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Last updated: 02/14/2020

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Getting out of the house with a baby in tow can be quite an adventure. And preparing for that adventure is a challenge on its own. Infants and toddlers need a constant array of supplies nearby, but parents only have two arms each. As a parent, it’s always important to have your baby close to you, but you also need a certain amount of mobility just to get by.

A baby carrier is the ideal companion for your outings. It allows you to transport your child easily while keeping your arms free for other tasks. The closeness to your body will give your baby a feeling of safety, protection and calm no matter where you go. With the proper baby carrier, your loved one can discover the world and stay happy and secure in the process.

Key Facts

  • Baby carriers will make your routine easier in a handful of ways. They can help you do chores at home without leaving your baby alone, make outings or walks easier and give you privacy while breastfeeding.
  • No one baby carrier is superior than all of the others. Each is tailored to the size and age of your baby, as well as to the various activities you plan to do with them.
  • Baby carriers are very safe when used properly. Be sure to review proper tying techniques and practice prior to carrying your child for the very first time.

Our Selection of the Best Baby Carriers on the U.S. Market

Choosing a baby carrier is no easy task, so we’ve picked out the best models on the American market for you. In this section, you can decide which one is most suitable for you and your baby. You’ll also get a better idea of the different types and styles.

Best Overall Baby Carrier

LÍLLÉbaby makes this fantastic six-position ergonomic baby carrier that allows for 360-degree babywearing. The six options include toddler, hip, back, infant and fetal positions. It also features two-way straps for front or backpack-style carrying, large pockets for storage and a removable sleeping hood.

Use the LÍLLÉbaby carrier to hold your baby comfortably and stylishly. Your baby will feel great too, since this “hip healthy” carrier comes with hip support, a temperature control panel and breathable mesh lining. No wonder it won “Most Comfortable Carrier” at the prestigious Cribsie Awards! Pick from dozens of stunning designed such as Lil Pumpkin, Flower Power Harmony and Wild Olive.

Best Baby Wrap/Sling

Baby wraps help you keep your baby close to your heart, and this model from Boba is the #1 Bestseller in its category on Amazon. It’s made from 95% cotton that allows for smooth airflow, easy cleaning in the washing machine and, of course, durability. The remaining 5% is spandex for just the right amount of stretch. It’ll form perfectly to your body and baby.

The Boba Wrap is also incredibly easy to use. There’s just one way to tie the wrap, so you won’t be left guessing all day long. It comes in one size fits all that models to you and your baby. You can use this wrap for babies from birth up to 35 pounds. Choose from more than 20 stylish colors.

Best Value Baby Carrier

The Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Baby Carrier offers great value at an affordable price. It’s perfect for infants from 12 to 30 pounds, and can be carried on the front or back. The ergonomic seat supports from knee-to-knee and has a naturally rounded back to that your baby will be safe and comfortable, even on long rides.

The adjustable shoulder straps and wide waist belt also means this carrier is beloved by parents. Other features include the removable teddy bear hood that will protect your baby from the sun. This bag is machine washable for easy maintenance and care.

Best Baby Carrier Under $35

Parents shopping on a budget will love the Original Baby Wrap Carrier from CuddleBug. This bestseller provides a warm, womb-like environment for your loved one. It will help you form a stronger bond with your baby, as you wear it tummy-to-tummy and chest-to-chest. It also helps the infant to develop familiarity with the same sights, smells and sounds that you experience.

Choose from seven simple, one-size-fits-all designs and get a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty on this carrier, which can hold babies up to 35 pounds. It’s made from a proprietary cotton and spandex mix for a superb fit and comfort every time.

Buyer’s Guide: Everything You Should Know About Baby Carriers

You should be familiar with the benefits of a baby carrier prior to purchasing one. In addition, to make it easier to decide which one is best for you, you should learn about their characteristics and the pros and cons of each one. In this section, we go through some of parents’ most frequently asked questions when they buy a new baby carrier.

Unrecognizable young mother with her son in sling

Baby carriers allow you to hold your baby close at all times.
(Source: Polc: 63367620/ 123rf.com)

What exactly are baby carriers?

Baby carriers are specialized products made for transporting babies. These devices come in a vast range of sizes, shapes and styles. Baby carriers are very practical, since they allow us to mobilize our babies in a safe and natural way. Dragging a stroller onto public transport or trying to push it down a bustling street can be a huge burden and very annoying. A sling, a backpack or a “mei tai,” meanwhile, take up very little space and are extremely lightweight.

Baby carriers also leave your hands free to perform tasks as needed.

Why should I buy a baby carrier?

During the breastfeeding stage, a baby carrier serves a very practical function. Using the shoulder strap, for example, you can put your baby in the ideal feeding position. This is particularly useful when you need to feed your baby in public. Some baby carriers come with a special hood to offer you additional privacy while breastfeeding.

Your baby will also feel protected in a specialized carrier, especially during the first few months after delivery. The position inside a sling is similar to the position of a baby in the womb. The warmth of your body, your breathing and your pulse will all help relax your newborn. Physical closeness between a parent and their child will also strengthen the bond between them.

Are baby carriers safe?

Your baby’s safety is always the top priority. With proper use, your baby carrier will keep your baby safe. Here are some tips for carrying:

  • Make sure your baby’s airways are clear. Your baby’s face should always be visible. The youngest infants may not be able to hold their heads and are therefore susceptible to accidental asphyxiation. That’s why there are complementary supports that can be used with slings and similar carriers. You should check regularly that nothing obstructs your baby’s breathing.
  • Be mindful of the position of your baby’s hips. If you’re using a baby carrier shaped like a backpack, your baby’s legs should go sideways with the hips open. If a baby’s legs fall down or remain together for an extended period (as in the sling), your child may be at risk of developing dysplasia.
  • If you’re using a baby carrier made from fabric, practice tying it before using it with your baby. That way you can be sure that the sling or mei tai won’t come untied with your baby inside. Try practicing with a stuffed animal or a bag of flour.
foco

The extra weight of a child can make you lose your balance, so it’s a good idea to practice before using a baby carrier with your baby.

What kinds of baby carriers are available?

As you may have noticed in our selection above, there are several different kinds of baby carriers. When picking one for yourself, you should take into account the size of your child, as well as the type of activities you plan to use it for. Here are some characteristics of the primary types of carriers.

mom feeding a baby

Thanks to the baby carrier, your hands can be free to tackle other tasks that arise.
(Source: Polc: 39231724/ 123rf.com)

Wraps

Wraps are made of woven or elastic fabrics that you can wrap around you and your baby, keeping him or her very close to your body. These carriers don’t have buckles, but are instead knotted firmly. That allows you to use special tying techniques and try out various positions to hold your child, such as on your back or linked to your belly or hip.

Ring Slings

The sling is a long fabric that is usually woven. It’s tied between the shoulder and hip using two rings. This is a very practical option, since it’s easily positioned and adapts to the size of your baby as they grow. Be aware that the weight will rest on your shoulder. Because of this, it it’s better for shorter outings.

Mei Tai

The mei tai, which originated in China, is another baby carrier made from fabric. Unlike the wrap and sling, the mei tai is used like a backpack. It consists of a fabric panel with thick straps that are tied around your back or stomach depending on the baby’s position.

Ergonomic Backpack Carriers

The ergonomic backpack carrier is a more structured kind of carrier. It’s similar in shape to the mei tai, but has padded panels and straps that make the carrier more firm. It adjusts via buckles, so you don’t have to memorize any tying techniques in order to carry the baby.

Wraps Ring slings Mei tai Backpack carriers
Tying Mastering the tying technique takes practice and time. Improper use can result in suffocation risks. Easy tying thanks to the rings. Easy tying. Because the strips are long, they tend to get dirty. They’re easy to use thanks to the buckles. This comes in handy when the baby needs to go up and down a number of times in a short period.
Positions Very flexible. Allows for a range of positions. The baby is carried at the hip. Practical position for breastfeeding. Allows many positions. Most can be used only as a backpack on the chest or back.
Age and size of the baby They are adjustable. Best for newborn babies. Suitable for breast-feeding babies. Can be adapted as the baby grows. Not advised prior to six months of age.
Comfort They are ergonomic, since they adapt to your baby’s body. Can be stretched with baby’s weight if the fabric is especially elastic. Asymmetrical distribution of weight can cause pain with prolonged use. May be uncomfortable for the youngest babies, since legs and arms hang outside. Comfortable for parents because they’re more firm. They don’t offer the same level of lumbar support for the baby.

There are backpacks with fixed panels—that come in a single size—and evolutionary backpacks that can be adapted to the size of your child as they grow. Additionally, some can be complemented with an adapter for newborn use. Still, fabric baby carriers are preferable for that stage, since they allow the baby to easily adopt a natural position.

Shopping Criteria

Picking out a baby carrier from the endless options can be very overwhelming. No one type is superior to the others, but they each have different functions and benefits. To help you pick the best accessory for your child, consider the following factors:

Size and Age of Your Baby

Wraps are probably the best option for babies who still can’t hold up their own head and neck. There are also backpacks designed for newborns, as well as accessories that help protect a baby’s neck. Still, we recommended using a wrap at the start, since the other options won’t guarantee the correct position for your baby.

Wraps can be adapted to your baby as they grow, since you determine the size of the wrap through the tying process. Nonetheless, some parents prefer an ergonomic backpack that offers greater lumbar support as their baby grows and gets heavier. Additionally, highly elastic wraps tend to fall down a bit under heavier weight.

Type of Use

The ideal baby carrier for you depends largely on how you plan to use it. If you need a carrier the home or to breastfeed, then a wrap or a ring sling may be the best choices. Backpack carriers, meanwhile, are perfect for going on a walk with your baby. Keep in mind that there are specialized baby carriers, such as mountain backpacks, that even allow you to hike with your baby.

Businessman carrying daughter by table at home

There are baby carriers specially designed for men.
(Source: Media Ltd: 53983079/ 123rf.com)

Material Quality

Your child is certain to spend a lot of time in their baby carrier, so it’s worth getting one that’s as comfortable as possible. To ensure this, look for high-quality fabrics. If you decide to get a backpack, for example, look for soft-touch padding. When your baby feels protected and embraced, he or she will relax and fall asleep more easily.

The fabric of your carrier should stay light and cool on warmer days. This is especially important for wraps, since you and your baby will have skin-to-skin contact. Cotton-elastane wraps are also excellent, because they have breathable fabric that also can be stretched for easy tying.

Price

Baby carries come at a range of prices. You can get excellent wraps for under 30 dollars. Ergonomic backpacks may cost over 150 dollars, but there are also cheaper backpacks available.

We suggest avoiding backpacks that promise too much for too little money. To ensure that they are truly ergonomic and offer the necessary lumbar support for you and your child, it’s worth spending a bit more. Lean toward well-known brands with a good reputation.

Summary

Your baby carrier is bound to make your day-to-day life much easier. You’ll be able to transport your baby in a practical, comfortable way, without taking up too much space and keeping your hands free. At the same time, the closeness to your body will give your baby a sense of security and relaxation, even outside your home.

Don’t get overwhelmed by the diversity of baby carriers on the market. Keep in mind the size and age of your baby, and the type of activities you are planning to do with them. Whether it’s a wrap or a backpack, your infant will feel comforted with you around no matter where the day takes you.

If you found our baby carrier guide useful, please share it with your friends on social media and leave us a comment with your thoughts below!

(Source of featured image: Polc: 71602237/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

Ester is a midwife by profession, but due to an allergic reaction she no longer does her job full time. She now gives advice to parents. Her job motivated her to write articles. Her wish is to be able to reach even more parents and answer important questions.