Best Baby Slings

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

32 Models Considered
22 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
224 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best baby slings

Last Updated December 2019

Whether it's for convenience, to promote bonding, or to have more baby snuggles, a baby sling allows you to carry your baby hands-free. A sling is ideal for keeping your baby close to you while you fix yourself a snack, run around after your older child, or shop in a tightly packed store.

Just a quick internet search will pull up thousands of makes and models, so how do you find the best baby sling to meet your requirements?

First, you need to learn more about baby slings, which is where this in-depth guide comes in handy. We've also picked out our favorite baby slings for your perusal, any of which could be the perfect fit for you and your little one.

Baby slings let you get on with day-to-day tasks (like eating with both hands!) without the need to put your baby down. This is great news for parents of fussy infants.

Types of baby slings

Wrap sling

Wrap slings are essentially long strips of soft, slightly stretch fabric that can be wrapped around your torso in a number of different ways to create a sling for your baby. Although they're highly versatile and often inexpensive, they can be hard to put on at first, which puts some parents off.

Ring sling

Like wrap slings, ring slings consist of a long, wide strip of material. However, ring slings have two metal rings that you use to secure the sling in a loop shape. You wear a ring sling over one shoulder, and you can either put your baby in an upright position or a reclined position for nursing. Ring slings are much simpler than wrap slings, but they are less versatile, too.

Pouch sling

Although not as widely available as other types of slings, pouch slings have a dedicated following. They're extremely simple to use: they just go over one shoulder, and there's already a folding pouch to support your baby. Pouch slings are not the most versatile option, and they aren't one-size-fits-all like other types are, so you'd need to size up as your baby grows.

Soft-structured sling

Soft-structured slings look much like wrap slings when you're wearing one, but they have a rectangular part at the front to support your baby's back and bottom and long strips of fabric coming from each corner. You simply position the rectangular part, tie the fabric strips around your neck and waist, and you're ready to go.

Soft and secure

Thanks to the proprietary blend of French cotton and spandex, the CuddleBug Baby Wrap Ergo Carrier Sling is extremely soft and comfortable for both you and your baby. It's suitable for use from birth, and your baby can be positioned either facing inward toward you or outward to look around. You can select from a choice of eight colors.

Considerations for selecting a baby sling

How old is your baby?

Check that your chosen sling is suitable for the age of your child. You can use some slings from birth right through to toddlerhood. Others have shorter shelf lives. Some slings are suitable for newborns, but only from a certain weight upward — and so might be unsuitable for the tiniest of babies. Even if a manufacturer declares a baby sling suitable for newborns, you must double-check that the sling allows your baby to be carried with their legs in the M-position. Also known as the frog position or spread-squat position, this is when your baby's thighs are spread around your torso with their hips bent and their knees a little higher than their bottom, with the whole of their thighs supported by material. If your sling doesn't allow for the M position, it could be highly detrimental to the child’s hip health and even cause hip dysplasia.

How easy is it to use?

You might like the idea of a wrap sling, but when you're trying to do fabric origami with an eight-foot length of cotton while soothing a screaming baby, you may change your mind. We recommend choosing a sling that you're confident with. If you pick one that's a bit more complex to put on, remember that practice makes perfect. It's a wise idea to practice before the baby arrives or, if the child has already been born, practice when you don't need to be anywhere in a hurry.

Is it adjustable?

Some baby slings can easily be adjusted to suit parents of all shapes and sizes. This is a huge bonus when both parents intend to use the same sling. Highly adjustable models also tend to be better at accommodating children of different sizes, which is great if you plan to use a sling well into your child's toddlerhood.

Does the baby ride in front or in back?

The majority of baby slings are designed to be used with your baby in front of you, either facing inward or outward. However, you can also use some slings for back carrying, so your baby is positioned behind you, looking forward with their front to your back. Although front carrying is more popular, especially for young babies, if you want to have the choice to carry your little one on your back, check that it's possible with your chosen sling.

EXPERT TIP

Check for tears or weak spots in your baby sling before each use to be certain it's safe for your child.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If you live in a warmer climate, we strongly recommend choosing a sling made of a breathable material. It will help both you and your baby stay more comfortable.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

A quality baby sling will position your baby's legs and hips in an ergonomically sound position.


Staff  | BestReviews

Baby sling prices

What's great about baby slings is that they're reasonably priced, especially when compared to the cost of a high-end stroller. Basic baby slings start at around $20 to $30, mid-range options retail between $30 and $50, and high-end slings cost roughly $50 to $80.

Tips

  • Check what material your chosen baby sling is made of. Cotton or a cotton/spandex blend is a common choice. You can also find slings made of bamboo and other sustainable materials.

  • Decide whether you want your baby to be forward-facing or rear-facing. Do you want to face your baby inward toward out? Outward facing the world? Or do you want the option to do both?

  • Pick a baby sling that's easy to keep clean. Babies aren't shy about bodily fluids! Ideally, your chosen sling should be machine washable and dryer-friendly.

  • Consider the folded size of your baby sling. If you want the option to switch to a sling on the go, it should fold down small enough to toss in a diaper bag and head out.

Unbeatable value

Although it isn't the cheapest baby sling on the market, we think the Boba Baby Wrap Carrier offers exceptional value due to its high quality. It's made from 95% soft cotton terry with 5% spandex to provide enough stretch for comfortable and secure carrying. It's extremely well-made and likely to last through multiple babies, should you decide to have more.

Other products we considered

Picking just a few of our favorite baby slings was tough. Although we love all the choices on our shortlist, we came across some other models during our research that deserve an honorable mention.

The RosyBaby Lite-On-Shoulder Ring/Pouch Hybrid Baby Sling is part ring sling, part pouch sling. It's perfect for cradling a young baby close or wearing an older baby on your hip.

With its soft-structured design, the Boppy ComfyFit Baby Carrier is similar to a wrap sling but easier to get on and off. It maintains the M-position necessary for newborns.

We also love the Pura Vida Slings Luxury Ring Sling — a classic ring sling made from soft bamboo and linen.

Baby slings are excellent for taking your child where strollers can't go.

FAQ

Q. What is the TICKS rule?

A. The TICKS rule is essentially a checklist for safe use of a baby sling or other baby carrier. This is what TICKS stands for:

  • Tight: A sling should hug your baby close to you. Your baby's body shouldn't be slumping due to loose material.

  • In view at all times: You should be able to see your baby's face when glancing down. It should be tilted up toward you, and there shouldn't be any material closed in around it.

  • Close enough to kiss: Position your baby's head as close to your chin as is comfortable. You should be close enough to kiss your baby's forehead when you tip your head down.

  • Keep chin off chest: Your baby's head shouldn't be tucked in with their chin on their chest, as this could impede breathing.

  • Supported back: A sling should support your baby's back so it's in a natural position — not slumped down, which could partially close their airway.
     

Q. Can I nurse my baby in a sling?

A. Yes, it's possible to nurse your baby in the majority of slings, although some mothers find it too awkward to manage. If you do nurse your baby in a sling, you must always return the child to a regular upright position once feeding is done.

Q. How long can my baby stay in a sling?

A. As long as your baby is comfortable and in the correct ergonomic position, there's really no limit on sling time. If course, you'll need to remove the child every few hours for feeds (unless you nurse in the sling) and diaper changes, and the baby should sleep in a crib at night. That said, you shouldn't keep your baby in a sling all day every day, as babies need tummy time and other forms of stimulation.

The team that worked on this review
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

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