When it comes to baby gear, we’re all about the less is more philosophy—but we absolutely cannot imagine #momlife without our baby carrier.

Why? Because the best baby carriers are incredibly useful in the newborn days and well beyond. Have a colicky baby who just won’t settle? Pop her in the carrier and hold her super close. Overtired little one needs a nap but refuses to sleep, and all you can do is think about the 22 things that need doing around the house? Strap him to you and get it done, mama. Don’t feel like pushing a bulky stroller but still want to take baby along on your latest family adventure? Babywearing FTW yet again. 🙌

From wraps and slings to more structured carriers, there are a lot of baby carriers options on the market, and we know it can feel a little overwhelming to figure out which one is right for you.

For the purpose of this story, we did a deep dive into the soft, structured carriers (aka SSCs), which offer a great comfort and convenience. Probably the most popular babywearing option among parents today, SSCs can be used in lots of different carry positions, have adjustable, padded straps, and can often be used from infancy well into toddlerhood.

Lots of brands have how-to videos that show you exactly how to properly fit the carrier, how to take baby in and out, and more; they’re a lifesaver and we can’t stress enough just how helpful they can be. And, speaking of fit, be sure you’re practicing healthy hip positioning whenever you’re wearing your baby; the International Hip Dysplasia Institute can show you how.

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to figure out which carrier is right for you. We’ve tested them all so you don’t have to—and below are what we believe to be the six best baby carriers. Happy traveling, mamas!

Shoppable

LÍLLÉbaby COMPLETE All Seasons
$100

1. LÍLLÉbaby COMPLETE All Seasons

Why it’s our fave: 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!

Reviewers say: “My wife is a member of an international baby wearing organization (can you believe that even exists?) and they have a local lending library, so we were able to try a whole slew of these things before buying one. This is the best. It is hands down the most comfortable for both junior and us, and the mesh back makes a huge difference in junior’s comfort level in the summer, while being close-able in cold weather.” -One of  over 5,000 positive reviews on Amazon 

Weight accommodation: 7 to 45 pounds, no infant insert needed

BabyBJORN Mesh Mini Carrier
$100

2. BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini

Why it’s our fave: 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.

Reviewers say: “I have purchased several other baby carriers on the market (4 to be exact) and have always been so frustrated with wrapping/tying/etc, that I end up not using them. Because of this, I was extremely hesitant purchasing this carrier. However, I am so thankful I did because this carrier has been a LIFESAVER for us. This is hands down the easiest carrier to put on, you don’t have to google how to videos each time or ask for help with buckles in hard to reach places.” – Wolfpackfamily

Weight accommodation: 7-24 pounds, no infant insert needed

Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Baby Carrier
$180

3. Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Baby Carrier

Why it’s our fave: If you’re heating up at the mere thought of having your baby pressed up against your chest all day, we have the carrier for you! The Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh is a lightweight carrier is made from breathable mesh that easily lets air flow in and out, keeping you—and your little one—cool all year round. Like many of the other soft, structured carriers we love, this one offers four carry positions and is really easy to get the hang of once you’ve practiced a few times. It’s also easily adjustable and does a great job distributing baby’s weight so you’ll never have to worry about back or shoulder pain.

Reviewers say: “I bought this for a vacation that I knew I’d be carrying my 22 lb baby around a lot for. It was the best purchase! I love how it can carry newborns up to even toddlers if you wanted and that it has 4 different carry positions. I carried my baby around for a week in this thing every single day and I had no pain at all and it was so easy to carry him.” –Mary

Weight accommodations: 7 to 45 pounds, no infant insert needed

MiaMily Baby Carrier with Hip Seat
$139

4. MiaMily Hipster Plus 3D Baby Carriers

Why it’s our fave: A Swiss company founded by two moms, MiaMily’s Hipster Plus 3D Baby Carriers features up to nine different carry positions—meaning you’ll get plenty of life out of it from birth well into older toddlerhood. Like all things Swiss, the 3D seat is ergonomically designed to both properly position your little one’s hips and distribute her weight evenly for a comfortable carry. The Hipster also features a zippered seat pouch, which we found to be just the right size to fit everything you need for a diaper change on the go.

Reviewers say: “It feels like I’m carrying nothing at all because it redistributes the weight in a way that doesn’t strain your shoulders and back. My daughter also fits so much better no matter what position she’s in. She no longer is getting hit in the cheek by straps and when she’s facing either direction her hips aren’t pushed too wide apart for the front or to get around my waist. She is so much more at ease in it.” – Katelynn

Weight accommodations: Newborn to 44 pounds, infant insert sold separately here

Baby Tula Explore Front Carrier
$179

5. Baby Tula Explore Front Carrier

Why it’s our fave: One of the most comfortable structured carriers we’ve ever used, the Baby Tula Explore is a versatile, fully adjustable, and easy-to-use carrier that comes in more beautiful designs than we know what to do with. This carrier truly shines when it comes to creating a custom fit—there’s an adaptable panel that adjusts in both width and height to fit your baby at any stage, as well as fully adjustable shoulder straps and waistband to create just the right fit for whoever’s doing the carrying. And it’s incredibly versatile to boot, allowing for baby to face inwards and outwards when being carried on the front, but back carrying is an option, too.

Reviewers say: “I was looking for a SSC that didn’t use a newborn insert and grew with the child. This fit the bill as did another brand. The linen material and the adjustable back strap is what sold us. We are so happy we chose this one. We are in the south and the linen option has already came in handy even if it’s December…it’s still hot here.” – Lauryn

Weight accommodation: 7 to 45 pounds, no infant insert needed

Infantino Flip 4in1 Advanced Carrier
$33

6. Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Advanced Carrier

Why it’s our fave: Although it’s the lowest price carrier on this list (by far!), the Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Advanced Carrier absolutely still delivers on the functions you (and your baby!) deserve. It earns its name from four carrying positions: facing in with a folded seat, facing in with an expanded seat, facing out with a folded seat and back-carrier with an expanded seat. With breathable, padded shoulder straps and an adjustable waist band for lumbar support, you’ll be set to carry your little one until their legs can handle the job.

Reviewers say: “My baby instantly falls asleep once he is in this carrier! He is 6 weeks old and a little over 10 lbs. and fits perfectly in the narrow seating position! I am 5’2″ with a short torso, and it is very comfortable. My husband is 6’1″ with a very long torso, and it fits him comfortably, too.” – A.D.

Weight accommodation: 8 to 30 pounds, no infant insert needed

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This article was originally published in July 2019. It has been updated.