A typical baby carrier has room to move and requires a certain level of strength in the infant, that a newborn just does not have. There are certain types of carriers that are great for newborns, but become obsolete quickly as they grow.
This forces you to buy another carrier that is more suitable for a toddler, and it gets expensive having to upgrade like this.
We have sought out carriers that provide the supportive environment and warmth that a newborn needs, while also having one eye on the future so that you can continue to use the carrier for years to come.
Support and versatility are the primary criteria we are looking at so you get the best of both worlds.
You will find multiple carrier styles in our list so you can find the best fit for you and your newborn baby’s needs.
Table of Contents
- 1 Specifics about Newborn Carriers
- 2 Carrier Types that Are Best for Newborns
- 3 Looking Toward Long Term
- 4 Top Rated Newborn Carriers
- 5 Our Recommended Carrier for Newborns
Specifics about Newborn Carriers
Not all baby carriers are suitable for newborns. There are certain safety factors you need to consider when choosing the right carrier to use from birth.
Head and Neck Support
Newborns have little to no strength in their little bodies, especially their necks. You need a carrier that has a high back and/or head support that can protect your little one’s head from moving around too much.
Too much material can be a cause for concern as well. Because newborns have minimal neck strength, excess material that hangs near or on your baby’s face can lead to suffocation. With any carrier you decide to use, always make sure your baby’s nose and mouth are clear of any obstructions.
One of the main topics of baby carrier safety is the risk for hip dysplasia. A seat that is too narrow, not keeping your baby’s legs in an ergonomically friendly “M”-shape, can put stress on your baby’s hip joints, causing them to dislocate and/or develop improperly.
Carrier Types that Are Best for Newborns
As we said, not all baby carriers are created equal and not all are suitable for newborns. Out of all the types of baby carriers, these are the two that have options most suitable for newborns:
One of the best options for a newborn, the wrap allows you to keep your baby close in an almost womb-like encasing around your body. Made of just a simple piece of stretchy, cotton fabric, the wrap conforms to your bodies, making it comfortable for you and cozy for your baby. You just need to be careful that excess fabric does not hang in her face.
The soft-structured carrier (SSC) is a great option for use from infancy to toddlerhood. With straps and buckles similar to a backpack, most are very comfortable and easy to use, being able to be worn in several different carry positions. You just need to be aware of the age/weight minimum as there are some that are not suitable for newborn use without the purchase of a separate newborn seat insert.
A Word of Warning
If you are doing research on your own, looking for a newborn carrier, you may be thinking that a sling is a suitable choice. While the minimum weight requirement is satisfied, slings are not recommended for use with newborns.
The excess fabric poses a great risk for suffocation. It addition to that, the lack of structure allows your baby to begin to slouch, pushing her head to her chest, and cutting off her airway. While slings are not forbidden for infant use, please take great precautions if you decide to use one.
Looking Toward Long Term
If you are considering baby wearing – investing in a baby carrier – you are likely looking for something that will give you a lot of mileage for your money. So, while the carriers we are reviewing are focused on newborns, we will also be including some details for you to consider that will support long term use (late infancy to toddlerhood).
Top Rated Newborn Carriers
Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1
This soft-structured carrier was the one I opted for, in addition to the Boba Wrap (which we will go into next), and it worked well for me. There are both narrow and wide seat adjustment options and it can be used with a newborn with no additional insert needed.
Read our full review of the Infantino Flip here.
- Easily Adjusted: can be fastened and adjusted easily by yourself. The straps tighten around the shoulders, across the back (or front is you are back-carrying), and the waist with the simple pull of a strap. Changing between carry holds is super simple too, with the help of the instruction manual.
- Minimal Material: no need to worry about suffocation. The main bulk of the material is on the baby’s back (when worn facing in), and the straps do not pose any suffocation risks.
- Bonus Drool Bib: a little piece of material is included that can be attached to the carrier, when worn both facing out and in, to keep your clothes and the carrier protected from drool.
- Difficult to Use with Toddlers in Front Carry Position: due to the positioning of the waist band, toddlers can sit pretty high, especially when worn on the front. This can make it difficult for you to see or maneuver around a big head in front of your nose.
- Very Little Padding: as your baby gets heavier, you will begin to notice that the straps are not as comfortable to use anymore. There is very little padding in the shoulders, and a heavy child will cause them to start digging in and become uncomfortable to where for long periods of time.
In addition to the carrier above, I also owned this wrap. Its versatility and comfort speak for itself, and it is by far one of the best carriers for a newborn. Keeping your little one wrapped so close will have you and your baby feeling like she is in the womb again.
Since there are several different ways to wear this wrap, we have included this video which shows the basic newborn hold:
- Comfortable for Long-Term Wearing: the soft material and its ability to contour and shape to both your baby’s and your body makes this wrap very comfortable for wearing over a long duration of time.
- Super Easy to Clean: with no buckles and straps to worry about, and the 95% cotton material, this wrap can easily be thrown into the washing machine and can even be machine dried, making it very easy to clean after those inevitable messes happen.
- Easy to Pack and Take:just being a long piece of fabric, this wrap can easily be packed nice and small, easily thrown into a diaper to take on the go. It even comes with its own matching drawstring bag to make it even easier.
- Requires Tying Every Time: there is nothing you can do when removing this wrap that will make it easier for you to put back on. It needs to be retied every time you use it.
- Causes Sweating in Warmer Months: the material is comfortable, but it is not very breathable which will can you and your baby to sweat a lot in the summer months.
- The Length Makes It Hard to Tie in Public: this wrap is so long since it needs to be wrapped multiple times around your body, and this makes it difficult to wrap yourself in public without the ends dragging in dirt as you tie it by your car or on a dirty floor.
LilleBaby All Seasons COMPLETE
We have reviewed some LilleBaby products before, and we really like this brand when it comes to baby carriers. Versatile and usable across a wide age range, this carrier is a great choice for newborn and toddler alike.
- Includes Fetal Position Hold: unlike a lot of soft-structured carriers, this one includes a fetal hold position, which keeps your baby’s legs tucked in a froggy, “M”-shaped position under the carrier, and simulates her being in the womb again.
- Vented Area for Warmer Months: the back panel of this carrier unzips to reveal a mesh area that promotes ventilation, allowing warm air out and cool air in.
- Pricey: this carrier is very versatile, both in hold position options and the age range, but it is quite a bit more expensive than other carriers suitable for newborns, which may be hard on your budget.
- Mesh Material May Rub Baby’s Legs: the mesh material used for ventilation throughout the carrier can be a bit hard on your baby’s skin, particularly around her legs, causing rubbing and irritation.
When it comes to baby carriers, everyone knows the name BabyBjorn. A trusted brand in baby carrier products for many years, BabyBjorn’s original carrier is a great choice for newborns.
Read our full review of the BabyBjorn Original here.
- Minimal Straps and Adjustment: the design of this carrier is very simple, with minimal straps and bands to adjust, eliminating the hassle of excess material hanging around or blocking the baby’s face.
- No Newborn Insert Needed: can be used straight out of the box with your brand new baby. Its design, which includes a high back and narrow seat, allow this carrier to be used without the need for an additional insert for newborns.
- Narrow Seat: even though the narrow seat can be okay to use with newborns who are facing in, it can still be a concern for hip dysplasia, especially when the baby is worn facing out, due to the positioning of the joints and dangling legs.
- Limited on Carry Positions: this carrier can only be used on the front, both facing in and facing out, but cannot be worn on the hip or back, which have the possibility of giving some relief with long-term wear.
- Uncomfortable with Older Babies: minimal padding and its limitation on front-wear use only, your baby will likely outgrow this carrier quickly – or, rather, you will – as she will become too heavy for comfortable wearing.
Baby K’Tan Original
Boasting a super simple design and low price, this carrier by Baby K’Tan gives you all the benefits of a wrap without the hassle of constantly untying and retying.
Read our full review of the Baby K’tan here.
Just like with other baby wraps, this carrier can be worn several different ways, and we have included a video that demonstrates one of the best holds for a newborn:
- Does Not Need to Be Tied: unlike other traditional wraps, like the Boba mentioned earlier, this carrier does not need to be tied all over again with each use, making it quicker and simpler to use.
- Can Be Worn in Multiple Hold Positions: also like traditional baby wraps, this carrier is highly versatile when it comes to wearing positions. As demonstrated in the video above, you can simply use the prefabricated loops for a newborn hold, or you can choose from even more options when you use the included sash/storage bag.
- Need to Choose the Right Size: this wrap comes in several sizes, and choosing the right one for your body can be a pain. The sizing chart recommends choosing your size based on your pre-pregnancy size/weight, but if you are like me, you may have gained 50 pounds during pregnancy (making my pre-pregnancy size too small) and now weigh 30 pounds less than pre-pregnancy weight (making that size too big).
- Stretches Out Easily: unlike the Boba wrap, the material for this carrier stretches a bit too much, which may cause your baby to start sagging – something to be cautious of in terms of airway constriction and spinal/neck alignement.
Our Recommended Carrier for Newborns
The Infantino 4-in-1 Advance Flip!
It may not be the best carrier for long term use, but for use with a newborn this carrier is fantastic. And while it may not compare in comfort to the wrap, there is little room for human error (loose fit and injury due to improper tying) thanks to the buckles and straps.
This carrier boasts a high back (ideal for containing a newborn’s head), easy to adjust straps and waist band, and multiple carrying options that are simple to convert too. It is very comfortable to use with a newborn, and is affordable for just about any budget.
If you have questions or comments about baby carriers for newborns, be sure to comment below. And share this article with other parents who may find it useful!