Slingbabies - New Zealand's own baby sling website - non-profit, educational, to promote and support babywearing.

Glossary

Like any topic, baby carriers have their own 'lingo' and specific terms. 

Don't worry, you'll soon be talking like a pro!

 

Click on any terms below to find their meaning, or just scroll down.

 

Asian style carrier

Also called Asian Baby Carrier or Asian Back Carrier. Usually consists of a large panel with two or four straps which are tied around the wearer. They may be used as front/back/side packs, and come in many designs and variations. The most common form is a Mei-tai. Then there are Podaegi, Onbuhimo and Hmong carriers. See Asian Style page for more information.

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Attachment Parenting

Attachment Parenting (or AP) means a style where parents are 'in tune' with, and responsive to, their babies. Using a sling compliments this parenting style, but you do not need to follow all aspects of AP if you would like to wear your baby, you can choose the parts that suit you and your family. See Centre for Attachment and AskDrSears for more information on this topic.

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Babywearing

Babywearing is the term used to describe anyone wearing their baby in any sort of soft carrier. Babywearing has many for parent and baby. It was first used by Dr Sears, see AskDrSears for more about this term.

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Carrier

Umbrella term for anything used to carry a baby- pouch, wrap, ring sling, asian carrier, simple piece of cloth etc.

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Carry / carries

A 'carry' is the position baby is in when being worn. There are a variety of 'carries' for each type of sling / carrier, e.g cradle, tummy to tummy, hip, kangaroo, BWCC, FWCC.

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Cradle

A 'carry' in which baby lies down or reclines, good for supporting baby's spine. Usually only used for the first few months before baby prefers upright positions. There are many variations of 'cradle carry', depending on the type of carrier used. See Cradle Carry instructions to see this carry.

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Diagonal weave (in woven wraps)

Woven wrap fabrics with a diagonal weave means they are immensely strong and supportive, yet 'give' a little for a good fit around your baby/child. Storchenwiege, Didymos, Hoppediz and Vatanai wraps have a diagonal weave. Woven wraps are difficult to make yourself, it is better to get one properly made.

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Frog leg position

The 'frog leg' position is the best, most optimal babywearing position. Baby's knees are up and their bottom is down, legs straddling the wearer. If it is a newborn, their legs are 'froggied' up underneath them in a carrier. If an older baby, they stick out each side. The Frog Leg position is comfortable, and very good for hip development, as it encourages the femur ball to stay in the hip socket, and it is the position 'hip babies' are put into. See Positioning page for information.

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Hip-scoot

This is a popular method for getting baby on your back. Baby sits on your hip, you lean slightly forward, shuffle baby around and secure them using the carrier. Just reverse it for dismount. See these Mei-tai instructions for what it looks like.

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Mei-tai

A Mei-tai is a type of Asian Baby Carrier. It consists of a square/oblong panel with a long strap at each end (usually angled straps at the top. Mei-tai carriers are worn on the front, hip or back. Many brands of Mei-tai have appeared in the last 4 years, especially in the States.

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Poppability

Poppability means how easy it is to get baby in and out of a carrier. For instance, pouches have great poppability, whereas wraps aren't so quick. A 'poppability' comment is on each carrier type page.

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Pouch

A pouch is a one-shouldered baby carrier, made of a tube or ring of fabric, with a curved seam at the bottom. Pouches need to be made to specific measurements of the wearer. They are quick and simple to wear, and are popular for this.

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Pre-folded shoulder (pouch)

Some pouches need to be pre-folded before wearing, i.e. Nelly, Peanutshell. They are wider to accomodate this. They should be folded so the outside fabric is showing. They do not need to be flipped at the shoulder as well. See the Hip carry with pre-folded shoulder instructions to see what this looks like.

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Rail

The edge of a pouch, ring sling or wrap. e.g. With a ring sling, you pull each 'rail' to adjust the fitting. With a pouch, baby's head should be neat the 'outside rail' which is the uppermost edge. With a wrap, you mostly deal with the 'rail' at the top, leaving the bottom part to follow.

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Rebozo

This type of carrier is a short piece of cloth tied over one shoulder. It comes from Mexican/South American areas, and the fabric is often hand woven in stunning bright colours. See WearYourBaby.com for great ideas on how to use a Rebozo cloth

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Ring

The rings are part of a sling that the fabric threads through to create a 'pouch' for baby. They are usually made of purpose-built strong, seamless aluminium or nylon, with some of stainless steel (which is heavier than the first two and not as common). Ring size should relate to the thickness and type of fabric- thick fabric needs bigger rings, thin fabric like Solarveil needs smaller rings. Craft rings should never be used as they are not strong enough and have a join that may break. See SlingRings and Ring Slings page for more details.

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Ring Sling

Ring Slings are a one-shouldered carrier, made of a length of fabric with rings at one end, which the 'tail' of the cloth threads through. They are adjustable and versatile, great for newborns to toddlers. Ring slings may be 'open' or 'closed' tailed, see Ring Slings page for more details.

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Ruck

Ruck is a type of back carry where baby is supported by one band of cloth across and under them, over the wearer's shoulders then back under/over the legs and finally tied. It imitates the way a rucksack bag would be worn. Ruck carries are versatile enough to suit from newborn to older children. See 'Instructions' for a 'Ruck' back-carry.

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Shoulder flip (pouch)

A shoulder flip with a pouch means that you turn over the fabric at the top of your shoulder, so it becomes inside out and shows the reverse material. Flipping the shoulder tightens the top rail of the pouch around baby for a better fit. Some pouches are designed to need a shoulder flip, others are wider and need to be prefolded. See your instructions to check which method your sling uses. See Hip Carry with shoulder flip instructions to see a shoulder flip in action.

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Soft Structured Carrier

Soft Structured Carriers are based on the principles of Asian Style Carriers, with a panel and straps, but they use buckles instead of ties. Most also have a thick waist band and padded shoulder straps. Some brands are Ergo, Patapum, Beco and Yamo. See Asian Style page for more information.

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Stretchy wrap

A stretchy wrap is just that- made of stretchy material with 'give' in it, usually a cotton/lycra mix. Jersey Knit is popular, or basically anything with an edge that rolls up when cut. They are great for newborns and young babies, and may be used to around a year old or as long as you both are comfortable. Stretchy wraps may have hemmed or overlocked edges, or even just cut your home-made wrap with scissors and let the edges roll over. Stretchy wraps are usually 4.2, 4.6 or 5m long, and between 55-65cm wide. You can choose to make your own or select one of the many great stretchy wraps available in NZ.

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Stroller

Item which is usually empty when pushed, while parent holds fussy baby.  Great for holding shopping bags.

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Tail

A Tail is the end of a wrap or ring sling that is left hanging free. You pull the tail of a ring sling, and tie the tails of a wrap. Ring Slings may have an Open or a Closed tail. An open tail(like on a Starflower sling) is left free to slide between the rings, and you can pull each rail to adjust the fit. A closed tail (Like on a Baba sling)is sewn closed so it can only be pulled up and down, the individual rails stay the same.

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Tibetan finish

A Tibetan finish is when, instead of tying a knot around your waist with a wrap or asian carrier, you bring each strap up and through the opposite shoulder strap and pull them together, then tie. This keeps the shoulder straps nice and securely on you, and helps use up extra strap length. Just keep the straps away from your breast tissue to avoid blocked ducts. See these Mei-tai instructions. for an illustration.

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Woven wrap

Woven wraps are made from cotton weave and although they have a bit of 'give', they are very supportive especially for older children. Woven wraps are wider than stretchy wraps, which combined with their supportiveness makes them ideal for back carries. They are quite an investment but last a long time. See page for more information.

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Wrap

A wrap is a short or long piece of cloth which is tied in a variety of ways to create a carrier for baby. Wraps may also be called 'simple pieces of cloth'. See page for more information.

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