Many parents love to babywear, the only problem is there are so many different types of baby carriers, how do you know which one works best for you?
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Babywearing can be both beneficial for the baby and for the parent which is why many parents today choose to use a baby carrier for around the house soothing or going out for a stroll.
Babywearing allows a parent to complete household chores, or make a meal while having the baby nice and close and comfortable too.
Some parents even choose the baby carrier when grocery shopping instead of using a stroller so they can fit more items into their carts instead of being limited to the stroller basket.
Babies love to be worn too because they get to be near their parent and hear the soothing sound of the heartbeat which helps them sleep and relax.
There are so many different types of baby carriers between brands, structures, and models, it can get difficult to choose the right one for you.
We put together this list of the different types of carriers so that you can find the right carrier that fits your needs and your lifestyle.
What Is A Baby Carrier?
If you’re new to this whole parenting thing, you might be asking the question, what is a baby carrier anyway?
Babywearing is actually not a new concept. For years mothers all over the world have been using different fabrics to carry their babies around.
Modern baby carriers however are typically made from stretchy pieces of fabric or harder materials with belts and bucks, but they all do the same thing which is keep the baby close to the parent and let you have your hands free.
But that doesn’t mean that it’s super simple to find a baby carrier that works best for you. All parents have different needs and the comfort, safety and style of each carrier are going to vary.
Different Type Of Baby Carriers
Basically there are 5 different styles of baby carriers: Wrap, Soft Structured, Hybrid Buckle, Ring Sling, and Backpack.
Wrap Style Carrier
The wrap style carrier is a very simple baby carrier that is more on the traditional side of things. It is not that easy to use for beginners, but for those who practice, it becomes second nature. The wrap style carrier is a long piece of fabric that you simply wrap around your body in a special way and then secure the baby close to your body.
The nice things about the wrap is that there are different ways to wrap your baby up, including nice and close to your chest as a newborn or on your back when the baby is older.
There are many different sizes that the wrap style carrier comes in and they are all made from different fabrics too. Choose from cotton, wool, linen or another stretchy materials and then choose your length as well.
This is a great carrier for parents who are new to babywearing, even though it takes a little bit of practice and getting used to.
You can choose from stretchy wraps or woven wraps. Woven wraps are much better for older babies and toddlers while the stretchy wraps are better for newborns and front side carries.
|Very comfortable for carrying baby around||Takes some practicing to learn to wrap|
|Can be used with a newborn||Can get hot in the summer as it adds a whole layer of cloth over your clothes|
|different fabric and styles available|
|Easy to breastfeed in|
How To Use The “Moby” Wrap Carrier
Here are our favorite wrap style carriers for your to begin your babywearing journey in:
Soft Structured Style Carrier
Soft structured baby carriers are very popular among parents, but they do tend to be a little more expensive than the wrap style carrier.
These carriers have padded shoulder straps and waistbands for comfort and to be able to easily fasten the carrier to the waist.
When choosing a soft structured baby carrier, it’s best to choose one that is wide enough for the baby to sit in and have support for the hips and legs.
Parents love this type of baby carrier because it has adjustable straps and is easy on the back too. It helps to evenly distribute the weight of the baby across the parents body.
You can also easily use this type of carrier on the front or on the back, with a handful of carriers that allow a hip side carry too.
Soft-structured carriers are ergonomic meaning they have a wider panel that allows babies to rest in a position that will not damage their growing limbs.
There are some structured carriers that can be used from newborn stages with extra inserts for support, but most of these types of baby carriers are used from 4-5 months and onward. Basically, once they have better head control.
Parents love soft structured carriers because a lot of them come with storage pockets which can be useful for keys, wallet and cell phone, as well as pacifiers and teethers.
|Ergonomic||More expensive than other types of baby carriers|
|Comfortable and padded|
|Many styles to choose from|
|Easy to use and adjust for multiple parents|
|Can be used for a long period of time|
How To Use The “Boba” Soft Structured Carrier
Here are our favorite soft structured style carriers for your to begin your babywearing journey in:
Hybrid Buckle and Wrap Style Carrier
The hybrid buckle and wrap style carrier is also referred to as the Mei Tai carrier. It has the wrap style and the buckle style carrier built into one. It looks like a soft structured carrier but it does require wrapping as well.
You put it onto your body as a soft structured carrier and the finish off by wrapping instead of buckling.
The major benefit of the Mei Tai carrier is the adjust-ability. It can be shred between caregivers and parents of all shapes and sizes because you can adjust the tightness accordingly.
Some models can be used from infancy, but most of these carriers are suitable for month 6 and up.
|Great for toddlers, but some models can be used with newborns||There is tying involved which can take some practice|
|Padding for comfort|
|Many designs to choose from|
|Easy to adjust|
How To Use The “Mei Tai” Hybrid Carrier
Ring Sling Style Carrier
The ring sling carrier is a fabric style carrier that has two rings on it.
To secure the ring sling around you, you need to thread the end through the ring and tuck it under the other ring and tighten to secure the baby.
This creates a sort of a pouch for the baby to sit in and allows you to use a hip carry or a front carry. For safety reasons, ring slings are not made from stretchy fabrics, but rather re more cotton or linen styles. There are some really nice options for a ring sling made with comfortable silk too.
Unlike different wraps, the ring sling is made from woven fabrics and you are using a ring to secure the baby rather than wrapping the extra fabric around your waist.
It takes a little practice to use a ring sling, but before you know it, you’ll become a pro if you keep practicing.
|Easy to breastfeed in||Not great for wearing for long periods of time|
|Adjustable for many body types||Takes practice to get the hang of|
|Great for newborns|
|Can be used for side carry|
|Lots of choice for fabric and patterns|
|Some ends have a pocket for keys and wallet|
How To Use The Ring Sling Carrier
Read our guide
How To Find The Best Ring Sling For Comfortable Babywearing
Backpack Style Carrier
This is a special baby carrier that is best used for hiking with older babies who can sit unassisted and have a good handle on their neck control.
The backpack style carrier is designed to keep the baby in the sitting position the entire time they are in there. The backpack has padded shoulder straps and additional safety straps to use around your chest and waist area to keep baby secure and ensure proper weight distribution.
This type of carrier is for adventurous parents who want to be able to wear their baby while going for a hike or walking in the woods.
Most backpack carriers have plenty of storage pockets so you can store all your essentials such as water bottles, small toys and snacks without needing to bring an extra backpack while you’re on your hike.
|Great for hiking and trails||Bulky and large unit|
|Lots of storage pockets||Fairly heavy|
|Great weight distribution||Can only be used backpack style|
|Not suitable for newborns|
How To Use The “Osprey Poco” Carrier
Here are our favorite backpack style carriers for your to begin your babywearing journey in:
Benefits Of Baby Wearing
If you’re a new parent, you’re going to be carrying your new baby for hours on end and it very normal. Newborns want to be near the parent and therefore being held is very comforting.
This can take a toll on a parent and make life a little more difficult, some days you may not even be able to make yourself a much needed cup of coffee because of this.
This is where babywearing and even a baby swing come in. But let’s focus on the babywearing here.
Babywearing is a loving way to hold your baby and be able to parent, hand free!
Here are some benefits of babywearing:
- Great for travel: Babywearing is good for travel, especially for a place where a stroller may be more difficult to bring.
- People won’t touch the baby: Unlike a stroller which is open to the wold, the baby is nestled against your chest and this can prevent people from coming up to you and touching the baby.
- It’s soothing for baby: Babies love to be carried and therefore the act of babywearing soothes a child in distress.
- It’s good for cognitive and social development: A happy baby who is not crying is able to look around and learn more about the world around them.
- Great for overall health and well-being: Wearing your baby for naps can help prevent the head from getting flat, and even promotes digestion.
- You can nurse in public: If you’re using a wrap or a sling carrier, you can easily breastfeed your baby and no one will be the wiser.
- Decreases risk of postpartum depression: Wearing your baby can help you bond with your little one and also help you get out and socialize which are great things that help with postpartum depression.
- Can help partner connect to baby: Babywearing can help dad or spouse connect with the baby on a deeper level.
Baby Carrier Frequently Asked Questions
How long will you wear your baby?
You can wear the baby as long as you want to. Choosing a baby carrier that supports a healthy position and can be used from newborn up to a higher weight limit will ensure that you choose a carrier that you can wear for a longer period of time.
Is baby wearing comfortable?
Absolutely! Babywearing is very comfortable for you and the baby, especially if you do your research and pick the carrier that works best for you. For example, we rounded up the best baby carriers for petite moms because we know it can be a challenge to find a carrier for smaller framed people.
How much effort does it take?
This all depends on the carrier you choose, however even with a wrap style carrier you’ll become a pro in no time. It may take a little practice, but in time you won’t be thinking about the wrapping, you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed.
Soft structured carriers are even easier to use, so if you’re not into the wrapping thing, that’s ok! There is still a great carrier out there for you.
How to Find the Best Carrier for You
These are some of the questions you should answer before you purchase a baby carrier to help find the right baby for you.
- Is the carrier comfortable for you and baby?
- Does it support babies’ natural spine and hip development?
- Are you able to get baby into the carrier on your own?
- Can a baby nurse in it?
- How long will the baby fit in it?
- Can it be used from birth?
- Does it help increase skin to skin contact?
What is the best carrier for newborns?
For newborn babies, we recommend the Boba Wrap Baby Carrier as it is the easiest to adjust on both you and the baby.
What is the best carrier for toddlers?
We love the Tula Ergonomic soft structured carrier for toddlers.
Basic Carrier Safety
It doesn’t matter if you choose a wrap, a ring sling, a soft structured carrier, or a backpack style carrier, baby carrier safety should be followed.
There is a rule called TICKS which is a safety babywearing checklist that helps parents learn about babywearing.
The TICKS rule should be followed in every single baby carrier that you may use.
- T- Tight
- I- In view
- C- Close Enough To Kiss
- K- Keep Chin Off Chest
- S – Supported Back
Baby carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby and you should be able to see your baby’s face at all times. You should be able to kiss the top of the baby’s head and ensure the baby’s face is not facing their own chest which can restrict airways. It’s also important that the parents have a supported back while babywearing to prevent injury.
Ergonomic Position: Frog Position
To keep the baby’s hips safe in different types of baby carriers, ensure the baby is sitting in the frog position in whichever carrier you choose. This ensures proper hip development and can help prevent dysplasia and dislocation.
To promote healthy and natural hip development, always carry the baby in the frog position.
This is a position where the baby’s hips naturally spread apart to the side and the thighs are supported. This ensures that the hip movement is not blocked. Within the first 6 months of a baby’s life, it is important to use this position when carrying a baby.
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