Gear

Best Baby Carriers for Your Bundle of Joy

by Melissa Willets


Best Baby Carriers for Your Bundle of Joy
Shop Story

When you have a baby, there are some can’t-live-without products all parents need if you plan to leave your house again. Ever. Like a stroller for sure, but what if you want to go out without lugging an entire travel system? That’s where a baby carrier comes in handy. It’s a far more lightweight option that offers countless benefits.

 

Let’s start with the fact that most baby carriers are machine washable! Um, are you doing a happy dance, too? Beyond just ease of use, baby carriers make daily life with your baby more cuddly. You’ll log some serious bonding time during any activity that requires the use of your hands; so yeah, everything. Babywearing also aids in baby’s social development, as she learns about the world around her from the best vantage point there is: close to you. Baby carriers offer the added bonus of facilitating discreet breastfeeding, as in, you won’t be flashing everyone within a 15-foot radius. Dads can get in on the babywearing fun, too, since manufacturers are now making tactical carriers just for men.

 

You’ll find that selecting the best baby carrier is very personal, and oh boy (or girl), are there a lot to choose from! You aren’t alone if you feel as overwhelmed as when you had to decide on a baby name. But before you panic picking between a baby carrier wrap and a baby sling carrier, know this: We got you! Here are the best carriers on the market for babies at all stages, and to fit every lifestyle and budget.

 

 

Best Sling Baby Carrier: Moby Sling

 

Best Affordable Baby Carrier: Evenflo Breathable Soft Carrier

 

Best Baby Carrier For Newborns: Baby Tula Free-To-Grow Baby Carrier

 

Best Baby Carrier For Toddlers: LÍLLÉbaby The COMPLETE All Seasons SIX-Position, 360° Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier

 

Best Mei Tai Baby Carrier: Infantino Together Soft Knit Carrier

 

Best Front-Facing Baby Carrier: Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier

 

Best Baby Carrier For Breastfeeding: Baby K’tan Baby Carrier

 

Best Tactical baby Carrier For Dad: Mission Critical Baby Carrier

 

Best Baby Carrier Backpack: Boba 4G Carrier

 

 

What Are the Different Types of Baby Carriers?

 

Baby carriers are basically wearable baby pockets for parents that secure and keep little ones close to the body. You may find that your baby prefers a certain style of carrier that allows for a certain carry position, like forward-facing, so she can see what’s up, or snuggled into you, so she can hear your heartbeat. Here are some types to experiment with.

 

        • Sling

The baby sling carrier consists of a long piece of fabric with a ring to secure it. It can be used from birth, without having to add an additional insert, which some other carriers require. You’ll love how a sling carrier keeps baby this close to your body, making bonding and breastfeeding a cinch.

   

        • Fabric Wraps

With a wrap, there are no buckles or straps to adjust, and instead, it’s secured by tying a knot. It may seem intimidating to master the baby wrap at first, but if you can have a baby, you got this! Many moms favor the comfort and closeness that wraps provide, as well as how they offer different carry positions (hip, chest) that grow with baby.

 

        • Frame Carrier

If you need something super sturdy for family adventuring, a frame carrier is for you. This type of carrier is designed for an older child who can sit up unsupported.

 

        • Soft, Structured Carrier

Some people find that a wrap or sling-style carrier doesn’t feel secure enough. In this case, a soft, structured carrier, which fastens baby to your body using adjustable buckles and straps, is a great option. You’ll also appreciate the wide waist and shoulder straps that won’t strain your back or shoulders.

 

        • Mei Tai Carrier

No, it’s not a tropical drink. Think of a mei tai carrier as a soft carrier/wrap hybrid. Baby sits in a structured seat and is secured to your body by tying lengths of fabric. If you can’t decide between the soft, structured variety and a wrap, this is the choice for you.

 

Why You Need a Baby Carrier

Because stairs and strollers don’t mix. And your baby always wants to be carried, but you can’t feel your biceps anymore. But in all seriousness, at home or beyond, a baby carrier provides sweet, special time together while taking up way less space than a stroller. Moms of multiple kiddos may also find that stowing one in the stroller and one in the carrier is the best way to mobilize a big brood.

 

What to Look for in a Baby Carrier

 

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends babywearing for bonding, but it’s important to always make sure you follow the T.I.C.K.S. safety guidelines when you use a baby carrier.

 

T – keep baby tight and close to your body
I – ensure baby is in your view at all times (so not slumped down)
C – position baby close enough to plant a kiss on her soft, little head
K – keep baby’s chin off the chest so her airway is open
S – keep her back supported

 

Most baby carrier brands offer instructional videos on their websites that walk you step-by-step through how to secure your baby in the carrier properly. One more note on safety: Check to see if the carrier you choose is safe for use with newborns. Some baby carriers will require that you use an infant insert; in this case, check the suggested weight limit so you know how long to use the insert. Be sure to buy the carrier that works for your child’s age and size, which will be specified in the product description. Also, think about how and when you will use the baby carrier, which will inform not only the type of carrier for you but also how much you want to spend. For example, if your baby carrier is going to be an integral part of your everyday life, you may feel comfortable increasing your budget. Check out these top-rated options in each category.

 

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Sling Baby Carrier

Moby Sling

Price:$50.00

The Moby sling may a little intimidating, but fear not! How-to videos are going to be your savior, and once you get the hang of it, securing your baby in the sling will seem like second nature. Parents love this carrier because the fabric is stretchy but sturdy. Whether you chose to carry your baby on your chest or hip, you get comfort and peace of mind that your baby isn’t going anywhere! For use between 8 - 45 pounds.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The fabric is strong and thick, so the fabric doesn't stretch and the rings hold tightly. It rolls up pretty small too, so it’s easy to travel with.”

“This is a great ring sling if you're looking on a budget. I have several more expensive one and this one stands up.”

“I was so sad because I thought baby wearing just wasn’t for us, but then I tried the Moby ring sling!”

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Affordable Baby Carrier

Evenflo Breathable Soft Carrier

Price:$31.00

For a 2-in-1 soft, structured carrier from a dependable brand you can trust, the Evenflo baby carrier can’t be beat. Newborns can be worn facing mama (starting at 7 pounds), while older babies with head and neck control can face out, made easier by a fold-down front. You’ll wear your baby with confidence since the lining is vented for breathability. It’s important to note that once baby is over 26 pounds, you’ll need to move on to another carrier, but what a great product for getting through the first months with your little one!

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“A great carrier for the price. My newborn son (6-weeks of age) wants to be held or carried at all times, and this carrier allows my wife and me to carry him while still being able to use our hands for household tasks.”

“I bought this carrier because you can face baby out, which not all carriers are able to do. Also it’s a great price.”

“This carrier is great- can't beat the price, and our baby doesn't overheat like in the other (much more expensive) carriers we have. Easiest carrier to get an infant in and out, comfortable for baby and for parents, and no complex ties/adjustments.”

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Baby Carrier for Newborns

Baby Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier

Price:$149.00

The Tula is made for a child starting at 7 pounds, while many carriers’ weight range starts at 8 pounds. You won’t have to buy an additional infant insert, either. It’s a top pick for the ergonomic design, which means it promotes proper spine and hip alignment. The carrier easily adjusts for Mom’s or Dad’s height and waist size, so no need to get his-and-hers carriers. There are many fun and cute prints to choose from, and a coordinating hood shields your sweetie from the sun, an especially useful feature since you shouldn’t apply sunscreen to infants under 6 months.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“During the summer the wraps and the carriers with the inserts are too hot. This carrier is a nice pliable and breathable cotton, but still very sturdy. It doesn't feel like baby is going to fall out.”

“This carrier is amazing! Small enough to fit a little baby but big enough to fit a toddler!”

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Baby Carrier for Toddlers

LÍLLÉbaby The COMPLETE All Seasons SIX-Position, 360° Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier

Price:$140.00

As your baby grows, you’ll want as much lumbar and shoulder support as possible when carrying him, and the LÍLLÉbaby carrier provides that. And with 6 ways to carry baby, from facing in to facing out to backpack style, it’s no wonder this baby carrier is top rated. Parents love it because you can unzipper a pouch for more breathability, and expandable leg holes grow with your child. For use up to 45 pounds, or until your kiddo is intent on just running on up ahead of you!

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“It is seriously the best designed, most functional carrier I have seen.”

“I love this carrier! I live in Florida and walk daily so I needed something that my infant wouldn't over heat in and was good for my lower back.”

“It will even hold my 40lb 3 year old.”

Image Credits: Buy Buy Baby

Best Mei Tai Baby Carrier

Infantino Together Soft Knit Carrier

Price:$40.00

The Infantino baby carrier is a favorite of parents because of the price and its ease of use. You basically slip the carrier over your head like putting on a shirt, so it’s hard to mess up! This carrier is best for babies weighing between 8 - 25 pounds, so there’s an expiration date. But the simplicity and cute design make it a top pick, as does the price.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I received many compliments while wearing it too and many moms and dads were impressed with the design. It's like a wrap but with all the fuss and confusion - that was the best part!”

“This wrap carrier is truly the best of both worlds! It has the soft comfort of a wrap, but the ease of a structured carrier. It folds up nicely to fit in a diaper bag. It was very simple to use. I have had other wraps that feel like they require a PhD to wear properly.”

Image Credits: Target

Best Front-Facing Baby Carrier

Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier

Price:$80.00

No, you’re thinking about Zach Galifianakis in The Hangover. But seriously, this brand has stood the test of time and still ranks high for parents who want a carrier that their baby can face out in and explore their worlds. The Baby Bjorn is a great utility carrier to keep on hand for walks, shopping, park playdates and household chores.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I am really happy with it. I tried different carries and so far this works for us.”

“I work out with my son (7 months old) in it and he falls asleep every time.”

“This carrier is great and so nice that the baby can be placed in four different positions. It is a little pricey, but I think with how much we use it, it's worth it!”

Image Credits: Buy Buy Baby

Best Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding

Baby K’tan Baby Carrier

Price:$50.00

This wrap/carrier hybrid is made of stretchy fabric, and slips on like a shirt. You can wear baby in a sling position or upright, snug against your chest. Either way, the stretch of the fabric makes it a breeze to breastfeed on demand. Users say it’s easy to put on, so if baby wants to eat like NOW, you won’t get all flustered trying to get the thing on. A word of caution: This carrier is sold by the size of the wearer, so be sure to consult the Baby K’tan size chart before ordering. Some people say you should order a size down from what you typically wear because the fabric will stretch out. Use when baby is between 8 - 35 pounds.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I just started using my K’Tan now that my baby weighs 8 pounds. We love the hug position. It is great for skin to skin and keeps him very warm.”

“Love this baby carrier. Especially for newborns/infants. Really easy to use. No complicated wrapping. My baby always feels snuggled and safe. Comes with a carrying bag. So makes it easy to pack it in his diaper bag.”

“As soon as I put him in it he relaxed and snuggles in. It was very easy to put on and simple to place baby in the sling.”

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Tactical Baby Carrier for Dad

Mission Critical Baby Carrier

Price:$139.00

For dads who carry, there’s Mission Critical, a company that designs baby products just for men. The tactical carrier is crafted for a man’s larger size versus a woman and comes safety certified so Dad doesn’t have to worry about anything other than keeping baby content on the go. Available in a manly black design, the carrier features adjustable customization, mesh ventilation to keep Dad and baby cool, and MOLLE attachment capability — because dads need extra gear.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“The style definitely grabs attention as it isn't designed for women, like most carriers are. It gives the rugged appeal and I can go with it.”

“As a first time dad, it is obvious that the baby carrier "market" is focused on moms being happy with pretty colors and not much else. Mission critical took the time to design and engineer a product made to last and safely carry your child.”

“The design allows me to transfer the baby & carrier to someone else if I need a break.”

Image Credits: Amazon

Best Baby Carrier Backpack

Boba 4G Carrier

Price:$105.00

Meet the baby carrier that can be worn on the front or the back, making it a truly versatile option for parents of babies from 7 - 45 pounds (the manufacturer recommends using the backpack carry from 25 - 45 pounds). Parents are raving about how comfortable and easy to adjust this carrier is, as well as how it fits both Mom and Dad. The top-rated Boba features storage pockets, a sleeping hood and mega-padding for the comfort of parent and child.

What Reviewers Are Saying:
“I don't know how to put into words how much I love this carrier. I have worn my daughter for at least 5 hours a day in the 4G carrier since her birth and she is currently 5 months old. It is super comfortable, enough so that I can go on long walks/hikes with it.”

“Got this for my wife. She loves it. Literal love. She won't stop talking about it. She follows me around the house with our daughter comfortably squished against her just talking about the Boba. It won't stop.”

“I love our Boba so much, this is the second one I purchased! I sometimes even wear them both at the same time! Boba is the only way I can survive being out of the house with four kids ages four and under!”