It’s very hard to give interested parents just the right amount of information they need and often new parents find they’re bombarded with new terms. To try to help, here’s a list of many of the carrier types, terms and brands that you might come across (brand names are listed at the bottom of the page here).
If there’s any other term that you’re wondering about that isn’t below, please add a comment at the bottom of the page and we’ll update it as soon as possible!
Baby Carrier Types and Terms:
Asian Baby Carrier (ABC) – various different types of carriers that are inspired by traditional carriers used in Asia, including Mei Tai, Podaegi, Onbuhimo and Soft Structured Carrier. All have a square or rectangular body with straps coming out of the corners and various different fastening methods.
Framed Backpack – based on backpacks designed for long distance hiking, these are a very structured carrier with a metal frame to support a seat for a child. Used for back carries only from about 6 months to 3 years. Often have storage space or pockets and some are freestanding to use as a portable chair.
Front Carrier – currently the most easily available carrier type – most are a harness that attaches onto parent and then seperately fastens baby onto parent’s front (or occasionally back and hip too) using buckles and/or clips. Usually suitable from birth and most parents find these comfortable for up to around 4-6 months. Most don’t have a seperately fastened waist, though better designed models have better support for both parent and baby and may be comfortable up to around 12 months. From 5-6 months a Soft Structured Carrier is a more supportive, comfortable and flexible option.
Full Buckle (FB) – another name for a Soft Structured Carrier or SSC that has waist and shoulder straps that fasten with buckles.
Gauze Wrap – a gauze wrap is made from thin but strong fabric. Gauze wraps are usually straight rather than diagonal or jacquard woven, but often still have some give or flexibility in the diagonal direction. Can be used for front, back and hip carries with babies and toddler. Very suitable for hot weather and many parents find them most comfortable with smaller babies only.
Half Buckle (HB) – Mei Tai style carrier that fastens at the waist with a buckle, but has fabric shoulder straps that are fastened by knotting.
Hybrid Carriers – usually a Wrap Conversion carrier that is partly made from other fashion fabrics and partly made from Woven Wrap fabric.
Mei Tai (MT) “MAY tie” – has a square shaped body and fastens at the waist and over the shoulders using long ties that can be wrapped around you and your baby. They are suitable for babies and toddlers and can be worn front, back or hip. Mei Tais are Chinese in origin; “Mei” means ‘to carry on the shoulders’, and “Tai” means ‘belt; band/bring’.
No Sew Ring Sling – a Ring Sling made using 2 Sling Rings and a shorter length of fabric (approx 2-3m). The rings are not sewn into the fabric and can be unthreaded so that the fabric can by used as a Shorty wrap.
Onbuhimo (Onbu) “on-boo-HEE-moh” – has a Mei Tai style body, but instead of waist straps there are rings at the bottom corners that the shoulder straps are looped through before tying at parent’s waist. Most suitable for back carries. Onbuhimos are Japanese in origin; “onbuhimo” means ‘carried on the back’.
Podaegi (Pod) “poh-DAY-jee” – has a long rectangular body shape (sometimes referred to as a blanket) and fabric shoulder straps that tie around parent and child. There are no waist straps. Most suitable for back carries. Podaegis are from Korea; “podaegi” means ‘baby carrier’.
Pouch – a loop of fabric that is worn on one shoulder across the body like a sash. The child or baby sits or lies in the fabric on the parent’s front or hip (back carries are possible, though not recommended). Suitable for all parents and children, though must be the correct size to fit the parent for comfortable carrying.
Rebozo – a Rebozo carry uses a short length of fabric (about 2-3.5m) which goes over one shoulder and across the parent’s body. You can have Rebozo Front, Back or Hip carries. “Rebozo” can also be used to refer to the Shorty Wrap used for such carries.
Ring Sling – A length of fabric about 1.6-2.5m long with 2 rings sewn into one end. The loose fabric end is threaded through the rings to make an adjustable pocket for the baby/child to lie/sit in. Mostly used for front or hip carries, though back carries are possible. Suitable for all parents and children depending on the fabric.
Shorty (or Shortie) Wrap – a Woven Wrap that is between 2-3.5m long. Can be used for a range of front, back and hip carries. Having less fabric can be more convenient to use, but may be less supportive than using a longer wrap in a multi-layer carry.
Simple Piece of Cloth (SPOC) – see Wrap
Sling Rings - specially made rings designed to be used in ring slings. A length of fabric can be threaded through the rings to use as a Ring Sling, or the rings can be used with a woven wrap of any length as an adjustable fastening instead of knotting.
Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) – a back-pack style carrier that has waist and shoulder straps that fasten with buckles. Come in different sizes and with different features suitable for babies and/or toddlers. Some require adaptions or inserts to fit from newborn. Most SSCs can be used to carry your child on both your front and back, and many can also be worn on the hip.
Stretchy Hybrid Carrier – a carrier made at least partly from stretchy jersey fabric, but attached to other carrier components (such as a buckled waist or rings) so that it is fitted differently to a Stretchy Wrap.
Stretchy Wrap – a wrap carrier made from stretchy jersey fabric. Usually between 4.5-5.5m long and suitable for front (and sometimes hip) carries only. Can be used from birth with even premature babies, and most parents find these comfortable for smaller babies up to around 6-8 months. Beyond this a Woven Wrap will be a more supportive and comfortable option.
Woven Wrap – a wrap carrier made from non-stretchy threads woven into long fabric about 50-80cm wide and between 2-6m long. Many woven wraps are specially made using a diagonal weave technique that gives the fabric diagonal flexibility to wrap comfortabley around parent and child. Is suitable for newborn-toddlers and for front, back and hip carries. There are many different ways to tie a woven wrap to suit all parents and children. For help with even more terms relating to Woven Wrap carying methods, see this page: Terminology for Parts of Wrap Carries
Wrap, Wrap Around Carrier or Simple Piece of Cloth (SPOC) – a length of fabric that can be used for carrying a baby. The fabric may be short, long, ‘Woven‘ or ‘Stretchy‘ and can be wrapped around the parent and child in various different ways. Suitable for all parents and children, and for front, back and hip carries.
Wrap Conversion – any other carrier type made from specially woven wrap fabric. There are many skilled professionals who can convert a woven wrap into a custom Mei Tai, Ring Sling, SSC, Podeagi etc. You can often choose options such as wether or not to have a sleep hood, padding for your child’s legs or arms, a buckled or tied waist, etc.
Wrap-Tai – a Mei Tai made from specially woven wrap fabric. These have wide ‘wrap straps’ that can be spread in a similar way to a woven wrap to better distribute a child’s weight. Can be better than standard Mei Tais for comfortable hip carries and some front and back carry variations as the wide straps cup your shoulder well. You can have a Wrap-Tai specially made (see Wrap Conversion above), or buy them ready made.
Baby Carrier Brand Names:
Action Baby Carrier – a brand of Soft Structured Carrier
Amazonas – a brand that makes a range of baby carriers including Woven Wraps, Mei Tais and Soft Structured Carriers
Baby Bjorn – well known brand of Front Carrier.
Baby Hawk – a brand of Mei Tai carrier. Also produce a larger carrier called a ToddlerHawk, and Soft Structured Carrier called an Oh Snap.
Babylonia – A brand that makes a range of baby carriers from their own fabrics including Woven Wraps (BB-Slen), Stretchy Wraps (Tricot-Slen), Stretchy Hybrids (Tricotti), Ring Slings (BB-Sling), and Mei Tais (BB-Tai)
Bamberoo – a brand of Mei Tai and Soft Structured Carrier, including large, toddler sized carriers.
Bebina – a brand of Woven Wrap
Beco – a brand of Soft Structured Carrier
Boba – a brand that makes a Soft Structured Carrier and a Stretchy Wrap
Calin Blue – a brand that makes Gauze Wraps and Stretchy Wraps
CatBird Baby – manufacturer of Soft structured Carriers and Mei Tai.
Close – makes a Stretchy Hybrid Carrier that adjusts using metal rings rather than by tying and knotting.
Connecta – UK brand of Soft Structured Carrier.
Cwtshi – UK brand of Mei Tai – no longer in production.
Cybex – a brand that makes a Stretchy Wrap and a carrier similar to a Soft Structured Carrier
Didymos – German brand of Woven Wrap with many different designs and fabrics. Also make Ring Slings and Mei Tais from their own wrap fabrics.
Dolcino – a brand of Woven Wrap and Ring Slings made from their own wrap fabrics.
Ellaroo – company that makes various different types of baby carrier, including Woven Wraps and Ring Slings.
Ergo or ERGObaby – a well-known brand of Soft Structured Carrier.
Front Back and Sides – UK brand of Mei Tai – no longer in production.
Funky Slings – a UK made brand of Ring Slings and Mei Tais
Girasol – a brand of Woven Wrap known for their stripey, rainbow designs woven in Guatemala.
Hana Baby – a brand of Stretchy Wrap made from sustainable bamboo fabric.
Hoppediz – German brand of Woven Wrap with many different designs and fabrics. Also make Ring Slings, Mei Tais and Soft Structured Carriers from their own wrap fabrics.
Joey Slings – a brand of Mei Tai
Kari Me – a brand of Stretchy Wrap.
Kinderpack – a brand of Soft Structured Carrier, made in the USA that is well regarded for it’s larger toddler sized carriers.
Kitten Creations – a company that makes a range of different types of baby carrier including Wrap Conversions.
Manduca – a brand of Soft Structured Carrier.
Maya Wrap – a company that makes various different carrier types, including Woven Wraps, Ring Slings and Mei Tai style carriers.
Melkaj – a brand of Mei Tai that comes in 3 sizes and that will also make cutsomised carriers.
Moby Wrap – a brand of Stretchy Wrap.
Napsack Baby – a UK made brand of Mei Tai
Natibaby – a Polish brand of Woven Wrap made in various different fabrics and designs. Also make Ring Slings from their own wrap fabrics.
Patapum – brand of Soft Structured Carrier that comes in baby and toddler sizes.
Pikkolo – Soft Structured Carrier made by CatBird Baby.
Pognae – brand of Soft Structured Carrier from Korea.
Ocah (pronounced “Oh-ka”) – a UK company that makes Wrap Conversions.
Olives and Applesauce (O&A) – a US company that makes Soft Structured Carriers and other Asian Style Carriers.
Opitai – a UK company that makes Wrap Conversions.
Oscha – a UK company that makes Woven Wraps and Ring Slings from their own woven wrap fabrics
Rose and Rebellion – UK manufacturer of Soft Structured Carriers in funky designs.
Scootababy – a brand of Soft Structured Carrier that is designed to be worn mainly on the hip.
Sleepy Nico – UK manufacturer of Soft Structured Carriers.
Sleepy Wrap – a brand of Stretchy Wrap now known as the Boba Wrap
Storchenwiege – a German brand of Woven Wrap known for being sturdy and reliable. Also make Ring Slings and Half Buckle Carriers from their own wrap fabrics.