WOVEN WRAPS/ GERMAN STYLE WOVEN
Woven wraps are one long piece of fabric in a parallelogram shape, they are woven on looms in such a way that they have diagonal stretch. This means that they stretch only in certain directions offering the wearer and child support and holding the child close to your body. There are many different ways to tie the wrap (often referred to as different carries) and they can be worn on the front, hip or back. Whilst they have a steeper learning curve than many other carriers they are also the most versatile, the same wrap could be used in any of the above mentioned positions and will see you through from newborn until your child no longer wants or needs to be carried. NB: We do not recommend back carries for newborns unless you are a very experienced wrapper.
A stretchy wrap is one long piece of material with multi directional stretch, think of two layers of thick, high quality jersey material and it is somewhat similar. Stretchy wraps are most popular with newborns and younger babies. Once a baby reaches approx 9 months of age many people find that the material sags due to its stretchy nature and they move onto something more supportive. However they are the most popular choice for younger babies as they can be pre tied allowing you to tie the wrap on and pop baby in and out as required (handy hint, if you're popping to the sumermarket tie the wrap before you leave the house then you can just pop baby in when you get there).
A ring sling is a single length of fabric with two rings sewn on one end. The end of the material is threaded through the rings forming a pocket for the baby/ child to sit in and a lenth of material hanging from the rings that allows for adjusting the tightness of the sling. Ring slings can be used for front and hip carries and are suitable for use from birth onwards. Many are made from the same woven fabric used in Woven Wraps described above.
SOFT STRUCTURED CARRIERS
Also called full buckle carriers or SSC for short. SSC's have a oblong panel with waist and shoulder straps that fasten with buckles. They can be worn on the front or back with some also giving the option to hip carry or carry your baby world facing (we do not recommend back carries with a SSC until baby can sit unaided). They are quick and easy to put on however although straps can be adjusted they are not as adjustable as Mei Tais or woven wraps. Most are suitable from age 3 months up and many manufacturers make toddler and preschooler sized carriers that you may need to size up to as your child grows.
A Mei Tai is a traditional asian style of carrier that has an oblong panel with long straps at the top and base. The straps at the top form the shoulder straps and the ones at the base form teh waist straps. Mei Tais offer more adjustability than a SSC but not quite as much as a woven wrap, however many people find them easier to use. They can be used on the front or back and are suitable for babies one they have good head control and beyond. Toddler sized and preschooler sized Mei Tais are available, there are also some on the market that are adjustable in size to cater from small baby up to toddlerhood.