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Best Baby Carriers of 2024, According to Parents and Experts
January 4, 2024
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Best Baby Carriers of 2024, According to Parents and Experts

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Best Baby Carriers of 2024, According to Parents and Experts.
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Best Baby Carriers of 2024, According to Parents and Experts

No matter how cozy a swing or bouncy seat is, most babies like being cradled in your arms best. But toting your little one around all day isn’t really feasible unless you have arms of steel and an army of helpers to do your daily tasks.

That’s where a baby carrier comes in. Most Babylist parents add at least one to their registry. That’s because a good baby carrier does two key things: helps comfort and soothe a fussy little one and frees up your hands so you can get things done while still staying close to your new addition.

Spend just five minutes diving into the world of baby carriers and you’ll quickly realize that there’s a LOT to learn. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t; we can help. We’re walking you through Baby Carriers 101, how to choose the right carrier and the best expert-tested, parent-approved picks.

Babylist’s Top Picks for the Best Baby Carriers

Wraps and slings

Hybrids

Structured carriers

Babylist’s Picks for the Best Baby Carriers

Best Wraps and Ring Slings for Babies

Best Baby Wrap Carrier

The Scoop
  • Great for the first few months (and beyond)
  • Perennial parent favorite
  • Lightweight, super soft sustainable fabric
  • Universal fit
What Our Experts Think

Over and over again we hear parents swooning over their Solly wrap—and we couldn’t agree more. The Solly is a wrap you’ll reach for again and again thanks to its super soft, lightweight fabric, ease of use and comfort factor, especially during those first few months of your baby’s life. It’s made in the USA from sustainably sourced material from Austrian Beechwood trees and uses environmentally friendly dyes for its (many) beautiful colors and patterns. It’s easy to fold up compactly in its self-enclosing pocket to store in your stroller or diaper bag.

What’s Worth Considering

The Solly only offers one carry position: front-inward. Although it works with babies up to 25 pounds, many parents like to use it while their baby is still young and then move onto a carrier with more positioning options as their little one grows. And while it is pretty easy to use, there is a learning curve for most parents. We recommend watching a few videos to help you get the hang of it.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Lightweight, washable, easy to learn, cute, packable…everything about this is great! I bought a second one even. It’s really not complicated, don’t be intimidated!” -Diana

Additional Specs
Weight limit Newborn to 25 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward

Best Ring Sling

The Scoop
  • Simple and stylish
  • Hand-sewn from heirloom-quality linen fabric
  • Fully adjustable
What Our Experts Think

Ring slings are a popular choice for many babywearing parents because they’re adjustable, fit most body types are pretty easy to get the hang of and wear comfortably. Wildbird slings are some of the best (and most beautiful) around. They’re made from premium Belgian linen that gets softer and softer after each wash and are made using low-impact, all-natural environmentally friendly dyes. This baby sling can be worn four ways and comes in two lengths: standard (74 inches) and long (90 inches) for plus-size wearers or parents over six feet tall.

What’s Worth Considering

There is a bit of a learning curve with ring slings. Wildbird has a great collection of video tutorials that will help you get the hang of wearing your baby in no time. For another popular ring sling, check out the Kyte Baby. It’s made from pre-washed linen, rose gold rings and two pockets and will cost you about $70.

What Babylist Parents Say

“It is beautiful, my baby loves it. Easy to care for and clean. The community built around it is also amazing and supportive.” -Bethany

Additional Specs
Weight limit Newborn to 35 lbs
Available positions for baby Front, hip or back

Babylist Parent Favorite Baby Carrier

The Scoop
  • Popular wrap among Babylist parents
  • Good price point
  • Snug fit helps baby feel secure
What Our Experts Think

The Boba wrap is a popular pick among Babylist parents. It’s made from one large piece of fabric and can be used in one position: front-inward. Because it’s made from five percent spandex, it does a great job of helping babies feel snug and secure. (This is especially great for newborns who love skin-to-skin.) We love that it fits parents of all sizes and can grow with your little one up to about 35 pounds.

What’s Worth Considering

One-piece wraps can get hot. If you live in a warmer climate or run hot, consider Boba’s Serenity Baby Wrap Carrier. It’s a lighter, more breathable version of the brand’s classic wrap made from a soft bamboo fabric blend.

Like lots of other wraps, this one takes a little getting used to; this video tutorial can help.

What Babylist Parents Say

“This wrap is great! Our baby loves it and settles down to people-watch while being held against me. She gets the safety of me being nearby and the tightness of a warm swaddle. Watch a video and read the instructions on how to tie it before tying it. There’s a bit of a learning curve but it’s a great product once you’ve figured it out.” -Lyssa

Additional Specs
Weight limit Newborn to 35 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward

Easiest to Use Baby Wrap

The Scoop
  • Easy to get on and off
  • Soft, stretchy fabric
  • Sized for wearer
What Our Experts Think

There’s no getting around the learning curve that comes with most baby wraps. We love the Baby K’Tan because it has all the benefits of a wrap without requiring you to actually do any of the wrapping. (Win!) Made of a 100% natural cotton with a bit of stretch, the double-loop design evenly distributes weight across your shoulders and back in any of the carrying positions. Better yet, there isn’t an overwhelming amount of fabric to figure out—it goes on like a T-shirt in three easy steps. The included sash adds extra support and does double duty as a carrier storage bag.

What’s Worth Considering

The K’Tan comes in sizes ranging from 0-24, so you can find a good fit for your body. But the downside is that you can’t share it with a caregiver that isn’t your size. Some parents say the fabric gets a little too stretchy (but goes back to normal after it’s washed), so you may want to go down a size to ensure a snug fit.

In addition to the OG style, Baby K’tan wraps come in many other fabric styles for different preferences and climates. There’s a lightweight cotton style and a wrap made from wicking fabric, among others.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Baby K’Tan is super easy to use and the baby feels snug and comfortable. It’s convenient to use even with a newborn with the ‘Kangaroo’ position. Even now that my daughter is getting heavier I feel that the support is great and there is minimal strain on my back.” -Mirena

Additional Specs
Weight limit Newborn to 35 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, front-outward, hip carry

Best Luxury Ring Sling

The Scoop
  • Handcrafted in small batches by local artisans
  • Available in several different fabrics (including silk!)
  • Soft and luxurious
What Our Experts Think

Sakura Bloom ring slings are just as beautiful as they are functional. Made in California and crafted in small batches, these slings come in a variety of fabrics including bamboo, linen and even ultra-luxe silk. They work from the newborn days through the toddler years and are easy to store in your bag or stroller when you’re on the go with your little one.

What’s Worth Considering

Sakura Bloom has a whole section of their website dedicated to tutorials, packed with both tips for wearing your wrap as well as care and washing.

Additional Specs
Weight limit 7-35 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, hip carry

Ready to Add a Carrier to Your Registry?

With Babylist, you can add any item from any store onto ONE registry. Start your registry today and get a Hello Baby Box full of free (amazing!) goodies.

Best Hybrid Baby Carriers

Best Hybrid Baby Carrier

The Scoop
  • Wrap + structured carrier hybrid
  • Made from comfy but supportive fabric
  • Adjustable waist belt and arm straps
What Our Experts Think

If you’re struggling with mastering a baby wrap but are still looking for a carrier that provides similar closeness, check out the ComfyFit Adjust from Boppy. It’s a hybrid carrier that combines the comfort of a wrap with the ease and support of a more structured carrier and is a good option for many parents. The carrier is made from soft, breathable fabric with a touch of spandex and goes on in three simple steps (we promise). There’s a padded waist belt for extra support and wide shoulder straps to help distribute weight. We also like the zippered pocket for stashing away essentials.

What’s Worth Considering

Unlike the OG ComfyFit, the Adjust features an adjustable waist belt and arm straps to fit more bodies.

We also love the Stokke Limas Carrier. This wrap/carrier hybrid is soft, easy to use and supports newborns from seven pounds up to 33.

What Babylist Parents Say

“As a mom of seven, all 11 years and under, I feel like I’ve used every baby carrier on the market. Each of them have their own appeals and benefits. This particular one does a great job. Blending key features into one carrier. The fabric is stretchy and breathable and accommodates both my husband and myself, in the style is easy to put on. I like the wrap style for baby carriers, but I never could get the hang of putting them on quickly or trusting they were secure. This carrier makes it easy to get your arms in the right place, the baby in the right place, and then wrap both of you together in a secure snug fit that is comfortable for both. The best feature for me is the shoulder straps that can easily be pulled toward your neck or outward to change. Where are you carry the baby weight to make it more comfortable.” -Momof7squad

Additional Specs
Weight limit 8-35 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, front-outward

New Twist on an Old Favorite

The Scoop
  • Closeness of wrap + ease of a more structured carrier
  • Fits many sizes
  • Can be used from 8-33 pounds
What Our Experts Think

The Moby Classic Wrap has been a parent favorite and a popular choice among babywearers for years; however, since it’s just one long piece of fabric, it can be tricky to get the hang of and frustrating for some parents. The brand’s Easy Wrap solves for this issue.

This 100% cotton T-shirt style hybrid carrier combines the closeness of a wrap with the ease of a more structured carrier. There are simple buckles on the sides to adjust the fit and padded back support for extra comfort if you’re babywearing for an extended period of time. It works for all size wearers, and supports baby in both the inward and outward-facing positions.

What’s Worth Considering

Some users complain that the side buckles dig into their back and sides a bit.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I’m on my fourth child, and have tried every baby carrier under the sun. This one is definitely the easiest and doesn’t require two people to put it on. While hubby is at work, bambino and I can have our dance sessions and get housework done together. Moby, thank you for creating something so safe yet so comfy.” -AmyBaby260

Additional Specs
Weight limit 8-33 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, front-outward

Best Soft Structured Carriers for Babies

Best Baby Carrier for Newborn

The Scoop
  • Quick and foolproof
  • Geared toward needs of newborns and their parents
  • Inward and outward carry positions
What Our Experts Think

Ease is the name of the game here as the last thing you need to deal with when your newborn is screaming is fumbling around with a complicated baby carrier. The BabyBjorn Mini is simple, straightforward and brilliant and perfect for parents who want a quick, secure way to carry their baby during the early months. All it takes is a few buckles and you’re on your way. (It’s even simple to get your baby in and out if they’re asleep.) It’s also light enough to toss in your diaper bag or store in your stroller basket.

What’s Worth Considering

Larger babies may outgrow the Mini sooner than you’d like. There’s no waistband, which some say leads to back and shoulder strain when wearing it for too long. (Check out the BabyBjorn Carrier One for a carrier with a waistband that offers more carry positions.)

For another foolproof carrier that’s just right for those first few months (and beyond), take a look at the Ergobaby Embrace.

What Babylist Parents Say

“So easy to use. Not a lot of bells and whistles, but it’s easy for first-time parents to figure out.” -Mel

Additional Specs
Weight limit Newborn to 12 months and 24 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, front-outward

Best Lightweight Baby Carrier

The Scoop
  • 30-50% lighter than most SSCs on the market
  • Eco-friendly linen
  • Gorgeous patterns and colors
What Our Experts Think

Just as stylish as they are useful, Happy! carriers are emerging as one of the favorite new(ish) brands in the SSC universe. This carrier’s best feature is its weight—or lack thereof. It’s made from linen and is about 30-50% lighter than other similarly-styled carriers on the market, which makes a big difference if you live in a warmer climate or are someone who easily overheats when you’re babywearing. Other features we love include the easy-to-adjust fit, comfort factor and that they’re handmade in the USA.

What’s Worth Considering

Less bulk and padding is what makes this carrier great, but also what some parents complain about—it can be a little less comfortable for longer babywearing sessions or with heavier babies.

Happy Baby also makes several other (just as beautiful) styles of carriers including the Revolution (forward-facing option), a toddler carrier, a stretchy wrap and an Onbuhimo (a Japanese-inspired waistless carrier).

What Babylist Parents Say

“This carrier is so supportive, my hands are free to take care of my other children, and it fits easily inside my diaper bag.” -Kim

Additional Specs
Weight limit Newborn to 45 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, back

Best Baby Carrier for Hot Weather

The Scoop
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • 4 carry positions
  • Works through toddlerhood
What Our Experts Think

The Omni Breeze has so many great features going for it that it’s hard to choose just one. The first thing you’ll notice is probably the incredibly soft, lightweight fabric that Ergobaby used here. Covered in a special mesh, the Breeze is super breathable and comfortable to wear even when the temperatures start to rise. (Trust us, we tried!) That’s not the case with lots of other SSCs, so it’s a pretty big perk.

Just as amazing are all the carry positions the Breeze offers. Front-inward, front-outward, back and hip carries are all doable with this carrier. It works from the newborn days well through toddlerhood and, like all Ergobaby carriers, is really comfortable for both babies and babywearers thanks to the ergonomic design and tons of adjustment options.

What’s Worth Considering

SSCs can be tricky to get on by yourself, especially in certain carry positions, so keep that in mind.

You may also want to check out the brand’s Omni Dream Baby Carrier. Although not specifically designed for warm climates, it’s made from the brand’s softest fabric, a SoftTouch Cotton, and is incredibly comfortable for both you and your little one.

What Babylist Parents Say

“This carrier is 100x better than the previous one I was using. I love the lumbar support and the cool mesh (especially living in Florida). It was a bit of a learning curve compared to my previous carrier but I cannot recommend this enough! 10/10!” - Julie

Additional Specs
Weight limit 7-45 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, front-outward, hip, back

Best Ergonomic Baby Carrier

The Scoop
  • So soft and comfortable
  • 3 carry positions
  • Ergonomic design
What Our Experts Think

Well known (and loved) for their baby carriers, the Harmony carrier from Babybjörn does not disappoint. It’s one of the softest, most comfortable structured carrier that we’ve tried, made from a unique 3D mesh that’s both breathable yet supportive.

Like other Babybjörn carriers, the Harmony is ergonomic and easy to wear for lots of different body types. It has a wide seat, which helps to put your baby in the correct position by keeping their bottom low and their legs wide apart. There are three different carry positions and lots of padding so you can wear your baby for an extended period of time without feeling pressure on your shoulders or back, including a pressure-relieving waist belt.

What’s Worth Considering

There’s no hip carry option with this carrier. It also has a bit of a lower weight limit than some other SSCs at 40 pounds.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Easy to assemble and fit snugly. The straps adjust quickly to make changes when needed. Carrying my baby is actually quite comfortable with this carrier. When it fits appropriately, all the weight rests on my hips and doesn’t strain my back or shoulders. This is a great carrier that I highly recommend!” -Mimi

Additional Specs
Weight limit 7-40 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, front-outward, back

Best Affordable Baby Carrier

The Scoop
  • Incredibly well-priced
  • Lightweight and breathable
  • Adjustable
What Our Experts Think

You don’t always need to part with a ton of cash for a great baby product. At under $40, the Infantino Flip is a fantastic deal and a fantastic carrier for the price. It fits kids and parents of all sizes thanks to the numerous points where you can adjust straps and buckles. The convertible seat can be narrow for newborns or made wider for bigger kids to keep legs in a hip-healthy position. And, there’s no overheating in this carrier—it’s lightweight and breathable for both you and your little one.

What’s Worth Considering

The only way to get your child into the back-carry position is with someone’s help. Also, some parents find this carrier works better for newborns when you add a rolled up towel or blanket to the bottom of the seat to act as a booster.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Affordable, easy to put on, distributes baby’s weight pretty well, has a removable bib to catch spit up and drool.” -C.B.

Additional Specs
Weight limit 8-35 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, front-outward, back carry

Best Toddler Baby Carrier

The Scoop
  • Can be used from day one through toddler years
  • Three carry positions
  • Fun prints and patterns
What Our Experts Think

The Tula has extra padding around the leg openings and a wide base and high back to keep bigger kids comfy while babywearing. There’s also a high weight limit—45 pounds—so you’ll be able to use it well into toddlerhood and beyond.

These carriers come in some of the most fun, modern prints around. They’re versatile, long-lasting SSCs that are easy to use, comfortable and have three different carry positions. The Explore is lightweight and can be adjusted in several different spots for a personalized fit. It’s made from 100% cotton and is machine washable so you can toss it right in the wash when it starts to get icky. Just note that some parents mention it can be tough to get on solo if you’re doing a back carry.

What’s Worth Considering

We love the Explore because it works well both for younger babies and toddlers. If you’re looking for a toddler-only baby carrier, try the Tula Toddler Carrier. It’s specifically designed for kids ages two to six and can be used up to 60 pounds, and offers either a front or back carry option.

What Babylist Parents Say

“It’s easy to use and comfortable for long stretches. Also very easy to adjust, so my husband and I can swap back and forth with minimal hassle. I hesitated to spend this much on a carrier, but I haven’t been disappointed. Plus, it has a lot of versatility, so I’m hoping it’ll be the only one we ever need.” -Emily

Additional Specs
Weight limit 7-45 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, front-outward, back

Most Stylish Baby Carrier

The Scoop
  • Beautiful, unique designs
  • Easy to use
  • Expensive
What Our Experts Think

Looking for a baby carrier that’s also a fashion statement? Look no further than the Artipoppe Zeitgeist. From denim and fringe to clouds and leopard, you simply won’t find anything that compares style-wise to this unique carrier. And thankfully, these carriers boast more than just good looks. The Zeitgeist is super easy to put on (making it ideal even for the early days of babywearing) and can be used from seven pounds up until your little one is about two years old. There are also three carry positions and padding on the shoulder straps, waistband and around each leg opening.

What’s Worth Considering

These carriers are really, really expensive, especially considering you can get a similar style—that’s just as comfortable and easy to use—for less than half the price. Some of the styles and fabrics can be tricky to clean.

Additional Specs
Weight limit 7-45 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward, front-outward, back carry

Best Baby Carrier for All Seasons

The Scoop
  • Six carry positions
  • Mesh panel for temperature regulation
  • Works from newborn to toddlerhood
What Our Experts Think

This all-seasons, six-position carrier has a unique feature to keep your baby comfortable, no matter the outside temperature. When the back panel is zipped up, the carrier creates a cozy cocoon. Getting hot outside? Unzip it and the inner mesh lining keeps your baby cool by increasing air flow. With a 45-pound weight limit and top-notch lumbar support, this carrier is a great investment that will last well into toddlerhood.

What’s Worth Considering

This carrier has a wider seat than most, which improves weight distribution and really comes in handy (for both of you!) as your kiddo grows. It also has a longer torso, which may not be the best fit if you’re petite.

What Babylist Parents Say

“The Lillebaby complete is amazing. I love the lumbar support, the head support for baby, the fact that you don’t need an infant insert and that it grows with your child. It’s easy to adjust between people wearing baby as well. Love it.” -Lauren

Additional Specs
Weight limit 7-45 lbs
Available positions for baby Front-inward (fetal, infant or toddler settings), front-outward, hip or back carry

Best Twin Baby Carrier

The Scoop
  • Versatile
  • Works for babies and toddlers
  • Storage pockets and sleep hoods
What Our Experts Think

Need to haul double the load? The TwinGo is our baby carrier of choice for parents of twins. This carrier is so versatile. It can be used as one twin baby carrier, two independent front carriers, two independent back carriers or one independent hip carrier. It also features XL storage pockets (you can never have enough of those, especially when you’re babywearing twice the fun), a waistband that adjusts up to 100 inches and shoulder straps that work for parents and caregivers up to 6’5”, sleep hoods and lots more.

What’s Worth Considering

In order to do the dual carry, babies must be at least four months old, have well-developed head and neck control and be tall enough that their heads are outside the carrier and their legs are long enough to straddle the carrier’s panel. For a twin baby carrier better suited for the first six months, check out the WeeGo.

Additional Specs
Weight limit 10-45 lbs (as small as 7 lbs with insert, sold separately)
Available positions for baby Front-inward, back carry

Best Baby Carrier for Hiking

The Scoop
  • Tops for fit, comfort and storage
  • Works well for hikers of different heights
  • Expensive
What Our Experts Think

Fit, comfort and storage space put this hiking baby carrier at the top of the list if you’re hitting the trails with the littlest member of your family. The aluminum frame pack features a fully adjustable hip belt and shoulder straps and an adjustable torso section so it can be used by wearers of different heights. It’s also really, really comfortable; users rave about the way the carrier distributes weight. (The arched design helps put most of your child’s weight on your hips, making it easier to carry them comfortably even for long stretches of time.) Other extras include a built-in daypack, mesh ventilation, ergonomic cushioning and a safety harness system with color-coded buckles for ease of use.

What’s Worth Considering

Hiking carriers are an investment, so be sure to either try a few out before you buy or purchase the carrier from a store or website with a good return policy.

Additional Specs
Weight limit Designed for babies that can sit up independently, usually around 6 mos old; maximum weight 48 lbs (child plus gear)
Available positions for baby Back carry

Best Baby Hip Carrier

The Scoop
  • Carrier alternative for babies who love to be held
  • Built-in pocket to stash diapers, wipes, etc.
  • Still need arm around baby
What Our Experts Think

Have a baby or toddler who loves to be carried but isn’t a fan of babywearing? Need something to help a grandparent or older caregiver carry your little one? A relatively new and unique addition to the babywearing scene, hip seat carriers are simple, straightforward and particularly useful in certain situations. Tushbaby positions your toddler in a natural carry position on your hip—but with a little help. It features a support belt that distributes your little one’s weight, lumbar support to help your back and a memory foam-lined seat where your child’s bum rests. There are also storage pockets to hold your phone, keys and wallet.

What’s Worth Considering

You won’t be able to go hands-free with a hip seat carrier; you’ll need an arm around your little one at all times. If your waist is larger than 44 inches, you’ll need to add the Waistband Extender.

What Babylist Parents Say

“I am a grandma of a 2-year-old girl; she weighs 31 pounds and this item has saved my back!!! I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!! I wear it on our walks because she gets tired and wants to be picked up. I wear it at stores, restaurants, everywhere!! I can put my phone, her water bottle and my wallet in it.” -Maria

Additional Specs
Weight limit Newborn to 36 mos, up to 45 lbs
Available positions for baby Face-to-face, side-carrying and front-facing

How We Chose the Best Baby Carriers

  • We analyzed results from Babylist’s Best Baby Products survey, which polled 6,000 Babylist users and asked them to share the baby products they love the most and why.
  • We utilized insight from the Babylist editorial team, including Gear Editor Jen LaBracio, an expert in the baby space for over six years and a mom of two who has written hundreds of baby gear guides and personally researched and tested hundreds of baby products, including many baby carriers.
  • We reviewed customer reviews from hundreds of real Babylist parents.

Types of Baby Carriers

Baby carriers come in four basic styles: wraps, slings, hybrids and structured carriers. Each type has its own pros and cons, and not all baby carriers work for all babies—or for all parents.

  • Wraps. A wrap is a super-long piece of stretchy fabric you tie around your body, usually over your shoulders and around your midsection, to create a carrier for your baby. Wraps mimic the feel of the womb and are especially loved by newborns. Most come in one-size-fits-all and easily adjust to different body types, but can take a bit of practice to get the hang of.
  • Slings. A sling is a wide piece of fabric that goes over one shoulder and across your torso to create a pouch for your baby to sit in. Slings are generally easy to use. They’re also good for hotter climates as they are generally fairly lightweight. Since they rest on one shoulder, slings don’t distribute weight evenly, making them uncomfortable for long-term wear.
  • Structured Carriers: Also called soft structured carriers or SSCs, structured carriers are worn like a backpack with straps over the shoulder and a padded carrying “pack” that can be placed on your chest or back. SSCs are usually designed with older babies in mind but many can be worn with younger babies, too. They offer lots of support and carry options (front, back, hip etc.) and many can be used well through toddlerhood.
  • Hybrids. Hybrid carriers provide the best of two baby-carrying worlds: a wrap and a soft structured carrier. Parents like hybrids because they are generally very easy to use and comfortable to wear, however, it can sometimes be tricky to find the right fit for every body type.

Is a Baby Carrier Worth It?

A baby carrier isn’t a necessity. You can use a stroller when you’re out and about and a bouncy seat or swing at home. But if you ask parents, many will tell you that their baby carrier is one of their favorite pieces of baby gear, regardless of the type of brand.

Baby carriers free up your hands to do other things while your baby is safely resting against you. They’re great for calming down a fussy baby, especially during the first few months of your little one’s life when seemingly nothing else will do the trick, but many can work well into the toddler years, too. Carriers can help you keep your baby close while you navigate crowded spaces like airports, museums or stadiums. They’re also great if you like hiking and want to bring your little one along. And most are small enough to fit easily in a tote, under a stroller or even in a diaper bag.

How to Choose a Baby Carrier

The world of babywearing can feel overwhelming, especially if you’re a first-time parent. If you’re trying to figure out how to choose a baby carrier or wondering which one(s) to add to your baby registry, consider the following:

  • Longevity: How long do you plan to use your baby carrier? If you want to use your carrier through the toddler years, look for one with a high weight limit and different carry positions. If you plan to babywear mainly during infancy, consider one that creates a cozy environment for your little one.
  • Fit: If you plan on sharing your baby carrier with a partner or caregiver, you’ll need one that easily adjusts to different body sizes. Comfort: Be sure the seat of any carrier allows your baby’s legs to be in the hip-healthy “M” position. For you, think about comfort features like back and shoulder support.
  • Ease of use: Putting on a wrap is a multi-step process, while a structured carrier is much more straightforward. Be sure you’re willing to put in the work if you choose a more complex wrap or carrier. Also, think about the size of your baby carrier. A wrap or a sling easily tucks into a diaper bag, while a soft structured carrier will take up more space.
  • Material: If you live in a warm climate, or just run hot, choose a baby carrier made from lightweight, breathable fabric.
  • Care: Babies are messy, but not all carriers are machine washable. Check labels for washing instructions.

Keep in mind that there is a learning curve with baby carriers, especially depending on which style of carrier you choose. Try not to get discouraged if you can’t figure things out on the first try (or two, or three). Get familiar with the world of babywearing, utilize your carrier brand’s video tutorials and practice, practice, practice—it will pay off.

Also check out some of the most frequently asked questions about baby carriersand the baby carrier glossary for carrier and babywearing lingo.

Baby Carrier Safety

Babywearing is one of the best ways to keep your baby calm and close to you. But it’s important to educate yourself on baby carrier safety and learn how to properly use whichever baby carrier you choose. 

The acronym TICKS is a helpful place to start when you’re using a baby carrier.

  • T. Tight
  • I. In view at all times
  • C. Close enough to kiss
  • K. Keep chin off the chest
  • S. Supported back

Always be sure you’re using your baby carrier exactly as directed. (For example, ensure your baby is facing the correct direction for their age). Double-check that all buckles and knots are securely fastened. And, most importantly, be sure you’re monitoring your little one’s breathing at all times. Always keep your baby’s face in view and ensure their chin never touches their chest.

Learning about the proper hip position for your baby when using a carrier is also essential for safety. When done properly, babywearing can actually encourage your baby’s healthy hip development. But when done incorrectly, it can have the opposite outcome, causing hip dysplasia, a condition where your baby’s hip joint may become partially or completely dislocated.

The M-position is recommended for hip-healthy babywearing. Be sure your baby’s thighs are spread around your torso and baby’s hips are bent so that their thighs are supported and their knees are slightly higher than their bottom. Thighs should be:

  • Flexed
  • Supported
  • Spread apart

Less spread with more flex is healthy, and slightly more spread with less flex is fine as your little one grows. Consult the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for a full list of all hip-healthy baby carriers.

Frequently Asked Questions

When can a baby face forward in a baby carrier?

The International Hip Displaysia Institute recommends inward-facing carrying during the first six months of infancy. This is because this time period is one of rapid hip development, and facing your baby toward you in their carrier can actually promote optimum hip development. After the first six months, turning your baby to face out in their carrier is fine; however, you still may want to consider inward-facing through the first year as it’s considered the more hip-healthy positioning.

Are baby carriers good for newborns?

Baby carriers can be beneficial to children for years, but especially good for newborns. Newborns love skin-to-skin contact and thrive off of feeling snug and secure—and a baby carrier is a safe and comfortable way for you to provide this. Baby carriers also give your arms a break and free up your hands if you need to get other things done. However, it is important to choose a carrier that is appropriate for your baby’s age and development and to follow safety guidelines when using it, especially with a very young baby. It is also recommended to consult with a healthcare professional before using a carrier with a newborn.

How long can a baby stay in a carrier?

While there’s no set time limit on how long a baby can stay in a baby carrier, most healthcare professionals advise that babies shouldn’t spend more than about 45 minutes to two hours at a time in a carrier. That’s because your baby needs time to move freely (especially their hips). Always monitor your baby’s comfort and safety while in the carrier and take plenty of breaks.

Which baby carrier is easiest to breastfeed in?

When looking for a baby carrier that’s breastfeeding-friendly, focus on options that allow easy access to your breast and are easily adjustable. Popular options include ring-sling or wrap-style carriers and certain structured carriers that have adjustable straps or panels. And remember, nursing + babywearing may not be easy at first—try not to get too stressed out and practice, practice, practice. 

Which baby carrier is safest for my back?

If you have a bad back or are concerned about putting too much stress on your back while babywearing, look for a carrier that distributes your baby’s weight over both shoulders and around your waist. Focus on features like wide, padded shoulder straps, an ample waist/hip support belt and plenty of adjustable straps and buckles. Avoid any baby carrier that doesn’t have a waistband or that only goes over one shoulder (such as ring slings, onbuhimos or any hip carrier).

Stretchy wraps fit the bill for the newborn days because you can spread the fabric wide across your shoulders and back, which will help with weight distribution. However, once baby reaches about 15-20 pounds, stretchy wraps aren’t as supportive and it’s best to move to a well-fitting soft structured carrier.

How many baby carriers do I need?

How many baby carriers do you NEED? None. But how many will you WANT? That’s another story. Most parents choose to add at least one baby carrier to their baby registry. Many add two: a soft, stretchy wrap for the newborn days and a structured carrier for toddlerhood and beyond. And if you’ve completely fallen in love with babywearing? The world of baby carriers offers so many fabrics, colors and styles—have fun!

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.