1. Home
  2. Community
  3. The Snugli story
The Snugli story

The Snugli story

The Snugli story - Ann Moore
Ann Moore with baby in Snugli.

My journey, post-graduation from the University of Cincinnati took me to New York City where I taught pediatric nursing at Babies Hospital, Columbia University. The chief resident of pediatrics organized the first Peace Corps medical team to go to Togo, French West Africa in 1962. I was recruited along with 30 other medical people — doctors, nurses, lab techs, a pharmacist, sanitation engineer and others. I met my husband the first day of Peace Corps training, and we were married 8 weeks later on my parent’s farm near Dayton, Ohio.

Our Peace Corps mission was to teach preventive health, but to do that we had to gain the trust of the people. For the entire first year, we worked with them in an abandoned hospital where we treated — and nurtured — them back to health. The second year we were able to teach them various health promoting behaviors — nutrition, latrine building, hand washing, etc.

We all noted and remarked on the outstanding emotional well being of the African infant, either sick or healthy. All of the babies and young toddlers are carried on the mother’s back and they are all breastfed. When the babies were not asleep on their mothers’ back, they were alert, curious, looking all around and appearing to be very content.

In the market place, there was very little crying. At the hospital, the mother brought the other siblings along with the sick child and they all camped out on mats on the floor. This ‘backward nation’ was doing “rooming in” long before hospitals in the United States started the practice! Keeping the mother with the sick child was soothing to the child and helpful for the caregivers. What we were observing was “bonding, but we didn’t use that word in the early 60’s.

Four weeks after we returned to Colorado from our 2-year stint in Togo, our daughter Mandela was born. My mother flew out from Ohio to Denver that first week and we worked out a way for me to carry Mande with me with no thought of marketing this carrier. (I tried using the African method of one long piece of fabric, bending over, placing the baby on my back, wrapping the fabric around the baby and tying the loose ends in front of my chest and waist, but it didn’t work for me. The baby always slipped down my back.) However, with our newly developed carrier, I had my hands free and a very content newborn on my back.

In the early 1960s, no one carried their baby on them, they carried them in plastic infant seats that allowed no warm body connection between the baby and the wearer. The LaLeche League and natural child-birth parents were just becoming popular, and when they saw me wearing Mande they’d ask where they could purchase this carrier. I called my mother who went to the fabric store to buy 2 yards of corduroy and sew another. She sent them to our home in Evergreen, Colorado and I mailed them to our “customers.”

We were very excited about the growing interest in carrying babies this way; knowing that this would contribute to more emotional security for the infant and more peace for the parent. So many times when Mande would be fussy, I would put her in my baby carrier and immediately she would be content. Some people criticized me for “spoiling” the baby, but I strongly believed (and still believe) that satisfying the needs of an infant instills trust, which contributes to greater security.

Demand for this baby carrier grew by word of mouth, and mother had to turn to her friends for help. They were members of the Old Order German Baptist (known as Dunkard) Church who sewed all of their own clothes because they will not wear “worldly clothes.” Thus, they are excellent seamstresses. At one time, we had 150 farm women around the Dayton, Ohio area making our baby carriers! It was a really beautiful cottage industry. As demand continued to grow, we created a focus group which decided to call the baby carrier the “Snugli.” We applied for a patent and it was granted in 1969. The sales were mostly mail order the first few years. Then, later, stores became interested.

Later, a study was done at Columbia University on what was called the “Snugli effect.” The principal findings were that the attachment quotient was much higher and infant vocalization much earlier for babies who were carried in the Snugli than for the control group.

We then developed an “infant” carrier, which also received a patent. The Snugli was designed to carry a baby up to two years old. The infant carrier was designed for carrying infants in the first 6 months of life. We also designed various other products: a rain cape, a quiet book (usually made out of fabric and filled with quiet activities for children. It’s often used for special times, like church, when you need to keep children happy and quiet), a dolly Snugli, and a carry bed. We introduced lambskins from New Zealand after reviewing the value of the tactile stimulation and the weight gain of premature infants placed on lambskins. We created a Snugli for premature infants and a Snugli for twins.

We introduced Snugli to the European market in 1976 and to Japan in 1979. A customer sent us a somewhat worn Snugli that had 18 names embroidered on it representing each baby that had been carried in it. We have received fun photos with zoo keepers carrying small monkeys in a Snugli and dogs being carried in a Snugli. A Snugli is in the Lemelsen Center at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.

By the time we sold the company in 1985, over 1.5 million babies had been carried in Snuglis. We were given an award for realizing the 3rd goal of the Peace Corps which is to bring something we learned in our 2-year experience and introducing that into our own culture. There are many baby carriers available now, a fact which gives us great joy for all of that possible “bonding” that is taking place. We hope that this bonding will result in happier, more secure adults.

In 1986, we then started another company, Air Lift Unlimited. A friend who is a respiratory therapist asked if I could design a way for people who are oxygen dependent to carry their oxygen. Subsequently, we created and patented a backpack for portable oxygen — and this took us into home health care. We then developed various products for carrying oxygen on wheel chairs, walkers, etc. A number of medical equipment companies asked us to make cases for housing their medical devices — and we were very busy with keeping up with the orders and design work. We sold that company in 2013.

Although I have officially retired, my husband and I continue to host international visitors sent to us through the State Department. We travel extensively with the Yale Alumni Chorus internationally and participate in Rotary. Rotary International is an international service organization whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. It is a secular organization open to all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference. Rotary also took us to Ghana to help do polio vaccinations. We visited Iran a few months ago.

The Snugli story
Next door neighbor in Togo.

If there is one thing I am sure of, it is that we are all one big human family on this wonderful planet.

Ann Moore graduated in 1956 from the University of Cincinnati School of Nursing. She lives in Evergreen, Colorado.




The views and opinions expressed by Perspectives contributors are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or recommendations of the American Nurses Association, the Editorial Advisory Board members, or the Publisher, Editors and staff of American Nurse Journal. These are opinion pieces and are not peer reviewed.

13 Comments. Leave new

  • suellen keilson
    February 23, 2022 3:48 pm

    my children and grandchildren have used my original snugli, gifted to me in 1977. my son and wife just had their first baby. my snugli is in mint condition, however the cotton bib is now not in the condition for use with another child. does anyone know how to get new ones. the current “snugli” bibs will not fit the original.

  • Genet G Weber
    November 4, 2021 2:37 pm

    In 1976, we moved when our son was 4 weeks old so my husband could take a new job. Our new house wasn’t ready, my husband needed to work long hours, and our son developed colic — which meant I needed lots of walks. The Snugli was my sanity-saver. Over the years my brother’s daughter, my sister’s sons, and children of two neighbors rode in our Snugli; their names are embroidered on it. We’ve come full circle, and at long last, my grandchild will use the Snugli. I’m hoping I remember how to wash it.

  • My mother bought her snugli in 1978 when my brother Lance was born. She carried my brother Josh, Betty, Cody and me afterwards. I had my first baby in 2014 and she passed the snugli on to me. My son (my moms grandson) was the sixth baby to be worn in the snugli. Then my daughter Aurilla came along in 2020 and she is still in her Snugli at a year old. I treasure it so much! I have multiple baby carriers but none is as precious to me, as comfortable for mom and baby, and as amazing as my moms 1970s Snugli.

    • mary, could really use some help…do u know how to wear it , any instructions, i can’t remember i still have my vintage pinstripe snugli and am passing onto my daughter and her 1 week old son..thank you for any assistance

  • What a fabulous story. I found one at a thrift store and it’s more or less brand new$ 0.75. I bought it because I thought it was made great, I soon found out that my niece was pregnant so its going to be a Christmas present. Thank you.

  • Nancy Kick Ries
    October 25, 2020 12:28 pm

    I used a blue corduroy Snugli for my 3 children in 1978, 1980, and 1981. I passed it down to my sisters when they had their children. It has been passed through the family to various grandchildren, and has finally come back to my youngest with the birth of his first.
    Somewhere along the line the instructions have been lost. I remember much, but not all.
    If instructions are available we would appreciate it.

  • Remembering how much I loved carrying my three children in a Snugly in the 1980s, I began looking for one today to carry my newborn grandson. I am so sad to understand that Snugly as I knew it no longer exists. I have looked through descriptions of the many replacements. None of them seem To be quite what I’m looking for. Suggestions anyone?

  • Mrs Hamilton Barrow Willis
    June 13, 2020 12:44 pm

    I bought a corduroy Snuggli secondhand for my daughter born in 1973. I gave it to a friend, and she passed it along. Later, when my son was born in 1977, I ordered a blue seersucker one for him directly through an ad in the back of a magazine. Thank you so much for being so inventive and sharing your ideas with us all. My children got newer versions for their children.

  • Eleanor Mascheroni
    March 28, 2019 8:30 pm

    Hello and congratulations (very belatedly) on a brilliant design. We used your snugli for all three of our children who are now in their 20s and 30s. But what I am very interested in is a fold up (flat) portable crib for babies up to 6 months. I was lent one that had only been used by “happy” babies said the owner when she lent it to me in 1988. I kept it for all three xhuldnte and then lent it to my brother (also in the peace corps in Togo!) and then in the 2000s my friend asked for it back which I of course did, but reluctantly. It had SNUGLI in red sewn on the side. It was marvelous. Where, oh where, can I find another??

  • I bought a yellow corduroy Snugli in 1972 for my firstborn child, Donia Ana. She was a colicky baby but putting her in the Snugli calmed her and helped her sleep. Soon I was using it all day while I worked at home, even while vacuuming. I had a typing business and my business cards depicted a woman with a Snugli holding a stack of papers and the motto “Work piling up? Call the lady with the baby on her back.” In 1973 we traveled to the path of a solar eclipse off the coatst of Mauritania. After the eclipse we went to a market in Noudibou where women crowded around us to see our carrier and how it was made. The worried about our baby’s head being exposed to the extreme hat and woth the help of a Nigerian student who translated, they urged me to purchase some fabric so they could teach me how to wrap her in it. Like Mandy, Dona kept slipping so I returned to our wonderful Snugli. I carried her in it until she was 18 months old.

  • Karen Barlow
    July 10, 2018 3:44 pm

    I grew up in Preble County, Ohio and when our daughter was born in 1984, my mom gave us a Snugli carrier as a baby gift. It was wonderful! We used it with all three of our children and would have used it with our grandchildren, but we loaned it out and it never returned. 🙁 We recommended it to many parents who also purchased one. The reason I am even on this website today has nothing to do with a baby carrier, however. I am searching for another Snugli product that I haven’t had any luck in finding. Mom also gave me a copy of the Snugli Cookbook–I think it might have been called Snugli Day Cookbook?? Somewhere thru the years and several moves, I have lost my copy and have been searching online for one. If you have any ideas for locating a copy, please let me know. It was my favorite because the recipes were wonderful and because many of the names of the contributors were families that we knew. Thanks for your help.

  • Brenda Aherne
    January 22, 2018 6:33 pm

    Dear American Nurse today, thank you so much for this explanation of the Snugli story. If possible can you pass these comments on to Ann Moore.
    Congratulatations! you were a pioneer! and I am one of the many mothers who benefited from your endeavours. Thank you. I carried all my babies in the late 70’s and early 80’s in a beautiful soft green corduroy Snugli. I only wish that I still had it for my daughter who now has a 5 month old. They have a good carrier however I kept talking about the lovely ‘green corduroy’ snugli that I used for them. So we just looked it up on the internet and I had no idea what a wonderful story went with the Snugli. Thank you for all your work to bring our babies closer and to get such a wonderful product to market. You also seem to continue to do wonderful work. You are an unsung hero. and I can’t wait to tell all my friends who used your Snugli this wonderful background story. I had a natural foods store for over 40 years and I wore the kids in the Snugli in my shop everday as I served customers and priced products. blessings and thank you. Brenda Aherne


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

cheryl meeGet your free access to the exclusive newsletter of American Nurse Journal and gain insights for your nursing practice.

NurseLine Newsletter

  • Hidden

*By submitting your e-mail, you are opting in to receiving information from Healthcom Media and Affiliates. The details, including your email address/mobile number, may be used to keep you informed about future products and services.


More Perspectives