Mother and Baby

The safest and best baby slings and wraps

Section: Shopping Ideas
Best baby slings

For a secure and practical way to carry your baby around, you'll want to get the best sling wrap you can find.

A baby sling or slip wrap is usually a long piece of fabric with special features that can be wrapped around you and your baby, tying you both together. In general, a baby sling doesn't have clips, buckles or buttons like other baby carriers, but, if tied correctly, they are super secure and your baby will love being in it (and it'll leave your hands free).

Best baby wraps loved by our mum testers: 

  • FreeRider Baby Carrier Wrap
  • Close Caboo +Organic Sling
  • AmaWrap Sling
  • We Made Me Wuti Wrap
  • We Made Me Soohu Sling Classic
  • Baby K’Tan
  • Je Porte Mon Bébé, The Basic

Babywearing is also a simple way to bond with your baby and get oxytocin, also known as the love hormone, flowing through both of your bodies. When you’re pottering about at home, maximise this by undoing your shirt under the sling so your baby’s skin is directly against yours. You’ll soon find a way to safely do up a few buttons and tuck your shirt securely into the sling in case the postman knocks.

How to use your baby sling wrap safely

Your baby sling needs to be tight, keeping you and your baby closely attached, but you need to be able to check on your baby regularly to ensure they are comfortable. Try 'the kiss test': if you can kiss your baby’s head, you are in the right position. The best position for your baby is on your chest, and with good support for their back, neck, and hips.

Baby slings are especially good and safe for newborns as they offer closer contact with you so they feel safe and snuggled and happy while you are free to get on with doing other activities at home or out and about.

Dr Rosie Knowles is a GP, carrying consultant, author of Why Babywearing Matters, and a mum of two; carryingmatters.co.uk who recommends following the TICKS safety rule. 

  • T is for Tight. Your carrier should be close fitting to make sure it holds your baby in a safe position.
  • I is for In view at all times. Make sure you can clearly see your baby’s face so you can check on him easily.
  • C is for Close enough to kiss. You should be able to kiss the top of your baby’s head easily while he is in the carrier, but make sure he can still move his head freely.
  • K is for Keep chin off chest. ‘His chin should be off his chest and his airway open and unobstructed, and remain so if he falls asleep,’ says Rosie.
  • S is for Supported back. ‘The sling should be snug so baby’s chest and back are well supported, with no slumping or sliding downwards,’ says Rosie.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

AD - Safe babywearing following the TICKS rules: 1. “T” is for TIGHT The carrier should be fairly tight bringing baby right up close to you. If you’re breastfeeding and have sore nipples, the tightness may aggravate things. To relieve this pain, put on a soothing pad like the @multimamandmultigyn breastfeeding compresses. If carrier is loose, this pulls on your back & also mean baby slumps down which can hinder breathing. 2. “I” is for IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES You should be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. You shouldn’t have to move any fabric or part of the carrier aside in order to do so. 3. “C” is for CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS Your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as comfortable. If you tip your head forward you should be able to kiss their head/forehead. 4. “K” is for KEEP CHIN OFF CHEST A baby shouldn’t be in a curled up position so their chin is forced into their chest. This can restrict their breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width below your baby’s chin. 5. “S” is for SUPPORTED BACK In an upright carry, a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in a natural position and tummy & chest are against you. If a sling is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. You can test this by placing your hand on baby’s back and pressing gently. They shouldn’t uncurl or move closer to you. A baby in a cradle carry in a soft fabric sling should have their bottom in the deepest part of the carrier so they don’t curl inwards and press their chin to their chest. If you stick to these rules, your baby will be safe when you wear them! It can take some practice so it’s a good idea to try it out at home when you aren’t in a rush so you can get used to it. You may need someone on hand initially to help but after a few times you will probably find you can do it by yourself! Happy babywearing! 🐨

A post shared by Dr Stephanie (MBBS BSc MRCGP) (@the_gp_mum) on

How long can a baby stay in a wrap sling? 

You can use your baby sling as much as you want, however we would advise you to consider the two-hour baby rule where you avoid keeping your baby in the same position for over two hours, as their spine is still in development and it's important to keep changing their position. As opposed to a more structured baby carrier, with a baby sling you have to be a little bit more aware of your baby's positioning. For more on baby sling safety have a look at the UK Sling Consortium's TICKS method, and also see our safety tips here

Read more: Your guide to babywearing

Baby slings aren't the only baby-carrying options. The traditional-style baby carrier provides more back support and backpack carriers are great for long walks or hiking. You can check out our picks of best baby carriers here. 

Which baby sling should I buy?

If you've decided on a sling or wrap, then scroll down to see our top picks for the best baby slings as reviewed by real mum testers:

Winner of the 2020 Gold Best Baby Carrier/Sling M&B Award. This is the ideal everyday woven wrap which is made with a flexible and comfortable fabric. With this carrier wrap, you will be able to keep your baby safe and secure all day long. It comes in one size fits all and is designed to carry up to 35lbs. You and your baby will be happy with this choice. 

Our mum tester Nicola said: "I would recommend this due to price, ease of cleaning, and the ability to just pop it in your changing bag. It is lightweight and I had the eucalyptus print which was stylish and very soft on the skin. My baby enjoyed being in it and I felt closer to her than I do in my rather bulkier carrier I have. I have washed the FreeRider and it came out very well."

Read our full review of the FreeRider Wrap here

Caboo +Organic is a sling with good support. It's designed to provide more structure, and it allows you to carry your baby in five different positions. This sling is easy to use and to adjust, feeling super comfortable even for heavier babies. You can use it during summer as its made of breathable fabric but will also keep your baby warm in winter. The only negative aspect of this sling is that it doesn't allow you to carry your baby on your back.

This carrier won the 2017 Silver Best Baby Carrier/Sling and 2015 Gold Best Baby Carrier/Sling in the M&B Awards

Our tester Amy Connolly, mum to Bodhi, five months, said: "I love how secure it feels and how easy it is to put on – it’s so much more practical than struggling with tying a wrap sling. It’s extremely comfortable to wear and Bodhi seems very cosy and warm in this, so it’s just perfect for our long wintery walks."

Read our full review of the Caboo +Organic Sling here

Shortlisted for the 2017 M&B Awards Best Baby Carrier/Sling, the AmaWrap sling is comfy, stretchy and soft for mum and baby, with no buckles or clips to contend with. It comes in a range of colours to choose from. It was Shortlisted in the 2017 M&B Awards in the Best Baby Carrier/Sling category.

Tested by mum Vikki Hind for the M&B Awards 2017; she said: "As a baby carrier this is one of my favourites because baby is able to be next to me and the wrap is comfortable to wear for long periods. There are no buckles and straps which means it fits different sizes quickly and there is also nothing digging in when wearing baby. I like how small the wrap folds so it can be put in a changing bag. It can also be used as a makeshift blanket when out and about if not being worn."

Read our full review of the AmaWrap Sling here

This is a multi-use wrap sling which works when your little one is a baby and later when they get to the toddler stage. You can only carry the baby in one position with this but with well-distributed weight that is even across the back and shoulders. It's highly recommended for newborns and for mums after a C-section. The We Made Me Wuti Wrap was Shortlisted for the 2016 M&B Award for Best Baby Carrier/Sling.

Tested by mum Sarah Panter for the M&B Awards 2016; she said: "I liked that this sling was made of breathable material. Wearing a baby can be warm for both mother and child so breathable material is a must. I liked the way the wrap felt comfortable and secure for both mother and baby, and allowed me the freedom to continue with day-to-day tasks having both hands free. It was easy to wrap up in a ball and transport too."

Read our full review of the We Made Me Wuti Wrap here

The most important advantage this sling has is you can carry both babies and toddlers (but not at the same time!). It's also extremely simple to use. There is padded shoulder straps which can be helpful, making it particularly comfortable to wear, but some of our mum testers complained about the fact that it looks a bulky style carrier.

Tested by Amy Connolly, from Cornwall, mum to Bodhi, five months. She said: "I found this so simple to use. The instructions are great and easy to follow, and I found that the extra padding on the shoulder really helped distribute Bodhi’s weight evenly, making it particularly comfortable to wear. It sits well on my hip and provides good bum support, although I don’t think it would be practical for longer walks."

Read our full review of the We Made Me Soohu Sling Classic here

 

This sling is different from the other ones in this list, as it is sized (rather than a one-size-fits-all design like many others). It's easy to use in different positions and for different ages. The only drawback is that you can't really share it with your partner if they're a different body size to you. 

This baby sling is super affordable without compromising on quality. You can use it from newborn to toddler, but it's perfect for when your baby is around 6 to 12 months old, and it's perfect for breastfeeding too as your child can lie sideways in it. It comes in several different colours and is the basic model from a wide range of slings from Je Porte Mon Bébé.

Try before you buy

Finding a sling you love is just like searching for a new fave pair of jeans –you need to try a lot on to discover the style that <really> fits you. Go to a sling meet – a get-together for new mums to try on different designs – and if it’s an option, book a slot with a babywearing consultant while you’re there, to get tailored advice. Once you find a sling you like, it’s worth the small fee to hire it for a proper test-drive – you’ll only use a sling if it’s seriously comfy, so spend time making damn sure before you invest! Find your nearest meet at slingpages.co.uk

Can I breastfeed my baby in a sling wrap?

You use a sling wrap while breastfeeding however it does take some practice. Some manufacturers may suggest you don't feed while using their slings so be sure to check this first. You can breastfeed in a sling wrap vertically or in a more reclined position. Ensure your baby can breathe easily and keep an eye out for any trip hazards that may obstruct your path. You need to support your baby at all times while feeding but using a wrap to feed gives you more freedom generally. After feeding, change the position of your little one, making sure her head is facing up as well as being clear of the sling wrap and your body.  

Check out our tried and tested baby carrier slings

 

Our annual Mother&Baby Awards sees hundreds of baby products tried and tested by our panel of mums, so for extra peace of mind, be sure to check out the slings that won in the Mother&Baby Awards 2020. Want some more options? Have a look at our favourite baby carrier backpacks and other baby carriers. Products are sent out to between three and 10 mum testers - they are completely independent from us at M&B and are recruited from thousands of mums who apply to be testers. They are all verified as trustworthy real mums and really put products through their paces - each item is tested in real life, with real babies. So if these products suck, our mums will tell us honestly! This means our list of the best baby slings is really comprehensive - we compile a list of our M&B Award winners, plus best sellers in the market with real mum reviews. 


 
  • Author: Sophie Knight Sophie Knight
  • Job Title: Contributing Editor

Sophie is a journalist and mum of one, and previously edited motherandbaby.co.uk before moving on to write about family cars for Parkers.co.uk - now Sophie is Commercial Content Editor for M&B, Closer, Heat, Empire, Yours, Garden News, and WhatsTheBest.co.uk 

She is passionate about raising awareness around postnatal depression and is a Mental Health First Aider.

Sophie studied History at the University of Sheffield and has been in journalism for 16 years. 

Other contributors

Lorna White - Digital Writer

Related Content