I really love to try different kinds of baby slings on the market to see if they make a good choice or not. This is one of the important aspects of the babywearing consultant’s work – being up to date and informed, and knowing the products.
From time to time, I get my hands on no-name or cheap baby slings, often in used condition, out of curiosity.
On my shelf, we find some of these wraps, ring slings, pouches, and multi-way carriers. Today I would like to talk about my experiences when trying these carriers with the eyes of a professional in babywearing.
My no-name/cheap slings
Let’s start with a ring sling. It is a no-name product often seen in 2nd hand stores, with sturdy metal rings and thick polyester fabric. I actually bought it for the rings to use them otherwise.
However, I found that this ring sling is indeed useful. Of course, it is not very snuggly, and we may not want to use it for a newborn. But it is ok for an older kid. The fabric can be fastened very well and stays in place.
The next sling I would like to introduce is a mesh-type pouch/ring sling hybrid.
When trying it, I decided I didn’t like it.. For a small baby in an upright position, it is not possible to fasten the fabric enough due to the sewn padding for the shoulder. This makes me believe that the sling was made for the cradle position. However, since the cradle position isn’t seen as optimum for various reasons (see my previous post) I think buying this sling is a waste of money.
Lately, I found a mesh wrap online, which looked like a stretchy wrap on the pictures. When getting it out of the plastic bag, I saw that it wasn’t as stretchy as the wraps I know! It was made of 100% polyester and was so so slippery! I had a tough time even wrapping my doll which isn’t moving at all. Another point was that my fingernails get caught in the fabric all the time.
This wrap went back immediately. I purchased it on Amazon for around 2000 Yen, and it almost only had good reviews. I am wondering if the reviewers had the same wrap..
Then I got a 5-way carrier from Mercari from a more or less known brand. However, it is an older model, and I purchased it as an Onbuhimo.
The pictures weren’t clear, and when I got it, I was a little bit disappointed since it is not very well designed. The five positions are cradle carry, face inward, face outward, piggyback, and cuddle position, whatever the difference between face-inward and cuddle is. In the face-outward position, the spread squat position isn’t given. It is a narrow-based carrier, which is, in my opinion, even more uncomfortable for the baby than the narrow-based Baby Björn.
When putting the baby in the face-inward position, the spread squad position is only given after some adjustments. When doing so, however, the baby is hanging very low in front of the caregiver, which can cause problems with the air supply if the caregiver has more or less big breasts. Also, the baby’s back isn’t very well supported, and I don’t think it is good for newborns. This carrier comes at a purchase price of 6600 Yen.
I am usually the type who loves small brands and startups, and this is the reason why I continue to try new products even from unknown brands.
However, I think it is very important to thoroughly check the carriers. How they are designed, how they are produced, and what kind of materials are used.
High quality carriers of small brands do not have to be more pricey than big brands. Often, they come even cheaper because they are more minimalistic (compare LIMAS and Ergobaby, for example).
A bit of advice I would love to give is, please check the website of the baby carrier brand. What kind of information are given about babywearing?
If you only find information on the carrier, how it should be worn, and the price, I would be cautious. If the brand has a blog and talks about babywearing in general, if it has a nicely written story of how they started their business, if they are designing their carriers following a healthy development (square-squat-position), it is a good sign.
If the carriers are tested (material tests under different weighted conditions), this is also a plus for the brand.
Some small brands have all these but are selling their carriers for newborns up until toddler age, even though the carrier is not completely adjustable.
Make sure you can adjust the carrier in the panel width for newborns and the panel isn’t too wide in the area of the upper back. The back of the baby should be well supported and allow a slight curve in the shape of a “J”. The airways should always be free. Another plus is the missing front-outward facing position. Here, the brand is putting the baby before the needs of the parents by taking over-stimulation into consideration and ask the parents to use hip carry or back carry instead of front forward-facing.
So.. can I use a cheap no-name wrap for my baby?
In most cases, these wraps are, sorry, ready for the trash. However, there are some surprises in the low-budget area like the ring slings from Amazonas or small brands like Indajani for wraps. And it is always worth checking if all security points are fulfilled by the chosen carrier/sling/wrap 🙂