Best Baby Ring Slings

Cuddle baby close and keep your hands free.
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profile picture of Danielle Halibey
Updated February 2, 2023
mom carrying her sleeping baby in ring sling
Image: Layland Masuda / Getty Images
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Babywearing is basically a necessity. After all, you’ve got things to do that require having your hands free! Keeping your little one in a baby sling close to your chest helps comfort them and frees you up to get things done. But the practice is also valuable beyond the infant stages—which is why “toddler wearing” is a thing. Sometimes it’s just more convenient to carry a tot than to make them trot on their own. While there are multiple types of baby carriers (and toddler carriers at that), many moms opt for a comfy, sturdy ring sling to keep their child close. They’re less bulky than more structured carriers and easier to use than baby wraps, since they come with—you guessed it—rings that help them stay fastened. There are other benefits to buying a good ring sling too. A baby sling can help you form a physical bond with your child, as your bodies will be cozily pressed together whenever you wear one. Plus, the ample fabric and placement of a ring sling makes discreet breastfeeding a breeze. Ready to decide if a ring sling is the right choice for you? Read on for the full info, then shop our picks of the best baby sling options on the market.

What Is a Ring Sling?

To start, you’ve probably seen a ring sling “out in the wild” a couple times and wondered what it was and how it worked. A ring sling is essentially a long piece of woven fabric—usually something light and airy like cotton, linen, bamboo or silk—that gets fashioned into a hammock-like seat and threaded through two rings (sewn into the shoulder) to make it safe, secure, supportive and adjustable. There are no buckles, snaps or fasteners; the rings alone ensure a tight, anchored fit, which makes the feel a lot more flexible and fluid. It’s a great choice for a baby carrier in the fourth trimester when you’re starting to get into a routine and want to establish a close bond. It makes sense: Baby wants to be connected to you; they want to hear the heartbeat that was familiar to them in the womb and feel the warmth and tenderness of your touch. With a ring sling that hugs their tiny body ever-so-gently—and pulls them close to your heart—they’ll experience a sense of calm that can ease their fussiness, lull them to rest and even facilitate successful nursing sessions (if that’s your feeding journey!).

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Baby slings vs. baby wraps: What’s the difference?

Wondering if a ring sling is the same as a baby wrap? While both soft carriers offer a quick and easy way to get your infant on and ready to ride for whatever comes next (be it a nice walk outside or errand running), the way they’re worn and how they distribute baby’s weight are different. A ring sling is worn diagonally over the body, from shoulder to opposite hip and has, at most, three wearable positions: front, hip and potentially back (this last option is only acceptable after baby turns one). A wrap, on the other hand, is usually wrapped around your shoulders and across your torso in infinite configurations that support front, hip and back carrying. Both carriers free up your hands, but, with a ring sling, the weight can be felt on your one shoulder, while a wrap carrier evenly distributes the weight across your hips and shoulders.

How to Use a Ring Sling

Worried you won’t be able to master wearing a baby sling comfortably? While there’s a learning curve with ring sling baby carriers, they’re far less tricky than wraps, since they come with rings that make wrapping and securing a cinch. You simply thread the fabric through the ring and sling it over your shoulder. Once your child is inside (always hold them with one hand until the process is complete), the shape lets you spread, tighten and otherwise adjust the fabric until you feel confident it’s sturdy and won’t bother you or baby.

The best way to figure out how to wear a ring sling is by reading the instructions that come with yours; the maker of your specific baby sling is the ultimate authority on how to use it and will provide important safety tips. While those guidelines are your source of truth, you can also consult visual guides, like step-by-step photos and educational videos for extra help. (Many sellers offer those on their websites, product pages and social media channels.) Then practice, practice, practice—it might be helpful to try it out in front of a mirror too. Here are a few extra pointers to get you started:

  • Make sure the “seat” you make for baby is big enough (many sellers say that a ‘deep seat’ is the key) to fit them and keep them safely enclosed—if it’s too small, they could tumble out.

  • On the flipside, the baby sling shouldn’t be too tight—it should feel snug but not enough to squeeze and cause discomfort, and your child’s head should always stay out.

  • Pay attention to the way baby is positioned (never with their head angled down toward their chest, restricting their ability to breathe). You’ll also need to keep an eye on their nose and mouth, so that they’re never covered or obscured.

  • You can wear your ring sling in a couple different ways: either in front of you or on your hip for extra weight support.

What to Look for in a Ring Sling

First and foremost, trust your intuition. Consider your ring sling an extension of your wardrobe, meaning find one that fits your style and feels comfortable. You’ll want it to be adjustable to your body shape and accommodating for baby’s size. Though most slings can safely hold babies from 8 pounds all the way up to 35 pounds, you’ll also want to be sure you’re not taking chances with a newborn who is too small or a toddler who is maxing out the weight limits. Here, a few other features to keep in mind:

  • Adjustability. Feel free to shop around a little (not many ring sling brands are available in stores, so you’ll likely need to shop online) to try out different fabric lengths and sizes; you can always return what you don’t like. After all, what feels best on your body might be different than what feels best to your friend, especially if you (and your kids) are shaped differently. To this end, some brands will offer you a complimentary fit session with one of their style consultants after you purchase a ring sling.
  • Breathability. With newborns, the natural need for a womb-like atmosphere is very apparent in the first few weeks of life. But when you’re using a fabric carrier, there’s a fine line between cozy and too-confined. Look for slings crafted from materials like cotton, linen, silk and/or bamboo which are more breathable fabrics and help with airflow.
  • Compliance. The best baby slings aren’t only parent-approved, but also have institutional approval. Turn to ASTM- and CPSC-certified products for an extra confidence boost. Both parties have put out ring sling safety guidelines. You also may want to scope out slings with a “hip-healthy” sign-off from organizations like The International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI).

Best Ring Slings

Ready to buy? We’ve rounded up some of the best ring slings on the market, from a fashion-forward baby ring carrier to a breastfeeding-friendly option to a versatile water ring sling for the beach and other sunny summer adventures.

Overall best baby sling

The hypoallergenic and temperature-regulating ring slings from WildBird are first on our list, and perfect for experienced and novice babywearing parents. Available in dozens of fun colorways, it works as a newborn ring sling but also holds up to 35 pounds. The brand offers adorable mommy-and-me matching ring sling minis for dolls, which makes them ideal for parents with older children who might get jealous of all the attention their new sib’s been getting. (They’ll be too distracted acting like a grownup and toting around their favorite stuffed animal to care.) A final bonus? They’re made by moms working from home.

What We Love
  • The 100% natural linen is super-lightweight and breathable
  • Fully adjustable; The standard 74’’ length fits most users, while the 90’’ length is best suited for plus-size or tall wearers
  • Deemed “hip-healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute
Things To Consider
  • There’s a steep learning curve, but WildBird has tons of video tutorials on their website
  • The rings are sewn in, so you can’t switch it for another type or color of ring (not interchangeable)

Best baby sling for newborns

LÍLLÉbaby Ring Sling
Image: LÍLLÉbaby

This baby sling carrier is also made from soft, premium-quality linen that lets you bring your baby close as you free up your hands for other things. Designed with contrasting thread along one edge of the sling, you can easily identify each hem and adjust the fit flawlessly. This hip-friendly option is suitable for babies ranging from 7 to 33 pounds, so you can probably wear it as soon as you come home with your newborn and right on through their first few steps.

What We Love
  • Easy to adjust into a relaxed feeding position
  • Comfortably supports most body shapes (sizes 00 to 24)
  • Lightweight and portable, it can be thrown into your diaper bag for a day out
Things To Consider
  • Only available in two tones (rainbow or nimbus cloud)
  • Machine-washable on cold cycle only, and you’ll need to unthread and cover the rings with a sock for protection

Best baby sling for breastfeeding

The Moby Ring Sling offers the ultimate in comfort to you and baby while encouraging bonding and breastfeeding. Easy to slip on, and comfortable enough that you can wear it for long stretches of time, this baby sling is stylish, breathable and durable. With front- and hip-carrying options, it’s a parent fave, thanks to its versatile design and easy-to-use features.

What We Love
  • Available in multiple color options
  • The comfortable design is also hip-friendly for your little one’s growing body
Things To Consider
  • The weight capacity maxes out at 33 pounds

Best baby sling with storage

Kyte Baby Ring Sling
Image: Target

You might have shopped Kyte before for their adorable baby sleepwear, but did you know the brand also makes lush ring slings too? Not only is the ring sling carrier buttery-soft to match baby’s delicate, sensitive skin, it has a feature to make every parent delighted: Pockets! The fabric is made from 100 percent pre-washed linen (which the brand deems environmentally friendly), and holds a child weighing 8 to 35 pounds. And peep those blush-toned rose gold rings—they go with each color in Kyte’s “forest-inspired” palette.

What We Love
  • The 100 percent flax linen is breathable and cooler to the touch than cotton
  • Suitable for all shapes and bust sizes
  • Affordable option
Things To Consider
  • It takes time to learn how to use it
  • Only available in one size

Best padded baby sling

Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Ring Sling Baby Carrier
Image: Amazon

This ASTM- and CPSC-compliant ring sling fits newborns and toddlers alike and boasts lightly padded shoulders for extra comfort and beginner-friendliness—because babywearing can put a lot of pressure on parents and caregivers (literally and figuratively). Maya Wrap’s sleek padding cushions the shoulder to sit flat with no bunching or digging at the neck (phew!) and an always-supportive hold for infants and toddlers up to 35 pounds. There are no painful pressure points, no shifting in the shoulder fabric and no bulk, which is nice when you’re bustling through the day. And you’ll be happy to hear that each sling is handspun, dyed, hand-loomed and sewn by Guatemalan and Mayan artisans who have worked in tandem with Maya Wrap’s founding team for over 25 years.

What We Love
  • Features a signature zippered pocket for your phone, pacifier, teether, etc.
  • Long tails can be used as a sun shade or for nursing coverage
  • Available in multiple solid, stripes and ombre colorways
Things To Consider
  • It takes time to figure out how to use it

Best eco-friendly baby sling

Nalakai Luxury Ring Sling Baby Carrier
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon | $64.95

When a product has a near-perfect rating after thousands of reviews, you know it must be good. We’re guessing moms and dads love this ring sling for its premium unwelded and lead-free aluminum rings, eco-friendly bamboo-linen fabric—that’s lightweight and silky smooth—and trendy color options. Or the fact that 5 percent of the company’s profits go to a charity helping low-income families in Costa Rica. This one harnesses baby naturally in the ‘M’ position so that their hips can develop properly while keeping both of you comfortable. And the front carry position that massages baby’s belly might just be the reflux-relaxer and digestion-improving solution you’ve been waiting for.

What We Love
  • Fabric doesn’t wrinkle your clothing
  • Offered in regular and extra-length sizes
  • Available in 10 bohemian-aesthetic hues
Things To Consider
  • Machine-washable on a gentle cycle only with a separate wash bag

Best breathable baby sling (for warm weather)

Beachfront Baby Water and Warm Weather Ring Sling Baby Carrier
Image: Amazon

Are you taking your first trip (somewhere warm, we hope!) with babe and on the hunt for a vacation-worthy water ring sling? You can bring this mesh one to the pool or beach without worrying about water weighing it down. It fits babies 8 to 30 pounds, and comes in multiple colors. It’s also made right here in the US by moms. Last but not least, it meets ASTM sling carrier safety standards, which is always something to consider when buying a baby sling.

What We Love
  • Small lab-verified, toxin-free rings ensure a safe fit with no fabric slippage
  • Rings are smooth and safe for babies to chew on
  • Sling is available in 14 splashy colorways
Things To Consider
  • The 100% polyester doesn’t have a sun protection factor

Most stylish baby sling

Sakura Bloom Eyelet Linen Ring Sling Baby Carrier
Image: Sakura Bloom
Buying Options
Sakura Bloom | $180

Want a ring sling that’s simple and stylish? Look no further than Sakura Bloom’s trendy baby slings that perfectly support your newborn and/or toddler in a secure and ergonomic position—with just a couple quick adjustments. This one is made from soft, breathable linen (bye-bye snuggle time sweat!), but you can also opt for the beautifully textured waffle-linen, lush silk or bamboo. The brand lets you pick between plenty of solid colors and, bonus, ring colors too. Oh, and its products undergo ASTM testing and comply with CSPC regulatory standards. Style, done safely.

What We Love
  • Great for newborns, breastfeeding and wearing while pregnant
  • Easy to pack into purses, diaper bags or car consoles
  • Neutral colorway is plenty versatile
Things To Consider
  • It’s an expensive option

Best patterned baby sling

Baby Tula Signature Woven Ring Slings
Image: Baby Tula

Looking for a baby sling carrier featuring funky patterns? Well, Baby Tula sells ringed wraps in a whole bunch of quirky, kaleidoscopic colors. Like most of the ring slings on our list, they’re made for babies weighing anywhere from 8 to 35 pounds, and they come in standard and long lengths to match your favorite fit. Add an intuitive, fast and easy try-on experience, plus quick-to-make adjustments for short or long endeavors, and you’ve got a patterned look you’ll want to wear out on repeat.

What We Love
  • Available in plenty of punchy patterns
  • You can gift a soon-to-be mom, and let them decide on their color or size before it ships
  • Free standard shipping nearly world-wide
Things To Consider
  • Spot clean your ring sling as needed with a soft cloth, soap and warm water

Best affordable baby sling

The five-star reviews really speak for themselves, but we’ll make a few points of our own. Firstly, this baby ring sling carrier is made from luxe Turkish cotton that gets softer with each wear. Plus, the neutral color palette is infinitely chic. And, finally, at under $45, it’s a total steal. We wouldn’t blame you for buying more than one.

What We Love
  • Available in 16 dreamy colorways; each is reversible
  • Softening agents-free, artificial fragrance-free and vegan-friendly
  • Crafted with double muslin fabric, so it’s more breathable and cool in summer, but keeps baby warm in the winter
Things To Consider
  • It takes time to learn how to use it properly
  • One size fits all
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