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10 of the best baby slings and wraps for newborns to toddlers

We test a wide range of baby slings and wraps, designed to provide a snug and supportive way to keep your baby close and leave your hands free (yay, for all those lovely parent chores)

best slings

The word ‘sling’ is a generic term for ‘A Bit of Kit That Keeps You Baby Safely Held Onto Your Chest (or hip, or back)’. Slings come in a huge range of style and designs, from soft, fabric wraps to more structured carriers with clips and buckles.

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In this guide we’re focusing on soft, usually stretchy, fabric wraps which are perfect for newborns, which we’ve tried out with our parent testers and their babies in day-to-day life. They’re among the most universal style of sling, making them ideal for both mums and dads of all shapes and sizes. We’ve also spoken to sling and carriers expert Hannah Wallace, the owner of Wear My Baby, who is one of the UK’s leading baby carrier shops and advice service. She’s outlined everything you need to know before choosing your sling and wrap, as well as how to use one safely.

Why use a baby wrap?

They’re incredibly practical – You’ll have your hands free and they take up far less room than prams and strollers. Plus, there’s no upper limit to how many hours a day you can carry your baby, so long as they’re safely fitted to the carrier and their airways are protected (see the TICKS guide below).

They can be comfier than baby carriers – This is especially the case for wearing them around the house. Of course you can wear them for trips outside, too. The soft, stretchy fabric is ultra-comfy for the whole family, and there’s no buckles or clips to dig in.

A well fitted baby wrap can help postnatal recovery – They can increase your strength and fitness as you carry your growing baby. It helps with bonding as it gets lots of Oxytocin (the ‘love hormone’) flowing and can help alleviate symptoms of postnatal depression.

Babies feel happy and settled in baby wraps and slings – Your newborn will feel calmed and comforted by the movement of your walking and the sound of your heartbeat. It’s good for their physical, cognitive, and emotional development, too, as they’re able to engage with the world around them – and with you at the same time. Being held upright is great for their digestion and has many of the same benefits as tummy time.

They’re designed to be accommodating for different sizes – There’s a common misconception that wraps are better suited to women, I’ve fitted them to thousands of men who love them and find them super comfy. You can even use them with twins!

What to remember when using a baby wrap

They can be used from day one – Your baby can literally go from womb to wrap. Have a practice tying it (with a doll or teddy) before baby arrives, then pop it in your hospital bag. I know they can look a bit like full body origami to begin with, I promise it’s super easy once you’ve had a few practices. Like tying your shoelaces.

Stretchy wraps can be pre-tied – You can just tie one on at the start of the day and leave it on, like a piece of clothing. Then just pop your baby in and out as needed. Easy!

They tend to get outgrown by around 3-6 months – Stretchy wraps are often safety tested until the weight of a toddler. But realistically, once you baby gets heavier and more wiggly, most parents tend to move on to a non-stretchy sling; usually a click-and-go baby carrier that offers multiple carrying positions (parent facing, back carrying, hip carrying and some times outwards facing).

You may need at least 2 carriers – A soft wrap for those early months, especially for wearing around the house. Then a more long-lasting, multi-position carrier to last until the toddlers years.

Ensure they’re tied TIGHT and SNUG around your baby – Counterintuitive as it may sounds, the only way to ‘squash’ a baby in a sling is by having it too loose. If too loose, newborns could slump down inside the wrap, dropping their chin on to their chest. And that’s what could, potentially restrict their airways. So remember: tight is best. You’ll know if it’s too tight, as you won’t be able to take a deep breath! A tight wrap is also much better for your back: a too-loose wrap will mean your babies weight is pulling away from you and they’ll feel heavier.

How to wear a baby wrap safely?

Babies should always be carried upright – This is so that their airways are open and clear. Babies should never be carried in a laying down, ‘cradle’ position.

Make sure it is well tightened – This is so that your baby cannot slump inside it. If your baby carrier is too big or too loose, your baby’s chin can drop down onto their chest which could compromise their airways.

Always make sure you can see your baby’s face – Never cover your baby’s face with any fabric.  Babies should be positioned high up on your chest and be close enough for you to easily kiss the top of their head without craning your neck.

Be sure not to overheat your baby – As a rough rule of thumb when carrying, your body counts as one layer of clothing, the baby wrap is at least one more, and if you’re in a warm place that’s a third – so make sure they’re not overdressed.

Remember the T.I.C.K.S guidelines – This is a handy reminder of what to check for when using a baby carrier (Tight, In view at all times, Close enough to kiss, Keep chin off the chest, Supported back).

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How did we choose our 10 of the Best?

Our 10 of the Best lists are compiled by qualified and experienced parenting journalists. They rely on a number of sources, including our independent reviews, testing undertaken during the MadeForMums Awards, and feedback from our home testing panel and Top Testers Club. Each year thousands of products are put through their paces by hundreds of parents across the country on behalf of MadeForMums, to ensure we’re bringing you honest and true reviews and recommendations. 

When testing slings and wraps we consider a number of factors including ease of use, material, comfort and value for money. 

Our list is not an ordered ranking from 1-10, instead it is a carefully selected group of tried-and-tested products, each of which we believe is best for a different situation or requirement. We don’t just tell you what is best, we help you discover what is best for your family.

Here’s is our pick of the best slings and wraps to buy in 2021

1. Izmi Essential Wrap, from £34.99

– Best budget wrap

Suitable from: birth to around 6 months (2.3kg to 9kg) | Carrying positions: 2, front and hip | Machine washable: Yes | Material: 95% cotton, 5% elastane | Award: Gold – Sling/wrap, MadeForMums Awards 2021

Designed by British mum-of-2 and experienced sling librarian Emily Williamson, the Izmi Essential Wrap is almost identical to the popular Izmi Baby Wrap, but it is made from 95% cotton rather than bamboo, making it slightly more affordable. In fact MFM Awards judge and sling expert, Hannah Wallace, calls it “THE quality budget wrap”.

What made this wrap stand out with our home testers is the fact that it suits a variety of body shapes and sizes. They also liked the clear instructions, as highlighted by tester Katherine, mum of 1, who said, “Safety and wrapping tips are shared in the box meaning those who haven’t wrapped before, have quick access to helpful information.”

It has 2 carrying positions, front and hip, and the cotton material is super soft and breathable to wear. “The Izmi is very durable and a great fit,” said tester Maidaa, mum of 1. “Comfy for the skin and comfy for my son too.” However it only comes in just 2 shades of grey, while the brand’s Baby Wrap has a wider choice of colours.

Pros: good value, clear instructions, soft cotton material
Cons: very limited colour choice

Available from: Jojo Maman Bebe, Kiddies Kingdom, Wear My Baby and Izmi

2. AmaWrap Baby Sling, from £34.99

– Best for supportive shoulder straps

Suitable from: birth to 2-3 years (3.5kg to 15kg) | Carrying positions: 1, front parent-facing | Machine washable: Yes  | Material: 100% cotton

Manufactured in the UK, AmaWrap slings are used in UK hospitals to help premature babies receive ‘kangaroo care’. The brand offers 12 different colours and prints, giving parents more choice of funky colour schemes and designs compared with the plain block colours from many other brands.

MFM reviewer, Zoe, mum of 1, was able to breastfeed while wearing the sling and liked that the “wide shoulder straps and head cover make it simple to do so discreetly.”

The one-way stretch can make it trickier to master at first, but that means it’s less prone to sagging than the 2-way Lifft Stretchy Wrap. There’s a matching bag for storage which is great, although unlike the Ergobaby Aura, it’s separate from the wrap so it doesn’t add bulk to the sling itself.

Zoe added, “I’d definitely recommend this product to those who have babies who don’t like to be put down, or who want a more flexible and comfortable way to carry their child.”

Pros: separate carry case, good colour and pattern choice, wide shoulder straps
Cons: not super stretchy

Read our full MadeForMums AmaWrap Baby Sling review

Available from: AmaWrap and Amazon

3. Freerider Co. Eucalyptus Baby Sling, £60

– Best eco-friendly sling

Suitable from: birth to around 18 months (3.6kg to 13.6kg) | Carrying positions: 1, front parent-facing | Machine washable: Yes | Material: 100% Tencel | Award: Silver – Sling/wrap, MadeForMums Awards 2021

For parents wishing to shop sustainably, the Freerider Co. Eucalyptus Baby Sling is made from ethical, sustainable Tencel materials that are produced by extracting wood pulp from forests and eco-conscious tree farms. Home tester Jen, mum of 1, explained why she loved this sling, “It aligns with the values I hope to achieve as a new mum: fashionable, ethical, practical, beneficial for my baby and ergonomic.”

As with most stretchy slings, it is super-comfortable for newborns and our home testers liked how light and soft the Tencel 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.”

The thin, breathable material absorbs 70% more moisture than cotton, according to Freerider Co. However, our awards judge and sling expert Hannah Wallace felt it overpromised on the maximum weight range of 13.6kg and suggested it’d be more comfortable for both mum and baby up to around 7kg.

Pros: eco-friendly, super-soft material, lightweight
Cons: pricey

Available from: Freerider Co., Natural Baby Shower and Wear My Baby

4. Lifft Stretchy Wrap, £39.95

– Best for multiple children

Suitable from: birth to 2-3 years (2.5kg to 15kg) | Carrying positions: 1, front parent-facing | Machine washable: Yes | Material: 94% cotton, 6% elastane | Award: Bronze – Sling/wrap, MadeForMums Awards 2021

The Lifft Stretchy Wrap is called stretchy for a reason – the cotton material has a 2-way stretch, which helps make it supportive and snug. There’s a lot of fabric, which means it can be used with babies, twins and toddlers up to around 3 years old. “I love that I’m able to fit my newborn twins in this sling, as well as my chunky toddler,” says home tester Amy, mum of 3 (although, not all 3 at the same time!).

Like many wraps, if you’ve not used one before it may take a little bit of practice to get the knack, although our home testers and Awards judge and sling expert Hannah Wallace praised its easy-to-follow picture 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 home tester Leanne, mum of 2.

Scoring almost top marks in the ‘comfort for baby’ section of the MFM Awards 2021, the Lifft Stretchy Wrap was praised for being easy to put on, well made and featuring strong, supportive but stretchy material. This wrap gets bonus points for being designed by a babywearing consultant and ethically manufactured in Yorkshire.

Pros: stretchy, supportive for twins and toddlers, easy to follow instructions
Cons: excess material

Read our full MadeForMums Lifft Stretchy Wrap review

Available from: Amazon, Wear My Baby and Lifft

5. Ergobaby Aura Baby Wrap, £49.90

– Best for hot weather

Suitable from: birth to 2 years (3.6kg to 11.3kg) | Carrying positions: 4, front and hip | Machine washable: Yes  | Material: 100% natural viscose

This really lightweight viscose fabric made from eucalyptus and acacia makes the Aura a good choice for use in the summer or for parents who get hot easily. It’s one of the few wraps to come with its own inbuilt storage bag, a real bonus for stashing under the pushchair when you’re out and about, or if your toddler needs a rest in the buggy and baby can go into the sling.

As with several of the baby wraps, the 5m-long Aura can be worn by most body types. MFM reviewer Meena, mum of 3, explained, “At just over 5ft tall, I end up with masses of extra fabric, which you just tie around your waist. It was also big enough and stylish enough for my husband to rock it for a trip to the park.”

The Aura comes with clear, illustrated instructions and links to online how-to videos. “I found watching the videos the best way to learn how to use this style of wrap,” said Meena. It also has a handy label and leading-edge stitching to help make tying a breeze.

“A wonderfully lightweight and stylish baby wrap that is easy to master. It supports both carrier and carried very well and is easy to clean” added Meena.

Pros: lightweight, suits all body types, integrated pocket, variety of carry positions
Cons: high minimum newborn weight

Read our full MadeForMums Ergobaby Aura Baby Wrap review

Available from: John Lewis, JoJo Maman Bebe, Wear My Baby and Ergobaby

6. Tag Togs Sa-Be Stretchy Wrap, from £32

– Best for durability

Suitable from: birth to 2-3 years (2.5kg to 15kg) | Carrying positions: 1, front parent-facing | Machine washable: Yes | Material: 100% cotton | Award: Bronze – Sling/wrap, MadeForMums Awards 2021

The handmade Tag Togs Sa-Be Stretchy Wrap was popular with our testers due to its comfort for both parent and baby, and its stability, but the thick double-layered material could be hot to wear in warmer weather. “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,” said home tester Bethany, mum of 1.

With more than 20 colours to choose from and the option of a single block colour or a 2-colour combination, there’s sure to be a wrap to suit all tastes. Made from 100% jersey cotton, the sling is “really easy to wash” and hasn’t “overstretched or sagged” according to Bethany.

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. 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.”

Pros: lots of colour choices, durable material
Cons: bulky and thick material, less supportive for toddlers

Available from: Tag Togs

7. We Made Me Flow, £65

– Best lightweight wrap

Suitable from: birth to 2-3 years (3.6kg to 15.9kg) | Carrying positions: 1, front parent-facing | Machine washable: Yes | Material: Nylon and spandex

We Made Me Flow is one of the more expensive wraps on the market, lasting up until your baby is around 15kg (as with the AmaWrap and the Lifft). There’s just one carrying position, but at 580g compared with an average weight of 800g, the Flow is lighter than many others, making it good to stash under a pushchair or in your changing bag. The mesh fabric is ultra-stretchy and promises to be breathable, although the innovative fabric takes some getting used to. There are clear online video tutorials to help get the best fit.

Comfortable for daily use, the Flow wrap feels durable and should last for more than one child. MFM reviewer Ruth, mum of 2, liked how cool the wrap was to wear, “The lightweight mesh fabric means you’re unlikely to get too hot – and the material is capable of self-regulating its temperature, according to We Made Me, to keep your baby cool too.”

The Flow wrap comes in 4 colours: midnight black, charcoal grey, lavender, and pebble. Ruth added, “Super soft, stretchy and lightweight, this wrap is a great way to carry your baby around and keep your hands free for cooking, running after a toddler or while out for a long walk.”

Pros: lightweight, breathable
Cons: man-made fabric, pricey

Read our full MadeForMums review of the We Made Me Flow

Available from: Diono and Amazon

8. Boba Serenity Bamboo, £48

– Best for upright breastfeeding

Suitable from: birth to 2-3 years (3kg to 16kg) | Carrying positions: 1, front parent-facing | Machine washable: Yes | Material: 68% viscose from bamboo, 25% cotton, 7% spandex

The Serenity Wrap comes in 4 plain colours and 2 patterned designs. MFM reviewer Alex, mum of 2, liked the gender-neutral colour choices and said, “The fabric felt incredibly soft, luxurious and breathable thanks to the moisture-wicking bamboo material. I also liked the colour – Rainforest, a darkish green… this one is particularly versatile and unisex.”

One slight issue our tester found was getting the tension of the material right, so you may need some practice to get used to it. “The fabric is surprisingly stretchy so even though it would feel tight when I put it on, once we started walking, I often felt my son sliding down too low. And the nature of the wrap meant it was impossible to readjust it without having to take him out,” explained Alex.

The ergonomic design and upright positioning follows the TICKS guideline and is recognised by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as a ‘hip-healthy’ product. The wrap is also ideal for breastfeeding mums who want to discreetly feed on the go. “This was a revelation for me, especially as a second-time mum,” said Alex who added that it was “extremely easy, discreet and convenient “. However, she also said, “The wrap is designed for breastfeeding in an upright hold only and it’s best done standing up. This may not suit everyone as the latch is different to the standard cradle hold.”

Pros: breathable fabric, allows for upright breastfeeding
Cons: difficult to adjust whilst in use, very stretchy fabric takes getting used to

Read our full MadeForMums Boba Serenity Bamboo review

Available from: Amazon, Wear My Baby and Boba

9. Close Caboo Lite Multi Position Baby Carrier, £54.99

– Best for easy cleaning

Suitable from: birth to 2-3 years (3kg to 14.2kg) | Carrying positions: 3, front parent-facing, hip and back | Machine washable: Yes | Material: 100% cotton

The Caboo is a stretchy-hybrid sling with the closeness of a wrap and the structure of a ring-sling. If you feel daunted by a long fabric wrap then the Close Caboo might fit the bill. Its material is pre-sewn into a cross at the back and adjusted to the sides with 2 sets of rings. There’s also a toggle fastening – a new feature for the Caboo – that secures the wrap under your baby’s bottom for added support.

MFM reviewer Sarah, mum of 1, liked the position of her baby while using the sling. She explained, “It holds your baby high up on your chest, which gives her a sense of security without restricting your movement, and provides lumbar support for you and your little one.”

The Close Caboo offers good value with 3 carrying positions compared with the similarly priced AmaWrap that just has 1 position. It’s machine washable and, unlike most stretchy wraps, can be tumble dried – a real bonus if you need it cleaned in a hurry.

Sarah found the ring mechanisms dug into her skin unless they were positioned exactly right and added, “the carrier pulls my clothes up at the back, so I have to avoid wearing short or low-cut tops or risk flashing too much flesh.”

Pros: can be tumble dried, supportive, 3 carrying positions, easy for beginners
Cons: ring mechanisms can be uncomfortable

Read our full MadeForMums Close Caboo Lite Multi Position Baby Carrier review

Available from: John LewisAmazon and Uber Kids

10. K’Tan Breeze Baby Carrier, £50

– Best ready-to-wear wrap

Suitable from: birth to 2-3 years (3kg to 14.2kg) | Carrying positions: 3, front parent-facing or out-facing and hip  | Machine washable: Yes  | Material: 100% cotton

If the thought of learning how to tie a long fabric wrap fills you with dread, the K’Tan Breeze Baby Carrier might be just what you are looking for. This hybrid sling promises no wrapping or excess fabric – a great feature if you lack the confidence or time to master baby wearing. The double loops of fabric hold baby securely without the need for buckles or ring fasteners, and it’s available in a variety of block colours and patterned designs.

MFM reviewer Hayley, mum of 1, said, “It’s really simple to put on as it goes on like a t-shirt. Then all you need to do is position your baby inside one of the loops and secure your baby by following the instructions for each of the six positions.”

The K’Tan comes in different sizes – XS, S, M, L and XL – to ensure the best comfort fit for the adult wearer. But this means different-sized adults can’t share the same wrap, so parents are unlikely to be able to swap. And if your body shape and size changes significantly post-partum, you might not get long-lasting use from it.

Pros: no wrapping or excess fabric, easy to wear, range of sizes
Cons: may not be able to share 1 wrap between different sizes

Read our full MadeForMums K’Tan Breeze Baby Carrier review

Available from: Amazon and JoJo Maman Bebe

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About the author

Georgina Probert lives in the Kent countryside with her husband, two daughters and cat Molly. Georgina used both slings and wraps around the house when her children were newborn, and regularly take her kids on off-road walks using baby carriers. 

She has been a journalist for more than 14 years, working on a wide range of magazines including Family First, Homes & Gardens, Good Homes and Cage & Aviary Birds.

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