Babywearing is more than just a trend for new parents—it benefits the baby, too! It promotes a stronger bond, soothes the baby, aids in her cognitive and social development, and can even help her sleep.
It’s good for moms, too, as it reduces the risk of postpartum depression. Plus, it’s super-convenient because it leaves your hands free. If you’re looking for a baby carrier, we’ve selected some of the best you can get!
Choosing a Baby Carrier
Baby carriers can be expensive, so you want to make sure you’re purchasing one you and your baby will both love.
There are four key things to look for in the perfect carrier:
- How long it will last: Every baby carrier only holds up to a certain weight, but some hold more than others. If you know you want to wear yours for at least two years, look for that weight limitation. If you’re just trying it out and aren’t sure if you’ll like it, opt for a cheaper one that holds less weight.
- Ease of use: Remember, when you put on a baby carrier, you also have to juggle a tiny, possibly screaming, baby. You might prefer something that’s easy to slip on and get baby in and out of, although some people don’t mind wrapping (more on that later).
- Comfort for both of you: All carriers might feel relatively comfortable when your baby only weighs eight pounds, but 15 to 20 is a whole different story! Look for one with wide straps and some kind of back support. The experience should be enjoyable, not uncomfortable.
- Versatility: Some carriers are more breathable for summer, while others are more convenient for breastfeeding. Some allow you to carry baby in multiple positions, while others only allow two. It’s up to you how versatile you want yours to be, but it’s something to consider.
Types of Carriers
There are three basic types of baby carriers. None of them are any better than the others, it’s just a matter of taste.
The three styles of carriers you’ll see are:
- Wrap: This style is just a long piece of fabric you wrap around yourself and your baby. It’s kind of like a giant swaddle or blanket that wraps around you both and offers support. They’re really versatile because you can wrap it however you want. They’re also a lot softer than structured carriers. However, they can be difficult and confusing to put on, and some people don’t think they provide enough support.
- Ring sling: These are similar to a wrap, but they include a ring you loop the fabric through to create a sort of pouch for baby to sit in. Ring slings are easy to use and tend to be more breathable. Like the wrap, though, they don’t offer as much support as other carriers for you or your baby, and they also aren’t as versatile as the wrap-style carriers.
- Structured: The straps (and, usually, waistbands) on these carriers make them ready for baby to sit in—you just put them on. Typically, structured carriers also offer more support and can hold larger babies. However, they aren’t as cuddly as wraps, and most also need an infant insert (purchased separately), so they can be more expensive.
Best Overall: Ergobaby 360 Carrier
Ergobaby is a popular name in the babywearing world because it consistently makes great products. Even though the Ergobaby 360 Carrier is one of the most expensive, it earns its title as the best overall. With incredible support for both baby and parent, a lot of versatility, and a high weight limit, you can use it for years, and it will be comfortable for both of you.
The Ergobaby 360 can hold babies between 12 and 45 pounds. This means you can’t carry a newborn in it, but you can carry your child until he’s nearly 2-years-old. You can also carry your baby in multiple positions, including front-facing, on your hip, or on your back.
There’s also a hood if you need to protect your child from sun or wind, but it’s easily tucked away. The lumbar support waistband makes this carrier feel a lot lighter, and it also has padded straps.
It’s easy to put on and get baby in and out of, and it also doesn’t feel too bulky. If you can fit this one into your budget, it’s worth it. Or, better yet, add it to your baby gift registry!
Ergobaby 360 All-Position Baby Carrier with Lumbar Support (12-45 Pounds), Pure Black
The Ergobaby 360 Baby Carrier offers excellent support for both parent and child. Plus, it's versatile and convenient to use.
Best Budget: Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier
If you don’t want to spend a lot on a baby carrier, but still want something more structured, the Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier is a good option. It can carry babies who weigh 8 to 32 pounds, so it has a wide range. Plus, you can carry your child four different ways, including on your back. There’s also removable bib to protect your clothes from spit-up and drool.
While it’s not quite as supportive as the Ergobaby 360, the Flip 4-in-1 does offer back support and has thick straps. However, it isn’t meant to be worn all day.
If you just need a carrier to wear on and off throughout the day, or to run errands, the Flip 4-in-1 is a solid option at a terrific price.
Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier, Grey
The Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Baby Carrier is a solid budget option that's comfortable and sturdy.
Best for Your Back: LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Carrier
The LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Carrier is a favorite among parents, especially because of the lumbar support it provides. A wide, adjustable belt distributes the baby’s weight evenly, and you can customize the back support as necessary. You can also carry in six different positions, including front inward (fetal, infant, or toddler), facing outward, hip, and back.
Another cool thing about the LÍLLÉbaby is it’s made of super-breathable material to keep baby cool during warmer months.
However, this carrier is a bit long—if you’re on the shorter side, it might be a bit uncomfortable. On the whole, though, this carrier is comfortable, versatile, and gives the Ergobaby 360 a run for its money.
LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Six-Position 360° Ergonomic Baby and Child Carrier, Black/Camel
The LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Baby Carrier is made of breathable material and still offers great lumbar support.
Best for Newborns: BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini
It can be tough to put a tiny newborn in a bigger carrier made to hold babies who weigh 30-45 pounds—you typically have to buy an infant insert for these. The BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini, though, is excellent for newborns and little babies. It has an adjustable seat and, unlike other structured carriers, is made of a super-soft, flexible material. You can keep the top up to protect your child’s head or fold it down, so she can see.
It’s lightweight and very easy to maneuver and put on.
The BABYBJÖRN only offers two front-facing positions, though, and it’s only meant to carry infants up to about 1-year-old.
Even though you won’t be able to use it as long as some other carriers, the BABYBJÖRN is perfect for small babies and petite parents.
BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini, Cotton, Black
The BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini is perfect for small babies.
Best Sling: Sakura Basics Linen Ring Sling
If you prefer a sling to a structured carrier, consider the Sakura Basics Linen Ring Sling. It’s very comfortable and breathable for both parent and child. It will hold babies who weigh between 8 and 35 pounds, which is a pretty great range for a ring sling!
The best thing about a ring sling is you can customize it any way you want, and it’s easy to put on.
As a bonus, this Sakura Ring Sling is also stylish and chic. It’s available in several colors, and it’s particularly ideal if you live in a warmer climate.
Best Soft Wrap: Moby Classic
The Moby Classic is probably the best soft wrap baby carrier on the market. It’s highly customizable; you can wrap it however you want and put your baby in several different positions. Made of a super-soft, stretchy, and durable material, it’s comfortable for both you and baby. Plus, it can carry up to 35 pounds. If you’re willing to invest the time to figure out how to wrap it, this carrier is really worth it.
A lot of parents love the Moby because it has less padding and material than structured carriers, so you get to be a lot closer to your baby. This is especially nice when they’re really small. It doesn’t have the same amount of lumbar support as the more structured types, but it’s still comfortable. You can also use it as a pillow or blanket when needed.
Best Ready-to-Wear Wrap: Baby K’Tan Original
If you want the feel of a wrap but don’t want to, you know, actually figure out the wrapping part, the Baby K’Tan Original Carrier is an excellent choice. It’s made of the same material as a wrap and even looks like one, but it’s much easier to put on because it’s already in a structured position. You just slip it over your head—no wrapping required!
The Baby K’Tan can hold your baby in five different positions. It’s comfortable, and the fabric is nice and breathable. It supports up to 35 pounds, which means you’ll use it for quite a while.
Baby K'tan Original Baby Wrap Carrier, Infant and Child Sling - Simple Pre-Wrapped Holder for Babywearing - No Tying or Rings - Carry Newborn up to 35 lbs, Black, Women 6-8 (Small), Men 37-38
The Baby K'Tan Original Carrier is like a baby wrap without all the annoying wrapping.