I LOVE talking about slings :)
I would recommend the Moby Wrap Baby Carrier for the begining for sure. It looks complicated when you first get it but the book is very clear and literally, you need the directions like 2x and then you have it down. Its super comfortable, doesn’t have size specifics and is great for longterm wearing. Its nice and secure too. Its also nice to have a large piece of fabric with you that you can use for a blanket, a spitup catcher or a coverup when you’re nursing. I found it very helpful for all those things.
Now that Tommy is so big (20 lbs 8 oz at his 6 month!) and not sleeping all the time, I have a Hotslings Baby Carrier. Its a pouch sling, like the New Native Baby Carrier (that we had with Zoe and David LOVED to use to get her to sleep, but we’ve since lost). Its size specific so you should buy your own or see if there’s someplace to try one on. There’s a store on Capitol Hill – Dawn Price Baby – www.dawnpricebaby.com that has them so you could always check them out on your next trip here.
I think that pouch slings are pretty much the same and there are a ton of different versions. Its differences in fabric and if it has a pocket for example. The reason I love it for Tommy now, is that I can throw it on quickly and put him on my hip, but still be hands-free. Its not the greatest for longterm wearing, but he’d rather sleep on his own now, than have me carry him around, like I did with the Moby. I could wear the Moby for hours (I’d be tired at the end but it is very comfortable, especialy if you get all the cloth straightened out.)
The other one that I have used, but can now that Tommy is sitting up well is the Ellaroo Mei Hip Baby Carrier This is great because it folds up so small, but does well as a back carrier and a front carrier. Again, looks intimidating at first but is really super easy once you try it. Fun patterns too.
I’ve heard lots of good things about the Ergo carriers but haven’t tried one myself. http://www.ergobabycarrier.com/ Its definitely one that a guy can wear too :) David didn’t want to wear the Moby wrap – felt it was too femine (I disagree but defer of course) but the New Native and the Ergo are both very unisex I think. Ergo also has a newborn extra that you order that gives extra head support when they’re really little.
A lot of these have ways to nurse the baby while wearing them, but I haven’t really wanted to do that yet. The Moby looked the most secure for that kind of thing but Tommy is a quick eater (like 5 mins on each side) so it was never worth the fuss. All of these also go up to at least 30-35 lbs of baby, so could last a while, depending.
Prices – that would help. Moby is the cheapest at $35. New Natives are like $40, Hotslings are like $60, MeiTai are like $90 and the Ergo is like $90. From my shopping, the prices are all pretty similar, unless you find a discontinued pattern or something. If you’re ordering on-line, I’d either pick someplace you like the sound of or find something with free shipping, since the prices are pretty much set. One thing I like is that almost all of these still are, or were, mom-and-pop business – just someone’s great idea.
So that’s what I have to say about that.