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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
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
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