so it folds up for easy storage.
3. It best replicates being curled up in the womb, so they are "snug as a bug." Their legs prefer to be folded at first, not hanging apart.
4. Newborns sleep and sleep and sleep whenever put in the sling, so no fussy baby! and free arms to do things with older kids!

Now, when my baby hits 20 lbs, I will switch to my Mei Tei --folds up even smaller and you can do more carries with it.

I keep trying to love my backpack carrier, but I just don't.



answers from Chicago on

Hi C.,

We love our Ergo baby carrier. I still use it sometimes with my 2-year-old. I love the versatility (you can do it on front, back, and hip), and it supports the baby's weight on your hips (so it doesn't really hurt your shoulders). When my daughter was a baby, I could wear her for about 2 hours before getting tired/my back hurting. And after about 6 mos., you can wear it on the back which is even better.

I wouldn't recommend it for newborns (this is what they say at all the natural baby stores), since the infant insert is not super supportive. Two stores I've been to have recommended the Moby wrap for your baby's first 6 weeks. My husband had some success with it, but I found it annoying to have to wrap it around so many places, and it wasn't very ergonomic. Also, I think my daughter got hot in it (although she loved facing out in it when she was 3-4 mos. old).

The only reason I know why people would prefer a sling is that they're good for nursing in. I never used one, but I might with the next one for that very reason.




answers from Chicago on

Personally we owned a Bjorn. The only thing I didn't like was that it is front carrying only. It's a bit much when the baby gets bigger to have a big head and body in front of you. Other than walking around I found it difficult to DO anything with the baby in the way.

So we bought a front and back carrier also. I didn't like it as much as the Bjorn so I didn't use it much. However it was nice to keep in the car and use it as a backpack carrier when we went to the zoo and such. However the baby didn't seem to like my hair in her face and not seeing things, so again, didn't get much use. (This was when she was bigger too. Oh my achin' back!)

For our third child a friend loaned me a couple of "slings". Our baby was colicy. I think it would have been great if I had them when he was a newborn. However I started using these at about 4 mos and have mixed reviews. Because they don't hold the baby tight against your body I found it difficult to do anything when the baby was in it. However HE loved it. He would just fall asleep. Again, if it was in the beginning, colic phase, I think it would have been very handy. But as he got bigger, I didn't want him to be in the habit of sleeping in it, i.e. with me, being rocked all the time, I wanted him in his crib. I still use it to hold him under his tush when I'm outside with the other kids playing on the swingset, so that I don't have to "hold" him...but I think the slings still mean that you need to keep an arm on them. They ARE NOT hands free as much as the bjorn or backpacks. But they are quick and convenient for "supported" hold with our now 6 mo old.

NOTE: I'm not sure, but I think the recalls were due to suffocation hazards. I think if you have a breathable fabric and don't snuggle them in TOO tight, they should be fine and get plenty of air. Using the sling, I can definitely see how infants could be enclosed/snuggled and not get a lot of fresh air. Supposedly the suffocation/SIDs risks with infants are believed to be at least in part due to not getting enough fresh air or rebreathing their own carbon dioxide.

I hope this helps you. Feel free to msg me if you have other questions. We have all three products now. I have three children. My current is 6 mos old. I do not use ANY of them on a regular basis. (I kept thinking I'd LOVE one of them...but it really never happened for me.)



answers from Chicago on

Hi C.
RE the slings - not all slings are dangerous, and one would have to use caution anyway when carrying your baby. I think the Dr. Sears website has some more info on babywearing in a sling, and the do's and don'ts of it. Having said that, I bought the expensive 90 dollar Zolo sling, and didn't feel comfortable putting my newborn in it, and by the time he was a bit older he didn't seem to really like it anyway! I used it all of 3 times.
From a few days old however, my husband wore my son (not me as I was recovering from a c-section) in the Moby and loved it. But I was always checking to see that the baby had enough air around him and wasn't too scrunched up :)!
I will give a BIG thumbs up for the Ergo carrier. I love love love it. It's super comfy, and we used the infant insert for a little while as well, which just propped him up a big higher. My son has had pretty strong neck control though from earlyish on, so I felt comfortable putting him in it. I think they have a couple of different kinds of infant inserts, and I do know moms who've put their newborns in the Ergo. The only potential negative one could say about the Ergo is that you can't face baby outwards, but my son just looks to the left and the right, and sometimes adoringly up to me :). He is now 8 months old, 98%tile for height, and 70%tile for weight, and I find it comfortable on my back, there's a lot of support. The Ergo is supposed to take you through the toddler years.
Oh, one more thing - I think you can rent carriers at a fraction of the cost here in Chicago from City Slingers - if you wanted to try them out.



answers from Nashville on

They all have pros and cons and it really depends on your personal preferences. I would advise you to see if there is a babywearing group in your area- check and yahoo groups. They get together and you can actually try out other mama's slings and carriers to get a feel for them, at least that is how ours worked. And you can sometimes get good deals on used through those moms.

Personally, I hated the Bjorn- so uncomfortable, couldn't carry him for very long without my shoulders being on fire, and they are not good for baby's hips to be in them for long. Ergo is similar but baby doesn't hang from his crotch and the construction is much better for comfort. Downside to the Ergo- kinda bulky to me.

I haven't tried the others but have worn a mei tei briefly and it was more comfortable than Bjorn and not as bulky as an Ergo. I didn't use it when baby weighed much so can't comment on that part. I had a moby wrap and loved it for comfort also, but my son didn't like it after he got heavier. It is great for newborns and infants. Downside to the moby- it is time consuming to put on and bulky. Better for wearing around the house than out and about in the heat. I also had a hotsling (pouch style). Loved it when he was littler, got uncomfortable when he weighed about 15 lbs. (I think, I can't remember.). Super easy to use, great for quick errands in stores, great for using at home when baby is just too clingy and doesn't want to be set down. Downside- only one shoulder supports baby's weight, not both, so it gets uncomfortable a lot faster than a 2 shoulder carrier. Not truly "hands-free" because the one shoulder is a little bit immobilized, but not completely.

I think that sums up my opinions on those, I'm trying to be as brief as possible. As for the safety aspect, I read this article a long time ago when looking at slings, and I was so glad to see the bag slings get recalled. It explains the difference between the recalled type and a hotsling/peanut shell pouch type pretty well. The reason for the recall was that baby's head gets forced down toward their chest in the bag sling, cutting off their airway and they suffocate. The fabric does play a role, but it is more about the positioning. A pouch sling positions baby differently. It doesn't take but a minute for baby to suffocate in that position, so it is unrealistic to think that you would notice something was wrong if baby was asleep (which is a great benefit to using slings- they sleep) and not being vocal or moving around. Personally, I will still use my slings with my next baby, as far as the information goes right now that is out there. I will check again before I use one since that is likely to be a few years. But what I have read currently makes me feel they are ok. The top link is the article, the bottom is a great resource for info on babywearing in general.

Hope all that helped! Good luck :)



answers from Chicago on

I switched from a Baby Bjorn to an Ergo when my son got too heavy for me to carry in front. It was a little difficult to get on, but I used a wing-back chair: put the Ergo shoulder straps on the wings, sat in the chair, put on the waist belt, put the baby in it, then pulled on the shoulder straps and secured them. I'm a single mom, so it might be easier to use if you have someone who can help you put the baby in it. That said, I loved everything else about the Ergo. It distributes the weight well, and kept my back from hurting.

When my son was smaller, I used a Baby Bjorn, which I also loved. He really liked that he could go along looking outward at the world, while knowig that Mom was right behind him. I went solo from Chicago to madrid for a month when he was about 4 months old, and he was very happy going through all the airports looking at all the activity and excitement - and it left my hands free to deal with the luggage!

I've never used the Beco or the Infantino, so I can't comment on them. I never used a sling, because my son hated them.



answers from Chicago on

I have an Ergo and a pocket sling and had a Bjorn. In my opinion, you have to be careful about suffocation with any carrier. Even in the Bjorn or Ergo, my boys liked to hide their faces in my chest.

Definitely recommend and Ergo over a Bjorn. The Bjorn is not comfy for anyone. The Ergo has a much higher weight limit too, and is still comfy over 22 pounds which I believe is the weight limit for the Bjorn.



answers from Chicago on

I've had three: Peanut Shell, Classic Baby Bjorn, and Ergo Baby. My daughter never got comfortable in the Peanut Shell but I loved it for its simplicity. My husband and I loved the Baby Bjorn but had to upgrade to a different model as my lower back hurt when my daugher was older (9 months). I still use the Ergo and my daugher is 2 1/2! With Ergo, I tend to only carry my daugher in front but I'm sure I would use the other two positions if I'd only practice (and feel comfortable doing them). We used carriers while grocery shopping, in church, visiting dog shelters, going to Target, everywhere! At first it was because my daughter coudn't sit up on her own and it is incredibly unsafe to balance a car set on top of a shopping cart. Then, we continued to do it for the germ factor on shopping carts. Our baby was at eye level and we could talk about things and show her things as we went about our day. I think a carrier is much easier than a stroller, unless you are out and about shopping with many packages. I know Ergos are expensive but keep checking Ebay to get one for as low as you can. I am so happy with my purchase. It has been used so much I recouped the cost.



answers from Chicago on


I had the Baby Bjorn Active carrier, which is the one with lumbar support. I have always had back problems, so I paid the extra for the one with lumbar support. I LOVED using it!!!!! And so did my son! It was so liberating to not bring a stroller around all the time. It didn't hurt my shoulders or my back. It is nicely padded and well engineered to spread the weight, including through the lumbar support part. True you can't really mop or vacuum or do the dishes with it on, but that wasn't why I used it. Perhaps a different model would be better for this kind of activity. I used it for running errands, shopping, taking walks, going to the zoo, that kind of thing. Easy in, easy out, safe and comfy--and both my hands were free. And when he was really small and fussy at home, he liked being walked around in it. Good luck!!



answers from Champaign on

I used a Bjorn and a Maya Wrap with our first. With our second I am using a Moby Wrap and a Maya Wrap. The Maya Wrap is nice for when I know I am going to be out and need to nurse because I can get her in a comfortable nursing position in the sling and cover my boob with the "tail". The Moby Wrap is great for if I am going to be walking a lot it is comfortable and doesn't strain my back. I can nurse on the go in the Moby Wrap as well, but it isn't as comfortable for nursing and walking around. I didn't really like the Bjorn and am not using it this time.



answers from Albuquerque on

We had a cheap carrier (Infantino I think) when my girl was little. All the straps and clips and removable pieces were a pain! We only used it like 3 times. Since then, we have always just brought along a stroller (big one for long trips--mall, zoo, etc; little one for short trips--Walmart, bookstore, etc). Then, just a few months ago, I found a great deal on a Moby wrap... Why, oh why didn't I buy one at the beginning?? My girl is now 16 months old and it is still wonderful (we don't use it much because she prefers to walk)!! It is just one long piece of stretchy material that is rated for up to 35 pounds (but could still be used as a hip support for a bigger kid).

So... on the recall, it was on certain slings that kept baby too "folded" and the airway was blocked because their chin was tilted too far down (and what? The mom just plopped baby in there and forgot it was there??) The Moby wrap is not like that. For a newborn, the baby is held against your chest (upright) and may be adjusted to a position for breastfeeding. As they get older, they may be faced out (legs tucked or dangling), carried on the back (although you would need help to get baby in there), or carried on the hip (how we naturally hold them anyways--and how I use mine with my 16-month-old).

Getting daddy to wear it might be a problem but it is one-size-fits all, so anyone can wear it, and there are no straps to adjust or pieces to lose... and it's machine washable... So, for ~$40 I say the Moby wrap is a wonderful idea!



answers from Chicago on

I have an Ergo that I love but it's really only good for babies over 6 months or so. I had a Bjorn with my first and hated it. With my little one I got a Wrap'n'Wear that I really liked when he was tiny as he was totally inside it and would sleep instantly. I still use my Ergo with my daughter who is 3 on my back and also with my little one who is 9mo. I'd recommend going to BeByBaby on Lincoln/Roscoe/Paulina as they have a great selection, a very knowledgable staff and weighted baby dolls so you can practice. I actually went back after my son was born to figure out how to use it with him.

Love my slings... They keep your hands free and options open! They also travel really well. I have a vast array of stollers, too.



answers from Chicago on

the recall was due to a "bag type" sling. bjorn are not comfortable. there are plenty of babywearing groups out there. Be By Baby in the city has plenty of info for you. I would stick with a Maya ring sling or a mei tai ( like an ergo or babyhawk for older kids) the maya is great for the wee ones. If your child is close enough for you to kiss their head it is a proper sling. the recalled ones were NOT made properly , almost like if you stuck your kid in a grocery bag on your hip!



answers from Chicago on

I love the Maya Wrap!

I used it for 2 children. I was a distributor for a while. I also tried to use the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder and the Infantino.

The Infantino killed my back!!!

I love the Maya Wrap because it is so versitile. It does not have padding. You can spread it out over your shoulder to keep from having back pain. It is fully adjustable. You can put a new born up to, I believe, 35 lbs.

You can put the material through the rings as if you were putting it on and put it around your stroller handles to hold bags and misc. items if you don't have any room in the basket. (you will need to make sure it will not tip over when the child is not in the stroller)

If there is not a high chair available, you can put your child on a chair and put the Maya Wrap around the chair and your child to keep them secure. Of course some one will still need to supervise.

It is great for nursing! There is extra material that you can use to cover up with.

It is light weight. It fits under your jacket during winter time.

You can use it a a last minute blanket for a picnic.

The uses are endless.

I hope this helps.



answers from Chicago on

The store store Be-By-Babyon the corner of Lincoln and Roscoe in Chicago now offers a baby sling class. I just took it. It was an hour and a half and well worth it. They let you try on all the slings with weighted baby dolls. The class costs $15 but you get a $15 coupon for the store when you are done. I would recommend it.



answers from Chicago on

The baby bjorn is SO uncomfortable and hard on the back, plus the kids don't really fit it in very long. I never really liked using a sling - they're cute, but my daughter never liked it much and I was always worried about her not being able to breath in it. When she was little I LOVED the Moby wrap - she could be upright and against my body so close and snug. It was great! As she's gotten older, our favorite carrier is now the Ergo. It's so comfy on the back and shoulders (and I have major back issues), and she can go on the front or back - they can go on the back until they're like 3 years old or something, so it lasts a long time.



answers from Chicago on

I feel like I have every baby carrier on the market :) I do own a Maya wrap for a sling but hardly use it. Check out Sleepy Wrap ( - it is the best for newborns all the way up to toddlers. That said, I also had a Baby Bjorn that was a little easier to put my baby in and go, and also the Infantino backpack carrier that my husband could wear whenever we went to the park. Loved all of them. Good luck!


answers from Milwaukee on

Sorry this is going to be short because I typed a ton and DS just slapped the screen and lost it all - LOL

The Ergo and Beco are much more comfortable because they are designed to put most of the baby's weight on your hips rather than your shouldesr so you can wear them longer. Plus, they are more comfortable for the baby because they are in a sitting position rather than held at the crotch.

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