What is an Onbuhimo?
An onbuhimo (sometimes referred to as onbu for short) is a baby carrier without a waistband. They originally came from Japan.
Why should I consider an Onbuhimo?
We adore Onbuhimos! The lack of waist band makes an onbuhimo one of the quickest and easiest carriers to get on and off.
Onbuhimos are small so good for people who are carrying children hot climates or just overheat easily. Onbuhimos are fantastic for quick up and downs with a toddler.
An onbuhimo can be a great option for pregnant Mums or anyone else who doesn't like pressure on their stomach. Onbuhimos can be used with another carrier to carry more than one child at a time. They can also be really useful for people with mobility problems in their shoulders as there is only one type of movement needed to secure them.
Onbuhimos usually fold up small when not is use and are often affordable too.
What are the downsides to Onbuhimos?
Depending on the size of the Onbuhimo, they may not be suitable for younger babies. Care must be taken to ensure the Onbuhimo fits the child so that there is not a risk that they will fall out of the side opening. I do not recommend you use an Onbuhimo with a child who does not yet have full head control.
Hourglass shaped onbuhimos are adaptable to different sized children to a degree, but generally if you have two different aged children, they will need different sized Onbuhimo.
All of your child's weight is supported by your shoulders. Some people do not like the feeling of weight distribution with an Onbuhimo.
What types of Onbuhimo are there?
The are three main types of Onbuhimo -
Buckle Onbuhimo - has padded straps at the top of the carrier with one half of a buckle attached to each shoulder strap. It has webbing and the other half of the buckle at the bottom of the Onbuhimo. Buckle Onbuhimos often comes with a chest belt clip.
Loop Onbuhimo - has fabric loops at the bottom and wrap straps at the top of the Onbuhimo. The wrap straps are threaded through the loops and secured with a knot.
Ring Onbuhimo - has rings at the bottom and wrap straps at the top of the Onbuhimo. The wrap straps are threaded through the rings to secure them.
It is personal preference as to which you would prefer.
How do I wear an Onbuhimo?
You can wear your child in an Onbuhimo on your front facing towards you or on your back.
We love these instructions videos from Nova Baby Carrier.
How do I make sure we are safe when using an Onbuhimo?
It is very important to wear your child high in a onbuhimo so that there is not too much pressure on your child's neck. If you wear your child too low, the pressure on the neck increases. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to wear your child high enough so that they can look over your shoulder while in a back carry or close enough to kiss in a front carry.
What features are available in an Onbuhimo?
Onbuhimos can be made from classic cotton canvas or from more mouldable but more expensive woven wrap material.
The shoulder straps can differ a lot on different onbuhimos - they can be wide/narrow, padded/not padded/part padded, wrap strap style/cotton and more.
Some Onbuhimos are shaped in a sort of hour glass so that you they can fit a wider variety of sizes of children. Depending on which part of the Onbuhimo your child's bottom rests on, it will be narrower or wider and so is adaptable.
Some Onbuhimos have leg padding for your child's comfort. Some have a hood.
Where can I try an Onbuhimo?
If you're not yet sure if an Onbuhimo is right for you and want to try before you buy - take a look at our Onbuhimos available for hire.
Where can I find out more?
Welcome! Are you new to carrying your child and don't know were to start? Are you overwhelmed about the types of slings and carriers available? Are you just starting out with your carrier and not sure if it’s the best type for you? Do you wonder what other options there may be? You're in the right place!
Here's a quick overview of the main types of slings and carriers.
Stretchy wraps are long pieces of soft jersey material that wrap around your body. They are ideal for newborns and young babies, offering gentle support for little spines. They can easily be shared by more than one adult as one size fits most. A stretchy wrap can be tied on once and left on all day. You can then pop your baby in and out with ease without needing to take the sling off each time. They offer an affordable option.
Woven wraps are long pieces of woven material that wrap around your body. They work well for newborns all the way through to pre schoolers and can be used on the front, back or hip in a variety of carries. They can be the most adaptable types of carriers. They can easily be shared by more than one adult. They are woven in a particular way to provide gentle all-around pressure, supportive but still soft and mouldable.
Mei tais have a structured body panel which have four straps that tie to secure to your body. They are very versatile, offering structured support and lots of carrying options. They can easily be shared by more than one adult. Mei tais can be very affordable.
Ring slings offer a lightweight, quick and easily adjusted sling for newborn to pre-schoolers. Ring slings have one end sewn securely into two strong rings. They are worn on one shoulder with the child sitting in a pouch on the opposite side of the adult's body. They can easily be shared by more than one adult.
Buckle carriers have a structured body panel which have four straps that you secure by buckles, so there is no tying involved. They are often the quickest type of carrier to use but are not always suitable for newborn babies. Buckle carriers vary enormously. Waistbands and shoulder straps can be lightly or heavily padded, some shoulder straps cross over on the back when baby is on the front, others are fixed into a rucksack style. What suits one adult/child combination may not suit another. Find out more about the different features of buckle carriers here.
Pods (otherwise known as Podaegi) are a variation of a torso carrier. They are primarily designed for back carries but can be used on the front too. A pod is basically a long rectangle panel of fabric with straps at two corners. The fabric surrounds your baby's back, and the shoulder straps tie around your child's back and under their legs like a mei tai would. They're really adjustable, and can be worn from newborn up to toddler without any additional accessories.
Onbuhimos are another kind of carrier with no waist band, which originated in Japan. The shoulder straps come down to meet the bottom of the back panel under your child's legs (so the legs sit through the shoulder straps). The original Onbuhimos were secured with small rings at the bottom corners of the panel. The shoulder ties can be passed under your arms, through the rings and tied off. Now the more modern versions are made with SSC shoulder straps with adjustable webbing, and a chest clip.
Half Buckle carriers are a hybrid of full buckles and mei-tais. A standard half buckle will have a buckled waist with shoulder ties. A reverse half buckle is made with buckled shoulders and a tie waist.
Carrying Aids can vary widely between brands of carriers. Infant inserts are used to adjust the position of a newborn baby within a soft structured carrier until they are big enough to sit in the width of the carrier without over-extending their hips. Brands such as Tula, Beco & Ergo have their own inserts designed specifically to fit their own carrier.
An accessory strap can be used to adjust the width of the carrier slightly to allow a child to sit safely within it. Manduca have their own Size-It strap which can be used with many other brands. Connecta accessory straps also work in the same way.
Tula have designed Free to Grow extenders, which are fitted from the shoulder straps of carriers to the waist band to widen the base of the carrier and support the backs of your child's legs - this allows them to maintain the optimum "knee to knee" support where they may otherwise have outgrown the carrier. Boba 4G carries also have stirrups, but these fit to D rings built in, and so are not able to be used with other brands.
In bad weather, you might like to use a weather protector on top of your carrier. They work in a similar way as a cosy-toes would on a buggy, and keep your child warm and dry while they're being carried. Close Cocoons and BundleBeans are available to hire with most of our slings
What is a ring sling?
A ring sling is made from a single piece of fabric, usually around 2m long, with two rings sewn into the end. The other end of the fabric is threaded through these rings to form a loop.
How do you wear a ring sling?
A ring sling is worn over one shoulder like a sash and is tightened by pulling the fabric through the rings which then lock it into place. The most usual ways to carry your child with a ring sling are on your hip facing you or on your front facing you. They can also be used to carry your child on your back or on your front facing out, though these positions take a little more practise.
Video courtesy of Slingababy
What are the advantages of a ring sling?
• Quick and easy to get on and off
• Suitable from birth to 3 years and more
• Folds down small so good for keeping in the car, bottom of the pram or changing bag
• Easy to breastfeed in
• Easy to lay a sleeping baby down without waking them
What are the disadvantages of a ring sling?
• Weight is not distributed evenly for the adult (on one shoulder rather than both)
• Ring slings take a little practise to learn to use initially
Tell me some brands of ring sling to look out for.
Most woven wrap companies offer ring slings. We like Girasol ring sling, Storchenwiege ring sling, Natibaby ring sling and Didymos ring sling but there are lots lots more!
What is the difference between a gathered shoulder and a pleated shoulder?
There are different types of shoulders on ring slings. The most common types are gathered shoulders and pleated shoulders. You can also find box pleat shoulders and hotdog shoulders around too. They are all different and most people find one style suits them best, so it is worth trying a few out.
Simple gathered shoulder:
Our Girasol Northern Lights ring sling available to hire
With a gathered shoulder you are able to get a good spread of fabric across your shoulder and back.
Our Natibaby Cyrpus ring sling available to hire
With a pleated shoulder the fabric is kept in a narrower distribution on your shoulder but still spreads widely across the back. Different brands will have smaller or larger pleats and more or less of them, so all feel slightly different.
Is there anything I should know when choosing a ring sling?
We do not recommend you use any ring sling with a welded join on the rings. These can be dangerous. The rings on a ring sling should be continuous and you should not see a join.
Some ring slings have padding in the shoulder and in the edges or ‘rails’ - this padding is designed to make it more comfortable to wear, but can also make it bulkier and less easy to adjust. For this reason many people prefer unpadded ring slings.
We recommend ring slings made from material especially woven to carry children rather than simple cotton, bed sheet like material. People tend to find woven wrap ring slings more comfortable for both adult and child.
Show me your ring slings available to hire!
We have one of the largest selection of ring sling available to hire in the UK. Check them out here.
Show me your ring slings available to buy!
We have our favourite ring slings available to buy. Check them out here.