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Pouches, Slings, SaYas, Wraps, Oh My!: Choosing The Best Baby Carrier For You

I get this question all the time: “Which one is the best baby carrier?”

I don’t have one answer to this question because, if you have read my blog long enough, I use all of the ones I own. ALL. Without exception. Sometimes my only criteria for choosing the baby carrier I’m packing for the day is if it’s clean.

Choosing a carrier is really a matter of preference. There is no one perfect carrier for all mothers and for all babies because we are all different, and then factor in the different permutations of mother-baby combinations and what do you have? Insanity. Haha.

I can, however, share my own personal insights on which carrier was suitable for myself and Basti for different situations and different times in our lives. I hope some of my thoughts help somewhat in choosing the carrier (or carriers) you would like to try for your babies. All carriers I mention below are suitable for newborns to toddlers.

1. The SaYa Carrier

The SaYa has been, without a doubt, my most talked-about carrier in my blog. It was the first one I got really comfortable with after all, so it will always have a special place in my diaper bag.
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I like this because:

  • It’s lightweight and easy to tote around. Even if all you have is your purse, it’ll fit! The Versatekk dries easily and is great for traveling and the beach.
  • It’s relatively easy to put on (once you get the hang of it) and totally easy to take off.
  • Can be worn for longer periods because of the criss-cross support of the two interlocked slings.
Best for:
  • Kangaroo carry
  • Front-carry, facing inwards
  • Napping

2. The Ring Sling

It took me a while to get the hang of the ringsling, particularly threading it right and knowing how to fix a little knot once I was wearing Basti already. I found the best trick was to get the edges of the tail and pull them out, sideways.

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I like this because:
  • Very versatile with all holds without needing assistance from another person
  • Adjustable; truly a carrier that will never be outgrown
Best for:
  • Newborns – I find the ring sling’s flexibility is great for the cradle and front-carry (facing towards the chest, tummy-to-tummy) for newborn babies
  • Breastfeeding – It’s easy to fit a child, even as a toddler (with legs out one end) in a cradle hold and walk while breastfeeding. Use the tail as a cover.
  • Napping – For children who like to nap in a cradle hold, the ring sling is perfect. Basti still does this now with his legs hanging out from one end.
  • Hip-carrying and back-carrying toddlers

3. The Pouch

This was my very first carrier, but I didn’t use one regularly until I bought my second pouch (the green and beige one), because I got the blue and brown one in a size too small. Lucky OC Mom in Manila is the proud babywearing owner of that one now.

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I like this because:
  • It’s simple to use, with hardly any adjustment needed
  • Great for traveling, quick to put on and take off
  • Folds flat, easy to pack. Great for traveling.
Best for:
  • Kangaroo carry
  • Hip carrying bigger children
  • Short trips and places where you think you may have to quickly wear and un-wear your child.

4. The Wrap

The most recent carrier to join my stable, the wrap was one carrier I never thought I would use. The availability of a local version changed my mind.

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I like this because:
  • It’s so secure and really feels safe.
Best for:
  • Situations where you don’t need to take baby in and out a lot, unless you’re ok walking around wearing it. The long yards of fabric make it a bit of a trouble to take off and put on again. My main concern is that I don’t like the cloth dragging on the germ-ridden floor of, say, the supermarket.
  • Napping
  • Can be worn for longer periods because of the criss-cross support, like the SaYa.
  • Front-carry, facing out. The extra band offers a bit more support.
  • Newborns (so safe and snuggly really!)
  • Cooler places (all the layers can be a little warm)
So there you have it. I hope my personal thoughts help somewhat in choosing a carrier for you and your child. As always, if you need any help, just leave a note and I’ll try to offer you some more suggestions or bug the babywearing goddesses if you guys have any inquiries. Happy babywearing!

Don’t forget to join Caleb’s Closet giveaway of a Bailey Wrap! Registration will be open till October 27!

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Comments

  1. manilamommy says:

    love this list and love all the pics!!! i wish i tried the sling with dw while he was still a baby, my gulay kinarga lang namin sya ever :D now i know better!

  2. I love baby wearing!
    I used my next 9 ring sling the longest though; so easy to use, and it gave a real good fit. I also used the pouch when I found the right size for me (Thank you, Blissful Babes!)
    I had hoped to use a Moby wrap, similar to that Bailey one featured here, but I never got around to ordering one. Good thing there’s this local version!

  3. Ceemee says:

    As of now, I only have a ring sling from Mamaway. I am still struggling with it though because my newborn is so fragile and I am scared to put her in. Plus, the cradle hold kind of molds my baby’s body to mine so she looks like she’s bent like a crescent sideways.

    • Eliza says:

      Your baby will be somehow bent sideways, in a fetal position as a newborn. I can’t tell how to adjust until I see a pic. Do you have one?

      Fear is the number one reason why parents hesitate to wear their newborn baby. All you need is a bit of information and confidence. You can do it! :)

      • Ceemee says:

        Thanks! I’ll send you a photo when I wear her again. And would you know what are the ideal situations to wear the baby? It sometimes is tedious to put her in and then take her out again to breastfeed. Although I haven’t tried wearing her out of the house yet. Coz I just stay at home and haven’t gone out yet. :-)

        • Eliza says:

          Ideal situation? Hmm let me see. I’ve worn Basti at home, while walking at the mall, doing groceries, doing breastfeeding talks, during meetings, buying meat, riding a tricycle, while showering.. so my answer to that is, the ideal situation to babywearing is practically ANY situation.

          Once you get the hang of adjusting your sling, it only takes a few seconds to put your baby in and put her back again. With a ring sling, you don’t even have to take her out!

  4. mymommyology says:

    You know I never thought of myself as the baby-wearing kind. My first experience with the ring sling was horrible: Sam fell out (on the bed lang but still), the ring hurt and my back constantly ached etc etc etc…

    Now though I feel I can’t live without it – with Jamie. I need both hands free if it’s just me with both kids. I wonder where my K’Tan fits though, since it’s a cross between the pouch and the moby wrap. Yon naman it made wearing easy kasi I didn’t need to tie anything but the supportting tela. And it’s easy to spread out the cloth para even distribution ang weight niya. Masakit pa rin likod ko, but I suppose that won’t ever go away! Haha.

  5. Jess says:

    Hi! I have a Maya ring sling which I’ve been using during our well-baby checkups. Mostly, it has been the cradle carry for my baby since she’s just newborn, but now at 3 mos I’m trying to experiment on other positions. Some Qs:

    How do you do the tummy-to-tummy? What would be the position of baby’s legs inside the sling?

    Is it safe for baby’s legs to be hanging out when mobile & breastfeeding? How to do this and not have slack in the wrap?

    Can’t seem to get the hang of front carry (facing inwards, legs out). My baby can already hold her head up but maybe she’s still too little for this?

    Lastly, she doesn’t like to be carried kangaroo style for too long…tips?

    Sorry for having lots of Qs, first time mom..hehe :)

    • Eliza says:

      Hi Jess! I’m going to write you an email ok? :) Haba eh! I’d also like to see pics of you wearing your baby so I can more or less gauge on what tips to give you.

  6. Jing says:

    Excellent!!! May I ask where we can find these?

    Thanks,
    Jing

    • Eliza says:

      For the SaYa and pouches, check out the SaYa FB page (search for SaYa carrier) or check out resellers like indigomanila.multiply.com or fabnaima.multiply.com. The SaYa is slso available at Babyland or the Momtrepreneur booth at Shangrila Mall.

      I get my ringslings from Next9. They have an FB page too. They also sell their slings at SM department store.

      The Bailey pouch is available through their FB page, Bailey’s Comfort.

      Happy shopping!

  7. Cheska says:

    Hi..Could I still use a sling for an almost 2 year old toddler? He gets so heavy sometimes and I could use a free hand :)

  8. Chris says:

    i wish i had used this one my kids! :)

  9. Nancy says:

    Hi, I bought a ring sling for my 6 week old son. I think I’m doing something wrong with the positioning of his feet. They’re supposed to be in a frog position pero parang nahihirapan siya and I’m afraid I might break his legs (paranoid lang) and might put pressure on his feet, lalo na kung matagal. Do you have tips for placing the newborn’s feet in the sling? Thanks!

  10. DarkHalf says:

    Hi Elai!

    Hahaha, thanks for this post. I didn’t use any of these cloth-type carriers with Quad, coz he was such a big baby (we couldn’t fit together in the Saya VTB size 1, and we were at their showroom mismo when I was trying the carrier out!!! And I’m only a size 0 dapat). We ended up buying a Baby Bjorn carrier which both Quad and I preferred to use. On my part, I loved it because it had lumbar support, which I greatly needed since he was a very, very big (and, Oh Lord, heavy) baby.

    Since Teej and I are having baby #2 soon, I am looking at cloth carriers again because the shaped-carrier is not meant to be used for newborns, and I would prefer to have some kind of support carrying the baby this 2nd time around. I bought a Saya SSK small already, but after a few tries with it, I think it’s really not meant for me. I think I will buy a ring sling and use that instead (decision further cemented by your post recommendations above), since the rings will make it easier for me to adjust to the size of the baby without worrying that she’s too cramped or too tight. :D Hay, sana this time around I will get used to carrying the baby around in a cloth carrier. :)

  11. Christine says:

    Hi everyone.
    I’m a first time mom also. I want to wear my baby but im afraid that i wont wear here properly. i’m also confused as to what carrier to use as there are so many. She’s already four months now and I though of buying a baby pouch so that I can just take her in and out if she gets cranky. But everyone is voting for the ring slings. I’m totally confused as what to get na! Im 5’2″ and petite.

    Is the ring sling better then than the pouch?

    Please help..

    thanks,

    Christine

    • Eliza says:

      My opinion is there really is no one sling that’s good for every one. At the end of the day, it’s really your choice, as I said in my post. I use different carriers for different purposes. On top of my most versatile list is the ring sling, and on top of my most convenient list is the pouch. Some people don’t like the adjustment of the ringsling, while others swear by it. Others have a hard time finding a good fit with a pouch and opt for the ringsling instead. Different strokes for different babywearing folks, I say. :)

  12. lynette says:

    Hi! I’ve been reading a lot about babywearing and I got really interested that I want to purchase one. But I’m a little confused on what to buy. My researching made my choices vast. I’ve been eyeing the Saya, the Bailey wrap and the K’tan. I actually want a carrier that me and my husband could both use. So that he will see that it’s a good deal, haha, and maybe he’ll buy me another one. But I also want one that not too hot for the baby considering the weather here in the Philippines and something where I can breastfeed just about anywhere. Kindly help me. I really don’t know anyone who babywears. thanks so much! :)

    • Eliza says:

      Hi Lynette! Are you and your husband more or less the same size? The SaYa and K’Tan are sized, so some couples find it hard to share one between them. If you want a carrier you can share, my vote would be the ringsling.

      • lynette says:

        Thank you! Sadly we don’t fall on the same size..Well, maybe I can buy 2 carriers since I really want to have a Saya,haha. Thanks for your suggestion. I was really helpful.
        :)

  13. lynette says:

    ;)

  14. Jenny Pearl Clapano says:

    Hi! Where did you buy that ring sling?

  15. MJ Matias says:

    Hello, where can I buy these carriers po?

    • Eliza says:

      Hi MJ! There are many sellers online and instore. You can contact SaYa and view their retailers on Facebook. Same for next9 ringslings and Bailey Wrap. If you want a more comprehensive list, join the Facebook group, Filipino Association of Babywearers, and you will find a list of carrier sellers on the pinned post on the top of the group page. :)

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