The baby wrap is the ultimate way to snuggle and cuddle your newborn in a customizable wrap solution that is safe (breathable), convenient (just a long piece of cloth!), ergonomically appropriate, and comfortable for both you and baby. Wrap carriers are a bit more time consuming than soft-structured baby carriers (we review those here), and can present a major learning curve for new users. Wraps are thus for the relatively adventurous new mom who is willing to spend the time to learn the perfect wrap technique. Once you get it right, you won't want to go back! Wrap carriers are awesome for getting in good skin-to-skin contact during the newborn weeks, and the good ones can provide the correct fetal tuck for newborns, and frog leg ("M") position for growing infants. Note that we do not recommend the cocoon-style sling carriers, which are somewhat controversial due to suffocation risks.
To find the best baby wraps of 2017, we conducted hands-on tests of 11 popular wraps, most of which have been on the market for several years, and some relatively new (like the Nuroo and Mamaway). A group of 3 moms and 2 dads tried out all the wrap configurations for each, put in 4 different babies ranging from 1 month to 22 months of age. We checked fit, safety, stretch, sagging, breathability, comfort, and difficulty levels. Below are the results of our testing!
Top 5 Baby Wraps for 2017
1. Boba Wrap Classic, about $40. The top-selling baby wrap on a ton of different websites for some very good reasons, this wrap has quickly become the leading wrap in America. This has been at the top of our best baby wrap list for 2 years now! In our testing, we found it comfortable, soft (French terry cloth!), and suitable for a variety of body shapes and sizes. We found it suitable for both newborns and babies up to about 18 months old. The fabric has a bit of stretch to it, which is nice, and we didn't experience any sagging. Our favorite way to wrap it was the "Love your baby" hold, which provides really nice C-shaped spine support. One of the chief complaints about the Moby Wrap (below) is that the fabric tends to stretch and loosen around the baby with time. We found that the Boba is less likely to stretch with extended use, as it contains a soft blend of both French terry knit and spandex to keep things tight. This wrap lets you wrap in a near-unlimited number of styles and wrap configurations. Because it's a bit more stretchy, it tends to be more forgiving while you learn the wrap styles. Only downfall we found is that the fabric is nice and warm during the fall, winter, and early spring, but can get quite hot in the summer.
2. Moby Wrap Original, about $40. One of the originals, and for a long time this was the best rated baby wrap on the planet until it was surpassed by the Boba. Moms love it, and so will you, once you learn how to properly wrap and tie the darned thing! The wrap can carry in a near-unlimited number of styles and wrap configurations, making a custom and comfortable fit for you and your baby's unique needs. Our favorite was the "Newborn hug" hold, which gives some really nice support for a newborn, with a nice acute angle to make contact with mom in all the right places. It's a great carrier for early newborns over 8 pounds, though it is rated for up to 35 pounds. Practically speaking, you're unlikely to use it once your baby is over 20-25 pounds since the fabric begins to stretch and sag a bit with time, which is the primary detractor for this wrap, at least in comparison to the Boba. But overall, this is an excellent baby carrier that is second only to the Boba Wrap, featured above at our #1 spot.
3. Nuroo Pocket Newborn Carrier, about $60. This is another great new product from the Nuroo line of baby gear, which also includes some excellent swaddlers and scarves). Known for high quality, comfort, and style, the Nuroo pocket carrier is designed to promote skin-to-skin contact by incorporating a carrier into a maternity shirt. In our testing, we didn't think this was really a "going out" type of carrier; instead, it was great for getting some skin-to-skin time in the house and around the yard without being completely naked! The way it works: you drape it over your shoulders like a cardigan, hold baby against your chest, pull left arm over and put baby in the pocket, then cross and hug with the right arm. There's also a cute padded belt to position under your baby's bum for extra support. So it's a little complicated to hold your baby while wrapping it up, but no more so than any other type of wrap - plus there's no tying or knotting, so that's definitely a bonus! Machine washable and suggested for babies from 4 to 45 pounds, we think this is an excellent way to get skin time while not having to wear a wrap without a shirt, and promote healthy brain development. (FTC Disclosure)
4. Mamaway Ring Sling Baby Carrier, about $70. Extremely popular in Australia for a few years now, this sling has recently hit the U.S. baby wrap market by storm. The Mamaway has challenged the Moby and Boba as a new front-runner on the baby wrap market. The Mamaway Sling is a super versatile carrier, tested to carry a child up to 100 pounds (!), with unique configurations that get you from infant through the toddler years. Unlike the cocoon-style slings that have been controversial due to the carrying position, this sling is fully adjustable, positionable, and safe if positioning is done correctly (like all wraps). The moms who tested it loved the simple tie configurations, the soft fabric, and the nice supportive hold on mom's shoulders and back. It has not surpassed the Moby or Boba on our list, at least not yet, and we'll see how it proves itself over longer-term use for a few years. It's also rather expensive, and we're a little timid about sling carriers because of the previous issues. But we encourage you to check it out and watch the videos, it's an awesome alternative to the basic wrap.
5. Baby K'tan Baby Wrap, about $50. OK we cheated here a bit, this isn't technically a wrap, it's a carrier that looks and feels like a wrap but without the headache of actually wrapping. Something they are calling a "ready-to-wear wrap." So it's somewhere between a wrap and a soft structured carrier; has the convenience of the carrier with the comfort and look of a wrap, and no complicated snaps, buttons, rings, or zippers. It has a single adjustable back strap for sizing comfort. In our tests, we found there were no fabric stretching issues, it has a nice soft fabric, and the configurations were perfect particularly for younger infants. We did find that the Baby K'tan has some limited versatility in terms of ways to configure it on your body, and ways to position your baby. You can learn more about those by visiting the company's website to help you learn how to use it in unique ways. Also, while you're at it, check out the other great Baby K'Tan wrap options: the more breathable cotton mesh Breeze, and the moisture wicking Active.