The question we get more than any other is “What is the best baby carrier?”. Our organization exists because there’s no easy answer. The “best” carrier depends on you, how you want to use it, and the age of your child. If you find that you enjoy wearing your baby you’ll probably want to invest in at least 2 different carriers – one that’s quick and easy for short trips and a second, more supportive carrier for longer periods of time. There are 5 major carrier types. Be sure to also check out our safety tips.
Buckle / Soft Structured Carriers (SSC) are the most popular carrier style. They have a buckle waist, soft fabric panel, and buckle shoulder straps. All styles allow either a front or back carry, and some give hip or front-facing-out options. While some SSCs can be used from birth, they generally shine once your child develops some head control and weighs at least 10 pounds.
Popular brands include Ergo, Beco, and Boba.
Mei Tais are similar to SSCs, except they have long fabric straps instead of buckles. While they have a slightly higher learning curve you gain greater flexibility in carrying options and a more custom fit. They can be used for front, back, high back, or (rarely) hip carries.
Popular brands include Babyhawk, Freehand, Catbird Baby, and Kozy.
Ring Slings consist of a long piece of fabric which is threaded between two rings. The most popular carries are Heart to Heart (aka Tummy to Tummy), Cradle (while nursing) and Hip. Back carries are possible, but difficult for a new babywearer and never really ideal. They can be used from birth through toddlerhood, but as your child gets heavier you may find that carrying all of her weight on one shoulder is difficult.
Popular brands include Sleeping Baby Productions, Maya Wrap, Zolowear, Sakura Bloom, Kaleababy and Comfy Joey.
Pouches are the most compact carrier. Similar to a ring sling, they wrap over one shoulder and rest diagonally across the torso. While some are adjustable, they’re highly dependent on being perfectly sized to be worn safely. Many people will throw a pouch in their diaper bag or vehicle as an “emergency backup” carrier. Popular carries are Tummy to Tummy, Cradle (while nursing) and Hip.
Popular brands include Hotslings, Slinglings, Zolo and 7 Slings.
Wraps come in 2 major styles, stretchy and woven.
Stretchy wraps are very popular for newborns and can be used until your child weighs about 15 pounds. They’re generally about 5 yards of jersey (t-shirt like) fabric that you wrap around your body. The most popular carry is the Moby Hug Hold. Stretchy wraps may only ever be used for front or hip carries. Due to the fabric’s stretchiness a back carry should never be attempted.
Brands include Moby, Boba Wrap, and Wrapsody Stretch. You can make a stretchy wrap yourself fairly easily.
Woven wraps have the highest learning curve and the greatest flexibility. Highly popular in Europe, they’re a simple piece of cloth, generally 24-36” wide and 3-5.5 meters long. Generally the wearer will wrap the fabric around themselves and baby, going over both of their shoulders. This distributes weight across the entire torso and hips. Most name brands are woven to allow a very small amount of diagonal stretch.
Popular brands include Didymos, Girasol, Ellevil, Ellaroo, Kokadi, Oscha, Storchenweige, Vatanai and BB Slen.