Wraps, slings, pouches and carriers…which baby wearing option is for you?

Our Blossom Creations pouch sling

I am a HUGE fan of baby wearing. It just makes sense to me. Babies need to be close to their moms (or dads) to feel safe and secure, but busy parents often need their hands free – enter the sling, pouch or carrier. There are so many benefits to baby wearing

  • Happy babies
  • Healthy babies
  • Confident parents
  • Loving caregivers
  • Comfort and convenience

A while ago I read a fascinating article entitled “Why African Babies Don’t Cry’ and one of the key reasons is that these babies are worn by their mothers pretty much 24/7. When you first contemplate baby wearing, the choices can be daunting. Basically, there are four types of baby carriers available, and we have some fantastic products available in SA.

Wraparound Slings

A wraparound sling is basically a very long strip of strong fabric. It can have a stretch or not. This kind of baby carrier can be difficult to learn how to tie, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it is so easy and convenient. The sling can be tied once and then you can take baby in and out as you need to. What I found really useful was tying it at home before going out and then popping baby in when I got to my destination. My daughter had vagal nerve compression when she was born, and as a result, she had a poor sucking reflex, was sleepy and easily distressed. For the first few weeks of her life she lived in my sling, strapped skin-to-skin to my chest. This helps raise oxytocin in baby and mom, improving milk supply, sucking and bonding. Many moms find it easy to breastfeed in the wrap, but I couldn’t get the hand of it.

See Me Baby sent me their Wrap Carrier in teal to try. They have a handy video online which teaches you how to tie the wrap. The fabric is very strong but soft and comfy, and the lack of buckles means that there is nothing to accidentally hurt your baby. This wrap comes with a built in carry bag which is so clever – when you take the wrap off, just bundle it up and pop it in the bag. My husband found the wrap too complicated for him, but I loved the way it distributes baby’s weight evenly across my shoulders and back meaning I could carry her for much longer without getting a sore back. You can wear baby in several ways depending on age, so the wrap grows with baby and can safely be used for toddlers as well. Baby and I both loved this wrap. I especially love it for the newborn stage and when out shopping – wrap baby tummy to tummy, pull the fabric across to support baby’s head and shield them from too many distractions and they just drift off to sleep! So many people stop me when I am carrying my sleeping daughter in this wrap because the cuteness factor is too much to resist!

Ring Slings

Ring slings are a bit like a shawl or long piece of non-stretchy fabric with a pair of rings attached to the end. I tried the Baby Sense ring sling. Many people swear by this sling but I honestly couldn’t get the hang of it when my baby was small. Clearly I was doing something wrong but there always seemed to be too much fabric around her face and it looked like she was drowning in it. I have tried the sling now that she’s older though and I find it very comfy in the hip hold. It is roomy and comfy for her and the edges are padded to reduce pressure on baby and mom.  The key is to make sure it is tight enough to support baby close to your body.

Pouch Slings

Pouch slings are a tube of fabric (a closed loop folded in half) with a curved seam. The pouch must be sized according to the adult’s size, so they are fairly specific to the wearer – if you and you partner are very different sizes you wouldn’t be able to wear the same sling. BUT there are no buckles and no adjusting so you just put the sling on, pop baby in and go.

Blossom Creations sent me a baby sling from their Fashion Range. The first thing I noticed was that it is so compact! It folds really really small and fits easily into the nappy bag or even my handbag. The fabric is DIVINE! It is so eye-catching and trendy that I get many compliments on this sling when I wear it out. The fabric is 100% cotton and the sling is padded along the bottom edge so that baby’s legs are comfy. The sling is really quick and easy to put on and to get baby into. She loves it. In the hip hold she can look out and interact with the world whilst still being close to me and feeling secure. If she needs to sleep I just shift her into cradle hold. The sling feels really secure and is very comfortable on my back. This has become my new favourite sling for its ease of use and convenience.

Soft Structured Carriers

These carriers have a body panel and shoulder and waist straps. They have adjustable buckles and distribute baby’s weight across both shoulders and the lower back. They can be used from birth through to toddlerhood and can carry baby tummy to tummy or facing out.

African Baby Carriersent me a carrier to try out. The fabric is strong with an ethnic feel. Baby is meant to be worn on the front from 3 to 5 months and then on the back until about 3yrs old. There are many added features to this carrier like a sun hood that can be flapped up and fastened, and a pocket for some of mom or dad’s valuables. I found the front carrying position a bit awkward to put on because the chest strap needs to be fastened at the back – unless you are an adept yogi, you would need someone else to fasten it for you. Since speaking to Julia from the company I have found out that the chest straps can be moved up and down the shoulders to come and sit wherever you find it most comfortable to reach when closing the strap on the back. If you just leave them where they are then it gets tricky. For a small baby you may not feel as secure as with some other carriers because the sides are quite open. But, once baby is big enough to go on your back, this carrier really comes into its own.  Baby rides nice and high up on your back and can easily look around, and your arms and front are completely free. The padded waist belt gives very good support and takes the strain off your back. This would also be great for hiking, especially because baby can be shaded from the sun.

Baby Bjorn sent me a Baby Carrier Miracle to test. Baby Bjorn is a Swedish company, so it is the only carrier that I tried that is not made in South Africa. It is more structured than other carriers that I have tried and is very well padded both for baby and for mom. The shoulder straps are quite wide and the lumbar support is padded, firm and easily adjusted.  I generally find soft structured carriers quite uncomfortable to wear – my back and shoulders are a problem, but this one didn’t hurt me. It was a favourite with my husband who found it easy to put on and take off – no complicated tying (you can’t clip it together incorrectly)! He found it so comfortable that he carried our daughter in it on a 6km hike in the Drakensburg. She found it so comfortable that she just fell asleep. The carrier can be used from day one because it supports baby well in the tummy to tummy position. Now that my baby is older, she loves the forward facing position. My nanny uses this carrier for baby and she says that it doesn’t hurt her back at all and she can easily get on with other things while carrying baby around. All adjustments are done from the front making it relatively easy to switch from one uses to the next.

*I was not reimbursed for this review. I received a baby carrier from the companies listed above


Review of locally available cloth nappies

So now you know what’s what with cloth nappies, let’s see how the nappies compare.

Bambino Mio

Bambino Mio sent me 2 nappies to try out. The first was a two piece nappy system consisting of the mionappy and the miosoft cover. This is basically a prefold system with a waterproof cover. The prefold is made of 100% cotton and is a really nice size. It is very absorbent without being too bulky. Compared with the OsoCosy prefolds I have from the US, I thought this was much better quality. I LOVE the cover! It has a really soft fabric on the outside and a water resistant wipe clean inside. The Velcro fasteners are good quality and give a good fit. What I love best is the elasticated leg cuffs and deep gussets which prevent leaks. It has other features like fold back laundry tabs to allow the covers to remain open in the wash for improved washing ability and an extended waist offering additional protection around the tummy. The cover looked comfy on my baby and didn’t leave red marks.

The second Bambino Mio nappy I tried was their miosolo nappy in peppermint green. It is basically a pocket nappy so it is really easy to use. It is a OSFA, so can go from birth to potty training. This was the thinnest and SOFTEST pocket nappy that I tried out. Don’t let its slim look deceive you though, it is very absorbent and we had no leaks.

Bambino Mio also makes several accessories, like nappy liners and wipes.

Mother Nature Nappies

Mother Nature sent me a Nature Nappy. Mother Nature nappies are 100% natural bamboo-cotton towelling. They are one size nappies with poppers down the front to adjust the size as your baby grows. The waist and legs are elasticated which means you get less leaks. These nappies are VERY absorbent but not bulky. I can also attest to them being fantastic quality. I have some nappies that a friend had used for two of her children and they are still going strong with my daughter. This is a lovely nappy to buy if you are thinking of having more babies and is well worth the investment.

A relatively new addition to the Mother Nature range is the AIO nappy. It is made with their wonderful bamboo-cotton towelling and is stretchy at the waist and legs. We had no leaks with this nappy. The inner pad of the nappy is removable so you can tumble dry it – this is a great feature because bamboo can take longer to dry than some of the other fabrics (because it is more absorbent).

Mother Nature also makes lovely compact boosters that can be added to any nappy for night-time or for heavy wetters, and their biodegradable liners are my favourite – they are strong but soft and very easy to use.


Earthbabies sent me a basic sized nappy and waterproof cover. The nappy is made of terry cloth with elasticated legs and Velcro fasteners. Although quite a basic design, this nappy is a workhorse that is very absorbent and easy to use. The terry cloth dries relatively quickly and is not bulky. They are very reasonably priced but you would have to buy different sizes as your baby grows. . My only criticism of this nappy system is that I find that the covers leak. Perhaps because they don’t have leg gussets?

Earthbabies also sent me one of their Happy Nappies. This is an AIO OSFA nappy.  The lining of this nappy is fleece which keeps the skin dry. I really like that, especially when baby has nappy rash. The legs and waist are elasticated. If this nappy is not put on quite snuggly it can leak out the sides, but we found that fastening it tighter helped.

We have one Earthbabies Happy Nappy to give away. To stand a chance to win this nappy, email Dr Mom at tarynturner@vodamail.co.za


Fancypants sent me their one size pocket nappy in ‘Cupcake’ (a lovely soft pink). The nappy is made with a soft stylish waterproof outer fabric, lined with a plush 70% bamboo / 30% organic cotton material. This choice of lining means that only natural fabrics are against baby’s skin. It also keeps the skin really nice and dry. I love that each nappy comes with two microfibre inserts so you can double up, making the nappy more absorbent. Microfibre inserts dry very quickly – fantastic when the weather is a bit wet. The snaps on this nappy are very good quality, and despite numerous uses and washes, they are still going strong and showing no signs of wear. As with all pocket nappies, this nappy is very easy to use and just as easy to wash.


Snugglybum sent me one of their minky cover pocket nappies. This is the first minky (velvety) nappy I have used and I am in love with the feel of this cover! The nappy is a OS pocket nappy with a PUL outer layer and a polyester lining. The polyester keeps baby’s skin very dry. The nappy comes with one microfiber insert. If you use just one insert, the nappy is very slim, but I didn’t find it absorbent enough for my daughter so I had to double up. These nappies come in a huge variety of colours and patterns and look extremely cute on baby’s bum! They also have a range of organic bamboo nappies.


Biobaba sent me one of their OSFA AIO nappies. This AIO has quite a unique design. It has a flip out flap so you can hold the nappy and flip any solid waste into the loo. The insert of this nappy is made of hemp. Hemp is recognized as one of the world’s strongest natural fibres – the more you wash it – the more absorbent it becomes! It also has anti-bacterial qualities and uses no pesticides in its growth. The nappy is quite bulky but it is super-absorbent so you don’t have to change it as often as some of the slimmer nappies.  There were no leaks in this nappy. The sizing is very generous and it would easily fit a toddler. The nappy is also very versatile and can even be used as a swim nappy. I loved this company’s eco-friendly ethics too.


Bam+Boo sent me two of their nappies in Pumpkin and Lavender.  Bam+Boo nappies are OSFA hybrid nappies, consisting of an outer ‘shell’, a soaker that clips in and a booster that can also be clipped in. The outer shell is made of waterproof, brushed polyester and is very soft. The inner parts are 70% bamboo 30% cotton so the nappy is not bulky but is super absorbent. One of the things that makes this nappy unique is the night-time booster. When the nappy is used with the booster it is quite bulky but it is SO absorbent. This nappy has become our night nappy of choice. When I put it on my daughter she can go from 7pm to 6am without a change and she stays dry all night! The nappies are very stylish and come in a lovely range of colours.

What’s What with Cloth Nappies

When I first began researching cloth diapering (and yes, I’m going to say ‘diapering’ because nappying just sounds weird!), I was really overwhelmed! It was like learning another language with its own abbreviations and lingo. I had no idea which system would work out best and most economical, and almost none of my friends had used cloth nappies so I was solely reliant on the internet for info. Most of that information was found on US sites and most of the products were not available here. To help take the stress out of cloth nappies, I have collated all your options. (For a review of SA brands click here)


Prefolds are your traditional flat nappies.  They usually have a thick strip down the middle. These are worn with a nappy cover and are one of the least expensive options for cloth diapering.  They come in various sizes and you need to buy bigger ones as your baby grows.

There are different types of prefolds out there and many abbreviations for them. Basically you get Chinese Prefolds (CPF) and Indian Prefolds (IPF). The Indian ones are more absorbent but tend to wear through quicker than the Chinese ones.

When your child outgrows the Infant size nappies, you can use them as a nappy stuffer or to double up your stuffing at night-time.

Bambino Mio prefolds are available in SA. I have also used OsoCosy prefolds from the US.

Nappy Covers

If you are interested in using the prefolds and fitted nappies, you will want to purchase waterproof nappy covers too.  A prefold can be folded inside of the nappy cover and the nappy cover simply covers the prefold and acts as a waterproof barrier.

Fitted Nappies

Fitted nappies can also be used with Nappy Covers. With fitted nappies, there is no folding or shaping of the nappy. It goes on in the same way as a disposable. They can have elastic gathering around the legs and usually have snaps or a Velcro closure to keep the nappy together.  Place the nappy cover over the fitted nappy, and you are ready to go. These types of nappies are less expensive than other options, however, they are more expensive than using prefolds. Despite the cost, these get the thumbs up from husbands who find them to be much easier to use than the prefolds (particularly in the middle of the night).

Brands of fitted in nappies in SA are Mother Nature nappies and Earthbabies.

Pocket Nappies

Pocket nappies are usually made with two layers of fabric sewn together to form a pocket for an absorbent insert (see below). This type of nappy just fastens on and does not need a nappy cover over it because the outer layer is made of waterproof fabric (usually PUL). They are usually quite slim and are very easy to use.

Bambino Mio, Snugglybum, Bam+Boo, Earthbabies and Fancypants are all available in SA


Inserts are used for pocket nappies. They can be made of a variety of materials- micro-terrycloth, regular terry cloth, hemp, bamboo or you can just use prefolds as inserts. “Doubling up” just means using more than one insert, which you could do if you were away for an extended amount of time or at night-time, to discourage leaking.

All In Ones

You will often see this term abbreviated to AIO. An All In One is a cloth nappy that has a waterproof cover and an absorbent inner liner that is all in one piece, thus the name. These nappies fasten usually with a hook/loop or snap fasteners. These nappies are really easy to use, not at all fiddly but can be a more expensive system to buy

Mother Nature, Biobaba and Bam+Boo are locally available examples.

One Size Nappies

You will often see this term abbreviated to OS or OSFA. A one size nappy usually fits the child from the day they are born until they are toddlers. These nappies usually have snaps that go across the nappy and they can be folded over to create smaller sizes. Many OS’s are a bit big on newborns and they do tend to be a bit bulky, but they are quite affordable, because if you buy good quality, you can get away with one nappy purchase until your baby is potty trained.

Mother Nature, Earthbabies (pockets), Snugglybum, Fancypants, Bam+Boo and Biobaba are all one size nappies