Buying Guide for Baby Carriers
Why buy a baby carrier?
Babies love being held close, and a baby carrier allows you to keep your baby rested against your body safely and comfortably while keeping your hands free to do other things. Baby carriers come in handy for all kinds of parents. Whether you want to take your baby along on a hike, keep them close inside the airport, or just need your hands free to do some dishes, a baby carrier has you covered.
What should you consider in a baby carrier?
- Secure Wear: You want to make sure the carrier is secure for both you and the baby. Some baby carriers come with adjustable straps to tighten them to your body for a good fit. Others wrap around and tie or hook to a loop. Whatever you choose, be sure the fit is just right so that your baby is snug yet comfortable.
- Style: Depending on the type of carrying you expect to be doing, the style of the carrier is incredibly important. Are you just going for a quick trip to the grocery store? A lighter front carrier will work well. Going for a hike? Opt for a sturdy backpack style to keep the baby shaded and stable.
- Weight: If you’re wearing your baby carrier for everyday tasks, you won’t want a huge bulky carrier that will add pounds and pounds of weight, so choose one that is lightweight but still durable. If you choose a baby carrier for hiking, it will be heavier but more secure than thin, wrap-around ones.
- Comfort: Choose a carrier that is comfortable for both you and your little one. Comfort is key, after all! Wrap carriers are arguably the most comfortable, but the padding on ones with straps also helps keep carriers more supportive and comfortable.
How long can a baby be carried in a baby carrier?
Some doctors recommend carrying your baby in a carrier for a couple of hours at a time. This is mostly for your benefit, so you can give your lower back a rest, but babies often need a diaper change or a feeding after a couple of hours anyway. It’s also important to allow your baby to stretch their joints and muscles, particularly in their developing hips. And speaking of the hips—keep in mind that your baby’s bottom should have a deep seat and make an “M” shape with the legs for good hip alignment when in a carrier.
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Our Picks for the Best Baby Carriers
Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Carrier
This baby carrier will keep your baby close and happy while giving you hands-free convenience.
Pros: This baby carrier allows you to carry the baby facing inward (narrow seat), facing inward (wide seat), facing outward, or as a backpack. The seat and straps are both adjustable for your comfort as well as your baby’s comfort. And the shoulder straps and waist belt help to shift weight to your hips for added comfort while carrying. This carrier is recommended for babies between 8 and 32 pounds, but it’s uniquely designed with newborns in mind, so there is additional head support for a truly hands-free experience. Plus, the material is durable and machine washable, and there is an included burp cloth that can attach to the front for spit-up and drool protection.
Cons: All the straps and buckles can be a bit intimidating for first-time users. It takes some adjusting and getting used to. Also, it’s not as comfortable as some other carriers because it’s a bit bulky.
Bottom Line: Many parents love this baby carrier because babies can face in or out to cuddle or explore the world around them. It keeps your baby secure against your body. However, it takes time to learn the right way to wear it, and it can also be difficult to get your baby in and out by yourself at first. Despite that, many people swear by this trusty carrier.
Boba Wrap Baby Carrier
This wrap carrier is made to contour perfectly to you and baby while promoting healthy hip development.
Pros: This baby wrap carrier is made of 95% cotton for airflow and comfort. It is super soft and durable for repeated use to keep your little one close and your hands free. There is a combination of 5% spandex for just a little stretch and a snug fit. The wrap is easy to tie and keeps the baby in the correct position for healthy hip development. It can be worn with a tiny newborn all the way up to a 35-pound toddler without any worry or discomfort. With comfortable hip placement and convenient adjustment, this baby carrier is also great for breastfeeding. Not to mention, this carrier comes in a variety of chic colors.
Cons: It may take some time and practice to figure out the best and most comfortable way to wrap this very long baby wrap. Also, the cotton may be a bit heavy for warmer climates.
Bottom Line: Once you get the hang of wrapping this baby carrier, you can hold your baby safely and securely while freeing up your hands. It’s machine washable for easy cleanup. And it’s extremely comfortable for both parents and babies.
Nalakai Ring Sling Baby Carrier
This easy-to-use, ultra-soft carrier keeps your baby safe and snug without overheating.
Pros: This sling is made of a lightweight and durable bamboo woven fabric that is super soft against a baby’s delicate skin. The wrap will help you continue to bond with your baby while also allowing you to have free hands for other tasks. The body warmth from you will help your little one drift off to a peaceful sleep against you, and the wrap can even relieve some symptoms of colic in your baby. The rings are unwelded, copper-colored, and durable. There are over 20 colors to choose from, and the wraps will help with the baby’s hip development, keep you cool and comfortable, and won’t wrinkle your clothes like a heavy carrier.
Cons: This baby sling slips out of the ring over time, so you need to tighten it as you wear it. Also, it’s not made for long-time wear because it doesn’t support your baby’s weight evenly.
Bottom Line: Overall, this sling is comfy, soft, and breathable. Takes only a few seconds to put your baby in almost any position, and it allows you to easily nurse your baby. It’s much lighter than some other brands and great for warmer climates.
ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Backpack
With a clever rain shield and adjustable straps, this carrier is designed to keep both you and baby comfy during long hikes.
Pros: This comfortable backpack only weighs 5.5 pounds with thick padded shoulder pads and a bolster for your comfort while carrying your little one. The frame is made of a durable metal that folds flat for easy storage and transport. There is an added canopy that can be easily removed or folded back out of the way when not in use, as well as multiple pockets, including two pockets made to fit water bottles and a removable and washable drool pad. This carrier can easily stand on its own with a kickstand and has a three-way adjustable seat and foot stirrups. It is designed with lumbar padding to keep you cool while keeping the carrier secure.
Cons: Parents with smaller frames may not get a tight fit with this backpack. It can dig into your back after longtime wear.
Bottom Line: For safety while hiking, this baby carrier is a great choice. It has a five-point harness for additional safety for your little one. And the compartment carries all your baby’s essentials in one convenient place.
FRUITEAM Baby Carrier with Hip Seat for Breastfeeding
This versatile and unique carrier with a hip seat is convenient for cuddling and feeding.
Pros: This baby carrier is made from 100% pure cotton fabric. It’s suitable for children aged 0-36 months and weighing 22-40 pounds. There are suitable carrying methods for different child ages in the instructions. The rounded hip seat makes this a comfortable option for both you and your baby, and their bottom will be fully supported. The thick shoulder straps take some of the pressure off your shoulders and back.
Cons: The abundance of straps and a thick waistband can be a bit cumbersome for some people. And it can be difficult to get on and off by yourself.
Bottom Line: If you need a versatile baby carrier, this is a great find. The built-in sitting stool is great to have, especially if you have a clingy baby. While it can be used with newborns up to 3-year-olds, it’s better for babies over 6 months since the leg openings are on the wider side.
Baby carriers come in many shapes and sizes to fit different parents and different babies. The best thing is to choose something that will work for you and your lifestyle. We’ve gathered a variety of well-designed carriers to cater to these differences.