Mom-Tested Baby Slings & Carriers

We put 15 carriers and slings to the test. Check out what our mommy testers had to say, and find the one that's right for your bambino.

  • Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling

    You know that a baby carrier is a new-mom must-have, with magical baby-soothing powers and the ability to give you your hands back. (Finally!) But there are so many to choose from -- which one should you pick?


    We looked at virtually every carrier on the market before we narrowed the field to 15 to test. We asked real moms to put them through the paces -- nursing, taking walks, even unloading the dishwasher (if they felt it was safe). Here's what worked and what didn't:


    What It Is: A long piece of fabric that's threaded through rings to make a pouch for baby.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 35 pounds

    Price: $55.95

    Why We Love It: There's extra padding on the shoulder (where you need it most) and we like the built-in pocket that just fits your keys and a few bucks for those quick trips out.

    One Thing We'd Change: Both of our testers thought this sling had just too much fabric and in some positions, was too long. It's available in four sizes, but the ranges are pretty broad: Small fits people under 5'2", Medium fits 5'2" to 5'9", Large is over 5'9", and Extra Large fits a large frame.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "I could easily bend down to help one of my toddlers, but I wouldn't wear this sling while unloading dishes or doing laundry -- it didn't feel that secure. I love the video demonstrations on the Maya Wrap web site, and also like that the sling goes up to her shoulder blades and keeps her snug against me." -- Cindy (shown), Minneapolis, Minnesota; mom to Julia, 9 months, 17 pounds


    "I thought the Maya Wrap was beautiful, and I loved the idea of carrying my baby in it, but it didn't work at all for Kara. It doesn't allow any room for movement, and she'd scream until I took her out. The fabric is gorgeous and machine washable, but with a baby as "healthy" (approximately 16 pounds) as mine, I wouldn't feel completely comfortable wearing it without also supporting her with my arm." -- Bree, Indianapolis, Indiana; mom to Kara, 3 months, 16 pounds

  • Moby Wrap

    What It Is: One long piece of material, which you fashion into a sling with the help of an instructional video. There are seven different single baby holds, plus two for twins.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 35 pounds

    Price: $39.95-$44.95

    Why We Love It: There are no rings, seams or clasps to dig into your skin -- or baby's. Also, the fabric is so soft and the weight so evenly distributed, it's one of the most comfortable wraps we've tried (for single babies, at least). And it's great for newborns all the way up to toddlers.

    One Thing We'd Change: Even though the included instructions and online video clip are straightforward, you really have to carve out some time to master the many holds. Our mom of twins wasn't impressed.

    What Real Moms Say:

    "I really loved the Moby Wrap. I have a BabyBjorn and also a WalaBaby sling but I prefer this wrap -- it's the most comfortable and can be worn in many positions. I wore the wrap for the better part of an afternoon, and I was surprised at how comfy it was. I took a walk, dried dishes, folded laundry, watched TV, and nursed in the wrap (which was easy to do because the wrap keeps the baby so close to you)." -- Stephanie, Elmhurst, Illinois; mom to Josie, 4 months, 13.5 pounds


    "With twins, I need things to be easy. It takes some effort to tie on the Moby and takes a couple minutes to get the fabric in place before you can put a baby in. I thought there was too much fabric and the sling would be bulky in my diaper bag. Actually, it felt bulky to even wear. There is a twin hold, but my twins wouldn't tolerate their legs being squished and pressed against one another -- they both cried while in the Moby." -- Alexis (shown), Maple Valley, Washington; mom to twins Evan (shown) and Greta, 7 weeks, 8 pounds, 6 ounces and 7 pounds, 5 ounces respectively

  • Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Pouch

    What It Is: A sling pouch with four snap settings so you can adjust its size. It can be worn in five positions.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 25 pounds for mesh; up to 40 pounds for fleece

    Price: $62.00-$66.00

    Why We Love It: Adjustments only take a few seconds -- and because it can be made to fit baby's (and your) ever-changing body, this one's great for the brand-new mom.

    One Thing We'd Change: This sling is so great for little ones -- too bad you have to retire it when your baby becomes a toddler.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "Samira likes it. She doesn't cry getting in or out, and seems very comfortable in the mesh carrier. I like how she seems to fit inside well, and it definitely feels safe and secure. Also, it fits my body perfectly and was easy to adjust." -- Sudha (shown), Brooklyn, New York; mom to Samira, 7 weeks, 9 pounds, 12 ounces


    "The fleece sling was very user friendly. I could just throw it around me, drop the baby in, and quickly make adjustments. The broad fabric panel that goes around the back made it more comfortable than other slings I've tried. I didn't have any neck/shoulder strain, but because Audrey was off to the side, I felt some strain on one side. It was very comfortable for Audrey, and fit snugly like swaddling." -- Jennifer, Bothell, Washington; mom to Audrey, 4 months, 15 pounds

  • Maclaren Techno Carrier

    What It Is: A classic front carrier with a pod insert for newborns.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 25 pounds

    Price: $84.99

    Why We Love It: Extra padding means your newborn is extra secure and cozy. Plus, it's easy to clean and the quilting adds a bit of preppy polish.

    One Thing We'd Change: There are lots of buckles to figure out -- both our moms had some trouble getting the carrier on and correctly adjusted.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "I like how the Maclaren carrier is hip-looking and seems easy to clean. I felt comfortable using it while doing household chores, and was able to because Kara's arms and legs were free (she isn't a fan of being restrained)." -- Bree (shown), Indianapolis, Indiana; mom to Kara, 3 months, 16 pounds


    "The instructions were a little difficult to follow, and I had a very hard time adjusting the carrier while I was wearing it. The cloth material looks nice, but it seems like it could get dirty pretty easily (especially with baby drool). Samira thought it was okay -- she was calm when I was standing, but didn't like it when I was sitting. Overall I think Maclaren should stick to designing strollers." -- Sudha, Brooklyn, New York; mom to Samira, 7 weeks, 9 pounds, 12 ounces

  • Chicco You & Me Infant Carrier

    What It Is: A classic front carrier with lumbar support. Baby can face in or out.

    Recommended Weight Range: 10 to 26 pounds

    Price: $99.00

    Why We Love It: With lots of adjustment options, like how high or low on your chest you want to carry your baby, you can customize the fit. Also, the lumbar support is ventilated -- good news since babywearing gets hot.

    One Thing We'd Change: It's not as easy as other carriers to adjust while you're wearing it -- making it harder sometimes to find the just right position and support.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "After a little while my lower back began to hurt, and even though I kept adjusting the lumbar support, it never felt 100 percent comfortable. It was a little hard to get Josie out because I had to hold her with one hand and undo the buckles with the other (which took some practice, especially with a squirmy baby). Dad said, 'It's just like our BabyBjorn!' which is true, but my back didn't feel as supported." -- Stephanie (shown), Elmhurst, Illinois; mom to Josie, 4 months, 13.5 pounds


    "My husband loves this carrier. He said it is practically 'Mil-Spec' (military specifications) and is very comfortable showing it off in public. Also, it fits all of his 6-foot-3-inch, 250-pound frame very well and he's less annoyed than I am with all the straps and adjustments. The back support was great -- I wasn't sore at all" -- Jennifer, Bothell, Washington; mom to Audrey, 4 months, 15 pounds

  • BabyBjorn Synergy

    What It Is: The best-known front carrier on the market.

    Recommended Weight Range: 8 to 26 pounds

    Price: $132.00

    Why We Love It: The Bjorn's attained cult status for good reason: It's sturdy, comfortable, and easy to use -- once you get the hang of it. This latest model from Bjorn combines the Air model's cool, mesh fabric with the superior lumbar support of the Active.

    One Thing We'd Change: More color options. Currently available in basic black and soon-to-be dirty white, it would be great to choose from other colors or patterns (especially since it seems like everyone has this one). Also, it's not as good for calming a fussy baby as some of the cozier slings.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "Bjorns are fairly generic and not as 'natural' seeming as many of the hip slings out there, but the fact is they work. I can do almost any household task while wearing it. Zoe is secure, and I don't ever feel like she'll fall out. As a bonus, Dad loves it, and after wearing it for two hours, I felt great -- not sore at all." -- Emilie, Maplewood, New Jersey; mom to Zoe, 3 months, 12 pounds


    "The biggest thing I discovered while testing the Bjorn is that it's only right for certain situations like getting out and about, or doing chores while walking around. It's perfect for these tasks because it's very secure, and cool enough to leave the baby in for a long time. If you're just sitting at home and you want to calm a fussy baby while relaxing, this is not the carrier to use -- a snuggly one that allows you to sit comfortably would be better." -- Kerri (shown), Seattle, Washington; mom to Natalie, 7 weeks, 10 pounds

  • Evenflo Snugli Performance

    What It Is: A front carrier that's made of breathable mesh.

    Recommended Weight Range: 7 to 26 pounds

    Price: $29.99

    Why We Love It: It's extremely lightweight and Bjorn-esque -- but about a quarter the price.

    One Thing We'd Change: The Auto-Fit back straps save you from having to adjust to find the perfect fit, but they don't do much for lower back support.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "This is one of the most comfortable baby carriers I've tried. The support straps are well padded and distribute the baby's weight evenly on my upper back and shoulders. Dad loved the comfort, how easy it was to put on, and the little pocket on the front that could be used for storing keys or other small objects. Sienna liked it too -- she often fell asleep within minutes of being in the carrier." -- Mary Jo (shown), Kirkland, Washington; mom to Sienna, 2 months, 11.5 pounds


    "Putting this carrier on by yourself isn't hard, but you can't do it without reading the instructions first (trust me, I tried!). I like the mesh, breathable fabric, but hate all the buckles -- I feel like they could break over time or could easily catch my (or my baby's) fingers." -- Rebecca, Brooklyn, New York; mom to Carter, 4 months, 16 pounds, 4 ounces

  • New Native Sling

    What It Is: One big loop of fabric with a pouch for your babe.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 35 pounds

    Price: $54.00

    Why We Love It: New Native is committed to charity, donating tons of carriers to disadvantaged moms -- and we're happy to support their cause. We love the simplicity of this sling, and the pouch makes it super easy to figure out where baby sits.

    One Thing We'd Change: Sizing can be a little tricky. The company recommends you test the fit with your baby inside it so you may have to go to a store to purchase (or order online and be prepared to do a return if the fit's not right). Also, as one of our moms found out, the sling can shrink a lot after the recommend washing and drying -- something that may make returns difficult so be sure to check the store's return policy before buying.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "I have another sling that I loved when Elle was tiny, but I think I like the construction of the New Native better -- it seems a better fit. I liked how it was easy to put her down for a nap -- all you have to do is lean over and lay her on the bed. Elle likes the carrier because it seems to give her the same feeling of being held and I love the company and their philosophy." -- Caroline (shown), Charleston, South Carolina; mom to "Elle" (Mitchell Evelyn), 9 months, 16 pounds


    "I was able to nurse in the carrier, but when I sat down it got so loose that I really just used it as a cover. I think it fit me properly, but it still felt like she was very far away -- the baby rides down on your stomach and I like other carriers where I can reach down to kiss her." -- Kerri, Seattle, Washington; mom to Natalie, 7 weeks, 10 pounds

  • Hotslings

    What It Is: A pouch carrier that can be worn at least three different ways that are demonstrated on the enclosed DVD.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 35 pounds

    Price: $30.00-$60.00

    Why We Love It: The prints are so cool and eye-catching no one will notice that spit-up on your shirt. Plus, it comes in nine different sizes (from the clothing equivalent of petite to 3X) so you can get a perfect fit.

    One Thing We'd Change: Some babies find it hard to get comfortable in this sling.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "The way you put on the sling is fairly intuitive, so I didn't have to take more than a quick glance at the instructions -- which is key when you have two crying babies. The "extra" for the Hotsling is its printed fabric. I love it. I felt like it was an attractive accessory to my outfit, and I even liked the way it cut across my body -- I felt attractive! Greta fell asleep in it within two minutes -- that's her seal of approval." -- Alexis, Maple Valley, Washington; mom to twins Evan and Greta, 7 weeks, 8 pounds, 6 ounces and 7 pounds, 5 ounces


    "I really wanted to like the Hotsling, but most of the time Zoe just couldn't get comfortable in it. She did fall asleep in the cradle carry position once, but the couple times we tried the front carry position she'd arch her back and wail. I was able to breastfeed in it, but I think it's easier when you just take the whole thing off. I do like how the Hotsling is super portable -- it's easy to fit right into a diaper bag." -- Emilie (shown), Maplewood, New Jersey; mom to Zoe, 3 months, 12 pounds

  • EllaRoo Mei Tai

    What It Is: A tie-on carrier that can be worn in front or in back.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 35 pounds

    Price: $94.00

    Why We Love It: The Mei Tai also has a headrest that folds down and stays put with the smart magnetic snap.

    One Thing We'd Change: Because this carrier can be tied on in all sorts of ways, the straps are really long -- sometimes too long and in the way. Also, baby's legs straddle mom's back, a position that might not be comfortable for all kids.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "My baby didn't love this carrier, but I think it's her age -- she's restless and busy, and also seems a little too tall for it. I like how the carrier fits me (the back position is best because it gives mama the most freedom), but the straps are a little cumbersome and sometimes awkward. I'm worried also that it's not comfortable for Elle -- she has to have her legs spread so wide apart." -- Caroline (shown), Charleston, South Carolina; mom to "Elle" (Mitchell Evelyn), 9 months, 16 pounds


    "The carrier was surprisingly comfortable and I didn't have any back or shoulder pain after carrying Sienna for several hours. It's adjustable for any size person. Dad tried it and thought it was very comfortable, had good support, and was easy to use. I ended up tying the wrap around behind Sienna's back, instead of underneath her, so that she could fit snug against me, but she still tended to 'slump down' over time." -- Mary Jo, Kirkland, Washington; mom to Sienna, 2 months, 11.5 pounds

  • Parents of Invention Ultimate Baby Mei Tai

    What It Is: A carrier that can be worn on your hip, front, or back -- and infants can face forward with feet tucked in.

    Recommended Weight Range: 8 to 35 pounds

    Price: $39.99

    Why We Love It: The instructions are easy to follow for each of the five carrying positions. Do and Don't illustrations are included so it's super simple to make sure you're wearing it just right.

    One Thing We'd Change: The neck support doesn't come up very far, so this may be a better carrier for older babies. Also, if you've got back problems, you might need something with more lumbar support.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "I was able to walk around the neighborhood easily pushing a stroller. Because this carrier puts the baby's weight on your waist and hips it didn't hurt at all, and actually makes my baby feel lighter than he really is! I also like the versatility: There are back and hip carry options and because it ties, it can easily adjust and fit to any body type." -- Rebecca (shown), Brooklyn, New York; mom to Carter, 4 months, 16 pounds, 4ounces


    "The Parents of Invention carrier was very easy to figure out and Tess seemed comfortable in it -- especially when she was positioned facing against me, which was very snuggly. She fit well in the Mei Tai, but it was uncomfortable for me to wear for any length of time. Maybe I am just sensitive to these things, but my shoulders were killing me after wearing the carrier for 15 minutes." -- Jenny, Brooklyn, New York; mom to Tess, 6 months, 16 pounds

  • PortaMEe

    What It Is: A high-end carrier with pockets and pouches galore.

    Recommended Weight Range: 15 to 35 pounds

    Price: $149.00-$200 (+)

    Why We Love It: Leave the diaper bag at home -- there are pockets for your phone, a bottle holder, and even a diaper wallet that attaches at the waist.

    One Thing We'd Change: This carrier comes with a hefty price tag, and if you have an infant, you'll have to purchase an extra insert to use this one for babies under 15 pounds. Also, our moms reported feeling like they had to keep a hand on their babes out of fear they'd fall backward.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "Noah loved the PortaMEe. He liked playing with the straps and being close. The fit was okay, but since he's so heavy and tall (24 pounds), I felt that he could easily bend over backwards which worried me. I think that the heavier the child is, the harder this carrier might be to use." -- Stephanie (shown), Brooklyn, New York; mom to Noah, 8 months, 24 pounds


    "I loved the look of the PortaMEe -- very high-end materials and design. Tess seemed happy in it, and even fell asleep, but I always felt like I had to have my arm around her to keep her upright. She liked looking around while we walked outside, and I liked that I could see her face and kiss her. I did think it was pretty uncomfortable to wear for more than a few minutes, though -- it dug into my shoulder like I was wearing the heaviest messenger bag in the world!"
    -- Jenny, Brooklyn, New York; mom to Tess, 6 months, 16 pounds

  • Peanut Shell

    What It Is: A simple pouch style carrier with five positions.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 36 pounds

    Price: $45.00-$49.00

    Why We Love It: Even though this is basically just a loop of fabric, there's a handy pocket on the front that can hold a burp cloth or keys and a loop where you can attach a small toy. Plus, the prints are just gorgeous.

    One Thing We'd Change: There isn't too much stretch in this fabric, making correct sizing super important (available in S-XL).

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "After wearing the sling for an hour my shoulders and neck were somewhat tired, but I think it's more comfortable than the Bjorn by far. It was easy to breastfeed Libby in the sling, but I didn't like how it doesn't allow for burping right after feeding. I loved that there were no belts to adjust and that the material was soft, cute, and machine washable. I did get a little hot after Libby fell asleep-- next time I would dress with one less layer." -- Allison (shown), Minneapolis, Minnesota; mom to Libby, 4 months, 12 pounds


    "Eli was antsy getting in, but once I started moving around he became more comfortable and enjoyed the ride. It pulled a little against my shoulder and neck, but I love the design and the lightweight fabric. It folds up nicely, so I can bring it along when we go for a walk and use it if Eli gets tired." -- Elizabeth, New York, New York; mom to Eli, 15 months, 25 pounds

  • Ergo

    What It Is: A front, back, and hip carrier that snaps over the shoulders and around the waist.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 40 pounds

    Price: $92.00

    Why We Love It: This thing's strength-tested up to 90 pounds, so if your back can take it, it's a great option for carrying older babies and toddlers.

    One Thing We'd Change: Getting baby into the back carry position as the instructions recommend can be a little tricky with a wiggly wee one. Our tester made it work for her by sitting in front of her son on a bed and scooting him in before pulling on the straps.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "I like the Ergo much more than the Bjorn because of its padded straps -- they make a world of difference. The waist belt helps to distribute the baby's weight over the hips, too, which makes him feel much lighter than if I were only carrying the weight on my shoulders." -- Melanie (shown), Brooklyn, New York; mom to Benjamin, 10.5 months, 21 pounds


    "Noah loves it. He likes playing with the straps and being close. I thought this carrier was the best by far of any others I've tried. The straps were nice and padded for comfort and I really liked how you can use this carrier in different positions. It's super easy to take the baby out of the carrier and I liked how the directions were easy to understand." -- Stephanie, Brooklyn, New York; mom to Noah, 8 months, 24 pounds

  • Sherpani Rumba Superlight

    What It Is: A sturdy frame carrier with tons of storage space.

    Recommended Weight Range: Up to 55 pounds

    Price: $159.00

    Why We Love It: You need not give up hiking post-baby with this substantial carrier, which is a great option for older babies and toddlers. It's so comfy that a squirmy 2-year-old fell fast asleep in it. And it functions like a backpack too, with space for bottles, diapers, and snacks.

    One Thing We'd Change: This big carrier comes with a surprisingly small instruction booklet that doesn't have the handy illustrations other carriers provide to help you make sure you're wearing it right.

    What the Real Moms Say:

    "It's a very comfortable carrier and feels like you're wearing a comfortable backpack. The waist and shoulder straps are adjustable and fit nicely and I love the accessories: a small front pouch can hold cash and keys, a perfectly sized bottle/sippy cup holder attaches to the side, and there's also a very roomy storage area for diapers or a change of clothes." -- Elizabeth (shown), New York, New York; mom to Eli, 15 months, 25 pounds


    "I don't think we were ever able to adjust it just right, but Dad loved it. As soon as it came, he put it on and went outside for walk. Javier likes being so tall and now points at the carrier to go in whenever he sees it. It's a gorgeous pack that feels like an outdoorsy adult pack that carries your baby, not a baby carrier." -- Holly, Ashburn, Virginia; mom to Javier, 16 months, 25 pounds



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