Baby Carriers for Petite Women
One thing I didn't expect to be a problem when I became a mother was how much of an issue being petite would be to find a suitable baby carrier. Below I recommend four tried and tested baby carriers for petite women.
I am pretty short when it comes to being short, scraping in at just 5ft tall, with tiny shoulders but strong hips (aka a big arse!). I'm used to the frustrations being short can bring, so I don't know why it surprised me that I struggled to find a carrier or baby sling to fit my petite frame.
Before I go into the recommended carriers for petite women below, I suggest you explore your local "sling library". Often run by volunteers passionate about baby slings, they provide you with the chance to have a 1-2-1 chat with an experienced person about what you are looking for in a sling, you can try on lots of different brands and take one away to test it out for a couple of weeks, often with a small fee and a deposit that is returned to you on return of the sling. They may sometimes be affiliated with a local company that sells slings and can offer you discounts should you wish to buy. If you don't have a local baby sling library then I suggest you check out either it's a sling thing or Love to Be Natural. They both offer personalised advice/consultations to help you decide which carrier may be best for you and you can then either buy or hire a whole range of slings and carriers from them.
The four carriers and slings that I found great for my petite frame and have suited my daughter at different stages as she grew from birth to toddler are:
1. Wrap sling
Wraps are great for newborn babies. They are simply a long length of stretchy jersey fabric (kind of like t-shirts) that you loop around yourself to cocoon your baby close to your chest. They do require a little bit of practice to get the wrapping technique right - which can be scary and daunting - but you typically pre-tie them before putting the baby in. What's great about this is you can tie it up and just leave it on all day if you want to, popping baby in and out as you need without having to wrap and re-tie over and over again. There are no buckles or any kind of fasteners with these, just soft jersey fabric that you wrap and knot yourself. What this also means is that it doesn't matter if you are 6ft3 or 4ft8, they should fit you all the same.
I found visiting a sling library to get help with the sling I already owned was invaluable. There is definitely a bit of a knack that needs practice! They showed me how to use it properly and how tight I should really have it - much better than just watching a YouTube video, although there are many good ones out there that can help you learn.
I was lucky to have a hand-me-down wrap to try without the risk of not getting on with it. Whilst you can buy a wrap sling new from around £35+, there are always people selling them on Facebook, eBay or other local market forums at a much more affordable price tag. Love to Be Natural have a nice range of beautiful patterns to choose from, because you also want to look good whilst wearing it too, right?!
2. Caboo lite baby carrier
Caboo is a very widely known and accessible brand. You will find them sold in most of the big stores in the UK and maybe even at a discount in TK Maxx if you're lucky. The Caboo Lite Baby Carrier is a bit of a hybrid wrap that has the benefit of rings and a stitched back crossover to remove a bit of the faff that comes with wrapping a giant length of material around yourself. I borrowed a friend's when she had transitioned to a more structured carrier. It is easy to use simply because there was less material to get tangled around yourself, but I didn't always feel as secure as I did with the long length jersey wrap.
3. Mamaruga Zebulo Sling
The Mamaruga Zebulo was my transition to something more structured and more supportive for my back as she got heavier. Finding this brand was a lifesaver for me. As you get more structured it becomes more of a challenge for us tiny ladies. The straps just don't go small enough, the shoulders are just too big, or the waist simply doesn't sit in the right spot for good support. The Mamaruga Zebulo baby carrier however is perfect for a small frame. Both myself and a fellow tiny mum ended up independently coming across this brand when scouring for suitably structured slings, turning up at a coffee date looking very coordinated!
The Mamaruga Zebulo can be worn front, back and side from newborn to toddlerhood, 3kg-20kg, coming in a wide range of lovely prints or plain colours so even dad will feel good wearing baby too.
4. Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL Child Carrier
This was our most challenging find. So many of the bigger hiking carriers are tailored to 'normal' or even men's frames that it was impossible for me to take my daughter out on longer hikes and walks without my partner being there. It took us a long time to find this female-specific carrier that my partner can also wear. The Deuter Kid Comfort Active SL Child Carrier has loads of adjustability, not just for mum but also for the child. The shoulder straps can be pulled right down and the back is fully adjustable to allow for that smaller frame. A great benefit is the detachable, washable chin pad with removable cover!
The one thing it does lack however is much storage, so if you are planning to use it for big hiking or camping trips then you may need to explore ways to hang additional storage off the carrier, or simply load up your partner like a mule! You also need to pay extra for the sunshade and a larger pillow.
All carriers like this are quite expensive, this one comes in at £220 rrp (as of May 2021) but you can often find a deal at around 10% off - Millets have had the Kid Comfort Active SL on sale for £189, although do to the covid pandemic combined with the Brexit fiasco it took us at least 4 months to be able to find one in stock, hopefully that is all past us know.
As a final recommendation, I suggest buying a nice cover to keep the baby warm when it's cold out in the sling rather than trying to squeeze baby into a thick suit and then into the sling. We bought one from Amazon which is great - the Bebamour winter cover - it is really easy to use, looks good and also has a hand warmer slot for parents - win!
I really hope these suggestions help you out if you too are a petite woman looking for a suitable baby carrier or sling. Let me know how you get on!