|Making it all easier!
|This review section will discuss
the advantages of general groups of carriers, as well as
discussing the differences of the individual brands.
PLEASE NOTE: For reviews of carriers listed below but not "linked", please see http://www.thebabywearer.com for more information. Most of the reviews on this page were done several years ago. I have put all of my most recent reviews on the Babywearer site. I also strongly recommend both the Babywearer forums and the Yahoo babywearing group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/babywearing for advice and help with choosing a good carrier. There are many, many more slings and carriers than the ones I've reviewed, and I have listed some here that I have not myself had a chance to review.
Padded Ring Slings
Unpadded Ring Slings
- The Maya Wrap
- The MamaBaby Sling
- The Kangaroo Korner Unpadded Sling
- The PeaPod
- Taylormade Treasures
- BabySpace Adjustable Pouch
- Mama Kangaroo Ring Sling
Woven Fabric Slings and Wraparounds (minimal shaping, simple or no
- Rebozo Way
- Ebay Rebozos
Front Packs, Back Packs and Hip Carriers
A sling is a baby carrier
which goes over one shoulder and under the opposite arm,
designed to carry the baby in folds of fabric in front or
to the side of the wearer.
are usable from
birth to about 35 pounds, though children heavier than
about 30 pounds may put too much strain on the shoulder.
accommodate the baby in many positions, from lying
down to sitting up, in the front, on the hip, or on the
back of the parent.
are washable, and made out of cotton fabric, of
allow the parent to wear the baby "hands
allow discreet, comfortable, hands-free breast
There are several subcategories of
The padded, constructed sling:
This is one of the
most widely seen sling styles in the United States.
Padded, constructed slings are made from a
"cigar" shaped length of fabric, padded along
the edges, with rings and a shoulder pad at one end, and
an unpadded "tail" at the other end. The tail
slides through the rings like a buckle, forming a secure
"loop" which is worn like a sash across the
body. The pad is worn on top of the shoulder, the rings
in front of the shoulder, and baby can then ride in a
variety of positions in the fabric "hammock"
which is formed by the main section of the sling. Padded
slings are quite comfortable to wear, though the bulk
makes it less comfortable to wear when a baby is not in
the sling. The adjustable size is a plus.
Disadvantages of the
design: The bulkiness of the padding makes it unlikely that a parent will want to wear this without a baby in it. This affects the amount of use the product will receive with active toddlers and babies who want "down" and "up" frequently. Some constructed slings don't allow the top rail and the bottom rail to be adjusted independently, and in some designs, this may make them less secure. Padded ring slings are just not my favorite overall design. HOWEVER... I've found a couple of lightly padded versions are quite nice, sometimes just a little padding does better than no padding or lots of padding.
Over the Shoulder Baby Holder:
(alternate distributors: http://www.russettweb.com/slings.html
P.O. Box 635
San Clemente, CA 92674-0635
Descriptions: This is tried and true by thousands of parents, comes in lots of prints and fabrics. A ring at the end of the tail prevents slippage of the tail through the rings, and the padding is very thick. Also comes in a very small version which is designed to be used by little children to carry dolls and stuffed animals.
of padding, both at the shoulder and around the edge of
the sling. Safety bar is a nice feature.
Cons: The padding makes the sling more bulky than the New Native or the Maya Wrap, which makes it less likely to be worn without a baby in it, and a bit less convenient to put in a diaper bag (though it is still not terribly difficult to take along.)
Field Test: The sling is very comfortable and easy to put on, though it does take some effort to adjust the size of it. The padding is very comfortable, though bulky. This is a sling which will appeal to a very wide range of parents. It comes in an astonishing array of fabrics, colors and prints. There are different sizes, the large adjusted to fit me (I'm pretty big) and one of my co-workers who is quite petite. Smaller parents will want the smaller size as it can be made more snug. This was one of the most comfortable traditional slings to carry my 40+ pound daughter for short periods. My clients who tried mine were pleased enough that they bought one of their own.
Cost: Average (In the $40-50 range)
The Kangaroo Korner Padded Sling
6168 Oakwood Drive
Lino Lakes, Minnesota 55014
Description: A hybrid sling, padded and
"constructed", but with an open tail like the
Pros: Due to the open tail, it can be used much like the Maya Wrap, as a blanket, or to fit a wide range of sizes. It is very secure, as the top "rail" and the bottom can be adjusted separately with ease. The padding appeals to many parents, but is not as bulky as the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. It comes in a range of fabrics.
Note: this sling is similar to a sling reviewed several years back, the Nurturing Parent Products sling, but the shoulder pad is better and that company no longer exists.. The sling I received was a bold autumn print, in autumn colors, very striking.
Cons: Very few. This is one of the best padded slings I've tried. The only "cons" are the cons of all padded, constructed slings, namely bulk (although this is not a particularly bulky sling and you can custom order the amount of padding you want) and that the more constructed a sling is, the more limited it tends to be.
Here is what my "tester" e-mailed me about a similar sling.
"I love the sling
and now I can't live without it. You've created a junkie!
I'm going to order one exactly like it, so I'll return
yours as soon as I get mine.
Features: Padded shoulder pad is heavenly. Don't know
what it would be like not to have it, but I don't want to
find out. The padding seems to help keep the sling shaped
wide at my shoulder. It doesn't get all bunched up.
Padded opening is also nice for baby. Olivia likes to sit
up in it with her head out so she can see. [Olivia was
about 7 weeks old when this was written.] I like having
the thick padded side for her to rest her head against.
It doesn't cut into her.
IEase of use: I find it very easy to
slide Olivia in and out of the sling. Having the padded
sides helps find the opening easily so that I can slide
her off my shoulder and into the sling. At first I had a
hard time making sure I got BOTH legs in and ensuring
that she was centered properly in the sling. I haven't
tried nursing with the sling.
I can't get my husband to try it. I guess he things it would damage his manhood to be seen with it on.
fax to (714) 858-9686
22942 Arroyo Vista
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Description: Standard constructed sling, with a special safety bar to prevent slippage. All available fabrics are blue, blue flowers, blue plaid, blue stripe, solid blue, denim. Custom orders can be accommodated on occasion.
Pros: Widely available, mass produced. The manufacturer is very safety minded, the buckle has grooves in it to prevent slippage. There is a bar which prevents the tail from sliding all the way through the rings. The construction is very durable, and the instructions encourage frequent washings. The tail is very solid. This is advertised as "The Original Babysling," endorsed by Dr. William Sears. Very professional packaging, thorough instructions, and good illustrations. They also have a "hotline" for questions about the sling, and will even help people with questions about other slings, helping them to use whatever product they happen to have. (Note: most companies I've talked to are very helpful.)
Cons: The sling only comes in one size. I have known very petite women who did not find the sling usable at all. In order to fit it to smaller women, the manufacturer recommends sliding the padded part of the rail through the rings. I find this a less than ideal solution, though it does work to do that, it is very difficult to adjust the sling with the rail through the buckle. The padding is not as thick as some of the other constructed slings I've seen.
Comments: There are other, more comfortable, more stylish slings out there. The fabric is soft, and the padding is adequate but not "luxurious". It's washability is a plus. I have no problems with this sling, but it is not a "favorite" of many of the people I've talked to who've used more than one kind of sling. It is a practical sling, but most people will be happier with something else. This is the sling most often found at garage sales and consignment shops. If you've tried this sling and not liked it, please do try something different! This is NOT a sling that I recommend where other options are available.
Cost: recommended retail price 29.95-39.95
companies which make constructed slings:
The SlingEzee sling is one of the more padded slings out there. If you like padding, this is a "deluxe" sling. If you find padded slings hot and bulky, you won't like it.
Better Baby Sling (Britain)
Nappies Direct, PO Box 11709, London SE14 5ZR
Telephone 0171-635 7900 International: +44-171-635 7900
TeleFax 0171-635 5051 International: +44-171-635 5051
Heart Baby Sling (Canada)
FAX (905) 547-2666
Designs (sling pattern)
Customer Service / Order Line: (801) 454-3350
Catalog Request Line: (801) 454-3551 (Voice Mail)
The Tube Sling/Pouch:
When I started writing about slings, there were only simple pouches available. A simple pouch is just a tube of fabric with a bulge sewn in, which is worn folded. This is a simpler design than the constructed sling, but is not adjustable, which can either be a blessing (since you don't have to mess with rings) or a curse (if you and your partner are very different in size or you order the wrong size to start with). The pouch is basically a shaped tube of fabric which is folded in half the hard way to make a pocket for the baby to ride in. It goes on like a constructed sling, that is, it goes over the head, from one shoulder to the opposite hip, and the baby can ride most of the same positions. The blessing of a tube sling is that it is very lightweight and comfortable, and can be worn with or without a baby in it. Without a baby, it looks like a broad sash. Putting the baby in is a quick process. I find this to be a very convenient design, plus it is extremely easy to make. Tube slings also tend to be less expensive than constructed slings, simply due to the fact that they are less time consuming to create. This is a convenient and comfortable design.
Pros: Very comfy, and VERY EASY TO USE. I wore mine constantly when my daughter was 11 months old and in that pre-walking "up-down" phase. I'd just scoop her up into the sling and go, then put her down when she wanted. I could wear her on my back when cooking and swing her around to the front to nurse. Very secure, if I bent over, the sling would move forward and keep her seat securely in the pocket. Easy to get on and off with a sleeping baby. I find that two crossed narrow, shallow pouches are one of the easiest and least bulky comfortable "two-shoulder" carriers out there.
General disadvantages of
Not adjustable without actually sewing it smaller. Can pull uncomfortably on the shoulder with an older child (like all slings). Baby looks a bit "squashed", which, of course, the baby usually likes, but often bothers the parent. With my second baby, I'm chestier and find that pouches were particularly troublesome in the first months postpartum, although an oversized pouch was easiest to feed in, it was difficult to find a design which would position baby well for non-nursing positions but still stay in position on my shoulder. We call this, "not feeling the pouch love". Chances are that when my baby is older, the pouch will work better for us.
Native Baby Carrier
New Native Baby Carriers
P.O. Box 247
Davenport, CA 95017
408/477-1181 or 800/646-1682 (USA)
Description: Made out of very soft but thick woven cottons, almost a denim type fabric. Organic cottons available.
Pros: Sturdy design, quality fabric, very strong seams.
Field test: I got this when my daughter was 10 months old, and used it constantly until she started walking. I have many pictures of me with my daughter on my hip this way. She was a bit too big to lie down and nurse, but my clients who've used tube slings with younger babies have loved nursing in them. Note: I've also used this to carry groceries in when walking home from a store. Note#2: I've found that these slings tend to be sized a bit large. I'm a big woman and the XL was *huge* on me when I wore an XL-2xl shirt, but worked okay once I hit a 3x.
Cost: Basic price is average, between $40-50. Seconds and some reduced cost slings are available. This is actually how I got my sling, when I was on welfare.
Company info: Nancy Scrivens started New Native because
she was so happy carrying her daughter in a sling of this
style that she wanted to make it more available to other
parents, to help them bond with their babies. She says
the reason she's in business is to help people. They want
the moms who sew the slings to make a decent wage, and
make a conscious effort be a socially and environmentally
responsible business, as well as encouraging parent-baby
contact with the Friends of Bonding group.
Description: Lined simple pouch, kicky prints on one side, solid color fabrics or simple stripes on the other. My favorite? "Chuck", a black corduroy lining provides an incredibly soft, warm place for baby to snuggle. But the shell is a decorative cotton in a "Samurai" print.
Pros: Well built, lining is a plus, lack of shoulder "tacking" allows for more adjustability through "shoulder flips"
Cons: Fabric has little give, so sizing is critical. A regular fit me perfectly, the large was too big. At the time of testing, I was a size 18/20 on top. I'm short waisted. Sizing is the downfall of unadjustable slings, so be prepared to send a sling back for a different size! Update: Now a size 24 (mostly due to boob size) and the large works very very well for me now. One of the better pouches I own.
Cost: $44 plus shipping and handling
Other simple pouches are available from
http://www.hotslings.com (Hotslings are very good on sizing and handle returns very quickly and easily.)
For some how-to's on tube sling
construction, either see my article on how-tos (http://www.jenrose.com/sling/slingtxt.htm) or http://www.ida.net/users/stace/sling.html (which has some great diagrams.) See also Rev. Jan's site .
This is a whole new category, and it has mushroomed in the past couple years. These pouches adjust with zippers, snaps, or buttons. They range from traditional Guatemalan fabrics to heavy denim and ultra soft fleece.
The Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch (AFP) and Adjustable Cotton Pouch (ACP)
These pouches are well-built, comfortable and can be adjusted with rows of snaps through 4 different sizes to get a very refined fit. Talk to the owner, Tanya, before ordering. She can help you get the exact size you need. Her size charts are the most accurate I've seen, and these pouches provide some of the best baby placement of any slings. Babies are held close, high and in very natural positions. The fleece pouch is more comfortable, in general, than the cotton pouch, but the heavy fleece is not great for hot, humid conditions. The cotton pouch is a good summer sling, but not quite as stretchy or comfortable as the fleece pouches. Nevertheless, they are so easy to use and as comfortable as any other pouch (except the AFP) that they are worth having for summer use. The snaps are strong enough that I was able to carry a 60 pound child in the AFP without any sign of the snaps being stressed.
The Maya Pouch
Maya Wrap started out with a simple pouch, and found that so many people ordered the wrong size that they designed a really fantastic adjustable pouch. This pouch is so adjustable (with zippers) that the small will work for everyone between about a size six and a size 24. There is a full ten inch adjustment available, with five different settings two inches apart. The longest setting , with nothing zipped, leaves a continuous loop of fabric, which means that if a zipper did break, the sling would not fly open. This is the only adjustable pouch in its class which does not separate into two ends. (The Bambino Blue is also a continuous loop, but the adjustment it has is different--more intended to refine the fit on one person than to change the size for different people.)
The Bambino Blue
This pouch is simpler than the other adjustable pouches, and fitting is more of an issue. The small was too small for me, but not by much. The adjustment comes from a button in the middle of the sling. Button holes on the edges of the sling allow for several adjustment positions which can bring the top of the sling closer in, or the bottom of the sling higher up, or both. It can be adjusted "on the fly" while baby is in the sling, which makes it different from the KKAFP and the Maya Pouch.
The Unpadded Ring Sling
Years ago, when I first wrote this, Maya Wrap was the only unpadded ring sling I knew, and was a variation on the rebozo more than a variation on the ring sling, in style. Since then the category has blossomed, with unpadded ring slings made from everything from Maya's traditional woven cottons to Zolowear's silks and the MamaBaby's interlock. See the reviews section of The Babywearer website for more links and reviews of a variety of unpadded ring slings!
A fabric sling is simply a
piece of fabric which is folded and tied in sling style.
Traditionally, long scarves like Rebozos have been used.
I find that a bed sheet can be quite effective as well.
The advantage of using a Rebozo as a sling is that it can
be worn as a shawl when the baby is not being carried,
and then adapted quickly to become a sling. These are
quite comfortable slings, though not quite as convenient
to adjust as a constructed sling, and not quite as
lightweight and carefree as a tube sling. (see issue 44
for instructions on making slings from bed sheets.) One
adaptation of the fabric sling, the Maya Wrap, is a
hybrid between the fabric sling and the constructed
sling, with the flowing beauty of the traditional rebozo,
and the greater ease of adjustment provided by the ring
and tail of the constructed sling, but without the bulk
Maya Wrap: 1-888-MAYA WRAP (628-2872)
1541 S. 109th St. Omaha, NE 68144
Description: Gorgeous sling, similar to the standard "constructed sling", but without the padding or "strap". Basically a long stretch of fabric, folded and stitched, with a ring-buckle on one end. Made out of beautiful Guatemalan woven cottons. One of my all-time favorite slings. Has the nice benefit of also converting to a "leash", a blanket, or a shopping cart restraint, but with style.
Pros: Extremely versatile, adjustable for multiple wearers, very washable, durable, and attractive. This is my favorite sling. It comes with great instructions and a video, and the owner of the company is very willing to help people figure it out over the phone if there are any difficulties. The sling can be tightened more at the top than the bottom, which may feel more secure than a sling with a single "strap" or "tail". The simplest to get off with a sleeping baby.
Cons: No padding. I like it this way, but other parents may prefer a padded sling.
Field Test: This has worked well for me with week old babies and my daughter, who at the time of testing, was 3 1/2 years old and about 40 pounds. It is very comfy with a baby, and with my daughter, was very helpful for cuddling while I was working on the computer, as it held her up where I could type easily.
(Call company to get current price information.)
Company Info: The slings are made, in part, by a mission
in Guatemala at a home for teenaged girls. The girls are
not overworked, and the work helps support the mission
and teaches them skills they can use instead of turning
to prostitution. The business is a small home-based
business, as are many sling companies.
Video, by Barbara Wishingrad.
(To Order, write to: Rebozo Way Project, 6063 Ethel Ave.,
Van Nuys, CA 91401 U.S.A. Video: $29.95, Rebozos:
At the heart, the root of all the slings and carriers and wraps, the buckles and rings and ties and Velcro, there is a simple alternative. I have described in previous issues how to wrap a length of cloth into a baby sling, this idea is as old as the hills. The most beautiful example I've seen of this is the rebozo, the traditional Mexican woven shawl.
The Rebozo Way project is
a company after my own heart. Although the focus of their
work is on selling beautiful rebozos, they also provide
abundant information on the practical size of
The Rebozo is simple, about 100 inches long, about 30 inches wide, woven from cotton, with a decorative fringe which allows it to be worn alone as a beautiful shawl when it is not being used as a beautiful sling. The Rebozo Way project is a source for a beautiful range of cotton and rayon rebozos, but the truly unique contribution the Rebozo way project makes is in their video, "The Rebozo Way."
It is not the most polished video I've ever seen, but it is by far the most informative video I've looked at explaining different ways of wearing a baby. Unlike most baby carriers instructional videos, it is not necessary to own the specific brand or type to benefit fully from the video, as the various techniques can easily be applied to any piece of cloth that size. In fact, the owner, Barbara Wishingrad, has instructions available for making a rebozo or a rebozo-styled wrap, including the decorative fringe.
There are a variety of techniques used which are unique
to this video, for wrapping a baby, and I learned a great
deal from it. I found however that for me, tying the
cloth around me before putting a child in it was easier
for me to do than the technique described, but possibly
less secure for the baby. It also places the knot
The Rebozo Way company is based in Mexico.
Another distributor of
Rebozos and other slings: http://www.mama-ts.com/
Carriers vary radically,
but generally allow a child to be carried in an upright
position, with legs dangling down through holes, centered
on the parent's front. Some designs allow the child to be
carried facing out, but most are designed for young
babies to face inward.
Front packs are generally
used from the time the baby can hold it's head upright
until the baby is too heavy for the pack. Most parents
say that once the baby is about 18 pounds, even the best
front packs put too much strain on the shoulders. The
notable exception to this can be found in the Baby Wrap,
which does not use shoulder straps at all, and can be
used on children up to 35-40 pounds.
Most front packs involve a number of straps and buckles, and the baby generally rides in a fairly contained and fitted pouch with leg holes. There are many brands of front packs, and I have only reviewed the Baby Wrap here, as I personally prefer slings. However, I must mention the two front packs which consistently garner volumes of praise from parents I've talked to. The Baby Bjorn and the Baby Trekker both have quality construction, plenty of padding, and distribute the baby's weight comfortably on the parents' shoulders and hips. They are more expensive than the lighter weight "snugglis", but every one I've talked to says that the extra cost is worth it.
Baby Wrap Products, Inc.
P.O. Box 100584, Dept. M
Denver, CO 80250-0584
Description: Unique wrap-around back carrier with no shoulder straps. Also works as a no-shoulder strap front carrier.
Ages: Birth to Preschool (40 pounds is about the max)
Pros: No neck strain. Very secure design, truly "Hands free!".
Soft cotton fabric with secure buckles and straps, firm padding for baby. Very unique carrier, easy to use once you figure out all the buckles.
Cons: Lots of buckles, Velcro(tm) and straps. I couldn't figure out what went where until I called the company and talked to the owner. However, she was very helpful and it took us about 5 minutes for me to figure out the carrier. This is a rather complex design, which may be intimidating to some people. However, the comfort of no pressure on the shoulders or neck may make this the carrier of choice for many women.
Improvements which could be made: Clearer printed instructions. A simpler "buckle-free" version for people who want just a back carrier. (though according to the owner, the more buckles she puts on it, the more comfortable moms seem to be with it.)
Field test: My initial test with a 3 week old baby was not completed as I couldn't figure out the carrier. Once I called the company and had them walk me through the process, it was very easy to use. I then gave the wrap to my neighbor (who liked the fanny pack for her 3 year old), and she figured it out instantly, and has been wearing her daughter in it ever since. She loves it, even though she really finds slings unappealing. My daughter loved it, and I was able to wear her for about 10 minutes (she's 43 pounds now) on my back, without too much discomfort.
Note: I no longer recommend this carrier at all, now that I have tried traditional torso carriers such as the Korean Podaegi, simple wraps done torso style and even too-small pouches used that way. There are a million easier and more comfortable ways of accomplishing what this carrier does.
Please note: If you truly need a "shoulderless" carrier, most wraparounds can be used in this way in the traditional African style. Or see Mothering Magazine www.mothering.com for more information on the Korean Podegi style.
One other carrier which falls loosely into the category of "front pack" is completely unique in that it is not "constructed" at all. (Note: since I wrote this I've learned of many others of this type. Extensions of the "Rebozo" style, woven and stretchy wraparounds are an infinitely flexible alternative to "buckles and straps" carriers. See the Babywearer website, as well as www.peppermint.com for more information.)
17310 SW. Bryant
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
Description: 6 yard by 30 inch (approx.) length of cotton interlock. Available in many colors, and also organic cottons. The carrier is created by wrapping the fabric around the body in one of several ways. This can be used as a front carrier, back carrier, or a laying-down nursing carrier.
to 35 pounds (could be more with a different wrap method
for the back carrier)
Pros: VERY COMFORTABLE. When worn correctly, this is an amazingly balanced, comfortable carrier. It distributes the weight of the baby evenly across the hips, shoulders, and back, holding the baby very close to the mother. Truly hands-free, very secure feeling, and quite versatile. Washable and durable. Easy to use, but not instant, once you learn how to put it on. "Chiropractically friendly design", in that it does not put more weight on one side than the other.
a few minutes to get into it. A bit complicated to learn.
Cannot be worn without a child in it. Can be too hot
during the summer because of the multiple wraps of the
baby. (However, there are methods of wrapping with long
lengths of fabric which would not be too hot, and could
easily be used with the Baby Bundler ™).
This is what it is, very simple in design and elegant.
Doesn't need any straps, buckles, or gadgets to make it
Field test: I used this for months when my daughter was
small. I knew I'd turned the corner in parenting when I
was able to nurse her in the Bundler ™ while
grocery shopping when my daughter was 2 weeks old. No one
knew what she was doing, as they could only see the
outline of her shape against my front. I rarely used a
stroller until my daughter got to be about 22 pounds (at
6 months old). I recommend this to any mom with back
problems, as it and the Baby Wrap are the only ones which
don't make my shoulders hurt with heavier kids.
Cost:39.00 (varies somewhat based on fabric.)
Front Packs and alternatives:
189 Dadson Row
Flin Flon, Manitoba, Canada R8A 0C8
Note: The Baby Bjorn works for many families reasonably well (although unnecessarily complicated) during baby's first few months. However, many babies quickly outgrow the Bjorn, and there are many cheaper, prettier, more comfortable and easy to use carriers out there. If you're trying to figure out what to start with, the Bjorn is not high on my list. And once you have a good sling or mei tai, you won't need the Bjorn. If you have a Bjorn and it becomes uncomfortable, don't give up on babywearing, start looking at other carriers. I strongly recommend the Asian-style of carrier, ranging from the delightfully simple Kozy carrier (see Yahoo group and Babywearer.com for more information) to the highly "constructed" Ergo baby carrier. Both work through a larger age range.
These are mostly devices which help the parent carry a baby or toddler sitting on a hip without getting arm cramps. They generally redistribute the child's weight to either the shoulder or the hips, or both, similar to a sling in positioning, but much less bulky. Hip carriers and fanny packs are generally used only for babies who can sit up well, and can be used for kids up to about 35 pounds.
Description: Fanny-pack which converts into a hip seat. The waist belt becomes a padded shoulder strap, and all of the straps for holding baby or toddler in place can be hidden completely in a small pocket.
Pros: Appeals to many parents who might find a more traditional sling "too earthy". Does great double-duty, converting easily from fanny pack to carrier and back again. Fairly comfortable, it's compact, take-anywhere design compensates for lack of padding. Very durable design and well thought out. This is a product which can ensure that you are never, ever without a baby carrier.
Cons: Lots of buckles and straps. Back-pack material, not cotton. Not very soft. The shoulder pad is uncomfortable against bare skin, but very comfy over a shirt, due to the "no-skid" dots.
Improvements that could be made: A waist belt would make it more comfortable for carrying a heavier child. The shoulder pad could be more comfortable on bare skin for people who wear sundresses or tank tops. It has been updated since my first field test and improved somewhat, but still could use a waist belt for better weight distribution.
Field Test: I handed this with no instruction to a neighbor who is, at age 20, mother to a 3 year old and a newborn. She thought the slings I showed her looked weird, but thought the fanny pack was great, and used it right away with her three year old. I, on the other hand, adore slings and thought this looked rather "gadgetty". But her reaction proved my assertion that different parents do well with different carriers
Cost: Approximately $43.00 US including free shipping.
Sara's Ride is a widely available hip carrier, but I don't have personal experience with it. It has the advantage of having a waist strap, which makes it more comfortable for long term-use.
I have since tried the similar Ride-On baby carrier, and while it is not the single most comfortable way to carry a baby I've found, it is one of the easiest to use and surprisingly comfortable for a "one shoulder" carrier. The waist strap takes most of baby's weight.
My current favorite for hip carriers is the oh-so-sensible Ellaroo Mei Hip. Wide waist strap. Buckles for speed. Mei tai body for great support. Fanned sling-like shoulder with an option of buckles or rings last I checked. Great design, overall, and really an improvement on most of the other "purpose-built" hip-carriers I've tried.