Hello. My name is Theresa. And I make babies who don’t like to be put down. And because of this, I’ve been told that I have a slight baby carrier addiction. Our UPS delivery person would agree. (Thank you, Amazon Prime!) Here’s what I’ve learned, what I’ve tried, and (in my opinion) the best baby carriers for a few different scenarios, for beginners.
Why should I wear my baby?
Baby’s who are worn cry less.
It puts them to sleep.
You can get shit done. The end.
How can I wear my baby without breaking the Bank like Theresa?
Good question (says my husband)! While it’s relatively easy to find used carriers – check online and at consignment shops like The Nesting House -- you may still end up buying one too many carriers because there are so many styles to choose from. Buying a used carrier online can also be risky because there is a pretty active counterfeit market.
What to do? Check out Babywearing International of Southeastern Pennsylvania, or your local chapter. They have regular meetings where you can learn about many different types of carriers, try carriers before you buy them, and meet other babywearing parents. Best of all, you can join their lending library program and try/borrow a new carrier every month.
You’ll most likely need a different carrier for a newborn than for an infant or toddler, so try before you buy as much as possible.
Carriers for newborns.
I’m a big fan of wraps for newborns. It keeps them snug, secure, and in a womb-like environment. Isla practically lived in one for her first few months. Some parents are intimidated by the tying of wrap carriers, but a quick YouTube search will help you find videos that show you exactly how to tie the wrap you own. After a few tries, it will become second nature. (Tip! Tie your wrap first thing in the morning and leave it on all day so you can quickly and easily move Baby in and out.)
My favorite starter wrap – The Boba Wrap. The material is soft and stretchy, so it’s easier to get the right tie compared to other wraps. You simply tie it tight to your body, then the fabric stretches to accommodate your baby. I used this until Isla was about 4 months old. Here she is at 2 months – 16 pounds, and still happy as a clam in the Boba Wrap:
Ring slings are another great option for newborns. I have a Maya ring sling, but I don’t use it during the newborn stage. I make super big babies, and for long periods of newborn carrying, I need more support than the ring sling offers. But many mamas prefer a ring-sling to the wrap for ease of use.
Carriers for infants and toddlers (yes, toddlers!).
All other carriers can go home – the Ergo wins this category, hands down for comfort and cost. There are a few options for Ergos on the market now (the 360 for multiple positions, including front-facing; and the Performance for a sport/lightweight material). We have had an Ergo Performance carrier since Ava was born over two years ago, and I can’t think of a single piece of baby gear that I’ve used more. We still carry Ava in the Ergo every once in a while on a long walk. She is about 30 pounds, and I’m telling you, it’s a piece of cake.
The Ergo also has an infant insert for the littles (before 4-6 months), but I find it to be extremely hot when used with the Ergo, even in cold weather. Therefore, I still recommend a wrap for newborns over a soft-structured carrier like the Ergo.
And once your infant can sit up on his/her own, this is where I recommend the ring sling for quick hip carries around the house or out and about.
Carriers for warm weather.
No matter which carrier you use, wearing your baby will make you both hot in warmer weather. Keep your baby stripped down to a diaper, drink lots of cold water, consider a cooling towel and stick to the shade. You’ll be ok and so will Baby, but here are a few options to help you keep cool on really hot/humid days.
You can actually use this guy in the water. It ties just like any other wrap, but it’s made of a very thin, breathable swimsuit material. This replaces my Boba Wrap on really hot days.
Best warm weather soft-structured carrier: Boba Air
This was such a great find. It’s considered a travel carrier – it folds up into a small pouch for easy storage in your diaper bag, and it weighs less than an ounce! But I use it in warm weather instead of my Ergo. Without the heavy padding of other soft-structured carriers like the Ergo, I find this to be a lot cooler. Since it is nylon, you could also wear it in the water.
There you have it! My #1 piece of advice is to try your carrier before you buy it. There are so many great options out there, the carriers above have worked for me, but you may find better options for you and your little one(s). Join a group or get together with friends who also baby-wear and try as many as you can.
Which carriers do you like? What did I miss? Which should I try (buy) next? Let us know in the comments.