As a new mom, you’ll want to be as close to your baby as possible every chance you get. You know these sacred moments won’t last forever so you want to make sure you make the most out of every one.
But you’ll also need your hands-free so you can get some stuff done. You still have all the same responsibilities as you did before your baby was born, but now you have a host of new obligations as well.
With a baby carrier, you’ll be able to keep your baby near while you still have your hands available to multitask.
|1. MiaMily 360||Hiking & Travel|
|2. BABYBJORN Original||Safety & Support|
|3. Innoo Tech Baby Sling||Lightweight|
|4. Kelty Transit 3.0||Backpacks|
|5. Hip Baby Ring Sling||Ring Slings|
|6. Infantino Cuddle Up||Ergonomic|
|7. Lifewit Front/Back||Dads|
|8. Bebamour 2-in-1||Forward Facing|
|9. Lanova Carrier||Lumbar Support|
|10. Mini Objex||Breastfeeding|
Why Should I Consider Using a Baby Carrier?
Baby carriers are a great choice for moms who want to keep their hands free when they carry their babies. They can also take the strain off from carrying your baby. If you think your arms and shoulders will get sore from holding a baby the traditional way when you’re out and out, you should check out a carrier.
They distribute the weight of your baby more evenly on your body so you won’t get as fatigued as quickly as you would if you were carrying your baby in your arms.
Baby carriers are also a good choice for places you can’t take a stroller or where one would be hard to push. If you are planning a day at the beach and you love the idea of taking a long walk along the shoreline, you could definitely benefit from a carrier.
There is also some evidence that babies who are carried more don’t cry as much. Less crying is always a good thing.
What Positions Can Babies Sit While in Carriers?
In some carriers, your baby can be lying down looking up at you. But in other carriers, your baby will be facing you.
Also, companies make carriers where the baby faces away from you — in the same direction you face. But these are best for slightly older babies who are around 6 months old. Because infants sleep so much, they’ll be much more comfortable using a carrier in which they face you. That way they can rest on you and go to sleep.
When Should I Begin Using Baby Carriers?
Carrier slings are made for newborns to use, but other carriers are best for babies who are at least 4 months old. The reason for that is that some carriers don’t have enough head support for babies. That means babies have to be capable of holding up their heads before they are put in some carriers.
I didn’t feel safe using a baby carrier when my child was a newborn because I worried that the sling carriers many of my friends used would suffocate my baby. Sometimes the fabric would completely seem to cover their faces and I wondered how they were getting any air in there at all.
As my baby grew stronger and bigger, I still didn’t buy a carrier because I felt guilty about spending money on something that I could technically accomplish with my own two hands.
But after the birth of my second baby, I received a hand-me-down carrier from a friend who no longer needed it. I wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did. It felt like it opened up a whole new world. Suddenly, I could wear my baby and do things with my hands at the same time.
My arms and shoulders no longer had that dull, achy feeling from carting my baby around too long. I felt more comfortable, was accomplishing more and still got to have my baby right next to me. It was a total win.
What Are The Different Kinds of Carriers?
These are the five main types of carriers you’ll come across:
- Wraps: Wraps come in a bunch of different fabrics and can be used in a variety of positions. They are very versatile, but they can be intimidating to learn how to do at first. With a little practice, you’ll have it down in no time.
- Ring slings: Ring slings are quick and simple to use. They are basically a long piece of fabric that is secured by rings made out of hard material like metal.
- Pouch slings: Pouch slings are similar to ring slings, but they can’t be adjusted as easily as ring slings are. When using this type, you have to make sure they fit correctly to ensure your child’s safety. They are inexpensive compared to other types of carriers and don’t take up much room in a diaper bag or purse.
- Mei tais: Mei tais have a fabric piece with four straps — two for the waist and two for the shoulders. The straps are really wide to make sure that they are comfortable for the mom.
- Buckled or structured carriers: These include ones that go on your chest and the baby backpacks you see some people wearing. These are easy to use and are ergonomically correct for their babies.
How Many Baby Carriers Do I Need?
If you’re the only one using the carrier, you only need to have one. But if you have a partner who also wants to use a carrier, you may want to have two — one for them and one for you.
If you share, you’ll have to constantly adjust the carrier to find a great fit for each of you. Plus, you may not like the style of the carrier your partner chooses and they may not like the one you pick.
If you are going to share a carrier, you’ll want to find a good unisex option so it won’t be too girly or too masculine.
What Features Should a Baby Carrier Have?
While they may look deceptively simple, baby carriers are actually well-thought out, right down to the ergonomics.
To avoid buying a product that does your baby more harm than good, you should look over this list of what to look for in a good baby carrier.
- Safety: You don’t want to end up hurting your baby’s hips or back with a poorly-selected carrier. For infants, you should avoid narrow-based carriers that allow your child’s legs to hang straight down without any support (source). You’re better off finding a carrier that has a wide seat that gives leg support to your child.
- Whether you want long-term use: You don’t have to settle for carriers that will only see your child through one phase of their life. Many carriers offer multiple positions, like both forward or rear facing so as your child becomes ready for the next phase, you don’t have to purchase a new carrier. Some carriers can accommodate all the way up to 40 pounds.
- Durability: Remember that old saying that you get what you pay for? It’s worth remembering when you go baby carrier shopping. Really cheap carriers may not hold up well when it comes to the zippers, velcro, and stitching.
- How comfortable they are: Both you and your baby need to be comfortable when you’re using a baby carrier. You’ll want a breathable fabric that won’t have you both sweating up a storm. You’ll want enough padding to be comfy and you won’t want any zippers or velcro strips rubbing you both raw.
- How easy they are to use: You may find the most comfortable and affordable baby carrier on the market, but if it’s too complicated to use, it will be worthless. You won’t use it if trying to put it on leaves you fighting tears of frustration — that may sound dramatic, but as a new mom, your hormones and sleep deprivation will have your emotions all over the place.
- Price: Baby carriers come in a wide range of prices. While you need to keep an eye on saving as much money as you can as a new parent, you also shouldn’t skimp on quality because that can cost you more in the long run.
The Best Baby Carriers of 2018
Now that you know about when to start wearing your baby, the safety features you should be aware of, and exactly what to look for —
Here are our top 15 picks in 2018:
Best Baby Sling
This wrap is made of 95 percent cotton and 5 percent spandex, which means it will have stretch and breathability. That makes it a great choice even on hot days.
It is completely machine washable so it if gets stained or if your baby nails it with a lot of spit up, a trip through the washing machine will clean it right up. This sling can hold up to 35 pounds and the product has a lifetime warranty.
To help take the guesswork out of how to operate the sling, it comes with an instructional DVD. That will show you the different ways you can wrap your baby in this sling.
The sling is long enough that you’ll be able to support your baby’s head and neck. Because one of the positions you can use with this sling is belly to belly, you can configure the sling to allow for hands-free breastfeeding.
- There are no uncomfortable buckles or rings on this sling — it just ties together.
- It comes with a storage bag.
- It can be cleaned in the washing machine and can go in the dryer too.
- This sling allows for discreet breastfeeding.
- It may not work for plus-sized women.
- The fabric can stretch out over time.
Best Baby Carrier for Hiking
Whether you like carrying your baby against your chest or against your back, this 100-percent organic cotton 360 backpack will have you covered. You can carry your baby in every conceivable way with this pack — it offers nine different positions, including forward-facing, back, hip and front.
Your baby should be completely safe in this backpack because it uses top-of-the-line safety materials like self-locking YKK zippers and Duaflex buckles. The shoulder strip offers a 3-way lock buckle. And the system can adjust from either the front or back so you’ll always be able to reach what you need to when you want to tweak the fit.
This carrier can hold your baby from the time they are 3 months old until they reach a weight of 40 pounds. To make sure your baby has some cover from the weather or sun, it comes with an organic cotton head cover.
- This carrier is machine washable.
- It comes with a storage bag.
- The ergonomic seat allows your baby to be in the preferred sitting position that is best for their developing hips.
- This is an expensive carrier.
- It is a heavier carrier, which parents who don’t want to add to their weight load may not appreciate.
Best from Baby Bjorn
This carrier will allow you to snuggle your baby against your chest when you wear it. You can face your baby toward your chest or face them forward while you wear it. You can even use it for an infant without needing a special insert.
Pediatricians helped come up with this design so it would be everything that a baby needs in terms of offering support to the spine, hips, head and neck. The head support is firm and adjustable so as your baby’s neck muscles get stronger, you can change up the support some.
Because your baby’s legs and arms can move around while they are in the carrier, they’ll be able to keep developing properly while enjoying extra mom or dad time.
You won’t have to spend a lot of your time figuring out how to use this cotton carrier. You can strap it on and have it adjusted in no time.
- This is a good unisex option — the black color and design isn’t gender specific.
- It’s small and compact for carrying around compared to some of the other options.
- The upright position helps the airways stay open and lets you watch to make sure your child’s breathing is okay.
- It doesn’t have a waist band for parents to help take the load off.
- The straps could use some additional padding.
Best Ergonomic Baby Carrier
This carrier is designed to position your child’s legs in the desirable frog-like position that will help their hips continue developing correctly. You can wear this carrier as a backpack or on your front.
It has a cute canopy hood that looks like a teddy bear so whether it’s cold or your baby just needs some shade from the sun, they’ll be protected while looking adorable. If you think you won’t need the hood when you’re out and about one day, you can remove it so it doesn’t flop around when you’re walking.
This carrier can hold kids that weigh from 12 up to 40 pounds and it can be washed in your machine so you can keep it fresh looking between uses.
The wide waist belt will help take some of the strain off of your back, which means you’ll be able to carry your baby longer without feeling discomfort.
- It’s affordable.
- The basic gray color shouldn’t clash with any of your outfits.
- The seat is comfortable for babies and is ergonomically correct.
- This carrier won’t work for breastfeeding.
- It’s really difficult to adjust this to fit securely by yourself — you’ll need an extra set of hands.
Best for Dads
This carrier looks more like tactical gear than baby gear, which is something many dads may like. There’s no danger of looking like you got stuck wearing your wife’s carrier with this unit.
It’s black and can be worn on the front or as a backpack. It comes with two detachable pieces for your baby’s comfort — a support for the baby’s head, neck and back and a hood that can help protect your baby from the elements like wind and sun.
The carrier has a front pocket that can store small items that your baby may want quickly, like a pacifier.
You’ll feel like your baby’s security is in good hands with the double buckles the leg openings have.
Your baby should love this carrier because they can face toward their dad for lots of snuggle time or they can face outward when they’re in the mood to explore their surroundings.
- It’s super affordable.
- The detachable hood is nice to protect your baby from the sun’s rays or to block out the light during naps.
- It uses anti-slip materials so your baby won’t be sliding around.
- It only supports babies up to 26 pounds.
- To keep your carrier in its best shape, you shouldn’t put it in the washing machine.
Best Forward Facing Carrier
This is a great option for moms looking for a forward-facing baby carrier, but the nice thing is that it can be used other ways too. You can cuddle your baby while they are facing you against your chest or you can use this as a backpack to carry your baby with.
In hot weather, this is a good carrier because it uses ventilated mesh to help keep your baby from getting too overheated.
The thick strap around your waist gives you great lumbar support, which you’ll want when your baby is facing forward.
It’s easy to figure out how to use this carrier and thanks to the big padded straps, it’s comfortable to wear.
The dark blue color of the carrier makes it a great unisex option.
- It’s a versatile carrier.
- The lumbar support is good on this carrier because of how wide that strap is.
- It comes with a hood you can use if you want to.
- You can’t breastfeed your baby while using this.
- The material is a little scratchy and might irritate your baby’s sensitive skin.
Best for Lumbar Support
The wide waist belt on this carrier really takes the pressure off the lower back, even when you’re carrying your baby for quite a while. The cross-back design gives you great lumbar support as well.
With this carrier you’ll have a way to carry your baby in four different positions — front facing, backpack, face-to-face and hip seat.
It can work for ages from 3 months up to 3 years. It has a small pocket on the front which can hold small items such as your cell phone and a pacifier.
The carrier comes with a detachable visor to keep the sun out of your baby’s eyes. You’ll get your choice of several colors. It can fit people who have waists up to 45 inches so even if you’re carting around a few extra pounds, this may still be an option for you.
- It has a firm seat base in the carrier which may be more comfortable for your baby to sit in.
- This carrier can support up to 45 pounds.
- It should be comfortable no matter the season because the fabric isn’t too light or too heavy.
- It takes several minutes of adjustments to find the right fit.
- This carrier may feel bulkier than some others because of the hard seat.
Best for Newborns & Small Babies
This baby wrap allows you to wrap your baby so you’re facing chest to chest. You’ll get plenty of eye contact and snuggles with this carrier. Because you control which way this carrier cradles your baby, you’ll be able to give them all the head and neck support they need.
The material is stretchy enough that your baby won’t be too restricted in their movements, but you can pull it tight enough that your baby will stay put.
You’ll even be able to breastfeed your baby hands-free when you use this carrier. Plus, it will offer you some protection from prying eyes, if you like a little modesty when you breastfeed your baby.
This carrier can support weight up to 35 pounds so you’ll be able to use it well after the newborn phase is over.
When this carrier gets dirty, you can simply toss it in the washing machine to clean it.
- It can fit plus-size moms.
- The fabric is soft and comfortable.
- It won’t take up much space in diaper bags.
- You only get three color choices — brown, pink and gray.
- This might be too hot for summer usage for both you and your baby.
Best for Travel
This carrier is a champ when it comes to travel. In just seconds, you can fold it up into the hood pouch it comes with. Once it’s in the hood pouch, it only takes up a small amount of room in your diaper bag or carry-on bag.
It weighs less than a pound so you won’t feel like you’ve added a huge amount of weight to your suitcase when you toss this in there.
Because it’s made out of 100-percent nylon, it will be easy to wipe clean if it gets dirty. And because it’s entirely black, it won’t show stains on it, which is perfect when you’re on the road with no way to do any heavy duty cleaning to it.
It holds a decent weight range, accommodating babies from 15 pounds to 45 pounds.
- It’s lightweight and compact.
- It offers both front and back carrying.
- This carrier has a hood.
- It won’t work for newborns.
- It’s not made for heavy daily usage, just occasional use.
Best for Twins
This product can be used as a twin carrier, but it can also separate into two individual carriers. That’s nice if you and your partner are taking each baby in different directions for the day — you can each have a carrier with you.
The whole carrier can be folded into a pocket, which makes it great for travel.
These carriers can work for a wide range of heights — the adults using the carriers can be anywhere from 4’11 to 6’5. Children weighing from 10 to 45 pounds can sit in the carriers and when used together, they can hold a combined 70 pounds.
They each have cotton hoods, which will give your baby some shade and cover when they are trying to get a nap. But the cotton hoods can also be detached.
The waist belt helps redistribute some of the weight from your shoulders so you have a more comfortable experience.
- The carriers have pockets so you can carry essentials with you without needing a bag.
- The black carriers help hide any stains they’ll eventually get.
- The adjustable shoulder straps have a safety loop to stop slipping.
- The instructions are a little hard to follow.
- The baby in the front doesn’t have the option of facing forward.
Best for Toddlers
Your toddler will appreciate the variety of this carrier. You’ll be able to carry them around while they are front facing or chest to chest with you. You can also carry them on your back with this carrier.
You can cart your toddler around with this pack until they reach 33 pounds. You’ll be able to use it no matter what season, even in summer because of the breathable fabric.
It has a waist belt and thicker shoulder straps to help shift the weight away from your shoulders and lower back.
Your child will have protection from the sun or wind for his head, and that section can be folded down if they don’t need it.
You’ll be able to easily figure out how to use this carrier — you won’t have to analyze complicated instructions to do it.
- It offers back support for your child.
- It’s easy to use.
- The straps have anti-slip grips.
- You shouldn’t use it for babies under the age of 4 months.
- It slides and shifts a bit when using it.
Best Backpack Baby Carrier
This baby backpack offers a lot of storage space, along with thick, padded shoulder straps and a waist belt to take some of the pressure off of your lower back.
It has six outside pockets and two interior pockets, so you won’t have to take an extra bag with you. As far as storage goes, this carrier can fit a lot. When your baby isn’t riding in it, it can double as a carry-on bag on airplanes.
While some carriers are a pain to make adjustments to while they are already on your body, you’ll be able to reach the adjustment system without having to ask anyone for help. It’s a good unisex option that would work for either mom or dad to wear.
It can hold a total weight limit of 40 pounds so you’ll be able to carry around your child for a long time with this.
- It includes a sunshade feature.
- This carrier has lots of room for storage.
- It’s easy to make adjustments to.
- It’s expensive.
- Your baby must be able to hold her head up to use this.
Best for Breastfeeding Moms
You can use this carrier from the first day your baby is born, if you want. It’s soft, made of cotton and spandex, so it will feel warm and comforting on their skin.
Since you control how you wrap your baby up with this carrier, you can configure it so you can breastfeed while you are carrying your baby in this Mini Objex wrap.
This carrier comes with an instruction manual that spells out all the steps you’ll need to take to securely wrap your baby. It will continue to be strong enough to hold your baby until they reach about 35 pounds.
If it gets dirty, you can clean this carrier in the washing machine.
The carrier will distribute all the weight of your baby evenly so no one body part will feel the strain when carrying them around.
- You shouldn’t get overheated with this carrier because of how airy the fabric is.
- It’s very affordable.
- The fabric will feel comfortable for both you and your baby.
- It can only be used to hold your baby against your front, not against your back.
- Some moms have had issues with the fabric sagging over time.
Best Ring Sling
If you’re tired of all the black baby carriers you’re seeing for sale, you may like the Hip Baby Wrap ring sling. It uses bright colors and nice patterns to set it apart from other carriers.
You can use this sling to hip carry your baby and it works for children who weigh 8 pounds to 35 pounds.
Made out of 100 percent cotton, it’s breathable and soft so both you and your baby will feel comfortable. The aluminum ring is strong and dependable.
The design takes the strain off a mom’s shoulders and the neck. You can use this sling when you are nursing your baby or as a cover for when you are nursing in public.
You’ll be able to machine wash and dry this sling so it’s really low maintenance, which is something every mom should love to hear.
- Non-toxic dyes are used to color this product.
- The handwoven slings, which are made in India, are all fair trade compliant.
- This is a stylish alternative to many baby carriers.
- It’s not a unisex carrier.
- There isn’t any padding in the shoulder area.
Best Plus Size Carrier
If you’re a plus-sized mama, it can be hard to find a carrier that will fit and feel comfortable. Your search might be over with the Cozitot. It’s truly a one-size-fits-all product.
It is 200-inches long, which means you’ll have all the length you’ll need to make this work for you. It’s also 22-inches wide. You can tie it in the front or the back, depending upon your needs.
This carrier is made out of cotton and spandex, which gives it a good mix of stretchiness and softness. It can be used to carry around newborns all the way up to toddlers weighing 35 pounds.
It also comes with a carrying bag to keep it clean between usages. Included with the carrier are instructions for how to wrap a baby who can’t support their head and separate instructions for wrapping up kids who can.
- It can be cleaned in the washing machine.
- It’s affordable.
- Despite its length, it doesn’t take up much room in a diaper bag.
- One side of the wrap is softer than the other so you should pay attention to which side faces your baby.
- The smaller your baby, the better this works — it will droop some with heavier babies.
My Favorite Is…
The MiaMily 360 is one of the best quality baby carriers you can buy. I love that the fabric is organic cotton because I feel better knowing my baby is cuddling up against a safe material.
With a mind-blowing nine different positions for your baby, you’ll never get bored and neither will your baby. The top-notch safety materials this backpack uses makes me feel better about how it will hold up month after month. The fact you can easily adjust this carrier and reach the adjustment system without help is nice too.
Baby carrying can take some getting used to at first, but it’s a great way to have close contact while still getting some things done. If you’re new to the baby carrying world, I’d love to hear your opinion about any carriers you’ve tried.