We all love carrying around our little bundles of joy with us, but sometimes, the weight is too much – especially when mommy has to make sure that her back won’t break from the extra “front weight” too.
While it may sound like honey and sunshine, caring for a baby is no easy task – especially when they cannot even support themselves.
A baby carrier will make things much easier for both parties – the parent and the baby. Your bundle of joy will be enjoying your warmth while you can finally get some work done without the baby keeping your hands occupied.
Many people confuse baby carriers with baby carriages (or strollers). Indeed, a carriage will carry the baby – but will do so on land by wheels, and you will have to push it yourself.
Not only is it tiresome, but it’s also very space consuming. Sometimes, you simply give up on the carriage completely just so that you won’t have to push it around.
A baby carrier, on the other hand, allows you to carry the baby on your body – something like a rucksack. It will wrap around the child and secure it against your body – regardless if it’s the back or the front.
Baby carriers are a great way to keep your hands free for other stuff. For instance, using a sling carrier will allow you to breastfeed the child much easier while strapping him to your back will allow you to do your chores.
We all know how they start crying the minute you’re out of range; a carrier will allow you to do your tasks and hold the baby – without actually holding the baby.
Baby carriers have been around for a fairly long time now. However, technology and bright designers are offering us more choices than we ever had before.
Nowadays, carriers are modern and more evolved designs of the wraps, slings, and backpacks used by people in the past.
These are the types of carriers that you will see pretty much everywhere:
If you like the idea of an upright carrier but you want to make sure that your baby is close to you at all times, you'll want to consider using a wrap. These baby carriers are usually wide pieces of fabric that are worn around the body of the carrier, as well as around both their shoulders. This style of wrap is perfect for preemies or smaller children who want to be very close to their mothers. This means that your child will always be directly against your body.
Due to their versatility, these types of carriers are very popular. You can wrap them in all kinds of ways, and adjust them by simply pulling the fabric. A baby cloth carrier is a great way to make breastfeeding a less hassling task.
Unlike the wrap that goes over both shoulders of the parent or sitter, the sling goes over just one of them. They can be either unpadded, padded, with or without any adjustment rings.
If you are a breastfeeding mother, then a sling carrier, just like the wrap, is a good way to feed your baby discreetly. It’s fairly loose, and it has enough fabric to cover you while your baby is eating dinner. You won't have to pull him out to feed him since he will already be laying down and in a good position for breastfeeding.
A ring sling or a pouch sling will both work well for keeping your child comfortable while he nurses. If you want to continue to carry your baby as he grows, a ring sling offers extra versatility and will let you adjust the size of your sling easily. A pouch sling is the better choice if your child likes to sit up when he's not nursing.
This type of carrier can be fairly troublesome, especially if you are a petite woman. Instead of balancing all the weight, everything is concentrated on just that one shoulder.
This can become uncomfortable really fast, especially if your child weighs more than 10-15 pounds. Even the best baby sling carrier may not be useful in these conditions.
Unlike wrap and sling carriers, a structured baby carrier will focus more on support and stability. They usually have a lot of straps, making them look similar to backpacks. You can wear this carrier on your front or on your back.
They are a great option for parents that want some flexibility with their carriers but don’t want to deal with the hassle of wrapping. The buckles and padded straps will keep both you and the baby comfortable – everything while making sure that they are safely secured.
Most parents will choose carriers based on the position that the baby will stay in. They can be either wrap, sling or structured carriers. Depending on where it will be secured, it will make your job much easier – but a complete hell if you choose the wrong one.
Back carriers are similar to backpacks, and they are a better choice for children over five months, who are already much heavier. The weight will be distributed along the back, making it much easier for you to carry the mini-you around.
Backpack-style carriers are very convenient if you tend to do a lot of chores around the house. Gardening, washing the dishes, or cooking can be very difficult if you have a baby barrier in front, and a back-positioned carrier may make things much easier for you.
Front carriers are exactly what the name says: they allow you to carry the baby in the front. The two shoulder straps and fabric seat will help support the baby, pressing him (or her) close to your chest – like you are hugging them to your chest. One example of such carrier may be the Asian Mei Tai.
At first, babies will face inward, towards your chest, when wearing a front carrier. However, when it’s old enough to support its own head (usually around 5 or 6 months) you may turn them facing outward, so they can see the world.
Some front carriers may also be used as backpack carriers, which may be much easier for you if the child is heavier than 15 lbs. The downside is that some front carriers, such as the structured one, may make breastfeeding very difficult for you.
Sometimes, you can’t let the baby occupy your whole front – but you can’t bring yourself to put them in the back either.
Hip carriers are usually sling or wrap-type, and they are a convenient option of carrying the baby while leaving half of your front free.
Keep in mind that hip carriers are a good option only if your baby is several months old and can already sit and hold his/her head.
The “art” of carrying a baby around in a carrier is called “babywearing” – as you are literally wearing your baby on you. Only, instead of wearing him/her in your belly for nine months, you’re wearing him/her in a pouch.
And there are several reasons why using a baby carrier beats using a baby carriage.
Have you noticed how, the minute you pick the baby up, they instantly stop crying? They crave for physical contact, and the longer you carry them, the happier they will be. A study done in 1986 on a group of random babies showed that carrying a baby for two extra hours may reduce crying by as much as 43%.
Many pediatricians attest to the physical benefits of a carrier. For instance, a sling or a wrap carrier will hold your baby in a correct and comfortable position – such as it happens in the womb before the baby is born.
Carrying your baby upright will also massage the abdomen, promoting a good digestion and preventing abnormalities that may occur if the child spends too much time lying on their backs and their bellies.
Holding your child in your arms satisfies their need for comfort and warmth, and gives them access to breastfeeding. While in this position, a baby will cry less and be more alert of their surroundings.
It will be much easier for them to develop their social and mental understanding of the environment.
Toddlers all love being “worn” by their parents for as long as they can. Since they will no longer be locked in a stroller, they’ll be able to interact better through eye-level contact.
How many times have you felt that you can’t do the simplest of tasks because your baby can’t stay 10 seconds down without bursting into tears?
When they are in the infancy stage, they are the most fragile, and they will crave as much closeness as possible – which means that the second you put them down, you can say hello to baby wailing and goodbye to house chores.
Using a baby carrier will allow you to have your hands free while still offering the baby the closeness that they crave for. What’s more important is that many sling carrier designs will also enable you to breastfeed your baby while you are on the go.
If you have the type of baby that can only nap while being held, it will make it much easier to get things done. Your hands will be free, and you’ll be able to do your job.
So, the best baby wrap carrier will keep your little angel comfortable and close to you, without putting a strain on your chores.
Baby carriers will allow you to bond with your child more than any stroller ever will. You’ll be able to meet the needs of your baby more quickly, and he/she will know exactly who their protector is.
Carriers are also great for mothers who are suffering from depression – since the feeling of attachment goes both ways. Holding your baby is like holding a fluffy little kitten – the longer you hold it, the happier you will become.
Skin-to-skin contact is also medically proven to help sick infants recover and grow. While the cause may not be exactly known, this “kangaroo care” is practiced in many hospitals and it has saved many babies.
How much cash do you think you have to pay for a proper stroller that will make your baby feel comfortable? Plus, the more the baby grows, the more you risk the baby grows out of it.
On the other hand, a baby carrier is much cheaper and can be adjusted to the size of your child.
One thing that is certain is that parents are always paranoid about their babies and they always have questions to ask – especially if it’s their first.
To make things easier for you, here are the questions that parents ask most frequently regarding the purchase of a baby carrier.
Technically speaking, a child can go into a carrier from the moment that they are born. However, you may want to keep in mind that your baby will need at least 4-5 months until their muscles become strong enough to support their head.
If you decide to use a carrier for a baby that is under five months old, then you have to be 100% certain he or she has enough head support.
Baby carriers are usually designed to be hard and firm so that your growing child has plenty of support. A newborn child may have issues staying in a rigid carrier, which is why you may want to get something made from a soft fabric – such as a sling or a wrap. This way, the infant can comfortably curl up inside.
To “wrap” things up, any time is the “right time” to purchase a carrier for your baby. However, a newborn will require softer fabric and extra neck support, so you may want to invest in a wrap or a sling carrier.
There’s no exact answer for this since every carrier is built differently. Every brand and model may be made for various weights and sizes, but on average, they can hold from 7 to 40 pounds – which is the average weight of 4-year-old toddlers.
Therefore, the common carrier can easily hold the weight of a child that is around 3 or 4 years old.
However, you may want to stop carrying your child by the time they reach 2 years old since that is the average time when they learn how to walk well – and they can’t do that if you don’t let them down.
This question was mostly answered above when we talked about weight. It is recommended that you do not use a carrier for more than two years since, at some point, the baby will need to learn how to walk by himself/herself.
If you keep giving in to the “puppy eyes” they give you each time they want to be carried, not only will this be bad for your back, but it will be bad for their legs as well. They may develop certain conditions that will prevent them from walking properly.
This question is debatable depending on the age of your child. If the baby is newborn, then he or she will clearly not have all their neck muscles fully developed – and therefore, will not be able to support it by themselves.
This will only happen when they are around 5 months old.
If your baby was just born, you might want to get a face-in carrier. This way, they will be able to support their head on your chest, and it will be much easier for them to get comfortable.
On the other hand, if you have a baby that is at least five months old, a face-out carrier is a very good idea. That’s when their curiosity starts peaking and being face-out will allow them to see something more than mommy’s bosom.
If you do not maintain a correct position for your child in a carrier, then you risk putting their hips in harm’s way and cause them to develop hip dysplasia – which is an abnormal development of the hips.
If the baby’s legs keep dangling on the sides, it can create permanent hip problems – especially if this happens very often.
A good baby carrier, however, will provide enough support as to prevent such a thing. The legs won’t be dangling, but instead, will be supported by the body of the person carrying the infant (the baby’s legs will usually go around the adult’s waist).
The hips will, therefore, be more stable and the baby will feel much more comfortable.
Depending on the brand that you are going for, a carrier may come with several other accessories – ones that you may or may not have considered before. Here are just some of them:
Each brand will come with some unique accessories that you may find incredibly useful.
Want a good brand that you can trust? According to many baby carrier reviews, here are the ones that are rated at the top of the list:
Practical meets cute design, and Ergobaby baby carriers seem to have it all. Their ergonomic designs are perfect for parents who are seeking some comfort while carrying their little ones.
The average weight that their models can hold goes between 12 and 33 pounds, and you can face them in pretty much every position: face-in, face-out, back or front.
They are also known to have the best forward facing baby carrier and that some of their models may be used as a twin baby carrier.
Babybjorn baby carriers use soft fabrics for their products – which is why a lot of parents tend to buy their products.
They also come with a lot of accessories to keep your baby safe from the moody weather but also have an ergonomic design that will prevent the apparition of hip dysplasia.
Lillebaby baby carriers offer some of the best lumbar support that both you and the baby can ask for.
Most of their models are light while still being soft enough to be comfortable.
Babies drool a lot – that’s one thing that’s certain. Since it’s very easy for them to get sick due to bacteria, you may want to make sure that you wash the carrier at least once or twice a week – especially if it’s a sling or wrap type.
Use soap and clothes softener, and avoid harsh products as they may be harmful to the baby.
To ensure the safety of your baby, here are some tips that you may want to consider:
A baby carrier may be there to make things easier for you, but you still need to be careful and do continuous checks.
Baby carriers are a very convenient thing to have around since they give you freedom of hands while still keeping the little one close to you.
No matter if you are looking for the best baby backpack carrier or the best sling type, you may check our buying guide for tips.