Our seven month old Ava Grace, loves being carried around like a little koala bear and during these last months I have tried and tested a few baby carriers and slings. So I thought it might be useful sharing my review and experiences with four carriers and slings, in particular, one modern carrier, one ring sling, one carrier hybrid and a no knot sling.
Baby Björn – Baby Carrier One Air
Originating from Sweden and developed with pediatricians, these baby carriers are the leaders in their field for a reason, and I believe are a must have for new parents who are considering baby wearing.
The materials used to construct the carrier are free from harmful substances and approved for baby use by the Oeko-Tex Standards. The reason I like this carrier compared to others in the same category, is that it uses airology, a fancy way to say that the material it is made of is an airy mesh, which is non toxic and lets air flow through without overheating baby or parent. The material feels soft against mine, and our baby’s delicate skin and is resilient enough to withstand daily wear and tear and washing (you can pop it into the washing machine on a gentle 40 degree cycle to clean it).
I also like that the material is crease proof and colour fast, so it won’t fade. I used it recently on a trip to Paris and put the baby carrier through security check in conveyor belt (without a tray), left it on the floor of a cafe, carried it all through Paris and even though it is a light violet lavender in colour, it did not get one stain and didn’t crease. I was quite surprised as I thought that there would be at least a mark or discoloration. Therefore the stain resistance of the material should be noted. I have also used it on London’s underground and I did get slightly warm with it on standing still for a long period during peak hour, however after moving around it cooled down quickly. Although I couldn’t imagine how overheated I would have felt without the air mesh material.
It is simple to put on, the fiddly bit is adjusting the straps to your comfort level, my husband and I are different heights and weights (obviously!) so we need to change it when we wear it. It doesn’t take long, as you slide it over your head as if you were putting on a t-shirt then tighten or loosen the sides, there is a good instructional video here. I usually have one side fastened and slide Ava in it for now as she is still small enough to do so.
It is recommended to adjust the back strap to your comfort level to avoid tension on your back and make sure the belt harness is secured properly. The inside seat is adjustable by zips and babies can sit in the normal leg or wide position depending on height. The seat is also adjustable by height with easy to use zips on the inside. As with all Baby Björn carriers, the carrier has been acknowledged to be ‘hip-healthy’ by The International Hip Dysplasia, which means that your baby’s hips are supported and it encourages good hip joint development.
The carrier has a combination of four different front and back carrying positions. It is recommended facing your baby towards you, when below 5 months of age and then you can choose to face your baby inwards or outwards afterwards when they can support their own head. At approximately 12 months you can start to carry them on your back. The Baby Carrier One Air can be used from birth to 36 months (or 3 years) with a maximum weight of 15kgs. Find more about the new #BeYouBabyBjörn collection here.
Pros: keeps the baby secure and safe with the buckles and padding, doesn’t get overly hot due to the mesh material, multiple baby wearing positions including front facing, good for long walks or hikes, material doesn’t stain or fade, great for rigorous adventures
Cons: more expensive than the traditional baby carriers, a little more bulky to carry around and store (this model does not come with a storage bag however other models like the Baby Carrier One Outdoors does come with a carry bag) and due to the padding the baby doesn’t sit as close to you as he or she would in a sling
Mezaya Baby – Ring Sling Wrap
Handmade locally in Devon, England, these linen slings have one ring in which the fabric slides through and then you tighten to secure it. The linen is lightweight, breathable and can be used in warmer or cooler months. The carrier comes in one size and is adjustable. There is a knack to feeding the fabric through the aluminum ring to get the right angle to form the seat, however after watching the instructional video it becomes a little easier to put on and pratice makes perfect.
The linen fabric is nice and thick, so it feels snug and is naturally hypoallergenic, anti-allergenic and anti-bacterial. It comes in an array of soft colours from London Light Grey to Devon Rose Pink. I really like using this sling for shorter distances such as when I pop down to the shops to grab a coffee or run errands, and wearing it around the house as it is so light and comfortable, Ava loves falling asleep in it with gentle rocking. The fabric means that the sling also has multiple purposes, my baby can dribble on it, you can use it to soak up mess and it is machine washable. It also arrives in a handy drawstring storage bag. The compactness of it means you can take it anywhere with you especially when travelling.
It can be used from newborn stage to toddler age and the maximum recommended weight is 15kg. Find out more about the sling here.
Pros: as with most traditional slings the baby sits close to you, soft breathable fabric, array of colours to choose from, it is cost effective, and it is lightweight which makes it easy to take with you particularly when travelling and light so easy to store away
Cons: a little hard to get into and set up at the beginning, doesn’t feel as secure as the modern or hybrid carriers, good for short periods but not longer
Cybex – Yema Carrier Koi
Cybex originates from Germany, and have designed a carrier that is very unique, as the Yema carrier sits in between a modern baby carrier and a sling. Cybex love collaborations with leading industry designers, for example, they have partnered with fashion designer Jeremy Scott, creative director at Moschino and renowned interior designer Marcel Wanders, for some of their collections. Therefore it is no surprise the Yema Carrier has placed design at the forefront, and this carrier has an intricate embroidered Japanese Koi fish to symbolise ‘crystallized, calmness, strength and happiness’ and makes quite a statement.
There are three different carrying positions:
- Front carry position – from birth
- Hip carry position – from around 3 months
- Back carry position – from around 6 months
All of which promote a natural spread squat position that is important for your baby’s hip development and is certified ‘hip healthy’ by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
When putting on the Yema, firstly you need to ensure you adjust the internal panel to your baby’s age and size, there is a handy reference table that comes with the instructions, then wrap the belt strap around your waist and click in place. After that, I place my baby on my chest and with the other hand pull over the front and throw the ties over my back, criss-cross them and wrap around my waist, under her legs, and tie a secure knot to finish. There is a great instructional video here.
It’s also worth noting that the support for the baby feels more secure than the other sling designs we tested, which tend to stretch/bounce due to their fabric, the Cybex Yema is more sturdy in design due to the padded sides, and I found it better for more rigorous duties versus a traditional sling. The carrier is also machine washable. I carried Ava around shopping in the Yema for a couple of hours, wore it to a baby sensory class and also went for long walks in the front carry position and she felt very secure and supported. There was no tension on my back neither which was fantastic.
The fabric feels very plush and is soft against my skin. I particularly like the attention to detail in the design, for example the black plastic waist buckle is hidden by fabric, the end of the ties are finished with a faux leather and the embroidered design has varying textures. There is a slight sheen on the grey outer fabric which all add to the luxury element of the carrier and pushes it towards a fashion statement.
The Cybex Yeema Carrier is suitable from birth to two years approx (approximately 3.5 – 12kg). Find out more about the Cybex Yeema Carrier Koi here.
Pros: very comfortable to wear for an extended period of time, padded sides to keep baby secure, easy to store in its own carry bag, attention to detail in design of carrier, great for cooler climates due to padding which offers more protection from wind and cold
Cons: more expensive then a traditional sling, takes a little while to work out how to adjust and put it on in the beginning, the material back ties are rather long and I kept stepping on them while putting the carrier on, you can’t have the baby facing forwards when in the front position, not great for hotter climates given thicker fabric
Studio Romeo – Baby Carrier
These sling carriers originate from France and are everything you would expect from the French, sophisticated, minimalist and just cool. These slings are one of my favourites for ease of use. This baby carrier consists of two pieces of organic cotton that slide on over your head diagonally on each shoulder, and then you slide the baby in and that is it, and the instructions can be found here. The fabric is also machine washable on a 30 degree gentle cycle although personally a cold wash is recommended as cotton can shrink very easily.
No buckles, ties, excess fabrics or knots. The designs are minimalist, geometric and modern. As with the Mezaya sling mentioned above, I tend to use this sling for shorter distances like shopping or a Sunday walk. It is perfect for the warmer months as the fabric is breathable and light. Although you can still use it in the cooler months if you rug baby up in an outdoor winter suit.
As with the above sling, these are great for newborns as they mimic the comfort of the womb and baby is snug next to your heart beat in a little cocoon which they love, and this means you can also wear them around the house while doing things and baby usually goes to sleep easily with the warmth and proximity to your heart beat. The canvas storage pouch it comes in is very cute, and it is also very light weight which means you can take it anywhere with you. Find out more about the Studio Romeo sling here.
Pros: easier to setup that most traditional slings, cost effective, organic cotton material, the baby sits close to you, feels more secure than the traditional sling, great for use on quick trips, around the house and when travelling as easy to pack and light
Cons: not as comfortable using it for long periods of times such as a hike, the baby sits closer to you which is nice but on a hot day can get a little warm, the material is thin and stretchy so for longer periods of use I prefer the modern or hybrid carriers as I think they provide better support for the baby
I hope you found this review helpful and would like to know your feedback on the above baby carrier and slings or other baby carriers on the market. Feel free to leave me any questions which I happy to answer.
*The views expressed here are my own after independently reviewing each carrier and sling.
Kerstin // Lux Mumma