Ok before I had Ace I had no idea that I would be so into wearing him. What? Huh? Wearing your baby? Yep - and who knew it could be fashionable too! I think the sling is my new purse. I have several! Not quite as many slings as I have purses... but that would be absurd.
Eddie Bauer Infant Sling
Eddie Bauer strikes again! Yep I said it, and I do not like it. They should stick to adult clothing and get out of the baby product business. At least the products that I've tried from them. First, it was the baby rear-view mirror. That thing was a fun-house mirror, tiny and completely useless. Now the sling, not nearly as bad - but still not my favorite. We bought it as a "back up" sling that would live in the car - it is made with sturdy materials and it is well made, but to me a sling should envelope the baby.... this thing requires a strap in system for the baby to not spill out of and the Velcro used is extremely harsh if rubbed against the baby's skin. And that strap in system is required! And that's my problem - I feel like he's going to fall right out. If he's the least squirmy I have to hold him in... and um that defeats the point a sling entirely! It also can be used on the hip, and to be honest I haven't tried because well I just don't trust it. So while it might work for a newborn that isn't wiggly or an already passed out child.... I find it to be sub-par at best.
It advertises as an "infant" sling for $35 at Target, but it also says that it goes up to 30lbs. I'm sorry for the same price I can have a sling that last longer than the first month of their life. So I give a big thumbs down! It's just not my cup of tea. It's like the backpack purse, some like it. I do not.
Boppy Carry in Comfort Dual Support Sling
Our favorite and top pick by far is the Boppy Sling. It is a light weight material and has mesh siding so that the baby can breath through it when they are tiny and nicely wrapped up inside. It does have a strap in feature similar to the EB, if you feel it to be necessary, but it isn't harsh Velcro if you choose to for go the strapping. It also has a counter weight strap to put over your other shoulder. The only draw back to this sling was that it wasn't able to be used for about 2 months (Months 2-3.) Once Ace was old enough to be aware of his surroundings but not old enough to hold himself up. He got fussy because he couldn't see out of it and therefore was not a fan being in it. Although once he hit about 4 months old he was happy and cozy in it all over again and we still use it on an almost daily basis. In fact in California it was the only way he would nap.
It is affordable, under $40 and found at Babies R Us. I think the price is the original reason I purchased this. Also that counter weight strap is a life saver and I really can tell the difference when I use my other slings. I was so discouraged after Ace quit using it after the first few weeks of having it, but we have definitely gotten our money's worth out of it since it's revival. Here are a few photos one stock photo to show you the strapping courtesy of BRU and of course some of my cutie in it!
The Over the Shoulder Baby Holder
In between the time of the Boppy Sling usage we used The Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. I am not sure if there is an official location to purchase this, but this is the first link that comes up when you google it. It was a life saver during the anti-boppy stage. Our friends loaned us theirs and it was an XL and so it was bigger than what I should have used to carry him around in. So it wasn't the most "hands free" sling for me - but it was great in the sense that I was able to sling him and he could fall asleep and he was easy enough to move around rather than simply being stuck some where. The other great thing is that Loving Husband is able to use this sling and wear Ace and for him it's the perfect size. It's so comfy he even falls asleep with teething rings in his mouth, Ace not Loving Husband.
Price wise it runs about $45-$50 but then there is shipping costs in addition to that - although who knows maybe you can find them sold in certain shops. The fabric choices seem to vary on different websites, but at least there are choices - that is a draw back to the Boppy sling. It is one piece of material with a loop system to tighten or loosen the sling to fit your body. A draw back is the excess material has a plastic ring on the end that if you have it pulled really tight then hangs precariously behind you... so if you swing yourself side to side the ring tends to fling around. And you don't want to tuck it in against your back either, hard plastic isn't ideal when the weight of a baby is baring down... That's a less than fun feature. Both sides of the fabric are padded creating nice bumpers for the baby to rest against and there is plenty of fabric for the baby to rest and grow into. Overall, it is a good sling.
Munchkin Jelly Bean Reversible Sling
Our most recent purchase is a very compact sling that can live in the diaper bag. After the disappointment in the Eddie Bauer one I was on the hunt for a new "car" sling - and then I established that I really wanted something that could live in the diaper bag. I know ONE more thing to shove into the diaper bag, but it worked out well. I like that there are no straps, buckles or rings to hassle with. However, I will admit it isn't the best to put my 26.5" and 16lb boy into to fully reclined position for sleeping. The Boppy sling is still really the most ideal for that. However, it works great if he wants to sit in and look out and it is PERFECT for the hip hold.
It holds up to 35lbs and is the cheapest by far of the slings that I have reviewed. $30! It has extreme reviews on Target's website. People either LOVE it or HATE it. I have to say if it were my only sling I wouldn't be a fan. The complaints of it being tight and hard to get the baby in and out of are legitimate. I never tried it when Ace was an infant so I can't speak to those complaints, but I can see how it could be frustrating if it was your only sling. However, I think it is GREAT to live in the diaper bag when you are out and just carrying the baby isn't cutting it and they want to be a little more snug and close to you. My son HATED to be swaddled, but he loves to be slung.
Overall, I recommend the Boppy Sling! My son is nearly 7 months old and is loving it - it isn't that bulky (although won't fit in the diaper bag) and with the exception of a few weeks so far Ace has loved it. He sleeps well in it, I can nurse him by simply lowering the shoulder strap by his head, but it easily slides back up and I can move around again without waking him after his snack. And NO Boppy has not paid nor even asked me to review this product, just wanted to pass on my findings to you. I can guarantee Eddie Bauer won't be knocking on my Blog anytime soon for a review.