If you have a newborn at home, you’re likely carrying them for hours on end. That’s totally normal. Newborns want to be near you, on you and held by you (see: Contact naps). But this need that your baby has can make everyday life a lot trickier. How are you going to text that friend you’ve been wanting to see for so long, if you have a baby in your arms? How about pouring yourself a glass of water or carrying grocery bags? One word: babywearing!

Related: The best baby wraps–and expert tips on how to use them

Babywearing—the act of wearing or carrying your baby with the help of a special carrier—has been around for centuries. Nomadic people used to wear their babies to travel with them more effectively. And families in Africa, Mexico and many other parts of the world still to this day use specialized fabrics or traditional carriers on the daily. Recently, this custom has gained popularity in the United States. That’s because babywearing provides the best of both worlds—a loving way to hold your baby and the convenience of hands-free parenting, while also benefitting you, mama.1Reynolds-Miller RL. Potential Therapeutic Benefits of BabywearingCreat Nurs. 2016;22(1):17-23. doi:10.1891/1078-4535.22.1.17

Newborn babywearing class

Here are 10 benefits of babywearing, for both baby and you

1. It’s great for traveling with your baby

Babywearing allows you to go places without having to push a stroller or carry it from one place to the next. It keeps your hands free, and makes it easier to just get up and go when you want to run a quick errand.

2. People won’t touch your baby (as much)

A carrier keeps your baby nestled in a little protected cocoon, keeping germy hands away. “People generally love babies and when you love something, you often want to touch it,” says Marta Ginter, a birth and postpartum doula, Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and Certified Babywearing Educator. “With virus season coming, no one wants random people touching their baby. It’s much easier to reach into the stroller than try to get to the baby that is on the parent’s chest.”

Related: ‘Do not touch’ signs, onesies & shoes are the newest way to keep babies healthy during cold season

3. It soothes baby

Babies who are worn by their parents cry less, an older randomized controlled trial found.2Urs A. Hunziker, Ronald G. Barr; Increased Carrying Reduces Infant Crying: A Randomized Controlled TrialPediatrics May 1986; 77 (5): 641–648. 10.1542/peds.77.5.641 “Babywearing reduces babies’ crying, especially in the evening hours,” said Ginter. “The more you wear your baby, the happier your baby will be, the less they will cry and the more time they’ll spend in quiet alert state [that’s when babies learn the most].”

4. It’s good for cognitive and social development

When babies spend less time crying, they in turn spend more time learning and interacting with their environment. Babies who are worn are also able to see what their parents see, hear what their parents hear or say, and are overall more involved in their parents’ everyday lives. Finally, having your baby so close to you allows you to better respond to their cues and touch them more.3Little EE, Legare CH, Carver LJ. Culture, carrying, and communication: Beliefs and behavior associated with babywearing. Infant Behav Dev. 2019;57:101320. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.04.002. All of this can enhance learning and cognitive development, and overall wellbeing.

5. It’s good for their overall health and wellbeing

Wearing babies allows you to carry them in a position that’s beneficial to their physical health and development. It helps prevent flat head syndrome and can promote digestion (helping with colic and reflux).4Urs A. Hunziker, Ronald G. Barr; Increased Carrying Reduces Infant Crying: A Randomized Controlled TrialPediatrics May 1986; 77 (5): 641–648. 10.1542/peds.77.5.641 Plus, babies in a carrier also learn to use muscle groups to balance themselves.

6. You can nurse discreetly

It may take a little practice, but once you get the hang of it, you get to nurse while babywearing without anyone even noticing, especially if you carry in a ring sling or a wrap.

7. You get to keep up with life, hands-free

This means doing chores around the house, working, cooking, going on a walk and, even more importantly for parents who have more than one child, being more present for your other children. Holding your toddler’s hand while wearing your newborn? Isn’t that a wonderful thought?

8. It’s a great way to bond with your baby

When you wear your baby, you are more likely to talk and interact with them, and all the baby carrier naps and snuggles are a great way to re-connect with baby once they are out of the womb. During that bonding time, you are also more apt to respond to your baby’s cues and to learn to meet their needs, which can help you feel more confident as you are learning the ins and outs of parenting.5Little EE, Legare CH, Carver LJ. Culture, carrying, and communication: Beliefs and behavior associated with babywearing. Infant Behav Dev. 2019;57:101320. doi:10.1016/j.infbeh.2019.04.002.

Related: Practicing skin-to-skin? This is the babywear you need.

9. Research shows it can decrease the risk of postpartum depression

This boost of confidence can help with the transition into motherhood and enhance a new mom’s overall mental wellbeing. Plus, babywearing can help you break social isolation by making it easier to take a walk, stay active or meet some friends. Lastly, babywearing increases the amount of time spent doing skin-to-skin with your baby, which research has connected to decreased rates of postpartum depression.6Bigelow A, Power M, MacLellan-Peters J, Alex M, McDonald C. Effect of mother/infant skin-to-skin contact on postpartum depressive symptoms and maternal physiological stress [published correction appears in J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2012 Jul-Aug;41(4):580]. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2012;41(3):369-382. doi:10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01350.x

10. Partners and other family members get to connect with baby in a deeper way

With baby carriers, mom isn’t the only one who gets to bond with baby. It is also a lovely activity a dad or partner can do with the baby at any time of the day to soothe the child or just go on a coffee mission in the morning.

Shop some of our favorite baby carriers below!

Solly Baby Wrap

Solly Baby

Baby Wrap


Solly Baby wraps have a dedicated fanbase–and for good reason! (One Motherly editor even calls it her “most favorite piece of baby gear ever.”)  Made from a super lightweight and sustainable  TENCEL™ Modal fabric, they’re thinner than other wraps on the market and twice as soft as cotton. The breathability makes them a top choice for warm climates, though with the heat babies put off, it’s a great option anywhere, anytime.

And since it’s comprised of just one long strip of fabric, there’s no tricky sizing to calculate and it can be used by every caregiver on your roster! (It also makes it incredibly compact and easy to stuff into a diaper bag.) Note that babies can only be carried in the front, inward-facing position from 8-25 pounds.

Prices start at $69

lillebaby complete all seasons


Complete All Seasons Carrier


They don’t call this carrier the Complete for nothing! Featuring unmatched lumbar support, six carry positions, and pretty much any other feature you could ever want, we can’t say enough amazing things about LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons . Whether you’re looking to inward face your newborn, outward face your older baby, or back carry your toddler (or do all three on the same day, like one of our mamas recently did!) the Complete delivers on all fronts and keeps you comfortable along the way. We love the unique bucket seat on this carrier, as well as the adjustable side panels that make finding a healthy hip position for your little one easy. We also love the extendable back panel—it easily folds down and buckles upwards to provide extra head + neck support, so you’ll never feel like your babe is unsupported or hanging out of the carrier. The shoulder straps even adjust two ways (either in an “X” shape across your back, or backpack-style) and have extra padding; it’s almost impossible not to be comfy in this carrier!



Baby Carrier Mini


Why mess with perfection? Launched nearly 50 years ago by a family-owned company in Sweden, BABYBJÖRN is the OG when it comes to soft, structured carriers. We love that there’s no trickery with the “Bjorn” (as most parents call it!)—no confusing wraps, cords, buckles or tethers—and you can easily take it on and off by yourself. The 3D Mesh Mini is ideal for ages newborn through 12 months old, babies can face inwards or outwards (starting at about five months old) in this carrier, which you wear on the front of your body. The carrier, which is, FYI, super sturdy, also features an adjustable support panel to keep rolling heads and necks safe. We also love how compact this one is—roll it up and shove it in your diaper bag, under your stroller or in your suitcase and voila, you’re ready to hit the road.

A version of this story was published April 11, 2019. It has been updated.