Ask any parent who's worn a baby carrier what they loved about it and without fail, they'll recount the endless ways it made parenting, well, easier. Worn babies get better sleep, bond better with their caregivers and are simply way more relaxed (and for the doubters out there, don't worry—this fact is backed by science.) But perhaps most inspiring of all is the fact that baby carriers also give parents their hands back to get all the stuff done that they need to get done. In other words, babywearing makes parents feel like themselves again.
As a Babywearing Educator and Perinatal Specialist with more than a decade of experience helping thousands of new families, I make it my business to know what baby carriers are on the market that will work well for them. It can be overwhelming for sleep-deprived couples to sift through the mountain of available choices and make any sense of it at all. Luckily for my clients, I'm inherently mistrustful of gimmicks and trends, and only offer up choices that are time-tested and well-loved by the people who use them.
Here are five fantastic carriers that I'm lovin' on right now:
Tula Baby Carriers have been revered by woven wrap-lovers for years because their wider body panel spreads a baby's weight around your core, making it more ergonomic and comfortable (like a wrap!).
The Explore is Tula's first try at a 3-position carrier that allows for a forward-facing position, in addition to tummy-to-tummy carry and back carry options. Parents love the Explore because it's quick to put on, the body panel is soft and flexible, it fits wearers on the petite and plus-size spectrum equally well, and it comes in Tula's drool-worthy designer fabrics.
If you're looking for ONE structured carrier that fits most, works from seven to 45 pounds without an infant insert, and offers a forward-facing position, the Tula Explore is a slam dunk.
Age: 7-45 lbs
Woven wraps are long, fully-adjustable pieces of fabric that can be tied around your body in hundreds of ways to suit your preference or needs. They are the most versatile carrier on the market because they fit any body type, any size baby or toddler, in almost any configuration. No joke—I've even wrapped my husband in a woven wrap on my back before! Woven wraps distribute the weight of your baby symmetrically, and nervous new parents report how secure it feels to use a fabric that mimics the way it feels to carry their baby in their actual arms. Bijou Wear makes amazing wraps for beginners and advanced users alike. They come in fresh patterns, are soft out of the box, and have inclusive sizing for all body types and sizes.
Age: Birth through forever
Boba Stretchy wraps come in a rainbow of colors and feel like your favorite cotton leggings that have a touch of spandex. The stretchy material of the carrier allows you to pre-tie the wrap tightly around your body and pop your baby in and out as needed throughout the day without having to untie any knots.
This makes them ideal for parents who do a lot of driving and want to leave the carrier on their bodies while they load their baby in and out of the car seat. They are also an excellent choice for parents with healing postpartum bodies or sensitive breasts that want a carrier that feels like second-skin.
They are rated to carry up to 35 pounds, but reported to feel less supportive after 15 pounds. Considering that stretchy wraps see most of their use in baby's first couple of months, Boba Wraps are an easy, low-risk option due to their affordable price-point and their mid-weight fabric works for most families and climates.
Age: Birth- 35 lbs
Ring Slings by design, are simple carriers. A short piece of fabric is tightened through two rings to secure your newborn, older baby, or toddler to your torso, and voila! One carrier fits all, and the sturdy, linen fabric makes it an excellent choice for all seasons and climates.
Parents of newborns with healing abdominal scars love that slings hold their babies high on their chests without an awkward waist belt to contend with. Parents of toddlers swear by slings when their big kid needs a quick cuddle, or if an unexpected nap befalls them while they're out.
Heritage Baby Designs is a Black-owned, small business that makes slings in wear-with-everything colorways and exquisite hand-dyed patterns. The sling shoulder design is versatile and comfortable, and I love that the company has easy instructions on their site for those who need a little extra help getting comfortable in their new carrier.
Age: 8-35 lbs
New(er) to the scene in 2016, Happy Baby Carriers may look like traditional buckle carriers, but have no padding and are made of breathable linen. And if you think that their thinness makes them less comfortable, well… that's where you'd be wrong.
Their super streamlined design and apron-style waist belt actually creates for a full-torso weight distribution that can actually make your baby feel lighter weight, and won't bother a cesarean birth incision. The linen fabric is a game-changer for families in warmer climates who can't handle the heat or bulk of traditional structured carriers. Say goodbye to waist belt sweat-marks and overheated, cranky babies! Happy Baby Carriers come in the most stunning array of solid colors, but due to their popularity, sadly often host a waitlist for their customers.
Age: Birth-45 lbs
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