An over the shoulder baby holder is a fantastic compliment to a stroller as a baby carrier, and both no doubt, serve different purposes for parents with very young children.
While a stroller offer you the freedom to roam and push your little one around, nothing beats the close contact and bonding with your baby a shoulder sling wrap generates between babies and their parents.
But what exactly is an Over the Shoulder Baby Holder? Though the term has been a trade mark for a particular baby carrier that went out of business, it is generally used to refer to various makes and models of baby carriers that allow parents to wear their babies in fabrics that are slung over their shoulders. Some of them are rigid; others are simply made from fabrics with little or no supporting frame.
In this review, I will be looking at the most popular designs of Over the Shoulder Baby Carriers. They are made from fabrics, which in some designs, are slightly padded to make the baby more comfortable. These fabric only baby carriers may also come with pouches that provide additional support for your child, or act as storage for small baby items.
These fabrics only Over the Shoulder Baby Holders allow parents to literally wear their babies, like they would wear their clothing, in a style generally referred to as baby wearing. If you are struggling with a baby and an older child, grab a sling holder and wear the baby to make your day easier.
5 Keys Things I like About Over the Shoulder Baby Holders
- Promotes Bonding and Intimacy – the close body contact with a baby helps parents bond easily with their children from an early age.
- Suitable for Babies from Birth till Toddler – fabric baby holders can be used to carry your baby from birth up till toddler age – when most infants are about 35lbs in weight.
- Easy to use – though designs are different, they are mostly easy use. The simplest designs are as easy to wear with a baby as putting on your clothes.
- Compact and require little space – they take up little space and folds to compact sizes that are easy to carry about, or put away for storage.
- Easy to Care for – If you have been taking good care of your clothing, that is how much effort it takes to look after the fabric of an Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. Not much effort compared to looking after a stroller, would you agree?
Safety of your child is a concern in any baby carrier, and over the shoulder baby holders are no exception. The products in my review are made from very strong fabrics with high load limits, and have features designed into them to keep your baby safe.
There are myriads of brands and models of over the shoulder baby carriers, and I could have reviewed a long list of them. But that would be of no use to you, if you are a parent looking for help in navigating the pile to pick the best.
I would rather be presenting you with my top 3 fabric Baby Sling Carriers. My selection criteria are also straight and simple:
- Quality of fabric material
- Safety of Product
- High Customer Satisfaction Rating
My top 3 products are made from high quality fabrics that are strong, soft, and kind to a baby’s tender skin. They are safe to use, and parents’ customer satisfaction rating for a baby holder that make my top 3 is no lower than 4 out of 5 Stars.
#1 Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Ring Slings
The Maya Wrap Ring Sling is my #1 over the shoulder baby holder. It is very popular with parents, and available in various colors to match your taste, as you would be wearing the Sling over your clothing. You can also pick from the small, medium, large or extra-large size to suit your body size. Some nursing moms love the slightly longer tail of the Maya Baby Sling Wrap. They use it as a discreet cover for nursing.
All the sizes have the same width, and only differ in length.
Key features of the Maya Lightly Padded Sling Wrap
- Designed to carry children between 8lbs and 35lbs.
- It has slight padding in the shoulder to provide cushioning for parents – for regular or every day baby wearing.
- Made from 100% hand loomed cotton that is gentle on baby skin
- Easy to care fabric – Machine washable in cool water, and hang to dry
- Unpadded rings provide easy adjustments that hold firm and safe for a baby
- The unpadded, open tail that is convenient as a nursing cover up
- Come’s with complete instructional DVD to guide you through how to get the best out of your Maya Over the Shoulder Baby Carrier.
- Allows you to change carrying positions that accommodate your child’s growth.
- It has built in pocket for keys, diaper, and cell phone.
- It is convenient and easy to carry the Maya Baby Wrap about – fits into a diaper bag or tote
Choosing the Correct Size of Maya Lightly Padded Baby Sling Wrap
Many parents find the sizing instructions for Maya Baby Sling Wrap confusing. I have therefore, provided the sizing guide recommended by the manufacturer to help you decide on which size to purchase. Sizing is based on the body build of the parents – the baby wearer.
Except for the lengths, the width in all sizes is the same. The medium size is the most popular size, but any size you pick should at least provide a tail that extend to the top of your legs. It is easy to tuck in any excess tail, so I would advise you rather buy one that is long rather than short.
The table below provides you with a guide to help you select the right size.
Sizing Suggestions for Maya Lightly Padded Sling Baby Wrap
|Below 5’ 2” & Slender
|5’ 2” to 5’ 9”
|Above 5’ 9”
|67” or 170cm
|73” or 185cm
|79” or 201cm
|85” or 216cm
This Baby Sling is available in: Plum, Bright Strips, Olive, Olive Green, Twilight Blue
How Much Should you Pay for a Maya Baby Sling Wrap?
At the time of this review, the cost of the May Baby Carrier is $79.95 on Amazon with free shipping. I was surprised there is hardly any discount on the Sling Wrap, but this could be because of the popularity of the product. You may get it at a lower price if you check it out today.
Rated 4.4 out of 5 Stars in Customer Satisfaction Reviews
Any Cons on the Maya Lightly Padded Baby Sling?
- Some parents have remarked that it was difficult for them to figure out how to get the best carrying positions with the ring adjustment, even after following the instruction. I would however add that vast majority that have purchased the baby carrier, had no problem following the user instruction.
- A handful of parents observed that the fabric is not as light weight as they hoped for, when compared with very light fabric in other baby slings like my #2 choice – the Lite On Shoulder Baby Sling.
- It is twice the price of my #2 choice, and some will find it too expensive.
#2 Lite On Shoulder Baby Sling
My reviews of over the shoulder baby holders show that Lite On Shoulder Baby Sling is just as widely used and arguably match the popularity of the Maya Sling Baby carrier amongst parents. It is a tough decision, but I will place it as #2 on my top three list. It could easily have made the top spot.
The 100% silky cotton sateen fabric is very light weight, stylish and above all, strong and durable. It is fashionably designed as a baby carrier that parents would wear over their clothing. The Lite-On-Shoulder Sling is available in more colors than any other baby wrap – 26 different color patterns to match your taste.
The curved pouch seat is designed to provide a deep pocket that allows a comfortable fit for babies, and better grip on their legs.
Every Lite-On-Shoulder Baby Sling is 28 inches wide, which is enough fabric to hold a baby in various positions without bundling up.
Apart from the 26 colors and attractive patterns to choose from, one other reason this could have made my #1 choice is the lighter breathable fabric that is only about 10 oz. It is easier to pack in a diaper bag.
Other Key Features of Lite On Shoulder Baby Sling:
- Long open end tail that provide flexible adjustment to safely secure babies as you wear them, and fit their changing sizes comfortably as they grow.
- Lightly padded Shoulder portion of the baby sling distributes weight through torso and prevents strains on your neck.
- Railings are lightly padded to provide the right amount of cushioning for your baby’s tender thighs.
- There are no sharp edges that can strain or cut into flesh.
- The fabric used for the Lite-on-Shoulder sling carrier is breathable, and so has no overheating problem for babies and parents. You can wear your baby in this Sling even in hot weather.
- It has smooth buckle rings made of cast copper zinc alloy. There are no wielding points on the rings which makes is stronger and more secure.
- Close-end tails are double-stranded so they are easy to adjust, and provide a very neat looking appearance.
The Lite-on-Shoulder Baby Sling carrier is mostly used by parents to wear babies and infants for snuggling, nursing, or rocking them to sleep. It is also used to carry heavy toddlers in the hip position, and some parents ingeniously use it as a mini walker and toddler leash!
Sizing Guide for Lite-on-Shoulder Baby Sling Carrier
The Sling is a one size fits all over the shoulder baby holder. It fits any mom up to size 22. This makes the sizing less confusing than the Maya Baby Sling Carrier that is available in four sizes.
How much Baby Weight can Lite-on-Shoulder Holder Carry?
It can be easily used to carry newborns and infants up to 35lbs in weight. Children over 35lbs are best carried in the hip position to help distribute their weight evenly. The weight limit is more of how much a parent can carry.
Some parents may find slinging a 35lbs baby too heavy, while others would barely feel the weight. Maybe not!
What is the Cost of the Lite-on-Shoulder Holder?
Expect to pay about $33 dollars for the Lite-on-Shoulder baby carrier, which is about half the price of the Maya baby sling on my #1 spot. Price is another great attraction of this over the shoulder baby sling wrap. In my opinion, it offers great value for money.
You can even buy it cheaper with free shipping from online shops like Amazon, if you are lucky to grab it in one of their regular promotions.
Rated 4.1 out of 5 Stars by Parents – Lite-on-Shoulder holder
Any Cons on the Lite On Shoulder Baby Holder?
- The material is much lighter than the Maya Baby Sling Wrap that is my number one #1 choice and some parents have expressed concern it may not carry heavy load.
- As with any over the shoulder baby sling, it needs some practice to master how best to use it. Without practice, some parents struggle to find the most suitable baby wearing position for their child.
#3 – Baby K’tan Breeze Baby Carrier
My #3 choice of Over the Shoulder Baby Holder has an innovative design that is radically different from my #1 and #2 . The Baby K’tan Breeze carrier has a double loop that is ready to wear over both shoulders – very much like putting on your T-Shirt.
It is a blend, or cross-over between a typical Baby Sling, Wrap or Carrier. Made from breathable 50% mesh and 50% soft cotton, Baby K’tan Breeze reduces heat and moisture and is very comfortable for both baby and parent. Light weight and compact, it evenly distributes the weight of your baby over both shoulders, unlike the Maya and Lite On Shoulder baby slings that are hung over only one shoulder.
The back support band can be adjusted to prevent strain on your back, as it helps with even weight distribution of a baby or toddler. This unique design is ready to wear, and does not have buckles, snaps, or rings found in other sling carriers that some parent struggle with.
It is compact, simple to put on and take off, and comes with a carrying bag.
Other Key Features I like about the Baby K’tan Breeze Carrier:
- It has over 6 positions to carry a child from newborn to preschool – up to 35lbs
- Easy to wear with no wrapping or hardware to get in the way
- The breathable half mesh, half 100% natural soft cotton makes it ideal for use in hot weather. It is cool to wear and is comfortable for family outdoor activities in the summer months.
- The double sling provides extra security for your baby with quick and easy adjustments for maximum comfort
- Comes with comprehensive instruction manual to get you started
- The gender neutral color makes it a choice that can be worn by either mom or dad
- Baby K’tan Breeze carrier is machine washable and dryer safe
- It is suitable for baby wearing newborns, infants and toddlers in multiple positions up to 35 lbs.
Wearing the Baby K’tan Breeze is as easy as counting 1 – 2 – 3 as the saying goes, and the picture below illustrates the 3 simple steps on how to wear your baby with the sling.
Sizing Guide for Baby K’tan Breeze
It is important to pick the right size when buying the Baby K’tan Breeze baby sling carrier. It is sold in 5 sizes, and this can be confusing for parents. The sizes are extra small, small, medium, large, and extra large. I have reproduced the simple sizing guide for mom and dad, and I hope this will help you choose the best fit for you and your baby.
For women, the sizing is based on pre-pregnancy size. If you are between 5’ 2” (157cm) or shorter, it is advised that you choose a small size. Baby K’tan Breeze will fit snugly and the fabric does stretch.
How much Should you Pay for a Baby K’tan Breeze?
The list price for a Baby K’tan Breeze is $49.95. It is cheaper than the Maya Baby Sling on my #1, but slightly more expensive than my number #2 choice – the Lite On Shoulder Baby Sling.
You can however buy it cheaper than the list price if you shop online from stores like Amazon that do regular promotions, and ship their products for free.
Rated 4.1 out of 5 Stars in online Parents’ Reviews
Any Cons with the Baby K’tan Breeze Sling Carrier
- Again as common with Baby Sling Carriers, some parents find it difficult to work out how best to wear it. A little bit of practice with the sling would certainly help, if you like this double loop design.
- The gender neutral plain colors bother some parents, that is, if you like to wear your baby to match your outfit. It does not provide the depth in colors and variety of patterns you will find with the Maya Baby sling Wrap.
My Conclusion and Recommendation
Babies have been carried for centuries by parents and careers in Slings and Wraps, not only because it is natural, but also it is a versatile means of staying in close contact with babies, promotes bonding, while at the same time helps parents keep pace with daily activities.
Baby Slings are not in competition with strollers. They serve different needs, but complement each other nicely.
For all the advantages Sling Carriers have over strollers like helping parents bond with their little kids, you cannot beat a stroller for carrying your child around over a prolonged period – unless you have the strength of a super woman or man?
My review of top 3 Over the Shoulder Baby Holders is to help you narrow your search for a good baby sling carrier. It may not be the perfect list, as you would agree; there is a huge number of Sling Carriers from different manufacturers available to buy today.
If you have an opinion on my choice of Baby Sling Carriers, I would love to hear it.
My Final Thought on Baby Sling Safety
The safety of your child should be paramount in any baby product you purchase, and that includes Baby Slings and Wraps –whether they are over the shoulder or in any other design.
Buy a reputable Baby Sling and use it as recommended by the manufacturer.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that the safe way to carry an infant in a Baby sling is:
- Chin up
- Face visible
- Nose and Mouth free