The first baby carrier I ever owned was the Maya Wrap (which is a ring sling, not a wrap). It was a gift from a friend, and I never really got the hang of it. Joshua uses the Maya regularly with Dylan, and I’ve gotten better at it by following his example.
The Maya wrap is a long piece of woven, non-stretchy fabric with attached large metal rings to loop the fabric through. The original has no padding, but I’m seeing some lightly padded versions now. I have only tried the non-padded, so that’s the only version this review covers.
The regular Maya Wrap is about $70 and the lightly padded ones are about $95. This is the mid-range for quality carriers. The Maya Wrap is a sturdy sling that can last for several children, so look for a used one to save some money without compromising quality. Check out Amazon for reviews and a selection of Maya Wraps. (That’s an affiliate link, as are the other links in this post.)
Comfort is my top concern with any carrier, and three aspects of comfort come to mind.
- Construction – does the carrier dig into me anywhere? If I’m just taking Dylan for a walk, the Maya is pretty comfortable to wear with the woven fabric spread out nicely across my shoulder. If I’m using my arm at all, the fabric rides up and it ends up pulling against my neck. Unless I’m carrying Dylan around for the sole purpose of comforting him, I don’t wear the Maya for very long.
- Distribution of weight – does the weight of the baby hurt my shoulders or back? The strong fabric of the Maya and the natural feel of having a baby on your hip does a surprisingly good job of not feeling too out of whack, but there’s no getting around that you’re carrying all the weight on one side, supported entirely by one shoulder. If you’re creaky or crooked in any way (and I am in a couple of ways) the Maya isn’t ideal.
- Temperature – am I burning up? The Maya Wrap is fine for warm-weather-wearing.
- Washing: I hear that you can toss the Maya Wrap into the washing machine, but honestly, I’ve never even done that. The sturdiness of the fabric means you can easily just spot clean it.
- Sizing: The Maya Wrap is available in four sizes. You can see a size guide here. There’s almost no downside to having a longer tail, so when in doubt go up a size. If you have multiple people who want to share a sling, go with the larger size. The sling is pretty amazingly adjustable, so there’s no worries there.
The Maya Wrap is very easy in concept. It makes one circle around your body and the baby slips inside. Anyone who’s put on a belt can correctly thread the fabric through the rings. That being said, adjusting the sling to fit you and the baby snugly is trickier than it seems at first. I wore the Maya off and on throughout the years with different kids and never really got good at it. It’s only in the last few times wearing it with Dylan that I feel like I’m getting the hang of it. You can individually adjust the top and bottom “rail” of the sling, and getting that adjustment right makes a big difference. The Maya Wrap is pretty simple, but it can take some practice.
You can use a Maya Wrap with newborns, older babies, and toddlers in front and side positions. I’ve never been quite comfortable with it with newborns, because they always seem to disappear into the sling. Joshua used ours with Dylan, though, and really seemed to enjoy it. It’s very good for older toddlers, since they so naturally sit on your hip already. There’s no back carry position, although I sometimes kind of shift Dylan back behind my arm into a semi-back-carry. All in all, the Maya is not very versatile. For me, it’s only good for a hip carry with an older baby.
I find that the most important thing for getting a secure and comfortable fit is that the tail is spread smoothly in the rings. If it gets bunched up, when I pull on a rail it doesn’t tighten the way I think it’s going to. If you find yourself struggling to get it adjusted just right, it might be worth it to stop, unthread it, and rethread it to ensure that you’re starting from the right place.
Since Joshua wears the Maya more often than I do, I asked him for his take on this baby carrier, too. He said,
“It’s very easy to put on. It’s reasonably comfortable, although not as comfortable as the Moby, because the Maya is off-center. Dylan likes it because he can face forward and see what’s going on. The major thing I don’t like about it is that one arm is out of commission because it’s behind the baby. The other arm (with the wrap over its shoulder) is kind of limited because if you reach up high, the wrap slips up onto the top of the shoulder and digs in.”
I’m hoping that I’ll get more use out of my Maya Wrap as Dylan gets older and is more of a hip-sitter. At this stage (6 months) I haven’t worn it a whole lot, although, technically, it’s my second most used carrier after the Moby. The Maya Wrap is a quality product that does what it does well, but it falls down for me on versatility and comfort.