Best Baby Carrier

Contents

Best Baby Carriers – Complete Guide & Review

As a new parent, you want what’s best for your child. Whether it’s making sure that he or she is eating the right foods to wearing the right clothes, nothing compares to the health and safety of your baby. This is particularly the case when taking your little one places as it’s imperative that you can hold him or her properly and with the right amount of support. While you could do this with your arms, many parents opt for a best baby carrier instead. This handy device allows you to keep your baby close while still leaving your hands free and reducing the amount of fatigue you feel after awhile.

Although baby carriers are based on the same premise, there are a lot of different varieties and models from which to choose, which is why it’s so crucial that you plenty of research beforehand so that you know you’re making the right decision for your child. Fortunately, I have done all of the legwork for you, meaning that you don’t have to scour the internet to find the best information. In this guide, I will not only show you some of the best examples of baby carriers, but I will also go over the most important aspects that you should consider as well as talk about brands and the types of transport you can find.

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and see what these products can do you for you and your family.

What is a Baby Carrier?

Simply put, this is a device that allows you to hold your baby against your body without needing your hands. The primary purpose of a baby carrier is to provide ample support for both you and the infant, enabling you to carry him or her for extended periods without getting exhausted or sore. There are a few different varieties of carrier from which you can choose, but the important thing is that it provides support for these key regions.

  • Parent: you want something that will spread the weight of your child evenly throughout your shoulders, back, and lower back. The best carriers will not put too much pressure on your spine so that you can hold your baby longer.
  • Child: because your little one is still soft and malleable at this age, it’s imperative that the carrier supports the head, neck, and hips equally well. The back also needs to stay straight and not bend as it could result in a crooked alignment. As for the hips, if they are not straight then it can also lead to problems down the line.
Best Baby carrier pic two

How to Choose The Best Baby Carrier

Size

Some of these devices are built for newborns, while others are made for babies up to two years old. What’s important is that you get a carrier that fits your child’s exact measurements so as to provide all of the necessary support without risking injury or complications. In some cases, you can even find carriers that grow with your baby by adjusting or adding padding as your little gets bigger. What you should remember here, though, is that it will take a little more practice to ensure that you’re providing the right kind of support. Because the carrier is adjustable means that it may be trickier to master.

The flip side of the carrier is to make sure that it is comfortable for you. In some cases, there may be a wide discrepancy between parents, meaning that you want something that can fit equally well for both, unless you want to get a separate model for each of you.

Comfort

While support is critical to ensure that your baby doesn’t develop problems in the long term, comfort is equally important because it can make all the difference for both of you. Again, you want something that fits both you and your child so that you can be happy and healthy together. If the carrier is perfect for your little one but puts too much pressure on your back, you could be injuring yourself for no good reason.

To achieve the right level of comfort, you want something with extra pads or an incredible amount of weight distribution. Sling carriers, for example, are made with a single piece of cloth, meaning that you can’t expect any padding at all. However, because they spread across most of your body, they are quite comfortable as they don’t create pressure points anywhere. Typically speaking, carriers that use shoulder straps are the most prone to creating problems like that for the parents, so make sure to test your carrier before you make a final decision.

Type

I’ll talk more about the various types of baby carriers later on, but it’s crucial that you find one that fits both of your needs. Here is a brief outline of what you can expect when searching for the right carrier.

  • Wrap: this model is one piece of fabric that wraps around you and your baby
  • Sling: this is similar to a wrap, except you hold your child to one side as the fabric drapes over one shoulder
  • Mei-Tai: this carrier uses four straps to help you create a tight and comfortable fit around you and your baby
  • Soft Structure: these models use padding and shoulder straps to hold your baby close, but they are not rigid at all
  • Backpack: this unit comes with a metal frame so that you can keep your little one on your back for longer periods

There are other, more specific types of baby carriers out there, but these are the top five most common versions that you can find. If possible, try out a variety to see what fits best and which one is the easiest to get on and off. For example, wrap and sling carriers may seem simple at first, but it does take quite a bit of practice to get it right each time. Your biggest issue with those is that they can loosen over time, meaning that you have to keep re-tightening it as the day goes on. Each carrier type has pros and cons, which I’ll discuss later.

Price

You may not think that such a simple device could be so expensive, but the fact is that carriers range in price from less than fifty dollars (especially if you make your own) to a couple of hundred. Typically, the higher end models will have additional features and will be stronger, but that doesn’t always mean that they are the best option. Overall, it’s important that you set a budget for yourself as this is a product that will not last more than a couple of years as your child gets older. That being said, if you plan on passing it down through generations, then you may want to make the investment for something more robust, even if it costs a lot more than the competition.

Material

While carriers can have a variety of materials inside of them, what’s most important is that you find a model that is free from any harsh chemicals or dyes. These can harm your baby and make a literal stink, so avoid them entirely if possible. Fortunately, most brands are aware of the danger and ensure that their products pose no threat to your baby. Still, not all carriers are created equal, so keep an eye out to see which ones are better about removing toxins from their materials.

Top 10 The Best Baby Carrier Reviews

1. 360° Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier

Best Baby carrier for 1st product for lillebaby

The first model we are going to look at is this sleek and stylish carrier from LILLEbaby. This is a standard soft structure carrier that enables you to hold your newborn as he or she grows into a toddler. What I like most about this product is that it comes with all of the support you and your child need, including an adjustable seat to prevent hip dyspepsia. As more research is being done about the condition, it’s clear that baby carriers have to step up, which is why I like that LILLEbaby has outdone itself with this model.

The other thing that I like about the carrier is the versatility. First of all, it’s designed to work for all seasons, making it a worthwhile purchase if for no other reason. Second of all, it has integrated lumbar support, wide shoulder straps with thick pads, and a headrest for your baby. In all, this is one of the most comfortable carriers you can find. All of that coupled with a ventilation system makes this a premiere option for any new parents.

Highlighted Features

  • Newborn design
  • Well ventilated for proper airflow
  • ​Forty-one colors available
  • ​Six positions for your child
  • ​Holds up to forty-five pounds
  • ​Integrated lumbar support
  • ​Headrest for your baby
  • Zippered hood to keep out the elements
  • ​Generous padding for both of you
  • ​Machine washable
  • ​Suitable for all seasons
  • Zippered pocket for storage
  • ​Waist belt for even weight distribution
  • ​Thick padded shoulder straps
  • Adjustable seat for your baby
  • ​Grows with your child
  • Free of harsh chemicals
  • Weighs less than two pounds

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Ample support for you and your baby
  • Well ventilated
  • All-season ready
  • Easy to clean
  • ​Grows with your little one
  • ​Supports the hips
  • ​Excellent back support
  • Many colors and styles available

Cons

  • Can be difficult to get your baby out without taking the whole thing off
  • Size may not work for smaller users
  • Straps may be too big for some shoulders and can dig in over time

2. Gemini Performance Baby Carrier By Beco

Best baby carrier 2rd for beco

Next, we have another soft structure carrier, although this one is not quite as sophisticated as the LILLEbaby model. Nonetheless, if you want something clean and simple, this is a great choice. Best of all, because it comes with a limited lifetime warranty, you can always return it and get a new one in case anything goes wrong.

What I like most about this carrier is the ample use of padding. Both you and your baby are hugged on all sides by thick foam, making this one of the most comfortable carriers you can find. While I would prefer a hood to keep out the sun and the rain, the headrest does adjust, and you can use it as a makeshift shelter in a pinch.

The other great thing about this carrier is the weight disbursement. Using three sets of straps, you can ensure that your back, shoulders, and waist are always comfortable, regardless of the size and weight of your little one. Also, since it grows and adjusts to your child, he or she will be sitting pretty as well.

Highlighted Features

  • Four different carrying options
  • Ideal for newborns and infants
  • ​Soft and comfortable material
  • ​Seven colors available
  • ​Adjustable headrest
  • Holds up to 35 pounds
  • Adjustable shoulder, hip, and waist straps
  • ​Thick leg padding for your child
  • Weighs only 1.6 pounds
  • ​Machine washable
  • ​Front pocket for storage
  • 100% cotton shell
  • ​Free of harsh chemicals
  • Limited lifetime warranty

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Grows with your baby
  • Easy to use
  • Easy to clean
  • Ample support for baby and parents
  • ​Thick padding
  • Easy to adjust
  • Multiple colors and styles available

Cons

  • No hood to protect from the elements
  • Seat may not always put your child’s legs in the optimum position
  • Material may be irritating to your baby’s skin

3. Ergobaby 360 All Carry Positions Award-Winning Ergonomic Baby Carrier

Ergobaby 360 All Carry Positions Award-Winning Ergonomic Baby Carrier

As I mentioned earlier, having the right support system for both you and your baby is crucial to ensure your overall level of comfort, as well as to make sure that your child will not have developmental problems over time. With that in mind, this Ergonomic Baby Carrier from Erg obaby is one of the best regarding such support, as it always keeps your little one in the best position possible. This is both to maintain the spine in a natural “C” shape, as well as to ensure that the hips do not roll forward or backward. Best of all, it does this regardless of the position you put your baby in, making it extra versatile as well.

The other primary thing that I like about this carrier is that it’s made with 100% cotton. While other models have a cotton shell, that usually means that they have polyurethane foam inside. In this case, however, it’s all natural materials. Unfortunately, it’s not completely organic, but it’s pretty darn close. Not only does this keep harsh chemicals away from your little one but it also means that the whole this is much softer than most.

Highlighted Features

  • Optimized baby ergonomics
  • Keeps spine and hips in perfect place
  • ​Four carrying positions
  • ​Holds up to thirty-three pounds
  • ​Structured bucket seat for proper hip placement
  • ​Easy to adjust button strap system
  • ​Grows with your child as he or she ages
  • Extra-wide waistband provides excellent lumbar support
  • ​Extendable back panel acts as back or head support
  • ​Thick padded shoulder straps
  • ​Twenty colors available
  • Sleeping hood provided
  • ​100% cotton material
  • ​Free of harsh chemicals
  • Machine washable
  • Weighs only 1.6 pounds

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable design
  • Keeps your baby in optimal position
  • ​Versatile operation
  • Thick padding for comfort
  • Multiple colors and styles available
  • ​Non-toxic materials
  • ​Lightweight and breathable
  • Easy to use and adjust
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • May require two people to put it on correctly
  • Cotton material can shrink in the wash
  • Velcro fastener is a bit too strong for readjustment
  • Inner fabric is not as soft as outer

4. BABYBJORN Baby Carrier

BABYBJORN Baby Carrier

As one of the most famous carriers in the world, BabyBjorn has its work cut out for it as far as outclassing the competition. Fortunately, this model does a great job of keeping the brand on top as it provides some of the best support for both you and your baby. As I mentioned earlier, hip dysplasia is becoming a growing concern, which means that older versions of this carrier do not address the problem. Fortunately, this latest generation does and even allows you to customize the seat to fit your child properly.

Overall, the best thing about this model is that it grows well with your baby without needing inserts or adjustable parts. Simply keep your baby facing you for the first few months and then go from there. The whole thing is built to stay comfortable and supportive in all positions and for all baby sizes, so you never have to worry about anything. Best of all, it’s built to last, so you should be able to use it for multiple children without any significant wear and tear.

Highlighted Features

  • Four carrying positions
  • Adapts and grows with your baby
  • ​19 different colors available
  • ​Ideal for newborns up to three years
  • ​Hip-healthy design prevents dysplasia
  • ​Thick padded shoulder straps
  • ​Extra-wide waist strap for lumbar support
  • ​Adjustable headrest
  • Customizable hip placement
  • ​Holds up to thirty-three pounds
  • ​Meets all US and European safety standards
  • ​Free of any harsh chemicals
  • ​Machine washable
  • Weighs only two pounds
  • All-cotton shell

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable design
  • Works with infants and toddlers
  • Fully adjustable
  • Ample hip support
  • Thick padding for comfort
  • ​Headrest for your baby
  • ​Many colors and styles available
  • Easy to use
  • ​Easy to clean
  • Safe and chemical free

Cons

  • No hood to protect from the elements
  • No storage included
  • May not be a good fit for taller users
  • Straps may be too big for some parents

5. Boba 4G Baby Carrier

Main - Boba 4G Baby Carrier

So far, we’ve seen carriers that focus more on support and padding than anything else. However, convenience is another excellent thing to have with a baby carrier, especially if you are traveling by yourself with a child in tow. Fortunately, the 4G Carrier from Boba doesn’t skimp on the comfort and support just because they added a bit more practical features to their product.

First of all, this carrier comes with multiple pockets. That means that you can keep your phone, keys, and diapers all together without having a diaper bag. Nonetheless, if you do decide to take a bag with you, it also has a strap where you can hold your purse or satchel while you walk. Overall, this carrier has way more convenient features than most of the other models I’ve seen.

The other thing that I like about this unit is that it’s made with 100% cotton. That makes it extra soft and free from any unsafe toxic materials, which is always a plus in my book. The only thing I wish it had was more butt support as it can sometimes be difficult to keep your little one in the right position all the time.

Highlighted Features

  • 100% cotton fabric carrier
  • Two carrying positions
  • ​Inserts provided allow it to grow with your baby
  • ​Holds up to forty-five pounds
  • ​Free from harsh chemicals
  • ​Nine colors available
  • ​Removable sleeping hood
  • ​Foot straps provided for better support
  • ​Thick padded shoulder straps
  • ​Wide waist strap for lumbar support
  • Multiple pockets included
  • ​Bag strap holder
  • ​Adjustment straps for breastfeeding
  • Weighs only two pounds
  • Breathable fabric stays cool

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable carrier
  • Easy to use and adjust
  • Grows with your baby
  • Soft cotton material
  • Free of any harsh chemicals
  • ​Easy to clean
  • ​Lightweight and breathable
  • Ample support for parent and child

Cons

  • May not keep baby’s hips in proper position all of the time
  • Buckles under the shoulder may be uncomfortable for some users
  • Limited versatility regarding positioning
  • Material may irritate your baby’s skin

6. Baby K'tan Active Baby Carrier

Main - Baby K'tan Active Baby Carrier

So far, we’ve only seen soft structured carriers, but this next model from Baby K’tan is a wrap-style unit with a bit of a twist. Usually, wrap carriers are a bit difficult to put on because you have to practice putting everything where it needs to go. Fortunately, this particular product is pre-wrapped so that all you have to do is slip it on and you’re ready for anything. Best of all, it only stretches one way so that you don’t have to worry about it getting too loose over time. That being said, the size chart can be hard to follow for some people, so you may have to experiment a little bit before finding the right one.

What I like about this carrier is that it is super simple to use and still provides adequate head and neck support. Additionally, you can customize it to allow your baby to sit in multiple positions, making it a versatile model as well. I also like that you can get it in 100% organic cotton, making it a better option than most other carriers. Overall, if you like the idea of a wrap-style carrier but want something easier to put on, this is a fantastic choice.

Highlighted Features

  • Wrap-style baby carrier
  • 100% polyester material
  • ​Wicks away moisture and stays cool
  • ​Pre-wrapped for your convenience
  • ​Fabric blocks sun’s rays
  • ​Easily adjustable for breastfeeding
  • Four colors available
  • ​Machine washable
  • ​Three-position carrier
  • ​Organic fabrics available
  • ​Sash allows it to convert to a carry bag
  • Double-loop design for better weight distribution
  • ​Holds up to thirty-five pounds
  • ​Weighs only one pound

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Organic materials offered
  • Easier to use than a traditional wrap carrier
  • Multiple positions available
  • Different colors and styles to choose
  • ​Easy to clean
  • ​Doubles as a bag
  • Ample support for parent and child
  • Lightweight and breathable

Cons

  • Not suited for mothers with large breasts
  • Still can be tricky to put on at first
  • Not as stretchy as other wrap-style carriers
  • Can be difficult to find the right size for some users

7. Tula Ergonomic Baby Carrier

Main - Tula Ergonomic Baby Carrier

With most baby carriers, they are designed to grow with your child, but in this case, the Ergonomic Carrier from Tula is more specific by having two sizes; one for your infant and another for your toddler. This may seem a bit inconvenient as it means that you have to buy two models if you want to continue using it over time, but it does mean that you get the best support in either case. Rather than having to adjust a larger carrier for your smaller baby, now you can have one that is targeted for your little one’s specific needs.

In addition to the two size options, this carrier is also available in almost forty different colors and styles. This way you can make sure to find one that matches both yours and your baby’s personality while still being as functional as anything else. This particular model can be worn on either the front or the back, depending on the age of your child, and it comes with durable materials that won’t break down easily. Finally, it has a large storage pocket on the front for your convenience and has a removable hood to keep the sun away from little eyes.

Highlighted Features

  • 100% certified cotton material
  • Two sizes available: infant and toddler
  • ​Holds up to 45 pounds
  • Infant insert provides better support
  • Can be worn on front or back
  • ​Durable Dynalast straps
  • ​39 colors available
  • Removable hood keeps the sun out
  • ​Large storage pocket provided
  • ​Weighs only 1.6 pounds
  • Extra padding on the leg openings

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Works for infants or toddlers
  • Many styles available
  • Ideal support system
  • Two wearable methods
  • ​Easy to adjust
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Some seams may rip easier than others
  • Does not provide extra back support for parent
  • More expensive than other similar models

8. MiaMily HIPSTER+ Child & Baby Carrier

Next, we have a carrier that is more versatile than anything else while still being both comfortable and stylish at the same time. While most other carriers only have a handful of ways for you to adjust the placement of your baby, the Hipster+ from MiaMily gives you nine various carrying positions, making it one of the most adjustable and maneuverable carriers on the market today.

Where this model really shines is in the support. Not only does it have thicker straps and better placement of them for your benefit, but it has excellent hip and back support for your little one so that you don’t have to worry about hip dysplasia or spinal readjustment. Overall, you get some of the best ergonomics with this carrier.

In addition to the excellent form of the design, you can get this carrier in one of six different colors, each with a 3D adjustable system that makes sure that both you and your baby are as comfortable as possible through comprehensive weight distribution. Finally, it has two front storage pockets for your convenience.

Highlighted Features

  • Soft structured baby carrier
  • Durable materials and buckles
  • ​3D adjustable system for better comfort
  • ​Duraflex buckles are rugged and dependable
  • ​Six colors available
  • ​Supports kids from three months to three years
  • ​Holds up to forty pounds
  • ​Nine different carrying positions possible
  • Ergonomic to relieve back pain
  • ​Front storage pockets for convenience
  • ​Excellent hip support
  • Weighs three pounds

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Easy to adjust
  • Durable and rugged materials
  • Excellent support for baby and parent
  • Added storage for convenience
  • ​Works with infants and toddlers
  • ​Multiple colors available
  • Easy to clean

Cons

  • Some stitches may not hold up over time
  • In some positions, the carrier may be uncomfortable
  • Buckles may be relatively sharp

9. Mo+m Fashion Convertible Baby Carrier

Main -  Mo+m Fashion Convertible Baby Carrier

While other carriers have multiple color options that you have to choose before you buy, this carrier from Mo+m gives you the option of changing the front panel whenever you like, which allows you to both get creative with your appearance and keep your baby supported in the best way possible. The other great thing about having removable front panels is that it is much easier to get your baby out of the carrier, which can be a lifesaver if he or she is sleeping.

In addition to the front panel design, this carrier comes with some other incredible features that make it a must-have for new parents. First of all, it has extra storage in spades, with pockets and holsters for your phone, milk bottle, diapers, and more. This is one of the most convenient baby carriers you can find.

Secondly, it has excellent airflow so that your little one doesn’t get too hot or uncomfortable. Finally, it distributes the weight more evenly than other models and uses a soft material to make this one of the most pleasant carrier experiences you can have.

Highlighted Features

  • Soft structured baby carrier
  • Interchangeable front panel
  • ​Soft and plush material
  • ​Removable hood
  • ​Storage pockets included
  • ​Sling provided for newborns
  • ​Mesh window provides excellent ventilation
  • Waistband distributes weight evenly
  • ​Holds up to forty-five pounds
  • ​Adjustable head support
  • Weighs 2.6 pounds

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Change the look and style easily
  • Extra support for you and your baby
  • Works with infants and toddlers
  • Easy to adjust
  • ​Ideal airflow for baby
  • ​Supports head and hips
  • Extra pockets for convenience

Cons

  • Some parts may wear down sooner than others
  • May not be comfortable in all positions
  • Pocket layout can be awkward with larger babies

10. Catbird Baby Pikkolo Baby Carrier

Main - Catbird Baby Pikkolo Baby Carrier

My final product is the Pikkolo Carrier from Catbird Baby, but don’t think that because it’s at the end that it’s any less excellent than the other models I’ve shown so far. One of the best things about this carrier is that it can work with your infant or toddler without any kind of insert needed, which makes it a much easier and more reliable model than most. That, coupled with 100% cotton material means that this carrier is soft and ergonomic in spades.

One of the other primary features that I like about this carrier is that it has an adjustable width base that moves with your baby. Not only that, but no matter what position you hold him or her in (there are four) it provides the ultimate in hip support so that you don’t have to worry about things like hip dysplasia. Finally, it has a removable sleep hood and an extra wide waist belt to ensure that the weight of your little one is spread out as evenly and comfortably as possible.

Highlighted Features

  • 100% cotton material
  • No infant insert necessary
  • ​Four different carrying positions
  • ​Holds up to forty pounds
  • ​Adjustable width base
  • ​Three colors available
  • ​Sleep hood
  • Support belt distributes weight evenly
  • ​Weighs only 1.4 pounds
  • Extra padding on the shoulder straps

Pros

  • Soft and comfortable
  • Easy to adjust
  • Works with infants and toddlers
  • No insert needed
  • Multiple styles available
  • ​Extra support where it counts
  • ​Easy to use

Cons

  • Support belt is sold separately
  • Can be hard to put on without assistance
  • Material may be too uncomfortable for some babies

Types of The Best Baby Carriers

So far, I’ve gone over the various factors that should go into your final decision, and we’ve seen some of the best models out there for you to choose. Now I am going to dive into the various types of carriers you can find, as well as highlight the pros and cons of each one. This way you can figure out which one will work best for you and your baby, and it will help you decide on the best course of action. I already briefly went over the most common types, but here is a more in-depth analysis.

Wrap Baby Carriers

This is one of the most simplistic forms of best baby carrier, but also one of the most complicated. The way it works is that you use a single piece of cloth to hold your little one against you, which means that it can take a while for you to get used to setting it up at first. However, once you’ve mastered it, then you should be able to get it on and off rather quickly.

The main benefit of a wrap carrier is that it is both extremely versatile and supportive, provided that you put it on correctly. Since it covers your whole baby and stays tight against your body, you can ensure that he or she gets all of the right support in the most critical areas (hip and head) while also making sure that all of the weight gets distributed as evenly as possible.

The other purpose of this type of carrier is to give you as many options for holding your baby as possible. As long as you can maintain the right amount of support, there are no limits to how you can do it. Overall, however, these carriers are best for newborns and infants who need extra head support.

Pros

  • Excellent weight distribution
  • Simplistic design
  • Incredibly versatile
  • Amazing head and hip support
  • Allows for breastfeeding much easier
  • ​Cost effective
  • ​Can be easy to take on and off when mastered
  • ​Ideal for newborns

Cons

  • Takes a while to learn how to use
  • Material will stretch out over time
  • Carrier can loosen quickly, meaning it needs readjustment regularly
  • ​Does not have storage or pockets
  • Not ideal for toddlers

Sling Baby Carriers

This version of a carrier is similar to a wrap in that it is a single piece of fabric, but it is less versatile and only allows you to carry your baby in a couple of different positions. Also, there are two varieties of slings you can get, each with their own benefits.

The first design is a pouch sling, which is fitted to your body and gives you ample room in the front in which you can put your little one. This setup is much more conducive to breastfeeding and ensures that you get the right kind of support for your baby. The downside, however, is that the material can stretch out over time as well as shift while you’re carrying your child, so you may have to adjust while using it.

The second type of sling is a ring sling, which uses metal or plastic rings to allow you to adjust the sling as needed. This version is a bit easier to master and won’t stretch out as much, but the rings themselves can be a literal pain if they wind up pressing up against your body.

Pros

  • Simple design
  • Relatively easy to use
  • Can be made from scratch
  • Easier to breastfeed
  • Ideal support for your baby
  • ​Ring slings are easier to adjust

Cons

  • Won’t distribute weight as evenly as other types
  • Can be hard to master at first
  • Limited carrying options
  • ​Rings can feel uncomfortable at times
  • Fabric may stretch out over time

Mei-Tai Carriers

This is a traditional Chinese style of baby carrier, and it provides ample carrying options and support for you and your child. This model is mostly similar to a soft structure carrier (seen below) in how it looks and feels, but instead of using buckles and straps it uses fabric and ties to secure your little one to your body. As such, these carriers are best suited for front, back, and hip carrying, making them a bit more versatile than a sling while also being much easier to master than a wrap.

The other benefit of Mei-Tai Carriers is that you can also make them yourself since they only use fabric. However, I recommend that only the most dedicated DIY enthusiast try to make one as it can be a rather involved process. Many high-profile brands make this kind of carrier, however, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find. What I like most about it is that it is more comfortable than a soft structured carrier while still having the same level of support and weight distribution. Most SS Carriers use rough nylon or plastic material, but Mei-Tai versions usually have much softer fabrics so that you and your little one are as comfortable as possible.

Pros

  • Easy to master
  • Soft and sensual
  • Can be made on your own
  • Versatile carrying options
  • Provides excellent support
  • ​Ideal for babies of all sizes
  • ​Can come with pockets and storage

Cons

  • More difficult to make than a sling
  • May not be conducive to breastfeeding
  • Not all models have ideal hip support
  • May require an insert for a newborn

Soft Structure Carriers

If ease and simplicity are the most important features for you, then this is a fantastic type of best baby carrier to get. Most SSCs are very easy to use, utilizing straps and buckles to make the whole process as simple as possible. These carriers can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they are mostly defined by the fact that they have shoulder straps that can be used in both the front or the back. In the end, these are far more widespread than most other carriers because there is such a small learning curve to them.

Another primary benefit of SSCs is that they can be put on or taken off by yourself (in most cases), which means that you don’t need any help getting your little one in the right position. While other models like slings or wraps can also be mastered to where you don’t need help, these are again so much simpler overall.

Finally, the other major selling point is that because they are so versatile and don’t require a lot of expertise, you can find SSCs practically everywhere. In fact, some baby stores may only have these types of carriers as they are by far the most ubiquitous.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy and reliable materials
  • Excellent support for you and your baby
  • Thick padding for comfort
  • Many models have pockets and storage
  • ​Easy to adjust
  • ​Won’t stretch out over time
  • Usually has better weight distribution

Cons

  • Material can be rough on your baby’s skin
  • Some models may not have ideal hip support
  • Limited carrying positions in some cases
  • May require an infant insert to hold a newborn

Baby Backpacks

These carriers are very similar to a soft structured model in that they use thicker and more robust material and have straps to keep your baby in place. However, as the name suggests, they are mostly designed to be worn on your back, so they are not for newborns or smaller infants. According to research, children should only be worn on the back if they are old enough to sit unassisted. You can hold them like this a little sooner than that if you provide ample support so that they don’t sit crookedly.

Because of the limited versatility of these carriers, you are much better off getting a soft structured model instead, but they can be useful for toddlers, especially if you do a lot of outdoor activities. In fact, the best reason to get a baby backpack is if you do a lot of hiking or walking with your little one as it will ensure that you don’t throw yourself off balance, and if you do fall forward, you don’t risk injuring your child. Otherwise, an SSC is a much better choice.

Pros

  • Easy to use and master
  • Excellent weight distribution
  • Provides ample support
  • Works well with toddlers
  • Ideal for hiking or long walks
  • Thick and durable material

Cons

  • Material may be abrasive to your child
  • Not suitable for infants or newborns
  • Limited carrying positions
  • ​May require extra inserts for support

Breastfeeding Carriers

As we have seen, some carriers are much more conducive to breastfeeding than others. As a new mother, it’s important that you can feed your baby whenever he or she is hungry, which is why it should be a critical part of your decision-making process if you are still breastfeeding while carrying your little one. Although this name does make it sound like these are a line of carriers designed for that specific purpose, it is more of a catch-all name that covers any carrier that is ideal for the practice.

Overall, the best models that can allow for quick and simple adjustment to breastfeeding are wraps and slings, with some versions of the Mei-Tai being an excellent choice as well. While SSCs are perfect for simplistic baby carrying, they are not that excellent at allowing for breastfeeding, unless you get a model that is designed for that purpose.

The reason that wraps and slings are so great for breastfeeding is that you are already holding the baby against you, so it doesn’t take too much to readjust so that your child can feed without problems. The issue with SSCs is that they usually have fabric between you and your baby, so you don’t have the same level of access. Also, it’s better to put your child in a sling position for feeding anyway, and not all SSCs have that capability.

Pros

  • Ideal for breastfeeding
  • Easier to adjust overall
  • Keeps your baby close
  • Better for bonding and interaction
  • Ideal for sleeping infants

Cons

  • Fabric can stretch over time
  • Readjustment can be tricky sometimes
  • Not all models are discrete

Toddler Carriers

As the name suggests, these models of carriers are built specifically to handle your child as he or she is growing beyond the infant stage. If your little one can sit on his or her own without any help, then these carriers are ideal. In many cases, you can find a model that grows with your child over time to become a toddler capable carrier, but you can also find units that are only built to hold larger children instead of newborns.

So why would you want to get a toddler carrier instead of something that can be used from infancy? Well, these models are usually stronger and easier to get on and off, and they have better weight distribution for the parents. Also, they are designed to hold more weight than most other carriers, meaning that you can use it for your three or four year old if necessary. Overall, you get better results than you would with a “growing” model that may not have the right kind of support you need.

Pros

  • Stronger and longer lasting
  • Ideal weight distribution
  • Perfect for larger kids
  • Usually come with pockets for storage
  • Easy to get on and off

Cons

  • Material may be rough
  • Not ideal for infants
  • Limited carrying options
  • ​Child will outgrow it much sooner

Hiking Carriers

For many people, going into the great outdoors is the perfect way to spend time as a family. Reconnecting with nature can be a fantastic and rewarding experience, which is why you want your little one to go along for the ride. These carriers are not designed for newborns or small infants, but rather toddlers who may have trouble navigating on uneven terrain by themselves. You don’t want your child to slip and fall along the way, so this kind of carrier can make the hike much more enjoyable and safer for everyone.

Some models are designed for babies, and they usually have extra support so that they don’t move around as much while you’re on the trail. Also, many of them have metal stands that allow you to keep the carrier upright so that your little one can sleep or relax without having to be carried all of the time.

Finally, hiking carriers are usually made with stronger materials and have more pockets and storage so that you can stay prepared on the trail and keep everything within hand’s reach. Overall, if you are the outdoorsy type, this is the best kind of carrier you can get for your child.

Pros

  • Durable and longer lasting
  • Works as a mini cradle with metal support stands
  • Extra storage
  • Helps keep your child safe and protected during long hikes
  • Thicker padding, so he or she doesn’t bounce around too much

Cons

  • Very limited carrying positions (most of them can only be worn on the back)
  • Most are designed for toddlers or older kids
  • Can be heavier with metal pieces and thicker material

Twin Carriers

While most parents have plenty to handle with one child, what happens if you have twins? Most of the models out on the market are designed with one baby in mind, not two. Fortunately, there are still plenty of options for those who have double the fun as twin carriers come in every shape and size as standard models. This means that you can pick the right one for you and your babies so that everyone is happy, healthy, and comfortable.

For newborns, wrap carriers are the best because you can position both babies against your chest. This will not only make it easier to breastfeed both at the same time, but it will help distribute the weight more evenly so that you don’t suffer back problems.

Ring sling carriers can also be useful for this reason, although you do have to make sure that you position it and your children just right so that they get the right kind of hip and butt support. With two fussy babies, it can be a handful to try and get it on, which is why you may prefer soft-structured twin carriers instead.

In that case, you can get a model that either keeps the babies side by side or has one in the front and one in the back. Some people prefer the latter option because it relieves pain and pressure on the lower back, but that does mean that you can only attend to one of your little ones at a time. If you are with your significant other, then it won’t be as big of a deal, but any trips where you’re on your own can be more of a hassle than anything.

Pros

  • These carriers come in all shapes and sizes
  • Many are well suited for newborns as well
  • Find the right size and fit for you and your children
  • Perfect for families with twins or babies that are close in age

Cons

  • Some setups can be more challenging than others
  • Putting a twin carrier on can usually require two people
  • Some carriers may not work with your children or your body type (regarding comfort)

Hip Carriers

For some parents, you want to be able to carry your little one around quickly and conveniently, but you don’t need a complicated setup with straps or a full-body covering. Usually, this is the case if you have a toddler who can walk, but sometimes needs or wants to be carried. In this instance, a hip carrier can be a great solution as it will be much better for you than trying to carry your child freehand.

The way it works is that the device sits on your waist like a large fanny pack. It has a seat on one side so that your baby can sit without risk of falling out. There are no shoulder pads (although some models come with a single cross strap) so you will still have to use your arms, but your kid’s weight is placed on your hip, and he or she won’t fall out, so it will be much easier overall.

Pros

  • Simple and easy to use
  • Allow for quick in and out of your baby
  • Better than holding your child freehand
  • Slim profile can be worn under clothes if necessary
  • Ideal for toddlers who can walk
  • Shoulder straps sometimes available for better support

Cons

  • Not ideal for smaller babies
  • Can still put a lot of pressure on your back and waist
  • Most do not have much (or any) storage

Backpack Carriers

These models are very similar to the baby backpacks we saw above, so sometimes the name may be interchangeable, depending on the brand and the style. These units are designed for carrying your little on the back only, although some models may allow for front positioning as well. Typically, these will come with a removable hood so that your child can stay protected from the elements such as the sun or the rain.

Since they are designed for back use, you cannot use these carriers for newborns or babies who cannot hold their heads up already. I recommend them for children at least a year old, but some may be fine for kids six months and up. Another defining feature of backpack carriers is that most of them have a waistband to distribute the weight more evenly, and they come with extra pockets for storage.

Another thing to consider is that many backpack carriers are built for outdoor use, meaning that you can use it instead of a hiking carrier so you can reduce the amount of overall weight. These don’t have the metal bars for standing the carrier on its own, which some people prefer.

Pros

  • Durable construction
  • Easy to use
  • Protects your little one from the elements
  • Extra storage
  • Lighter than a hiking carrier

Cons

  • Not built for newborns
  • Only one or two carrying positions available
  • Material may be rough against your child’s skin

Baby Carrier The Best Brands

In this final section, I will be showcasing the various brands you will come across during your search for a best baby carrier. Since children’s products are such a critical issue for many parents, most of the time people will develop brand loyalty and try to buy as many products from the same company as possible. Thus, if you have already purchased some items from one or more of these brands, you may choose to stick with it when picking out a carrier. However, as you will see, there are a lot of benefits to each of these companies, so I would recommend shopping around to make sure that you get the best one for you and your child.

LilleBaby

This company was started by a Scandinavian woman named Lisbeth Lehan, who was already a designer interested in creating stylish and functional products for new moms and dads. Drawing from her roots, Lisbeth set out to create a line of carriers and accessories that would be imbued with the Scandinavian spirit of family, happiness, and the great outdoors. The company tries to seamlessly merge form and function so that each carrier is both extra comfortable and extra stylish.

Today, the brand offers a wide variety of different carriers, from wraps and ring slings to soft structured models that provide support, comfort, and breathability. Many of the products are built to be used outdoors, meaning that they are designed to stay cool and stand up to most wear and tear. Additionally, most of the carriers can be utilized in different positions to allow for parents to pick the right placement for them and their baby.

Babybjorn

Since 1961, this Swedish company has become one of the most well-known in the world of baby carriers and products. However, if you thought that the carrier was the pinnacle of the company’s success, you thought wrong. In fact, the brand can be found in over fifty countries, and they produce many different products, including bounce houses, kitchen accessories, and bathroom essentials. In theory, you could get everything you need to help your baby grow and succeed all from this one business.

The company was started by Bjorn and Lillemor, who are still active in daily operations. Their mission statement is to create products that are high-quality, safe, and functional for all children. They take their work seriously, and you can see the attention to detail with each product.

Infantino

This is another company that specializes in a lot more than just baby carriers. In fact, you could almost say that carriers come second to toys and activity centers, as the brand makes a lot more of those. Nonetheless, Infantino has a wide variety of soft structured carriers that are both stylish and comfortable. The company is committed to making sure that all of its products are safe and easy to use, which is why its carriers are so well designed and free of harmful chemicals and products. While they aren’t organic or anything, they are better than some other brands out there.

Ergobaby

Started in 2003, this company was the result of a woman named Karin Frost being unhappy with the carrier options that were available in the early 2000’s. Since she was already a designer, it was relatively easy for her to come up with something a bit more ergonomic and comfortable than most other carriers, which is where the name Ergobaby came from. Since then, the soft structured models that the company produces were so good that they changed how everyone else made them. Part of the reason that they are so good is that they are built to provide extra closeness between baby and parent, and they provide excellent support. In fact, the Hip Dysplasia Institute has rated all Ergobaby carriers with high marks.

Although the brand started with carriers, now it has expanded into sleep accessories, strollers, and nursing pillows. The same attention to detail permeates through each product so that you and your baby get the best results.

Manduca

This is an international company that is based in Germany and can be found in many different countries. You can find the product in a few department stores in the US, but for now, the brand seems to be focused on international expansion rather than setting up shop stateside. Manduca started in 2008, and it makes a variety of soft structure carriers that can be worn on the front, back, or the hip. Many parents like the look and feel of these carriers as they are perfect for weight distribution and hip support for their little ones. Most Manduca models can work with newborns all the way until they are four years old, meaning that many families keep them for years and even pass them down as they have more kids.

Evenflo

Unlike most of the other brands on this list, Evenflo wasn’t started with the idea of creating a better baby carrier. In fact, if the name seems a bit odd for a carrier, that’s because the company started out making nipples for baby bottles. What set them apart was that they were not placed over the bottle, but rather underneath a secure ring, which is the design that revolutionized that industry.

For many decades, the company focused on nursing products, but in the last couple of decades, they have expanded to make strollers, baby furniture, and carriers. They have a limited selection of soft structure models, but they are both comfortable and easy to use. They may not be as unique or as stylish as some other brands, but they are functional and durable.

Boba

For most people, working while traveling the world is a pipe dream, especially if you have little kids. However, for the founders of Boba, they managed to get their company up and running while running to new places all around the globe. The brand started off making a single wrap carrier, and now it’s grown into something much larger and more successful. While wraps are still the company’s main product, they have also started selling soft structure models as well. In fact, those were designed by the founder's daughter, making it a family business through and through.

Because of the history of the company, you can see a lot of international influence in the designs of the wraps, giving them a more exotic appearance and style.

Beco

This brand is almost a literal rags to riches story, as the founder started with a broken sewing machine and an idea of creating a baby carrier that would give her a better way to connect with her son. She didn’t even know how to sew, but after a few weeks of practicing, she managed to create something that was stylish, affordable, and comfortable. The company has a small collection of soft structured carriers that have incredible prints as well as decent support for you and your baby. Also, Beco also sells a ring sling carrier that is easy to use and master, even if you haven’t used one before.

Cuddlebug

Much like the other brands on this list, Cuddlebug was started by a parent who wanted to make the world of baby carriers easier and better. The driving force behind the creation of the company was that the founder was appalled at the price of carriers, and vowed to create a product that had the same level of quality without the expensive price tag.

After doing some research and coming up with some designs, the brand was born, and the rest is history. Most of the carriers offered are wrap style, but you can also find muslin and Mei-Tai models as well. In addition to being more affordable, the brand is also committed to providing eco-friendly and organic materials. On top of all of that, each product has a lifetime warranty.

Mo+m

At first glance, you may think that the name of this company is something like Mom Plus or Mo(plus)M. However, the plus sign is actually a little T, and it stands for Mothers on the Move. Oddly enough, though, the brand was started by a father named Anthony who wanted to create carriers that were better than the competition.

Although the selection is relatively limited, you can find some high-quality soft structure, wrap, and ring sling carriers for a great price. Each product is held to the highest standard regarding durability, comfort, and safety, making Mo+m a great find. The other selling point of the brand is that each carrier is designed for parents on the go (hence the acronym), so everything is easy to use.

Final Verdict

After looking through all of the carriers on this list, I have to say that my top two picks would be the Ergobaby 360 or the Tula Ergonomic Carrier. Both of these have great features and a stellar design, which is why they are my top picks. However, if you want a wrap-style model instead, then the Baby K’Tan is a great option as well.

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Lora Colvin
 

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