ARTICLE by Charlotte Gelstharp

Babywearing - Wraps vs Soft-Structured Carriers

 |  Reading time: 4 minutes
B_for_Blog | Natural Baby Shower

Natural Baby Shower are big lovers of babywearing due to it’s many benefits for both baby and parent, but also because it simply makes life as a busy parent that little bit easier and we love being as close to our little ones as possible. With jargon such as buckles, meh dais, woven wraps and ring wraps, add in the vast amount of different styles and choices it can be confusing to know which one to choose.

If you are just beginning to research babywearing or already a big fan but want to know more, then we want to help you decide which carrier would work best for you.It’s time to take a closer look at the two most popular styles of baby carriers and compare wraps vs soft-structured to see what each has to offer so you can decide what is right for you. 

Babywearing - Wraps vs Soft-Structured Carriers

Soft-Structured Carriers

A soft-structured baby carrier (also known as buckle & hip carriers) are probably the most popular and common type of carrier parents go for. Soft-structured carriers come in a variety of styles and looks, but essentially they all follow the same design. They are all based around having a soft padded structure that supports your baby's head, back and bottom that is secured around your body with buckles and adjustable straps.

Why choose a soft-structured carrier?

Essentially these carriers are known as the “grab and go” carrier. They are quick and easy to use, you can be good to go with your baby in the carrier in a matter of a few clicks and pulls in the right places. For this reason they make great carries for first time parents or parents using a baby carrier for the first time. Most parents like the security of knowing you can’t really do it “wrong” and it’s a style of carrier that is super easy to master and adjust.

Depending on the design soft-structured carriers can be used from newborn, they either need to be designed to be able to carry newborns or can have a newborn inset added. Plus this style of carriers can go up to 45lbs which allows you to use them for many years and the padded shoulder straps mean it remains comfortable for the parent.

 Babywearing - Wraps vs Soft-Structured Carriers

Things to consider

While soft-structured carriers might be an excellent and easy choice, but there are a few things to consider before you jump in. First, they tend to be more expensive, the extra thought that goes into the ergonomic design and multi functional elements mean they do cost a little more than your standard wrap.

They are also much bulkier to try to pack away in your changing bag or luggage when travelling. Some styles do now come with handy travel bags or cleverly fold into themselves into a hidden bag. So do your research if this is a feature you would like.

Another thing to research is making sure that your carrier can be used from newborn if you intend to use it straight away. Not all carriers are designed to carry newborn babies so double check this before you buy.

Wraps VS soft-structured carriers

Wrap me up

Wrap carriers are pretty much what it says on the tin, it’s a long piece of fabric you wrap and tie around your body in different ways to hold your baby. Every wrap is more or less the same, the only variations are the material fabric used and the print design of the wrap. Other than that a wrap is a wrap and will always be in the form of a long piece of fabric.

These come in mainly 2 different styles; stretchy or woven wraps. Stretchy wraps are made of elasticated fabrics such as cotton jersey. This is often the best for newbie wrap users as you can simply tie the wrap around your body first then stretch the material over your baby as you place them in. Woven wraps tend to be used by more confident wrap users or parents with older children as the sturdier material works better with heavier toddlers.

 Wraps VS soft-structured carriers babywearing

Why choose a wrap?

Wraps have a large fan base for the main reason it is hard to match the closeness and snug feeling that you get from a wrap. The snugness you feel right up close to that heartbeat is about as close to being in the womb as your baby can get once they have entered the world.

The sky really is your limit in terms of versatility with wraps. You can twist, wrap and move them in any direction to carry your baby in a whole variety of positions. However, for some users it is this freedom that makes some parents nervous that they might not do it safely enough.

Wraps come in a lot more funky and fun patterns so you can pick one that suits your own personal tastes much easier. This and the slightly cheaper price point means that some parents have more than 1 and love the variety. 

Things to consider

It takes a certain skill level to use a wrap well. It is not hard to learn but it will take you a few goes to get it right (YouTube will be your best friend for tutorials). Still, don’t let fear hold you back because the versatility you can achieve with a little bit of skill will provide you with an unmatched babywearing experience in those early months.

Wraps do take a little longer to put on compared to soft-structure carriers which can put busy parents off a little. Practice makes perfect with this style of carrier, you will become a whizz but it may not happen straight away.

Babywearing - Wraps vs Soft-Structured Carriers

Ultimately choosing a carrier totally depends on your own personal tastes and what suits your lifestyle best. If you are still unsure or want to test them out before buying, head to our Surrey store for expert demo’s or find your local sling library to get hands on.

Check out all our baby carriers here >>