Jo with her newborn in a turquoise Kari Me

Big Birthas Babywearing Recommendations

A regular question on the Big Birthas Facebook Group is “What baby carrier/sling/wrap would you recommend? I’m a size XX…” So I thought it was high time for some Big Birthas babywearing recommendations.

We’ve all been in the “yeah, One-Size fits all. Heard that before… but will it fit me?” scenario, so here are some carriers that have been tried, tested and loved by BigBirthas group members.

But first… Why Babywearing?

Let’s be honest, your baby is usually happiest when being held by you.

Though you can adapt to do a lot of tasks one-handed, some things are just too difficult, if not impossible, with a babe in arms. And sometimes, your baby will make it very clear that they do not consent to be anywhere else!

I’m very much of the opinion that housework etc is way less important than being with your baby… (Frankly, I’m of the opinion that housework is less important than almost anything!) but that said, we do sometimes need to hang washing out because everything dry has baby sick on it, and if you leave it in the machine any longer you’re going to have to wash it again…

Way way back in time, an enterprising person once thought; “I could get a lot more done if I had both hands free…” and lo, carrying your baby in some sort of sling/wrap/carrier was born. There is evidence of babywearing in one form or another in almost all areas and all cultures across the globe!

Big Birtha all in green wearing an 8 week old in a green Close Caboo
You don’t have to co-ordinate your outfit with your sling and surroundings. But if you can…!

The thing is, I’m hardly an expert when it comes to the options available to plus-sized bodies. So clearly, the best thing to do was to ask the Big Birthas community what they would personally recommend.

Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts and their pictures – see below!!!

The Vast Array Of Options!

If you’re looking at getting a sling or carrier, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. There are so many different types and brands to choose from! But in reality they all can be split into just a few basic categories:

  • Stretchy Wraps – think soft, t-shirty fabric that stretches and moulds.
  • Structured Carriers – these tend to have straps and buckles similar to rucksack and are a lot more obviously ‘constructed’. Can be more supportive, but also can be less flexible and tend to take up more space when not being used.
  • Woven plain pieces of fabric you tie yourself – the origami of baby-wearing! Easy when you know how!
  • And then there are ones which are a bit of a hybrid – e.g. Ring Slings which have a bit of structure to them, but require you to have a bit of knowledge of how to tie them…

Prices can vary massively. You can pick up a cheap carrier at Argos for under £25, or you can spend £800 on one made with Japanese silk… and everything in between. But aside from fashion, surely the most important thing when choosing your carrier is whether it fits you and is comfortable and safe for your baby.

There are sling libraries and sling consultants you can approach to borrow/try on and learn more about what might suit you best. You might want to read sling consultant Katy Gearing’s top tips on choosing a baby carrier here.

But if attending a sling library isn’t an option, it can be helpful to hear what has worked for others. Obviously, we’re all different sizes and shapes, and we have different needs and preferences. As Kris pointed out – “Slings are like jeans – my favourite won’t be comfortable on someone else!”. But if you are thinking of buying a certain carrier it’s helpful to be reassured it’s not going to turn up and you find the waist straps only reach half-way!

If you’d like to read the full discussion about baby carriers, just pop along to the post in our Facebook group here. But as a summary, in order of most popular, we have:

Big Birthas Babywearing Recommendations

Most Popular – Close Caboo – Stretchy/Hybrid Ring Wrap

By far and away the most recommended, with more than double the number of votes of its closest rival, was the Close Caboo. Now, whether this just means it’s the most ubiquitous in terms of being stocked by major retailers, whether it’s because of the tie-in with the NCT, or lots of people receive it as a gift (I was gifted mine), I’m not sure, but it’s a trusted brand that’s been on the market a long time.

It wasn’t without it’s detractors, however.

Lauren modelling a grey close caboo

Close Caboo – Lauren

Sian wearing her baby snuggled in a blue close caboo carrier

Close Caboo – Sian

“I had a close caboo for the first few weeks until it became uncomfortable due to baby’s weight. (about 3 months with my teeny first but only about 6 weeks with my giant second). It was great although both of mine were born in heat waves so it was a bit uncomfortable when it got really warm – having said that I have a really old version and I believe the newer ones are more breathable. I liked the adjustability of it, both me (size 18, 5’5″) & husband (xxl, 6’3″) could get a great fit with it. Stretchy ones are far easier to use with a newborn as you can make sure their legs are properly tucked in and not too wide spread.”

Laura

“I really disliked the close caboo, personally I couldn’t get the cross at the back low enough for it to be comfortable, it gave me dreadful backache or the baby was entirely in my face. I was a size 20-22 using the caboo.”

Helen

“Pros – really soft and comfy, even after washing. The cummerbund acted as a pocket when worn (handy for a muslin) or as the bag when not in use. Husband happy to wear it too as comes in reasonably ‘masculine’ colours! I was a size 24/26
Cons – only suitable up to 1yr.”

Amber

Second-Most Recommended Carrier – Integra – Structured Carrier

Formerly known as Connecta, this was the second-most popular carrier amongst the Big Birthas responses.

It comes in 3 different sizes and an array of cute prints, some of which are exclusives to particular sellers (and the widest range on the Babipur website, not on Integra’s own site, oddly!). Lot’s of people said they liked it, but as with the Close Caboo, it didn’t suit everyone!

Integra or Connecta are ideal. I’m a 22/24 and still use with my 4 year old occasionally. The Integra especially is very adjustable, easy to put on, lightweight and easy to fold up small to shove in a bag and have plenty of capacity in the strap adjustment for those larger of tummy and boob. They do different sizes of carrier based on child’s age, but the smallest size lasted us from birth until well after the age of 2, and very comfortable for me and my daughter.

Helen

I also had a Connecta / Integra as a spare carrier – but although it was really convenient for short carries and packs down really small, I felt it wasn’t as comfortable as my Lillebaby and also it dug in at each of the strap points and really wasn’t even slightly flattering. Useful for nipping from the car to somewhere, but not for long walks or days out. For me anyway, I know loads of people love them! My husband also wasn’t the biggest fan, he found he couldn’t get comfy in it.

Laura
Hannah wearing her baby in an Integra carrier

Integra – Hannah

Integra I used from about 5 months till she needed a toddler carrier. Size 22-26 when using. Easy to use, dual tightening which helped me lots, no heavy or padded waistband which I found uncomfortable on my tummy, supportive. Was easy to get the waistband nice and high.


Third-Most Recommended Carrier – Hana – Stretchy Wrap

And third place in the group’s recommendations was another stretchy wrap, this time made by Hana.

Kimmy Wearing her baby in a plum coloured Hana Wrap

Hana – Kimmy

This was my go to wrap when he was little. The two way stretchy made it much easier for me to get it secured in the early days. My husband is hypermobile and he uses the stretchy wraps without an issue. It might be a good idea for you to hire a sling consultant for a session. We got to try lots of slings with ours so we could find ones we were comfortable with.

This one is basically just a long, stretchy piece of fabric – similar to a Rebozo or woven wrap, in that you need to know how to tie it to use it, but unlike a Rebozo, the fabric stretches to hold you and your baby snugly.

If this sounds daunting, don’t worry! As with all carriers, there are plenty of instructional videos to be found on You Tube to help you see how to use them:

The Big Birthas Babywearing Recommendations Notable Mentions

All in all, 25 different carriers were recommended by members of the Big Birthas Facebook group. Below are all the wraps/carriers got more than one recommendation, but didn’t make the top 3.



Structured

Dad beside the sea front carrying with a colourful Ergo

Ergo – Claire (and Hubby)

Our Ergo continues to be the winner here. We have used a Peanut Shell, Hug a Bub and Baby K’Tan for our 3 littlies but it is the Ergo that hubby and I return to over and over. Structure, supportive, comfortable and adjustable – and quick and easy to put in yourself!
Jamie carrying her newborn in a grey Baby Bjorn carrier

Baby Bjorn – Jamie

I had the baby bjorn mini, fitted me and baby just fine and I’m a size 20. Also fit my hubby comfortably and he’s 20 stone and 6 foot
Sian carries a sleeping toddler on her back in an Isara carrier in front of a waterfall

Isara The One – Sian

Marketed as a single carrier from newborn to school age!
Man carrying a baby in a red and grey Mamaruga Zensling

Mamaruga Zensling – Emma

I really highly recommend a mamaruga zensling. It has a soft waistband so no digging in when bending or sitting down
Model with baby in a berry/charcoal Lillebaby carrier

Lillebaby Complete – Laura

It has a “lumbar support” panel for front carries, or a “tummy-sucker-inner” for back carries! I liked the adjustability of it, like our caboo, both me (size 18, 5’5″) & husband (xxl, 6’3″) could get a great fit with it. It even still fits me when pregnant so there’s lot of room in the waist belt. The newer lillebaby carriers have adjustment at both top and bottom of the shoulder strap which makes it easier to get on with no additional help, although I did start out with the original one (adjustment only at the bottom of the shoulder strap) which is still not impossible to fit alone – although front carries are much easier. I also have a toddler sized Lillebaby which I love. We don’t use it often but my almost 6yo still easily fits in it so if we do ever need to carry her that makes it so easy.
Helen cuddling her baby in a Tula carrier by a river

Tula – Helen

I used a Tula with my first and loved it. The wide padded waistband was really comfortable, the shoulder straps clip across the back felt really supportive. I used it for both front and back carrying and it was great for both positions. Size 20 in this photo

Stretchy

Kelly wearing a black Je Porte Mon Bebe wrap

Je Porte Mon Bébé – Kelly

This is a Je Porte Mon Bebe stretchy wrap that I used with my first. Pro: will fit any body size. Cons: tricky to wrap without a lot of practice and warm to wear. Worked well for a friend carrying both her newborn twins at the same time.
Hannah wearing her 5 week old in a stretchy Boba wrap

Boba – Hannah

Pros: 2 way stretch, flexible and easy to mould round baby. Warm in winter months. Cons: too warm in summer. Would of liked it to be longer as a personal preference. Was about a size 22 here, and 5 weeks pp.
Kimmy cuddling her newborn in a black Moby wrap

Moby – Kimmy

This is only a one way stretchy but I still love it and find it more supportive than the two way now with my 19 month old. Still one of his favourite places to be when feeling unwell. If you had previously liked the idea of a stretchy it might be worth trying a Moby which is only one way stretchy and sort of a half way house between stretchy and woven.

Woven Wraps

Amber carrying a toddler in a rainbow coloured woven wrap

Rebozo/Woven Wrap – Amber

Pros – So flexible, can be used for front or back carries (and as many other things!), folds up very small. Carried a 3yr old in it comfortably, as you can choose the way that fits you best, and tie it so it comfortably fits you so it spreads the weight between back, hips and shoulders! Cons – really intimidating to use for the first few times as it’s really just a single stretch of woven fabric and you need to learn the methods and what works for you. A bit of a learning curve for the different wrap methods. First time putting into a back carry when out on my own was really daunting, but I totally got the hang of it! Oscha ones are beautiful, but you need to take out a mortgage to buy one! (Mine wasn’t by Oscha, it was £1 from a charity shop!) Size 22-24 here

Have a different preferred carrier we didn’t mention? Add it in the comments!

And if your baby has a sibling who wants to copy – how adorable is this!? Ergo make a doll carrier!

Child carrying her doll in an ergo

Ergobaby Doll Carrier

Designed so little ones (recommended age 3+) can front or back carry their favourite doll or teddy! So cute!

1 thought on “Big Birthas Babywearing Recommendations”

  1. Every pregnant person in Scotland can receive a stretchy wrap if they complete the form for the baby box. Its completely free!

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