MFM Awards 2021 Winners – Baby carriers and slings

Carry your baby in comfort and safety with these award-winning baby carriers and slings, tested by mums and dads around the country

Baby carriers and slings

Carriers and slings are a great way to enjoy the closeness with your baby whether you’re moving around the house or exploring the outdoors. Our parent testers reviewed a range of carriers and slings, putting them through their paces and carrying out some rigorous, real-life testing.

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Safety and support were key criteria, ensuring the baby felt secure at all times even when our testers were most active. Practical features such as ease of use and carrying positions were also assessed: was it easy to put on, and could it be done singlehandedly? In addition, we wanted to know if the design and style was to our tester’s taste, and if they found it comfortable to wear over a significant period of time.

To ensure we also got an expert opinion, we invited Sling expert Hannah Wallace to test all our slings and carriers, to thoroughly examine each entry and its from a professional perspective.

See the winners in:
Baby carriers
Slings


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Baby carrier under £100

Key features we tested/judged – Comfort for baby and parent, back support, safety, ease of use and putting it on, carrying positions, worth the money, design and style

Gold – Integra Baby Carrier, from £70

Gold- Integra Baby Carrier
All the feel of a wrap, but much easier to use
– Sling expert and qualified babywearing consultant, Hannah Wallace

Why it’s a winner: Created by a sling expert and mum of 3, the Integra Baby Carrier is designed to be as comfortable as possible for both babies and parents. It impressed our judges due to its practical versatility, comfort and back support as well as the choice of modern designs and fabrics. Tester Angela, mum of 3, said: “My baby can be held in a variety of different positions and it was a novelty to find a carrier that offers a piggy-back option. The smart and stylish design means I can wear it with anything.” If you get the chance, babywearing expert Hannah recommends trying the Integra first to check how well it fits your body shape.

In the words of tester Paul, dad of 2: “The Integra is a great carrier; it’s compact but also felt comfortable for our little one and supportive for my back. It is high quality – the material looks and feels great. We loved the design, which is cheerful for kids but modern for parents too.”

Buy from: Integra Baby, Carried and Babi Pur


Silver – Infantino In Season 5 Layer Ergonomic Carrier, £74.99

Silver- Infantino In Season 5 Layer Ergonomic Carrier

Why it’s a winner: This all-weather carrier has an amazing range of options, whether it is hot and sunny or wet and windy – ideal for the changeable British weather. It impressed us with its lightweight design, handy storage pocket and good support for your baby’s head. Tester Donna, mum of 1, called it “ a joy to use”, adding that “using layers may seem complicated, but you simply take them out of their pocket, pull them over the body and snap them in place.” Perfect for parents who like to spend time outdoors, this carrier scored highly on ease of use and comfort.

In the words of tester Donna, mum of 1: “It is really light, but feels robust and offers a variety of ways to carry your baby. Most importantly for this design, it allows you to change the carrier to meet the needs of the weather.”

Buy from: Argos, Amazon and Smyths Toys

Bronze – Tula Lite Baby Carrier, £79.90

Tula Lite Baby Carrier with Bronze logo 2021

Why it’s a winner: “It’s absolute genius design to have a carrier that folds into its own integrated bum bag,” says sling expert and qualified babywearing consultant, Hannah Wallace. With its compact and lightweight design, the Tula Lite is also a brilliant addition for holidays. It can only be worn in two positions and there’s no neck support for sleeping babies, but the portable, breathable design makes it ideal for use on short journeys. Our home testers loved the minimal padding, zipped storage pocket and modern patterns.

In the words of tester Amy, mum of 2: “It was a revelation being able to store my phone, wallet and a few other essentials in the carrier while wearing my baby, negating the need to carry an additional bag.”

Buy from: Amazon, Baby TulaWear My Baby

Shortlisted: Ergobaby Embrace Carrier


Baby carrier over £100

Key features we tested/judged – Comfort for baby and parent, back support, safety, ease of use and putting it on, carrying positions, worth the money, design and style

Gold – Ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier All-In-One Cool Air Mesh, £154.90

Gold- Ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier All-In-One Cool Air Mesh
Very well loved by mums and dads of all shapes and sizes
– Sling expert and qualified babywearing consultant, Hannah Wallace

Why it’s a winner: Adored by our sling expert Hannah Wallace especially for its support when outward facing, the carrier also impressed our home testers due to its breathability and comfort for both parents and babies. With 4 different carrying positions, including on the hip, it can take a little practice to adjust, but colour-coded velcro and simple clips make it quick and easy once you know how. Amanda, mum of 1, called this carrier a “game-changer” due to its host of useful features, including the adjustable head support for your baby, integrated sun shade and removable storage pouch.

In the words of tester Valda, mum of 1: “The carrier has been brilliant. It is easy to use, comfortable for baby and simple to adjust to both me and my husband’s shape and size.”

Buy from: John Lewis, Ergobaby and Amazon

Joint Silver – BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One, £143.99

Silver- BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One

Why it’s a winner: If you and your partner will be regularly sharing a carrier, the BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One is a great option due to how easy it is to adjust, according to our home testers. Well structured and engineered, this carrier scored highly on comfort and quality due to its sturdy feel, easily adjustable straps, 4 carrying positions and intuitive design. Melissa, mum of 1, liked the fact parents can put the carrier on without any help, saying: “The straps tighten and loosen easily while wearing. It feels a lot sturdier than others I have tried.

In the words of tester Rebecca, mum of 1: “This is the most comfortable carrier I have used. The padded straps are great and the ease of adjusting each element means it’s easy to make tweaks if needed, even while my baby is in the carrier.”

Buy from: John Lewis, Mamas & Papas and BabyBjorn

Joint Silver – Neko Switch Baby Carrier, £130

Neko Switch Baby Carrier with Silver 2021 logo

Why it’s a winner: A great all-rounder, the Neko Switch offers good back support for parents of all shapes and sizes, a range of woven fabrics and smart designs, as well as excellent mouldable support for growing babies at all stages. Michelle, mum of 1, was impressed by how well the carrier evenly dispersed her son’s weight. She said: “The long padded straps feel as though they help take the strain off my lower back, while the foam pads make this very comfortable to wear for long periods.”

In the words of tester Rohese, mum of 1: “The ability to tighten the straps while wearing the carrier is top notch ­– I have used lots of different buckle carriers and this has been the easiest.”

Buy from: Neko, babymaxi and Babipur

Bronze – Tula Explore Carrier, £154.90

Bronze- Tula Explore Carrier

Why it’s a winner: Boasting style and substance, the Tula Explore Carrier has a wide range of fashionable designs for parents to choose from. According to sling expert Hannah, it’s a fantastic carrier for newborn babies, although is a bit more restrictive for older toddlers over 18-24 months. Hannah also rates its ability to suit different body sizes: “It’s brilliant for petite up to plus size parents.” Sally, mum of 2, added: “My 4-month-old daughter loved it and looked very comfy.”

In the words of tester Georgia, mum of 1: “The carrier provides you with many options on how to wear your baby and, with numerous style options, it would be hard to find a design that you didn’t like.”

Buy from: Baby Tula, Amazon and Jojo Maman Bebe

Shortlisted: Ergobaby Omni 360 All-in-One Carrier | Tula Pre-school Carrier



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Sling/wrap

Key features we tested/judged – Comfort for baby and parent, back support, safety, ease of use and putting on, carrying positions, worth the money, design and style

Gold – Izmi Essential Wrap, £25

Gold- Izmi Essential Wrap
Soft, supportive and perfect for newborns, this is THE quality budget wrap
– Sling expert and qualified babywearing consultant, Hannah Wallace

Why it’s a winner: Not only is the Izmi Essential Wrap great value for money, it has clear instructions and adapts to suit a variety of body shapes and sizes. Katherine, mum of 1, said: “Safety and wrapping tips are shared in the box, meaning those who haven’t wrapped before have quick access to helpful information.” Our home testers liked the packaging design and found this wrap great for babies under 6 months, as well as the ability to keep colicky babies upright.

In the words of tester Maidaa, mum of 1: “The Izmi is very durable and a great fit. Comfy for the skin and comfy for my son too.”

Buy from: Jojo Maman Bebe, Izmi and Kiddies Kingdom

Silver – Freerider Co. Eucalyptus Baby Sling, £59.99

Silver- Freerider Co. Eucalyptus Baby Sling

Why it’s a winner: For parents wishing to shop sustainably, the Freerider Co. Eucalyptus Baby Sling is made from ethical, sustainable Tencel materials. As with most stretchy wraps, this sling is super-comfortable for newborns and our home testers liked how soft the material is. Ella, mum of 1, found the sling useful for wearing around the house. She said: “My baby feels well supported, including his leg positioning and I find it very comfortable as long as you maintain good posture.”

In the words of tester Jen, mum of 1: “It aligns with the values I hope to achieve as a new mum: fashionable, ethical, practical, beneficial for my baby and ergonomic.”

Buy from: Freerider and Natural Baby Shower

Bronze Joint – Lifft Stretchy Wrap, £39.95

Lifft Stretchy Wrap with 2021 Bronze logo

Why it’s a winner: Scoring almost top marks in the ‘comfort for baby’ section, our home testers found the Lifft Stretchy Wrap easy to put on, well made and featuring lovely, stretchy material. Sling expert Hannah Wallace agreed, praising its supportiveness, quality and instructions. “There were step-by-step photos to show you how to put the wrap around your body and then how to put your child in,” said mum tester Leanne, mum of an 8-month-old baby and a toddler. “I have used a different wrap previously and I found that one difficult to follow, but not this one.” Parents felt that their babies were well-supported when in the wrap, and their only wish was that it came in more colours or patterns.

In the words of tester Leanne, mum of 2: “The Lifft felt very comfortable when on and there was plenty of material so I didn’t feel constricted in any way. When wearing my son, he wasn’t pulling on my back and shoulders and it was easy to get him in and out.”

Buy from: Lifft, Amazon and eBay

Bronze Joint – Tag Togs Sa-Be Stretchy Wrap, from £32

Tag Togs Sa-Be Stretchy wrap with 2021 Bronze logo

Why it’s a winner: While parents need to carefully read the instructions to correctly put on this wrap, it is easy to use with practice according to our testers. Made from 100% jersey cotton, the sling is “really easy to wash” and hasn’t “over stretched or sagged”. However, the thick double-layered material could be hot to wear in warmer weather. As with most stretchy wraps, this is great for newborns, but might not offer enough support and stability for toddlers. However, Matthew, dad of 2, commented: “Our baby is particularly large, but the Sa-Be makes carrying him comfortable and relatively easy.”

In the words of tester Bethany, mum of 1: “On the first use, my daughter fell pretty much straight to sleep, so I think that speaks for itself that it’s comfortable for her!”

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Buy from: Tag Togs

The MadeForMums Awards team is led by Consumer & Reviews Editor Gemma Cartwright and Editorial Director Susie Boone and comprises Sabrina Sahota, Natalie Brown, Georgina Probert, Gabrielle Nathan, Lara Berry, Cheryl Freedman, Sarah Dawson, Amy Burns and Carla Challis who have created, written and edited these pages after rigorous testing and judging by our panel of home testers, experts and editorial team. Images by Emma Winchester and Shekinah Oku.

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