Need help choosing the perfect baby carrier? This is how to choose a baby carrier you’re sure to love! Plus, I’m sharing 3 of the top baby carrier styles for your introduction to babywearing.
Babywearing isn’t a new thing. For centuries, mothers of many cultures have used baby carriers for carrying their babies around. In the past, baby carriers were simple slings and wraps, which are styles still used today in the modern world. But, with the resurgence in popularity, more styles of carriers are being created to accommodate the growing demands of the overwhelmed moms in all different situations. Various styles, colors, sizes, and fabrics make choosing the perfect baby carrier seem to be an even more daunting task.
While it may be intimidating when you first begin looking into babywearing, it’s not nearly as difficult.
Let’s talk about how to choose a baby carrier that will make you and your baby happy!
Do You Need a Baby Carrier?
Thinking about getting a baby carrier? It’s like having an extra set of hands!
Here are some reasons why choosing the right baby carrier can be a game-changer:
- Gives your tired arms a much-needed break while keeping your little one snug.
- Lets you tackle your to-do list while having your baby close for those sweet cuddles.
- Boosts that lovey-dovey oxytocin, making you and your baby feel even more connected. Research even suggests it could help with postpartum blues and anxiety.
- Say goodbye to struggling with that clunky stroller. Just strap on the carrier and you’re good to go.
- Navigating busy public areas becomes a breeze, no need to weave through a sea of legs with a stroller.
- Studies have found that babies who are carried for a few hours a day tend to cry less overall.
So why not make life a little easier and cozier for both you and your bundle of joy?
How to Choose a Baby Carrier
More important than the carrier itself, you must always follow the manufacturer weight recommendations.
Baby carriers are not one size fits all, therefore, it’s important to know weight and height recommendations for your baby, so that you and your baby will be safe and comfortable. A baby who is too small for a baby carrier will not be properly supported. A baby who is too large will be uncomfortable and can increase strain on your own body.
Many manufacturers will list sizing details about how much adjustment room each specific baby carrier has. This makes narrowing down your carrier options a little easier, so know your own size and whether or not you can adjust the carrier to fit you. You want your baby to be snug, but you don’t want the carrier to be too tight or too lose.
There’s nothing like making the mistake of purchasing a baby carrier without doing your research. Ask me how I know this is a disaster…
Do the research because choosing the perfect baby carrier doesn’t just happen by chance. Check the specifications of the carriers you’re considering to make sure they’ll fit and are of fabric fitting for your environment. Further, reading moms honest reviews of carriers will help you determine whether or not any carrier is one you should consider for yourself and your baby.
Try them on
You may be able to try on a variety of styles in your local baby shop. If you’re lucky enough to have a local babywearing group, make a point to visit one and try on some demonstration carriers. Bring along your spouse if he intends to practice babywearing. Choosing the perfect baby carrier is likely going to be a different experience for each of you.
- From Birth to Toddlerhood: Experience the joy of carrying your little one from day one all the way into early toddlerhood (7-45 lbs) in the Boba Classic baby wearing carrier! This infant carrier lets you explore the world with your baby safely snuggled upon your chest or back, keeping your precious cargo calm and content.
- Certified Hip-Healthy: The Boba baby carrier features a detachable infant insert with 2 seat configurations (+7lbs/+10 lbs) to support healthy hip and spine development and ergonomic positioning through all stages!
- 100% Cotton Canvas: Crafted from soft and sturdy cotton canvas, this newborn baby carrier is sure to stand the test of time! It’s gentle on your little one’s skin, easy to clean and machine washable, so you can cherish every moment without worrying about messes.
- Streamlined for Simplicity: Designed with your comfort and convenience in mind, the Boba carrier is streamlined to make your parenting journey easier. It features an easy-access buckle for fuss-free breastfeeding, a sleeping hood for sun shade and gentle head support, a detachable infant insert, and multiple pockets for on-the-go storage.
- Fits All Parents: Designed to fit moms and dads of various heights (5’0″-6’3″) and waist sizes (25″-58″), the Boba Classic Carrier features adjustable straps to tailor the fit to your body! The sturdy waistband provides unwavering support and distributes your little one’s weight for effortless, long-term carrying.
Trying on a carrier with your baby will help you determine fit and comfort for anyone wearing (or being worn). Of course, the best place to do this as a new babywearing mama is under the supervision of someone experienced, so they can help watch for the baby’s safety as well as making necessary adjustments for the right fit.
What Not to Focus On
You’ll find that the more involved you become in the babywearing community, the more you’ll hear about the different ways to carry your baby. If this is your first time practicing babywearing, focus on the basics. A simple front-carry is really the first thing you need to know to get started. As you become comfortable with a certain style of carrier, and with your baby, then venture out to learn all you can about other ways to carry your baby.
Don’t overwhelm yourself from the start.
How to Choose a Baby Carrier Style
Aside from all the research, choosing the perfect baby carrier means narrowing down the baby carrier style that’s right for your baby or toddler’s age. I’ll touch on the three most popular carrier styles, in hopes of making choosing the perfect baby carrier easier. When you’re more comfortable with babywearing, you can potentially find yourself experimenting with other styles and more carrying positions. But, my intent is not to overwhelm you with choices.
A sling is one of the best newborn baby carriers, assuming you can get over the feeling that your little peanut is going to wiggle himself right out. Choosing a sling for a newborn means you have to choose one that fits close to your body. Plus, the rings shouldn’t be made of a slippery metal. The rings need to keep the fabric in place so that you can be certain the baby won’t be able to wiggle free.
Some slings are a solid piece of fabric, meaning you wouldn’t have to worry about the rings, but you’d definitely need to make sure to get the correct size for your body.
A sling was never one I was able to get comfortable with. However, mothers who do get comfortable with them have found them useful for baby and toddler years.
Popular slings include:
The Hip Baby Ring Sling, which has a 4.4 star rating on Amazon with over 2,000 reviews. This one sells between $40 and $60 (at the time of writing this), which is reasonably affordable for most moms entering the world of babywearing.
- BREATHABLE AND LIGHTWEIGHT: We use 100% cotton in crafting this amazing woven, hand-loomed baby carrier. With its cotton breathable fabric, baby will feel comfortable while carried in this baby wrap. Our lightweight baby wearing wrap feature solid top quality aluminum ring sling. Perfect for baby weighing 8-35 pounds, use our baby sling carrier to calm infant and make them feel safe while carrying them close to your heart.The baby sling is also great for nursing on-the-go and as a nursing cover.
- EVERY WRAP IS UNIQUE: We offer baby carrier wraps that are fairly traded and individually handwoven in India. We use plant-based dyes to make each ring sling carrier beautiful and unique. Flaunt your personal style with our colorful, beautiful, and beneficial baby wrap carrier.
- ERGONOMIC DESIGN: Our Hip Baby Wrap is easy to manipulate. Our woven baby carrier has a superior ergonomic design, helping distribute baby’s weight evenly and comfortably across caregiver’s body, helping to relieve relieving the shoulders and neck from unnecessary strain. The baby sling carrier is easily adjustable to be used for front tummy to tummy and hip carries for infants through toddlers. It enhances parent-child bonding and child development.
- EASY CARE AND MAINTENANCE: Our cotton baby wraps carrier are easy to clean. Machine wash in cold water separately with natural laundry detergent, rinse thoroughly, and tumble dry low. Line dry to avoid shrinking. Expect the fabric to bleed extra dye from first few washes.
- YOUR PARENTING PARTNER: We are a small women-owned business in Miami, Florida, valuing parents’ relationship with their growing babies. We provide products like baby carriers of colorful print and simple design that let moms and dads traditionally, yet elegantly, carry their young ones. Our baby carrier wraps aim to boost your bonding with your babies while promoting their physical development.
Want something a little more luxurious? Try out this bamboo and linen baby sling by Nalakai. At $65, this sling has a 4.4 star rating on Amazon with over 3,500 reviews! This sling also offers a few patterns in both regular and extra length sizes.
- Creates a nourishing heartfelt bond: carrying your baby close to your chest will feel like being wrapped in a loving embrace, which helps your little love gain a sense of trust & belonging. It is the most natural, womb-like position & creates an intimate bond between you both. Even a colicky baby will be soothed quickly to sleep as you carry them in their soft baby sling.
- Eco-friendly, super soft bamboo & linen that’s kind to baby’s skin: this high-end fabric is a relaxed soft, and neutral sage green that is perfect for all seasons. We’ve paired our sage green bamboo blend fabric with pretty matte/grey silver rings. Our custom blend of bamboo and linen fabric provides an ultra-strong, lush woven fabric that is lightweight & silky smooth to gently shelter your baby as he or she drifts to sleep.
- Safest carry position for correct hip development: many baby wrap carriers interfere with healthy hip positioning as the baby is held incorrectly or facing outward & this can increase the risk of hip dysplasia. Nalakai ring slings harness your baby naturally in the m position so that hips can develop properly while keeping you and your baby comfortable. The front carry position massages your baby’s belly, improving digestion & preventing reflux & colic
- Regulates temperature better than a wrap: not all young babies can control their temperature well & can easily overheat in a wrap. Our ring sling baby carrier will keep you & your precious baby comfortable yet cool & won’t wrinkle your clothes as much either! The tail fabric can double as a nursing cover, so you can breastfeed your baby privately while on the go.
- 5% of profits to families in need: you can help! With each purchase, we donate on your behalf to Cepia, a charity supporting low-income families in Costa Rica. Designed by a mom of 2, our mission is to help families around the world. All ring slings are backed by a lifetime guarantee.
For the mom who is uncertain about a sling, but wants to give it a try, check out the Seven Baby Slings! You can get a Seven Baby Sling for free with code SAHM40. You’ll just have to pay a $3.50 sizing insurance fee and shipping and handling. But, with minimal investment, you won’t feel terrible if you don’t end up loving a sling. Sizing insurance with this one is important because this is not a ring sling and you will not be able to get the proper fit on-the-go.
A wrap is often the most intimidating to new mothers. To be honest, I had a wrap with my first baby, but was never able to comprehend how to wrap myself and a wiggly baby tightly enough to be of any use.
It took a babywearing introduction class at a local babywearing group to get a better understanding of how it’s done. I attended one when I was pregnant with my second and practiced babywearing with a baby doll after the introductory discussion was over.
Once my confidence was built with practice on the baby doll, I purchased a used wrap from a friend and practiced with a teddy bear over the course of the next few months as I waited for my second baby to be born.
Though wrapping a live baby is significantly different, I found this to be much easier than I’d ever given it credit for. And, because my son was under the weight recommendation for a soft structured carrier right after birth, the wrap was the perfect baby carrier during his newborn stage. I loved it because I was able to custom fit a wrap for my body and my baby, perfecting the support of my newborn’s neck, and keep him close as I carried on essential business.
The wrap was the introduction to babywearing we needed so that I could handle life as a mom more easily the second time around. And despite what others may believe, babywearing didn’t create this mama’s boy but it served an important function in handling my high-needs baby.
The Boba Wrap, Grey, is an Amazon Best Seller and Amazon Choice product. With the soft, stretchy material, you’re sure to get just the right fit for you and baby. It receives a 4.5 star rating with over 6500 reviews.
The Boba Wrap is an amazing product. It’s not unreasonably priced, and the stretchy material makes it possible to get a comfortably snug fit.
- Crafted for Newborns: The gentle bounce created by carrying your little one in this classic baby body carrier simulates the familiar environment of the womb, making this baby chest carrier perfect for newborns from 7-35 lbs
- Certified Hip-Healthy: The baby carrying sling has been certified “Hip Healthy” by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute and supports your little one’s natural position through all stages! Our ergonomic baby carrier for men and women offers even weight distribution to relieve pressure on your back and shoulders.
- 4-Way Stretch Fabric: Made from 95% French terry cotton and 5% spandex, the 4-way stretch newborn baby carrier is soft and supportive for both parent and baby. The baby carrying wrap is machine washable and dryer-proof
- One-Size-Fits-All: Designed to contour to the shape of every parent and baby perfectly, our petite to plus size baby carrier fits all shapes and sizes. The sag-resistant Boba wrap baby carrier supports babies from 7 lbs to 35 lbs
- Calm & Connected: Take in every magical moment with your little one wrapped up in this classic wrap. The sound of your heartbeat, the rhythmic bounce, and the best view in town keep your baby calm and connected and can even reduce crying and soothe them to sleep!
The 9-in-1 Cuddlebug Baby Wrap has a fabulous 4.4 star rating with nearly 5,600 reviews on Amazon. It is also an Amazon Choice product! For just a few dollars less than the Boba, you can have a very versatile and comfortable wrap. It’s also made of stretchy material to make getting a snug fit easier for you and your baby.
- Carry your baby HANDS FREE! There’s nothing in the world that compares to the feeling of a sleeping child against your chest, the sweet-smelling, down-covered head under your nose. In the early days with a newborn, mothers have time to enjoy these moments.
- GET THINGS DONE WHILE BONDING – Develop strong emotional bonds and constant stimulation with the flexibility and freedom to go where you want and get things done.
- COMFORTABLE AND SECURE – Support your baby in this MACHINE WASHABLE buckle-free, ring-free, Premium blend of 95% Cotton, 5% spandex. As gentle as wearing a T-shirt but strong enough to support your baby’s head.
- SIMPLE, EASY-TO-USE, SINGLE-PERSON INSTRUCTiONS – Zero frustration instructions. Quick learning curve. You’ll be on the move in no time with the easy-to-follow instructions for any carry. From car-seat to CuddleWrapped in as little as 1 minute. Even with a fussy baby.
- GIVE BACK – A portion of your purchase goes to support the Guatemalan charity “Long Way Home” which provides self-sufficient schools for communities in need.
Seven Baby now offers wraps. With the discount code SAHM40, you can purchase one for about $20 plus shipping and handling. That’s a pretty good deal for giving a wrap a shot if this is your first time.
Soft Structured Carrier
This was, by far, my most favorite carrier. The moment my son was big enough to transfer to a soft structured carrier, we switched. My husband gave me one for Mother’s Day after I lamented about believing I needed one, but wasn’t willing to shell out good money on one for the second (and last baby). And, there was no way I was buying another cheap carrier that would hurt my back and make me hate wearing my baby.
A cheap carrier was the reason I didn’t practice babywearing with my first.
So, to my surprise, I was gifted a Boba 4G and became a firm believer in the power of babywearing. We did everything with the carrier. From talking walks to the creek to visiting theme parks, the carrier went everywhere. And, eventually, I learned to breastfeed in a carrier.
A soft structured carrier is, in my opinion, the easiest of all the carriers to master. Once you select the perfect one for your body and your baby, it’s relatively easy to adjust them to fit. Learning to carry in different positions is easier too. Finally, some manufacturers make soft structured carriers strictly for toddlers, so you have a wide range of carriers available to choose from.
I will start with my personal favorite, the Boba 4G.
The reason I chose this carrier was because it included an infant insert (although my little guy was still under the weight recommendation for the first few weeks). I had to start with a wrap and then moved to using the Boba as soon as he weighed enough.
Once he past the infant stage, I pulled out the insert. I’ve been wearing him nearly everywhere in the 4G and learned to breastfeed in it. Additionally, I learned to back carry, which we do on occasion now that he’s a toddler.
For the money, a Boba 4G is versatile. It will last you several years and through some of your baby’s toddler-hood, depending on weight.
Features I like about the Boba 4G (now 4GS since writing this post):
- Wide body to help conceal a breastfeeding baby.
- A hood that zips into its own pocket for sleeping or shielding from sun.
- Ergonomic design
- Variety of patterns to suit your personal tastes
- Functionality and comfort at a price fit for the years of use you’ll get.
- Fits a variety of body types from XS to XXL.
The verdict is still out for me on the Beco 8 carrier. While it has the back brace for added support, I feel as though it prevents me from tightening the straps enough for a comfortable and snug fit. I have yet to take the back brace off and try a back carry though.
What I DO love about this carrier is that it has a zip down mesh back to help keep your baby cool in warmer climates (I’m in Florida). And when it’s cooler outside, I can zip it back up for warmth.
Additionally, it comes with an infant insert and is capable of 8 carry positions.
Hopefully I have you set up for choosing the perfect baby carrier. As always, let me know if you have any questions!
Did I miss any important points on how to choose a baby carrier?
This post originally appeared Feb 2018 and has been updated for accuracy.
FAQs on How to Choose a Baby Carrier
When should I start carrying my baby with a baby carrier?
You can use a carrier like a ring sling beginning on the first day. Once you get used to it, they’re usually more manageable than toting baby around in a car seat. But pay attention to size/weight recommendations.
How long should a newborn be in a baby carrier?
If your baby is alert and awake, consider giving your baby a break from the carrier after about an hour to stretch and move.
How often should I carry my baby?
Your baby may determine how long he or she needs you. My son needed me constantly, so I wore him while I did house chores, cooked, or took walks. We took breaks for baths, potty, naps and bedtime.
What are the disadvantages of wearing baby in a sling or carrier?
Generally speaking, the biggest downside to babywearing can be mother’s discomfort, though if you wear properly, this isn’t always a concern. An ill-fitting carrier can be problematic for you and baby, so follow safety guidelines and the manufacturer’s height and weight recommendations.
What is the recommended weight for a baby carrier?
Generally, you can start toting your baby around in a carrier beginning at 7 pounds and can often wear until your baby is between 35 and 45 pounds. Be sure to check your carrier’s recommended weight limits.
Should I carry my newborn all day?
As long as you’re nurturing your newborn and meeting their essential needs, there are no specific recommendations or guidelines for how long or how often you can carry your baby.
5 Best Selling Baby Carriers on Amazon
- Design: 4-in-1 convertible carrier with adjustable ergonomic seat with adjustable shoulder straps and waist belt to shift weight to the wearers hips for a more comfortable fit
- Wearing positions: Convertible facing-in and facing-out design for newborns and older babies, weighing between 8-32 pounds
- Benefits and use: Experience hands-free convenience with opportunities for bonding and developmental benefits, whether it’s running errands or exploring parks, there’s no place like close
- Adjustability: Adjustable 2-position seat, padded shoulder straps and supportive waist belt, designed to fit a wide range of body types and lifestyles
- Infantino, smartly designed products for happy parenting: We design smartly, we have fun and we’re overjoyed when an idea evolves full circle into a product loved and used daily by parents everywhere
- DESIGN – 4-in-1 carrier with adjustable ergonomic seat, shoulder straps and waist belt to shift weight to the wearers hips for a more comfortable fit
- WEARING POSITIONS – Convertible facing-in and facing-out design for newborns and older babies, weighing between 8-32 pounds
- BENEFITS & USE – Experience hands-free convenience with opportunities for bonding and developmental benefits, whether it’s running errands or exploring parks, there’s no place like close
- ADJUSTABILITY – Adjustable 2-position seat, padded shoulder straps and supportive waist belt, designed to fit a wide range of body types and lifestyles
- INFANTINO, SMARTLY DESIGNED PRODUCTS FOR HAPPY PARENTING – We design smartly, we have fun and we’re overjoyed when an idea evolves full circle into a product loved and used daily by parents everywhere
- STYLISH PRINTS – Baby-wearing never looked more fabulous than these stylish new Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier prints now available in leopard, camo, and rainbow. You’ll love the chic and trendy design, and your baby will love being close to you
- CONVENIENT FOR PARENTS – Experience the convenience of baby-wearing with this affordable carrier that will free your hands and give you more opportunities to bond with your baby
- INFANT TO TODDLER CARRIER – The Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier can be used from infancy to toddler, making it the perfect carrier for multiple stages. It easily converts to four carrying positions, so you can always adjust to the most comfortable and developmentally appropriate way to carry your child
- EASY-TO-USE – The Flip carrier is easy to put on and take off, making it a hassle-free experience for parents on the go. Just click and adjust where needed, and you’re ready to go!
- ADJUSTABLE FOR COMFORT – No one wants a carrier that’s too tight or too loose. That’s why we’ve made our carrier adjustable for comfort. You can customize the straps, supportive waistbelt, head support, and ergonomic seat to fit you and your child perfectly
- Perfect for On-the-Go Parents: Our simple-to-use design is ideal for quick trips and on-the-go families. This pouch carrier is light and compact, making it easy to stash or pack in the stroller or diaper bag
- 2-Ways to Carry: Parents can conveniently wear their baby in 2 positions including inward facing so your baby’s face is always in your sight or outward facing so your baby can explore the world around them.
- Easy to Adjust: An easy front buckle system opens and closes in a snap, so putting baby in and out of the carrier is easy. Plus, our crossbody adjustable back strap allows you to adjust the carrier with one simple pull comfortably
- Handy Wonder Cover Bib & Essentials Pocket: Our Wonder Cover Bib protects your clothes and the carrier from the inevitable baby drool and spit-up. A large built-in front pocket allows parents to keep essentials within reach.
- Designed with Love: At Infantino, we love babies, we adore kids, and we admire their moms and dads. We work hard to create products that guide development and bring joy as your baby grows. Happy parents and little ones are what we are all about.
- One carrier that does it all: Grows with baby from newborn to toddler (0-48 months; 7-45lbs)
- All carry positions: Inward, front outward, hip & back carry
- 100% premium cotton: Soft and cozy for the ultimate in comfort
- Comfort: Padded lumbar back support and extra padded shoulder straps: Can be used in two ways, regular or crossed shoulder straps
- Premium features: Large removable storage pouch: UPF baby hood for sun protection and privacy for easy breastfeeding: Machine washable.