You have come to the right place.
Babywearing is nothing new. For centuries, mothers have been utilizing baskets and wraps to carry their babies on their front or back, creating an unbreakable bond between mother and child while giving mom two free hands to do what she needs to.
Finding the right baby carrier can be a tall order. If you are here then you are already one step ahead of where I was before I bought my first carrier. As a result, I now have a cupboard full of them!
The trial and error to find a carrier that worked for me was expensive! So I am writing this to help you sort through the different models and variations in design, and get those features that you need – and none you don’t.
This article is a long one so check out the menu below to jump to the section you need. You will be able to branch out to more in-depth articles on each style of carrier and find the information that is most relevant to you.
We have stacks of information on Baby Carriers here at katherinerosman.com. If you do not find what you are looking for, then please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you.
Let’s jump in!
Table of Contents
- 1 Benefits of Baby Wearing
- 2 What to Consider when Selecting a Baby Carrier
- 3 Common Types of Baby Carriers
- 3.1 Soft Structured
- 3.2 Baby Wraps
- 3.3 Ring Slings
- 3.4 Mei Tais
- 3.5 Hip Seat Carriers
- 4 Specialty Baby Carriers
- 5 Is Carrying a Baby in a Baby Carrier Safe?
- 5.1 10 Essential Safety Guidelines for Carrying Your Babies
- 5.1.1 Ensure your baby is able to breathe easily
- 5.1.2 Do not use a carrier while driving
- 5.1.3 Do not jog or jump while wearing a baby carrier
- 5.1.4 Kid’s weight and height should be considered
- 5.1.5 Regular inspection is required
- 5.1.6 Dress up the baby properly
- 5.1.7 Choose the correct type as per the needs
- 5.1.8 Avoid cooking while carrying baby
- 5.1.9 Carry the baby in a proper position
- 5.1.10 Ensuring the best support
- 5.1 10 Essential Safety Guidelines for Carrying Your Babies
- 6 Conclusion
Benefits of Baby Wearing
When it comes to transporting, carrying, and containing your baby, you have many options. Certainly, you can use a stroller when you are out and about, and a swing, bouncer, or play pen can work just fine at home, so why would you choose baby wearing over these options?
Carrying your Baby Promotes Bonding
After spending 40 weeks inside of your belly, your baby is not ready to give up the closeness she once felt with you. When you wear your baby in a carrier, there is constant physical contact. She can easily lay her head on your chest and hear that familiar heartbeat, strengthening her bond with you.
Babywearing also affects your bonding with her, as well. You are able to be close to her at all times, responding quickly to her needs. It is even beneficial for your mental state. Close physical contact with your baby releases the hormone oxytocin, which is also known as the “love hormone.”
Babywearing for Development: Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally
When your baby is always close to you she is happier and less likely to cry. In fact, studies have shown that babies who are carried for at least 2 hours a day decreased their time crying by 43% (1). She feels safe and secure being near you, knowing that you will be able to respond when she needs you.
Feeling your parental rhythms, like your heartbeat and walking, keeps your baby calmer as well. Those rhythms simulate the feeling they had in the womb, which has a soothing effect on your little one, as the movement and sounds are familiar.
Carrying your baby in an upright position in a carrier is also good for their physical health. It keeps their digestive tract in line so there is less gas and constipation, and by keeping your baby’s head off the ground, you can prevent plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome.
A Baby Carrier Makes Parenting Easier!!!
Around 7-8 months, my daughter had separation issues. She could not sleep alone, needing to be held on the couch, twice a day for the entire (2-hour) duration of her nap, and would not allow me to put her down without screaming, even when I was trying to cook dinner. Needless to say, my baby carrier was a lifesaver.
There are, in fact, many babies who will go through phases like this, and baby wearing makes it easier to deal with them. Carriers allow you to meet her needs while still being able to walk around and have two free hands to get things done.
Baby carriers also make outings much easier. There is less bulk without a car seat to lug around or a stroller to weave between people and store aisles. It keeps your baby safe and close to you, freeing up both hands so you can browse the sale racks or go grocery shopping.
What to Consider when Selecting a Baby Carrier
If you are reading this article, it is a pretty safe bet to say that you are interested in baby wearing and are looking for some insight into how to find a good carrier. There are indeed many factors to consider when selecting a baby carrier. Here we will go over some of the basics, and later we will go into more specific detail about carrier types.
How Long Do You Plan to Use It?
There are several types of carriers, an even in those categories there are many different models. No two carriers are exactly alike, and each has its own limitations on the weight it can carry and the positions it can hold your baby in. Both of these factors affect their ability to be used with babies of different ages.
So, before you make your purchase, you need to decide how long you would like to use your carrier for. If you are looking for a carrier that will take you from newborn through late toddlerhood, you will have a hard time finding it. You may end up needing to purchase two carriers if this is the case. However, if you are looking for something that will get you through your baby’s first year, when carrying will likely be most needed, there are several great products out there.
Who Will Use the Carrier?
No matter what type of carrier you buy or how comfortable it is, you will likely need a break at some point, in which case baby (and carrier) will need to be passed to dad, or another caretaker.
If you are going to be sharing a carrier with anyone, you will want to find one that is easily adjusted. There are some that can only be adjusted one way, such as around the waist, but you will want to find one that adjusts in multiple ways to accommodate for arms, shoulder, and chest size as well.
What Is Your Budget?
Babywearing is not for everyone. It may not be compatible with your lifestyle, your physique, and also your budget. A premium carrier can be quite expensive. There are cheaper options, but these can be less comfortable and the ergonomics of the cheaper design could increase the likelihood of injury.
There may be a point where a stroller would be a more suitable option compared to the money that you would need to spend on a sturdy and comfortable carrier. A necessity when you get towards toddler size!
Common Types of Baby Carriers
There are various types which can be used easily to carry your baby around. These are:
The most popular type of baby carrier is the soft-structured carrier (SSC). Most models will allow you to place your baby in multiple positions both at the front and back of your body, depending on what you and your baby most prefer.
Some carriers will also give the option of a front facing position for your baby. There is some contention as to whether this position can possibly harm your baby and you will find some models just do not allow for it. So make sure you check this out if you plan on using that front-facing position.
The main advantage of the soft structured carrier is how the weight is distributed across your body. It is designed to minimize the strain on your body and will greatly reduce the likelihood of injury to the carrier. The higher priced carriers will also last you forever! So you can buy once and use right through until your baby outgrows what you can carry.
While they are not great for newborns, some models will have the option of an infant insert for extra support.
Top Rated Soft Structured Baby Carrier
Tula Ergonomic Baby Carrier
Tula Ergonomic has many extra features to keep the baby safe in the carrier, for example a higher than normal back panel height. The adjustable straps allow you to bring your baby closer to you, having the baby closer to you will increase the bond between parent and baby. The adjustable strap also makes nursing easier. The Tula has nice padding all around which will make your baby feel very comfortable.
- Comes in two sizes, standard (baby) and toddler; the weights range from 15 to 45 lbs for the standard size and 25-50 lbs for the toddler carrier.
- Available Tula infant insert and Tula Grow Extenders for toddlers.
- Adjustable straps that allow your baby to be closer to you.
- Baby sits in a very comfortable M position supporting proper development of the baby
- Detachable hood for privacy and baby’s security.
- Many different styles to choose from. Read complete review
Next Best Soft Structured Carrier
ERGObaby is also one of the top brands of baby products and specialize in the best baby carriers for your children. The Original model of carrier from ERGObaby is one of the most popular products that people buy for their kids. Its amazing features make it the most bought product for ERGObaby in the carrier space. Furthermore, it is made up of 100% cotton and is machine washable so the parent doesn’t have to worry about it being dirty.
- Support front carrying as well as back carrying positions.
- Made up of 100% cotton which makes it really comfortable.
- Padded shoulder straps for more comfort.
- Can be easily washed in a washing machine with mild detergent.
- A good and simple design to keep your baby in comfort.
- Comes from a trusted brand which has a very good reputation in the kids products market all over the world. Read complete review
One of the most versatile baby carrier styles is the wrap. It is just a long piece of fabric that can be wrapped and tied around your body to hold your baby in a variety of positions, such as hip, back, or front carries.
This is great for newborns who will draw parallels between the closeness of a wrap to the feeling of being in the womb. This is a very nurturing environment and great for your babies development.
Wraps are easy to take with you as the cloth will just roll up, and can be stuffed into a bag so it is available when you need it. They are available in a variety of colors and patterns, and their soft fabric and lack of hard plastic or metal makes them very comfortable to wear.
Top Rated Baby Wrap
Moby Original Wrap
Moby is one of the more popular brands for baby wraps and this is their original and best selling model. The carrier comes forth with a couple of features which greatly complement its purpose. One good thing about these carriers is that they come in different colors. This means that you can select a color that matches your preference and taste.
One unique thing about this carrier is that it is designed in line with the modern technology. The manufacturer understands exactly what a mother wants and goes ahead to ensure that your baby is comfortable all along. You can therefore move with your baby to any place without any form of inconveniences and hindrances.
- It is made of 100% cotton
- Comes with a piece of fabric designed to cover both the shoulders and the back.
- It is wide and adjustable
- It can be worn at different positions hence it is for the mother to opt for the best.
- It is completely strong such that it can support up to 35 pounds.
- Different colors for parents to choose their favorite. Read complete review
Next Best Baby Wrap
Baby K’tan Ready to Wear Wrap
When you invest in the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier, you will get a multi- functional, ready to wear wrap. This will keep your toddler or infant cosy and safe, while supporting your own back – plus you will keep your sanity!
It is made of 100 % cotton and is free of harmful azo dyes, formaldehydes and chemical. This doctor recommended carrier also provides the benefits and positions of a carrier, sling and wrap all in one. Additionally, it is easy to use and features no hardware, rings, snaps or buckles that would harm your baby. With the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier, you will be able to take your child with you, knowing that they are both comfortable and well protected. In the package, you will get an instruction booklet and a carrying bag.
- Ready to use out of the box. Great for those yet to master the wrapping technique.
- It is made using cotton that is 100 % breathable in a design that will provide privacy while nursing, increased security for your baby and with quick adjustability to ensure maximum comfort.
- You can use it in more than 6 positions (From preemie to pre-school at 35 lbs)
- It rest comfortably on the caregiver’s shoulders and features adjustable back support bands making it easy to use (an instructional manual has been included to aid you along)
- It is dryer safe and machine washable
- It fits snugly and allows for easy stretching. Read complete review
A ring sling has a simple design with a large piece of fabric fastened across your body with either a ring or tie around your shoulder. This creates a pocket for you to place your baby in.
You will not get the same sense of security with a sling than you would with a wrap, or a structured carrier. So you will have to be careful and ensure you are always aware of how your baby is positioned.
They are simple and easy to use, and very practical while your little one is nursing.
While a sling is a very cost effective option, they will outgrow this in no time! So you may need to upgrade to a soft structured carrier if you want to continue to baby wear beyond 12 months.
The mei tai is the hybrid carrier that captures the flexibility of a wrap, with the practicality of a soft structured carrier. You get the seat as part of the design so you do not have to start from scratch every time you want to put it on, like with a wrap. But you also have straps that are tied up at the most suitable tension levels until you have a position similar to a structured carrier.
Hip Seat Carriers
The hip seat carrier some with a foam block that rests inside the carrier from around the hip area. This is there to provide additional support if the weight of your child is a strain.
These can be a bit bulkier than the typical soft structured carrier, but they are often fairly versatile too. If the hip seat is not needed you can simply remove it from most models.
For more casual use you can also use just the hip seat without the rest of the carrier frame. So if you are just around the house and need a little bit of extra support you can put this around your waist and prop up the (not so) little one on the seat.
Specialty Baby Carriers
Water Baby Carrier
This works the same way that a baby wrap does, but is made from a light and water resistant cloth that will dry out quickly. These are made especially for use in a swimming pool, or down at the beach.
If you want to take your little one into the water, this style of carrier further removes the risk that something could go wrong in the water. It will also make your baby feel more secure and happy when taking a splash.
Hard Framed Backpacks
These are designed specifically for longer heavy duty use, like you would get on a hiking or camping trip. Most models include plenty of storage space and have a higher maximum weight limit.
The baby seat, or cockpit, will always be on the back and placed in a position that would give the cargo a great view of their surroundings. So if you are a lover of the outdoors you will have lots of fun with this style of carrier, while you share some great outdoor trips with the family.
The built in frame makes this a very durable option that will stand up to anything you can throw at it. Most models will also stand on their own, and can almost be used as a mobile high chair. Take caution with this of course.
These can be complicated carriers and will sit at the higher end of the baby carrier price range. Worth every cent though to ensure you are comfortable on those long days out.
Is Carrying a Baby in a Baby Carrier Safe?
Carrying a baby in a carrier can be much safer than carrying the baby in the arms. The extra support will prevent a baby from slipping out of your arms (this happens guys – my son was dropped by his grandad the first time they met!), and just provides some security and protection from the unexpected.
You will also be able to multi task with less risk. Who is up for some hands free parenting?
The greatest risk for most types of carriers that your baby’s breathing may be restricted or cut off. The consequences of this could be severe. As long as you are aware of how your baby is positioned, and remain vigilant then you will spot any issues before it becomes a problem.
We have a comprehensive guide to baby carrier safety here. For now, here are ten basic tips to remember:
10 Essential Safety Guidelines for Carrying Your Babies
Ensure your baby is able to breathe easily
It is a parent’s duty to ensure that their child has enough space in the carrier and is able to breathe properly. A parent should not get so busy in their daily tasks that they forget to check the infant.
Do not use a carrier while driving
One should never use a baby carrier while they are driving a vehicle as the children are not safe during the journey as well as face a danger of vulnerability to injury.
Do not jog or jump while wearing a baby carrier
Things like jogging, jumping on a trampoline, playing a sport or doing anything which is related to the bouncing motion of the body should be avoided which you are wearing a carrier because it can easily hurt the baby’s neck, head or back causing a severe injury to the baby.
Kid’s weight and height should be considered
One must always ensure that they are using the best and quality carriers for infants and toddlers as per their height and weight and as they both increase, the carriers must be replaced by the new ones.
Regular inspection is required
The baby carriers must be inspected regularly to make sure that there is no fault in the fabric, seams, buckles, belts etc. If there is any fault or even a minor issue with the carrier, it must definitely be fixed before carrying the baby in it. This is of utmost importance and safety of both parents and the child.
Dress up the baby properly
It is the parents’ responsibility to dress-up their children properly since they also have an extra shield of the carrier protecting them from cold or sunlight. Parents need to make sure that the baby doesn’t feel too cold or too hot inside the carrier.
Choose the correct type as per the needs
Depending upon the comfort and the need, the right kind of child carrier must be chosen to carry your infants since it ensures the comfort of the parents as well as the children. No one wants a carrier which starts causing discomfort due to itching,
Depending upon the comfort and the need, the right kind of child carrier must be chosen to carry your infants since it ensures the comfort of the parents as well as the children. No one wants a carrier which starts causing discomfort due to itching, excess of perspiration, skin allergy or any other factor.
Avoid cooking while carrying baby
While the parent is wearing a baby carrier, cooking or even going to a place where the baby can be in danger due to fire should be avoided. This is to make sure that the baby is always safe and protected from any sort of injury. Even going near to the barbeque or a bon-fire should be avoided while the baby is with you.
Carry the baby in a proper position
A baby should always be carried in a proper position where their head and back are comfortable and their body is relaxed. It is also important for the parent to keep themselves at a comfortable position because discomfort can easily result in pain in lower back and shoulders of the parent.
Ensuring the best support
The parent must ensure that the baby is well supported from all the sides. A proper back support, thigh support, abdominals support, pelvis, and hips support, neck support, head support etc. are some of the most important things to take care of while the baby is sitting in the carrier. Only the best child carrier as per your needs can meet all these requirements and can ensure child safety at all times.
Baby wearing is a great choice for most parents. It helps you to bond with your baby, keeping you both happy and engaged with one another, while keeping both of your hands free to be able to be able to carry out your daily tasks.
I hope the above information has helped you get closer to finding the carrier that will most suit your circumstances. If you choose well hopefully you only have to buy once – unlike me, I have a cupboard full of them! But I love to baby wear and continue to do so to this day, even though my son is over two years old and I am just 5ft tall.
If I was to go back to the beginning and buy my first carrier, I would go for comfort above all else and I would be prepared to go for a higher end carrier. Going cheap can result in having to buy another carrier for a different purpose. If you go for comfort, and a versatile design then you it can work out much cheaper in the long run.
If you would prefer not to carry your baby, and want to go down the stroller route – which we all will one day anyway. Check out our complete stroller buyer guide here.