Choosing the Best Baby Carrier

The best guide for choosing the right baby carrier!

I’m often asked about what carrier someone should get and my answer is always the same: it depends.

I think the main question is what kind of walking you’re going to do with your child – are you talking quick trips to the mall or a Lord of the Rings march?

Other factors like expense, ease of use and size of the person wearing the carrier factor in as well, but with that in mind, here are my top picks to help you narrow it down a bit:


Baby Bjorn

Personally I loved my Bjorn for my newborns. It is easy to figure out (especially helpful for my first-time-mom jitters) and keeps the baby nice and tight on your chest. It doesn’t look too “hippyish” so my husband was happy to wear it as well. I loved it when I wanted to drive somewhere but wear my baby at the destination (mall, farmers market, etc) so I wouldn’t have to haul the car seat around. The only downside to the Bjorn is that I found it started to hurt my back when my baby got bigger (like over 6 months) so I traded it in for an Ergo. I also found the Bjorn a dream to get my baby in and out of – I was actually able to transfer from carrier to crib a couple of times with it.

Best for: newborns, anti-hippy people, people who are driving a lot and want an easy in-n-out carrier, short periods of baby wearing. You can usually find it for around $80.


Infantino Swift

If you’re on a bit of a budget or just need a carrier for when you’re in a pinch, nothing beats Infatino’s Swift. For less than $20 you get a sturdy carrier that gets the job done. This would be great for someone that usually gets around with a stroller but wanted a newborn carrier once in a while. As with the Bjorn, I have to think this would get hard on your back as your baby got bigger (I don’t buy the whole crotch dangler argument) so you’d probably want a second stage option whether it be another carrier or stroller. They also make a nice Mei Tai option as well.

Best for: Tight budgets, stroller users that want a back up for a newborn, short periods of baby wearing. You can usually find it for around $20.


Moby

I have to admit that Mobys intimidated me when I was pregnant. What if I didn’t tie it correctly and the baby just dropped out of the bottom?! Now that I’ve had to secure a couple of kids to my body, I realize how unlikely that was – babies are pretty light and you can really feel if they are slipping or not.

The best thing about the Moby is that you can customize the fit to both you and your baby. Super wee babies fit nice and snug up to your chest and gooney toddlers can comfortably sit on your hip. It has more of a ‘granola’ feel than a more structured carrier but once you get the hang of it, the Moby sounds like a really comfy option. Some reviewers have said it can get hot with all the fabric – which can be a plus or minus depending on where you live.

Best for: newborns (can go up to 35 pounds though), cooler climates, someone who doesn’t mind a little learning curve to get the customized comfort, long periods of baby wearing. You can usually find them for around $50.


Ktan

So the Ktan is similar to the Moby in that it’s a wrap’ish carrier but rather than a long length of fabric, it’s a loop (like an infinity scarf). Some people feel that it’s a little easier to put on and there is less of a learning curve to use it. It has that nice, comfy custom fit and doesn’t cost an insane amount of money. The slight downside is that it is sized so if you are small and your husband is large (or vice versa) you won’t be able to use the same carrier.

As with the Moby, the Ktan is a dream for newborns because you can really tuck those little bugs right up to you and they love it.

Best for: newborns (but works up to 35lbs), single users (or a bunch of people that are similar in size), small learning curve for customized comfort, long periods of baby wearing. Typically run about $50.


Hotsling

Unlike a wrap, you just put the sling on and slip the baby in so there’s no need for tricky tying or gymnastics to get your baby secured. They are light, compact and comfortable. The Hotsling is nice and wide so it doesn’t cut into your neck (I’m assuming that’s a feature we’d all enjoy) and it actually can go up to 35lbs so you can haul a pretty big kid in it. It comes in two sizes so if there is a big size difference between you and other caregivers, that can be a big of a drag. Some people find slings in general too loosey goosey and are willing to trade the ease of “on and off” for a more secure fit of a wrap. Ring slings are another variation worth checking out if you’re thinking about the sling route.

Best for: simple lightweight baby carrying, all sizes (but I would still say newborn), long periods of baby wearing, quick on and off, very compact. About $65.


Boba 4G

If the idea of a wrap doesn’t appeal to you then a Boba 4G may be a nice solution. It’s a soft-structured carrier that actually come with a simple to use newborn insert that acts like a little bum booster pillow when your baby is little. Anyone can wear it and there is very little learning curve on how to use it. It is starting to get pricier but it will last you past the newborn stage as you can wear it on your front or back. Some kids get a little pissy that they can’t see out all the time but that’s a bit of the trade off you get for the incredible support – it even comes with a little head holding sleeping-hood if you need it.

To me it looked like it could get a little tricky getting a baby in and out of (especially a squirmy toddler) but as with everything, I’m sure you could master it with practice.

Best for: all stages, multiple wearers, long periods of baby wearing, anyone that like the idea of wrap comfort but doesn’t trust their tying skills. Usually runs around $125


Beco Gemini

One of the best features of this carrier is that you can face your baby out which many kids really love when they hit the six or seven month mark and want to see the world. Some people also find this one a lot easier to get on than a Boba and Ergo, however, it has a safety release that requires two hands to get it off (wtf?!) so that could be a pain. A few people have mentioned in reviews that newborns get a little swallowed up in this sucker, but I suppose that depends on the size of your newborn.

Best for: all stages (especially non-newborn) flexible carrying positions with long term comfort, super safe release clips that don’t have to clip at your back (some folks find a back clip hard to reach.) They run around $130.


Ergobaby 360

When my son was around 7 months old I found my Baby Bjorn was starting to hurt my back so someone suggested I check out an Ergobaby carrier. First I balked at the price then decided I would give it a whirl – we always went for such long walks that I figured it would be worth it if it worked. Sweet baby jebus, what ergonomic wonder was this? I found the Ergo extremely comfortable and could haul that kid to the ends of the earth in it. I actually carried him through a snowstorm in it when he was two and I was 7-months pregnant (it wasn’t a pretty postcard but, hey, I was getting from A to B.) My husband still preferred the Bjorn and I always wondered if that has anything to do with weight distribution between men and women being higher and lower (dunno).

I do find the Ergo to be better suited to non-newborns. They have an insert that you can buy separately but I’ve read that it can be bulky and hot (maybe not a bad thing if you live in a cold climate). Some people find the back clip tricky to get at in which case a Beco may be a better bet.

I had the original (I prefer the non-velcro waistband) but the 360 has four carrying positions (you can face them forward in this version) which gives you a little more variety.

Best for: Non-newborns (you can buy an insert though), long term wearing, easy to get on and off, really comfortable. Around $115 for the original and $160 for the 360.


Carriers are a really personal thing. So much depends on how long you want to wear your baby (quick trip grocery shopping or walking around for hours), how willing and confident you are to learn how to customize a fit, and what your budget is like.

That said, there’s a reason parents have been strapping their kids to them from the beginning of time; it keeps the baby safe and close, and kids generally love it, so read the reviews and snap one up and always, ALWAYS say ‘yes’ someone offers you their carrier – you never know what’s going to strike the right chord with you and your baby.

Let me know which one you used and if you liked it or not!

Happy hauling!


Win an Ergobaby 360 Baby Carrier!

But wait, there’s more. Mwhahaha!

I told the folks at Diapers.com that I was doing this post and they wondered if I’d like to give away an Ergobaby 360 carrier. Why yes. Yes, I would like to give away a bad-ass Ergo 360 that gets amazing reviews and is constantly sold out everywhere to one of you! So here you go, kids. Enter to win an Erogbaby 360 that retails for $160. It’s open to U.S. and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hey, there are also a few reasons to love the Diapers.com Baby registry. They have a free 365-day return policy, a 15% Friends & Family discount, they can ship registry items up to 6 months past your due date (hang tight on the booster seat), they have a mobile app where you can scan an item in-store to add it to your registry, a 10% completion discount, AND a dollars for diapers feature where people can gift you credits for diapers (lotsa poop). Not too shabby! You can check it all out here and build your registry today!

This post was created in partnership with Diapers.com. All the opinions in this post are my own – as are the spelling errors and bad grammar.

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72 Comments

  • We started out with the snuggli, essentially a cheap version of the bjorn. It killed my back by 8lbs 🙁 A year later we splurged on a Beco Butterfly 2 (unfortunately no longer made) and I think the Beco Soleil would be even better. I adore our carrier. I can carry a 2 year old for an hour or more comfortably but it works just as well for a newborn.

    For those contemplating a SSC but not wanting to use an infant insert, it’s possible to do a froggy leg carry instead. Our 2nd and 3rd babies were both too tall for the infant insert, but luckily someone encouraged me to look up this carry. Both infants loved the position and I didn’t have to pad myself back to looking 9mo pregnant. It would also help in hotter climates.

  • My sister in law gave us her Ergo Sport because her kids hated being carried so all we had to buy was the infant insert. Personally, I found it to be too hot for the constant wearing my son needed in Hawaii (no central air and we spent our days packing for a cross country move). I switched over to an Eco Cub wrap ($35 Amazon) and found that to be a much cooler option as it’s less fabric than a Moby. I liked that one so much I bought a second one. My son has been super clingy so having the ability to wear the wrap all day (and I can wear it while driving) has been a God send.

  • I love my Lillé baby carrier! It’s perfect, can use it multiple ways and no need to purchase an infant insert that I would’ve probably used for all of two weeks and felt like it was a total waste.

  • After trying on several styles in a local store (Melons & Clementines in Montreal; they also have a loan program so you can try them out for a while in real life, for longer periods of time), I ended up getting a Tula. I have a very bad back and found that all the others’ buckles were too high to give comfortable support. I felt like they were pulling my neck down, whereas the Tula’s buckle has an adjustable height and can go as far down as shoulder blade height, which suits me much better. I’ve worn my Tula for hours, and until my baby was well over 1, wearing her felt like she weighed basically nothing. Now, at almost 2, I can’t wear her for as long, but the Tula is still comfortable for both of us.

  • We have tried a multitude of carriers trying to find one we really liked. We have the Jeep 2-in-1 Sport baby carrier, the Peanut Shell sling and the Infantino Mei Tai wrap. Out of all of these, my favorite by far was the Infantino. It’s cheap, durable, and easy to use (once you get the hang of it). I carried my daughter through the Orlando airport with it when she was 8 months old and it worked like a charm. The jeep worked well for when my husband carried, and the Peanut Shell was my least favorite. I didn’t feel like it kept my daughter all that secure and it was a bear to figure out how to properly use the damn thing (I searched YouTube videos, their website – nothing made it easy!). My mom found a brand new "Open box" Ergo Baby 360 at Target for $40 bucks and bought it for me for our newest addition (coming in September) so I’m looking forward to using it, especially after seeing your review!!

  • What about the Tula and Bamberoo? I think Canadian moms need to know more about those ones. There are the Cadillac of baby carriers.

  • My baby is about 12lbs and is going through a phase where she doesn’t like to be put downs b&d wants to cuddle. I had just a cheap carrier that held her at the stratal, but it made her legs turn purple. What would be best for me and my baby?

    • I would look into babywearing groups in your area (Facebook or elsewhere) to see if you can try on different styles. Some local owned shops may also rent out carriers. I like my moby, hated the ergo, dont mind a ring sling but am ultimately going with a mei tai for my 4month old. Good luck!!

  • I love the our boba. I took my 1week old to the store yesterday for the first time. no where in my research did I read about an infant piece, and that was one of the main selling points to me. The instructions had a section on how to put an infant in it. My daughter is about 7lbs and she fit just fine.

    The only thing is that I feel like I’m going to have to practice walking softer. I feel like I bounce way too much!

  • I just could not depart your site prior to suggesting that I actually loved the standard information an individual supply for your guests? Is going to be back ceaselessly in order to check up on new posts.
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  • Have you heard of or tried the Bitybean UltraCompact Baby Carrier (http://bitybean.com/)? I live where it is very hot most of the year and this seemed more breathable and light weight than other options. Opinions?

  • We LOVE our Onya Baby carrier — we live in Japan and use a carrier with great frequency. It’s similar to an ergo, but has a bit more function, in my opinion (additional pockets, etc.) — plus, one of the best features is that it fits on to a chair to make a little seat (similar to a Totseat), which is fantastic for traveling. Just wanted to add this recommendation as well, as it’s not a super well-known brand, but I can’t say enough good things about it! We also have a K’Tan which was perfect for the early months, and made it possible to get so much done while my baby comfortably slept.

  • I’m a little surprised to not see a mei tai style on here. I’m getting one for my second baby and from all the ones I’ve tried on in stores, at a babywearing group, and at my prenatal yoga class, I think that will be the way to go for me. I’ve got a two year old and am really hoping that I can just carry one of them and have the other in the stroller and won’t have to deal with a bigger stroller!

  • I’m a bit surprised by the budget carrier pick too. I don’t necessarily buy into the whole "crotch dangler" thing, but that style of carrier certainly isn’t comfortable for the parent wearing it! All the weight is on your shoulders. They also don’t have very many options for how to wear them.

    I was on a tight budget with my first, so after a bit of research I decided on an Infantino Sash: http://www.infantino.com/product.cfm?product_id=1415

    It’s a mei tai, which means it ties instead of buckles, but it’s a lot easier to figure out than a wrap. It works for front, back, and hip carry, it folds up fairly small for packing, and it’s supposedly good up to 36lbs (my 2 year old doesn’t weigh that much yet, so we’ll see about that). Since it has both waist and shoulder straps, it distributes the baby’s weight pretty well. I paid $30 for mine.

    My in-laws think I’m nuts every time I show up for a family outing with just this carrier instead of a stroller, but it’s honestly been the only baby transporting device I’ve needed aside from the car seat. Granted, I’m someone who hates strollers (and shopping carts) with burning passion, but everyone who I knew was very sure that I would change my mind about that. It’s been 2 years and I still love the thing, which is more that I’m guessing you’d say for the Swift.

  • Love our Boba 3G (currently under 100 on Amazon!). I had a K’tan I got secondhand, but didn’t like it as much. I found the Boba way more comfy, even for a newborn. My husband also loves it and we use it lots at 10 months. Not sure about the differences between the 3G and 4G, but there’s not an actual infant insert in ours- the bottom just folds up so it’s not as deep. Getting her in on the front is way easy. Back carry is a little tricksy, but I’ve practiced more and can definitely do it by myself- online videos help. 🙂 I know nothing about hip problems, but what I do know is my Bjorn-wearing friend started saying around 5 months that she wished she put the money into a carrier like mine simply for mama comfort! My girl loves riding on my back and seeing the world and I’m glad to have my hands free. 🙂 Well worth the investment.

  • Great list. I love having my baby snuggled up against me, but I’ve been looking for something that will let me back carry without needing either someone to help get baby in or acrobatics on my part. Having watched the Ergo 360 video, I have to say I am leaning that way…
    One comment on slings – bustier gals may find them difficult to use. I switched from a sling to a wrap because I couldn’t seem to manage getting baby and boobies sorted into their respective spots 😉
    Love the comment on babywearing groups! My local group even has a lending library and I was able to try a couple of different wraps before choosing the one that was best for me.

  • When I had my first child, I got an inexpensive Infantino carrier. I didn’t know how much I’d use it, and I didn’t want to make a big investment. It was uncomfortable and had two many straps to figure out.

    I now use a Boba Air. It’s not super comfortable for long periods of time, but it’s perfect for quick errands, and I love that it’s small enough to fit in my diaper bag. For baby #2, I’m thinking about trying the K’tan. And then when he/she is big enough, I’ll switch him/her to the Boba Air.

  • You might want to also mention that there are babywearing groups all over. If you’re not sure what you’ll like or you feel you need help, you can find a meeting near you. Many groups have people who will help you out and you can try out and even borrow different carriers until you find out what works best for you.

  • I’m disappointed in this post. Three of the carriers are not safe or comfortable for baby (the crotch dangling thing is REAL…hip dysplacia is what it’s called, not to mention it’s uncomfortable for baby and the parent). I would have liked to see the LilleBaby carrier on here. It’s a great option for a soft structured carrier that is wonderful for a newborn (doesn’t require a special insert like the ergo). The sling you posted is the kind that is more dangerous. Why not look into the Sakura Bloom linen ring sling? Perfect for newborn up to 35 lbs and not dangerous when used properly. We love our Sakura Bloom, it’s perfect for the hot summer weather!

    • In all my research I was unable to find anything that linked carriers to hip dysplasia (you can check out the post here: http://bit.ly/1qGQYUN) but feel free to pass on any information you have on it. I personally don’t buy it – I totally recognize that hip dysplasia exists I just don’t think certain carriers cause it.

      I really love lillebaby carriers as well!! When I asked my readers the Beco beat it out and I had to stop somewhere (there are so many great carriers out there).

      I’ll definitely check out the Sakura Bloom! Thanks!

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