No matter how much you love cuddling your infant, you’ll need to use your hands to accomplish tasks every once in a while. Enter a busy parent’s best friend: the baby wrap.
If you have a little one who needs to be upright after feeds or just loves that skin-to-skin time, a baby wrap can be a lifesaver.
Curious about this miracle product that can give you back valuable time while still keeping your baby close? We’ve got all the info you need to choose the perfect baby wrap for you and your baby.
A baby wrap is a long piece of fabric that can be knotted and tied around a person to create a pouch on their chest, hip, or back. It typically wraps over the shoulders and across the torso to help distribute weight.
You can secure your baby in the pouch for baby wearing.
Although some wraps may be used for babies up to 18 months, many parents find them most enjoyable and useful during the first months of their child’s life. As your little one ages, you may want to switch to a more structured carrier.
While it’s not mandatory to use a baby wrap, many parents find that having one is super useful. After all, baby wraps offer your little one comfort and affection while allowing you to get things done!
If your baby enjoys swings or bouncy seats, you may find you don’t need a wrap as much, but it’s still helpful if you need to be out and about.
If budget is a concern, know that it’s possible to find these on clearance or even being sold very lightly used. That said, when buying a used wrap, you’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t have any defects.
One of the big differences between a baby carrier and a wrap is the lack of clasps and buckles on the wrap.
Many parents of very young newborns love that wraps don’t include these features because they can dig into an infant’s sensitive skin.
On the other hand, as your baby ages, you may find that the added structure and support offered by clasps and buckles is nice to have.
When deciding on the perfect baby wrap, you’ll want to consider:
- The fabric. How stretchy, breathable, or bulky is the fabric? How long is it? Will you be able to tie it by yourself?
- The cost. Does it fit within your price range?
- The extras. Is it produced in environmentally friendly ways? Does the wrap include any extra features, like hidden pockets?
When thinking about which baby wraps rise above the rest, we considered the things that we know matter to you — like fit, cost, and comfort.
We also took into account what parents who actually use these wraps have to say! After all, who better to judge the pros and cons of a baby wrap than the adults using them?
- $ = under $30
- $$ = $30–$59
- $$$ = over $59
One of the more affordable baby wraps, the CuddleBug model is also supersoft. It’s extremely versatile and can be used as a breastfeeding cover, tied as sling, or even wound to provide postpartum support to your torso!
This wrap also gets rave reviews from parents of colicky babies for its ability to soothe them.
While it can take some practice to get the wrap just right, the manufacturer produced a great video that also includes the proper way to position your baby in the wrap.
Parents say it can get a little hot during the summer months, but the extra warmth can feel great in the autumn, winter, and even spring.
Best for beginners
One of the most intimidating parts of baby wraps for new parents is learning how to wrap the fabric around yourself to make a safe space for baby.
Because the K’tan Original is two loops of fabric stitched together, you just have to slip it over your head and put a hand through each loop. Place your baby where the fabric crosses, slip the extra piece of fabric around the outside for security, and you’re done!
Downsides? The K’tan Original comes in clothing sizes, so only people who are the same size can use the same wrap. While some parents say it stretches a little, washing and drying it usually restores the fabric’s tension.
Best for newborns
While many wraps use thicker fabrics, the Solly Baby Wrap has a thinner, super-breathable fabric that’ll keep you and your little one from overheating.
It also comes with tons of extra features, like a hidden pacifier pocket and a pouch attached to one end of the wrap so you can fold it up and store it when you’re not wearing it.
Not only is the fabric perfect for smaller newborns, but it has a lower maximum baby weight than others — so this is really a wrap designed for your younger baby.
While it does come with a slightly higher price tag, many parents find that the extra features and comfortable fabric are worth the money!
Best ring sling
Slightly easier to put on than a wrap, ring slings offer many of the same benefits.
The Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Ring Sling stands out for its exceptional padding and pocket placement.
The padded fabric in the shoulder area helps keep it from digging in when you’re carrying your baby. And the pocket in the tail of the sling is perfect for your phone, baby’s diaper, or a pacifier.
Plus, because the fabric is 100 percent cotton, it stays cooler than some other ring slings.
Although the price tag is on the higher end, many parents have found the extras this ring sling offers worth it.
Best organic wrap
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, the Happy Baby Stretchy Baby Wrap is made from organic bamboo and cotton, which leaves it sturdy but also soft and able to wick away moisture. Bonus: It’s naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial.
Want to feel really good about your purchase? It’s made in the United States, and stay-at-home moms are employed for the sewing process!
Advice from fellow parents? Like with many wraps, you should probably plan to watch the instructional video and practice putting it on a few times before attempting using it with your baby in it.
Best stretchy wrap
In many ways, the Boba Wrap is similar to the MOBY Wrap Classic (reviewed below). However, this one only allows for a baby to be sitting up and positioned toward you.
One thing that makes the Boba Wrap stand apart from the MOBY version in a positive way is the 5 percent spandex in its cotton knit. This offers just enough stretch to perfectly position the wrap but also lets you feel like your baby is still snug and secure.
One caution from parents who used this wrap is that as your baby ages, their extra weight may cause the fabric to stretch and not properly hold them. You’ll want to keep an eye out for this issue or plan on switching to a structured carrier.
Best for breastfeeding
While a lot of baby wraps will allow for feeding, the Baby Sling Carrier was specifically designed to make it easier. For example, the fabric is slightly wider than that of other wraps to allow you to fully cover your baby while breastfeeding.
Best for all sizes
The Wrap Classic is one long strip of soft, thick fabric that’s fairly easy to tie into a wrap. Because the fabric is so long, it’s possible to form a good wrap with almost any size body or body shape. This makes it perfect for multiple caregivers in a family to take turns wearing and using it!
Downsides? The tail can drag on the ground and get dirty if you’re on the shorter side. The thicker fabric can also leave you and your little one sweaty in the hotter summer months.
Best for dads
Two common problems for dads when it comes to baby wraps are finding ones that can fit them and remembering how to put it on if they don’t wear it every day!
Baby K’tan solves both of these problems with the Active model. With sizes specifically designed to fit male bodies and a wrap that slips on like a T-shirt, it makes it easier for dads to safely wear their baby.
Still, like the Baby K’tan Original, the carrier is sized to a specific shirt size and probably won’t fit all caregivers.
Best for around the house
This wrap is super affordable — it’s less expensive than many other options while still being incredibly versatile. It can be used as a sling, postpartum belt, or breastfeeding cover.
A long wrap, this is a great choice for individuals in larger bodies and can be easily wrapped twice around the waist if you’re short. The fabric is on the warmer side, but it’s perfect for getting cozy.
Ready to give your hands a break from holding your baby?
If you’re in the market for a baby wrap, make sure to check with your friends and local parent support businesses first. They may have wraps you can test out with your baby before you buy (or even be willing to let you borrow one for a few months).
They also can be a great source of encouragement and guidance as you learn how to appropriately wrap the fabric around yourself.