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9 Best Baby Carriers of 2018

Babies want to be close to their parent. A swing or cozy, vibrating seat might keep your baby content for a period, but your arms happen to be the most loved choice by your baby. Carrying your baby around all day is hard, especially when you have other kids to help. By the end of the day, you are left wondering if you accomplished anything, and your arm muscles ache. Trying one of the best baby carriers can solve this problem.

As a mom of four kids, I know how essential a baby carrier is for a mother’s sanity. Some babies are more high-needs than others, and the only thing that baby will want is to be on mom. A baby carrier makes your life a lot easier, and your child will be happier. Isn’t that what all parents want?

Budget
Best-budget-baby-carrier
Moby Wrap
4.7/5.0
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Best Value
Best-value-baby-carrier
Baby Bjorn
4.6/5.0
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Top Pick
Top-value-baby-carrier
Lillebaby Complete
4.9/5.0
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Baby Carrier Brand Type of Carrier Price For Newborns? For Toddlers? Rating
Baby K’Tan Ready to Wear Carrier Wrap $$ Yes Yes 4.5
Moby Wrap Wrap $$ Yes Yes 4.7
Lillebaby Ring Sling Ring Sling $$ Yes Yes 4.5
Maya Wrap Ring Sling Ring Sling $$ Yes Yes 4.8
Baby Bjorn Original Baby Carrier Structured Carrier $$ Yes No 4.6
Lillebaby Complete All Season Structured Carrier $$$ Yes Yes 4.9
Ergobaby 360 Structured Carrier $$$ No – Infant insert available Yes 4.7
Baby Tula Free-to-Grow Structured Carrier $$$ Yes Yes 4.8
Beco Gemini Structured Carrier $$$ Yes Yes 4.6

Is a Baby Carrier a Necessity?

Some parents add a baby carrier to their necessary items list, and some don’t. That depends on your child! A stroller works for some children, but others don’t like any baby seat. A baby carrier is the only item that will let you get chores done, hands-free, while your child comfortably sleeps on you.

If you want to travel or go to a crowded location, a carrier is the better choice. Trying to navigate a crowded stadium or festival with a stroller is difficult. Just put your baby in the carrier, and you won’t face any problems. Active parents who hike will find that a carrier allows them to still enough their favorite activity without trying to push a stroller through the woods.

Breastfeeding mothers can learn how to breastfeed in certain carriers as well discreetly. That is a huge convenience factor. You can nurse while you shop at the store or enjoy time at the park with your other children.

Different Styles of Baby Carriers

Baby carriers come in a variety of styles. Each style has pros and cons that you need to consider before purchasing. Think about when you plan to use the carrier and the features that matter to you. Also, consider who will wear the carrier. If you and your partner will both wear it, having a carrier that adjusts is important.

Wraps: Wraps are a long piece of fabric that you tie around your body and baby to create a carrier. Wraps come in a variety of fabrics, from cotton and bamboo to stretchy materials. Stretchy wraps are better for newborn babies and those who weigh less than 15lbs. Thicker wraps made with cotton provide more structure and sturdiness for heavier babies and toddlers.

Wraps are versatile and comfortable. No buckles dig into your skin, and people of different sizes wear the same wrap. However, using a wrap can be complicated and comes with a learning curve. YouTube features dozens of videos on how to use a baby wrap, and you will want to practice at home.

$20 to $60, on average

Slings: A sling, often called a ring sling, is a wide piece of fabric that goes over one shoulder, typically looping through a metal ring, creating a pocket for your child to sit in across your torso. Slings are great for quick store trips and small babies. You can easily put the baby in and out of these carriers with little difficulty. Breastfeeding mothers find ring slings particularly easy to discreetly nurse.

Most mothers can learn how to use a sling after a few tries. The only disadvantage of a sling is that, because the weight of your child is on one shoulder, you don’t want to wear it for long trips. If you head to the amusement park, a ring sling isn’t a good choice for six hours straight. If you want something for around the house and heading to the store, a sling is fantastic. Slings also are great for hot weather!

Costs between $10 and $60, depending on the brand.

Soft Structured Carriers: Structured carriers resemble a backpack with straps over both of your shoulders. The straps have padding. A strap wraps around your waist and buckles; then a carrying pack can be placed on your chest or back for your child.

Structured carriers are great for parents who have never tried babywearing. There is little to no learning curve. Just adjust the straps to your waist size and place baby into the carrier. Most structured carriers also have a buckle between the shoulders to secure the straps.

Most parents love structured carriers, but there are a few considerations. This style can be hot during warm weather because it uses a lot of fabric. Also, you want to make sure the waist is widely adjustable if you plan to let other people wear your baby.

Some models can cost as low as $40, but they might not be comfortable or durable. Expect to pay between $100 to $200 for a trusted brand.

Other Considerations When Picking the Best Baby Carrier

Front Carrying or Back Carrying

Do you want to be able to wear your baby on your front, on your back, or both? For babies six months old and under, front facing is ideal. You can keep the baby close, and nursing mothers must wear babies in the front for obvious reasons. Front carrying does offer a snuggly feeling.

Older infants and toddlers love back carrying because they can see around easily. Parents find it easier to do things with a baby on their back.

Support Features

Comfort for parent and baby is important. The key for parent comfort is even weight distribution. For soft structured carriers, look for thick, padded shoulder straps and a wider waistband.

If you want a wrap or a sling, the fabric should be wide, distributing the weight across your entire torso rather than just a central area. For your baby, check out the fabric and type of seat. A wider seat is better for your child’s hips and offers a natural position. Breathable fabric keeps your child comfortable in warmer weather.

Do you feel intimidated by learning how to use a baby carrier? Structured carriers are the easiest type to learn how to use. Simply place the carrier on like a backpack (or front-pack since baby may be on your front), and attach the buckles.

Wraps have a learning curve, but that doesn’t mean it is hard to learn. Practice makes perfect, and after a few tries, you should get it under control.

Newborns and Toddlers: Can I Use the Same Carrier?

In most circumstances, you aren’t able to use a newborn and toddler in the same carrier. Stretchy wraps can’t accommodate the size of a toddler. Some structured carriers adjust to fit a wide range of sizes, or you can purchase an insert to allow the carrier to be used with a newborn.

Some carriers are meant for toddlers, and some are designed specifically for newborns! Make sure to read the description.

The Best Baby Wraps

1. Baby K’Tan Ready-to-Wear Wrap

baby-ktan-carrierView on Amazon

The Baby K’Tan is a wrap, but you don’t have to do any of the wrapping. It eliminates the learning process that drives many parents away from trying this style of baby carrier. Baby K’Tan uses 100-percent natural cotton along with some stretchy material. The carrier keeps your baby cozy and close.

I love the double-loop design because it evenly distributes the weight of your child across your shoulders and back. Stretchy wraps can be uncomfortable for extended periods, but the even distribution of weight eases discomfort.

Putting the K’Tan on isn’t difficult and takes only three steps. You can purchase the K’Tan in any size from XXS to XL, getting a great fit for your body. That means you can’t share this baby carrier with your partner unless they happen to wear the same size as you. Over time, the fabric does get a bit too stretchy, so consider sizing down for the right fit.

Baby K’Tan includes a carrier storage bag so that you can keep it in your diaper bag or car. No one likes forgetting their baby carrier at home when it’s needed. Unlike other wraps, the K’Tan allows mothers to nurse discreetly or bond with skin-to-skin. Try five different positions without removing the carrier! It is machine washable and dryer safe.

Specs
Weight Limit: 8-35lbs
Positions for Baby: Front-inward, front outward, sling-style, and hip carry
The Pros
Easy to use
Strong design
Distributes weight of baby evenly
Breastfeeding friendly
Machine washable
The Cons
Multiple caregivers can’t use
Not ideal for hot weather
Fabric stretches over time

2. Moby Wrap

moby-wrap-babby-carrierView on Amazon

The Moby Wrap is a snuggly, stretchy wrap that is perfect for your newborn baby. You can securely carry your baby around while finishing housework and eating lunch because we know that moms forget to eat sometimes. The Moby has thicker material than other stretchy wraps, and it can be used up to 35lbs. So, it will grow with your baby.

It does require some practice to learn how to use the Moby Wrap correctly. Watch a few tutorial videos for step-by-step instructions. Practice throughout the day at home before you head to the store with it. Once you feel confident using the wrap, it will come naturally to you.

The Moby measures 18 feet, which seems impossible to understand. However, the length allows you to use for a variety of carries. Using a Moby Wrap allows you to wear your baby front facing inwards and outwards, sideways, and on your back. If you roll it up, the Moby becomes a pillow or a blanket!

Despite the claim that it holds up to 35lbs, carrying that weight with a stretchy wrap may not be comfortable for your back and shoulders. Also, breastfeeding in the wrap isn’t as easy as other carriers. There will be fabric between you and the baby, making nursing complicated without redoing the entire hold. Also, the amount of fabric means you must be careful not to overheat your baby. It isn’t an ideal baby carrier for warmer weather.

When you purchase the Moby, you receive a carrying bag along with an instructional guide. The guide shows you how to use different holds, such as the: Newborn Hug, Hug Hold, Hip Hold, Kangaroo Hold, and Pregnancy Sling.

Specs
Weight Limit: 8-35lbs
Positions for Baby: Front – inwards, Front- outwards, Hip, and Back carry
The Pros
Can use for newborns up to a toddler
Multiple carrying positions for baby
Strong, won’t stretch out over time
Multiple caregivers can use
The Cons
Tricky to use at first
Not breastfeeding friendly

The Best Baby Slings

3. Lillebaby Ring Sling

baby-ring-splingView on Amazon

Lillebaby makes several styles of baby carriers, and their ring sling is a top seller. Parents love that it is lightweight and breathable, making it a good choice for warm weathers. Because the material is breathable, baby won’t overheat, and she will feel comfortable to snooze all afternoon in the sling.

Adjust the carrier with the strong, durable, zinc alloy rings that set on your chest, near your shoulder. The fabric glides through the rings easily. Optional padding adds a layer of comfort between the rings and your shoulder. Due to the design, it is a one-size fits most carrier so that multiple caregivers can use it.

An interesting feature is the removable pocket pouch, so mothers can truly be hands-free while using this ring sling. Use the pocket for your cell phone, keys, or the all-important pacifier. When not in use, fold it up and stick it into your diaper bag.

The Lillebaby sling is suitable for newborns to infants and up to a toddler who weighs 35 pounds or less. 100% natural, linen fabric creates a comfortable, yet supportive, sling. Linen is lightweight, and Lillebaby used the top-quality material for their customers.

Specs
Weight Limit: 7-35lbs
Material of the Sling: Linen
The Pros
Lightweight
Breathable fabric
Padded shoulder
Removable pocket pouch
Usable for newborns up to toddlers
The Cons
Linen can dig into your skin
Pocket pouch isn’t big enough for large smart phones.

4. Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Ring Sling

padded-ring-sling-for-babiesView on Amazon

Babies and parents rave about the Maya wrap ring sling. The sling fits babies as small as 8 pounds through toddlers weighing 35 pounds. The edges are unpadded, so you can tighten your sling easily to ensure you get the perfect fit for you and your baby. The extra-long tail gives plenty of room for you to wear your older child or to discreetly breastfeed. Also, multiple caregivers can adjust for the perfect fit.

Maya Wrap is made with 100% hand-woven cotton, a breathable and comfortable choice. Unlike stretchy materials, cotton provides structure and stability for larger kids.

Padding on the shoulder prevents the metal rings from digging into your shoulder. SlingRings created these aluminum rings, and they’re made in the USA. Each ring is tested to 250 pounds! The design of the shoulder spreads the fabric across your back, evenly distributing the weight of your child.

On the go, the ring sling will fit into your diaper bag. Parents love the zippered pocket where you can store a diaper, keys or other essentials. Maya Wrap Slings are CPSC compliant and ASTM compliant, so you can trust that the quality is top-notch. Put the sling right into the washing machine in cold water, but don’t use a dryer. Make sure to line dry.

Specs
Weight Limit: 8-35lbs
Material of the Sling: 100% Hand-Woven Cotton
The Pros
Long tail for discreet nursing
Adjustable for multiple sizes
Strong material
Machine washable
Aluminum rings tested to 250 pounds
The Cons
Not dryer safe
Pocket isn’t large

The Best Baby Soft Structured Carriers

5. Baby Bjorn Original Baby Carrier

baby-bjorn-baby-carrierView on Amazon

The Baby Bjorn is great for parents who want a quick, secure way to carry their baby in the early months. All you do is place baby into the pouch and connect a few buckles. No long wraps to learn how to use. Getting baby in and out is simple, even if they are asleep and need place into their car seat. You can easily toss the Baby Bjorn into the diaper bag or in the stroller.

One thing to remember is that the Baby Bjorn is meant for newborn babies up to six months old. Larger babies may outgrow the carrier sooner than six months. No waist belt means that all of the weight is placed on your shoulders, which may make your shoulders ache if used for long periods.

Baby Bjorn is perfect for newborns, and an infant insert isn’t necessary. The design accommodates newborns from birth, and the firm, adjustable head support keeps your baby’s head stable. An ergonomically correct seat keeps your baby’s legs and hips in a correct position recommended by pediatricians.

Unlike other baby carriers, the Baby Bjorn Original allows babies to face in or out in a front carry position. Some babies love to face outwards, but some babies find that overwhelming and you may notice your baby is fussier in that position.

Specs
Weight Limit: Newborn to 25lbs
Positions for Baby: Front Facing inwards and outwards
The Pros
Easy to use
Perfect for newborn babies
Head support for babies
Ergonomic seat
Multiple carrying positions
The Cons
Not ideal for older infants or toddlers
Strains your shoulders

6. Lillebaby Complete All Seasons 6-in-1 Baby Carrier

comfortable-child-carrierView on Amazon

Babywearing in hot weather can be uncomfortable for mom and baby, but the Lillebaby designed their Complete All Seasons with this in mind. This carrier features a unique back panel that gives you control over your baby’s temperature because you can zip it up for warmth or unzip to expose a panel of breathable 3D mesh.

Parents can use the Lillebaby into toddlerhood because of a 45-pound weight limit. To accommodate the height weight limit, Lillebaby added lumbar support, an adjustable hood for extra neck support, and adjustability so parents can share the carrier. The wider seat improves weight distribution, making it easier to carry your child for extended periods.

For customized carrying, parents can wear the shoulder straps normally, or use the feature that allows the straps to cross X-style. Many parents prefer X-style because the weight of your child spreads across your entire back. H-style might apply more pressure onto your shoulders.

Lillebaby Complete features six ergonomic positions for your baby, which isn’t a common feature. The seat grows with your baby from newborn stage to toddlerhood. It features a healthy hip seat, which is narrower for a newborn and wide for a toddler. No infant insert is necessary, and you can use the carrier as soon as your baby is 7 pounds. The padded head support secures your child’s neck and back.

The Lillebaby does have a longer torso, so petite parents may find that it doesn’t fit quite as well as desired.

Specs
Weight Limit: 7-45lbs
Positions for Baby: Front Inward ( fetal, infant, and toddler settings), front outward, hip, and back carry
The Pros
Perfect for hot weather
Newborn up to toddlers
Lumbar support
Two styles of shoulder straps
Six ergonomic carrying positions
The Cons
Expensive
Not ideal for petite parents

7. Ergobaby 360 Baby Carrier

ergonomic-baby-carrierView on Amazon

Ergobaby started making carriers over a decade ago, and parents love their baby carriers from the start. The 360 is their newer design that lets parents carry their child from infanthood to toddlerhood.

The Ergobaby 360 has a wider seat that puts a child in a natural “M” position, whether they are facing inwards or outwards. The shoulder straps have padding, and the wide waistband distributes the weight of your child across your hips. The waistband offers lower back support and prevents pain, even if you wear your child for long periods. The waistband adjusts easily to fit other people.

Keep in mind the 360 is meant for babies 12 to 33 pounds. If you intend to use the 360 for your newborn baby, you will need an infant insert. However, these inserts can add extra warmth so don’t overdress your baby. If you don’t want to use an insert, the Ergobaby’s Omni 360 is meant for babies 7 pounds and up without an insert.

The 360 is easy to put on with only a few buckles. One negative is that it doesn’t have a pocket for car keys or your cell phone. A pocket isn’t a necessity, but it is a nice feature! On the flip side, the Ergobaby has a privacy hood, which some carriers don’t include, that allows your baby to take a comfortable nap.

Specs
Weight Limit: 12-33lbs
Positions for Baby: Front Inward, Front-Outward, Hip, and Back Carry
The Pros
Infant to toddler
Ergonomic seat
Padded shoulder straps and wide waistband prevent pain.
Easy to use
Privacy hood
The Cons
Not for newborns without an infant insert
No pocket

8. Baby Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier

hands-free-toddler-carrierView on Amazon

The Free-to-Grow is the newest addition to the Baby Tula’s babywearing line. This carrier adjusts from 7 to 45lbs, so you only need one carrier to last for years to come. Adjusting to fit your child is easy with a series of snaps. You can use these adjustments to create the perfect fit for your baby. The body panel offers three width settings and two height settings for the ideal support.

For support, the Free-to-Grow features a wide, padded waistband that can adjust to fit any size adult. Making adjustments is easy so that multiple caregivers can wear the baby. Padded shoulder straps and a wide waistband make for a pain-free, babywearing experience.

Multiple caregivers can use the Free-to-Grow. It adjusts from 27 inches to 56 inches! Something to keep in mind is that you only have two positions for baby with the Free-to-Grow. Babies can’t face outwards, and hip carrying isn’t an option. However, the Tula is breastfeeding friendly with no fabric between you and baby.

A removable hood keeps baby’s head warm or provides a shady location for naptime. On the waistband, a front pocket offers ample storage. A large smartphone fits with ease. The Tula is machine washable with cold water, but don’t put it in the dryer.

Specs
Weight Limit: 7-45lbs
Positions for Baby: Front -inward, Back Carry
The Pros
Adjusts for newborns up to toddlers
Adjustable body panel
Padded waistband for comfort
Breastfeeding friendly
Removable privacy hood
Machine washable
The Cons
Only two carrying positions
Not dryer safe
Expensive

9. Beco Gemini

mesh-summer-baby-holderView on Amazon

The Beco Gemini gives parents the opportunity to carry their baby in multiple positions. You can use this carrier up to 35 pounds, and no infant insert is necessary. The Gemini offers four different carrying options for baby, so you can find the one your baby loves the most.

Beco included several design features to make the Gemini comfortable for parents. A foldable, padded, built-in headrest adds comfort for baby. The shoulder straps are thick and crossable, so the weight of your child spreads across your entire torso. These straps are adjustable, from 23 to 45 inches.

The buckles are durable, so you don’t need to worry that they will break while carrying your baby. A unique feature is that Beco added padding by the leg holes.

This baby carrier is made with 100 percent cotton, so the material is breathable. It is machine washable, and Beco included a convenient smartphone pocket. Everyone loves pockets! Beco offers a lifetime guarantee on their carriers. You can send it back for a full refund with no questions asked.

Specs
Weight Limit: 7-35lbs
Positions for Baby: Front – inwards, front – outwards, hip, and back carry
The Pros
Usable for newborns up to toddler
Four carrying positions
Crossable, thick shoulder straps
Padded leg holes
Lifetime guarantee
The Cons
Not dryer safe
Waistband needs more padding

Picking the Best Baby Carrier for You

Finding the best baby carrier for you is hard because these options are fantastic. Some parents have more than one, so they have one for different situations. Before you make a selection, ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you need the carrier to adjust for another caregiver?
  • Will you wear baby daily for several hours per day?
  • Does it need to fit a newborn baby or toddler?

If you want a carrier for a larger child, ensure the carrier offers support and distributes the weight properly to avoid any back pain. Soon, you will be cleaning house and enjoying festivals with your baby snuggled up to you. Babywearing is a lifesaver for parents all over the world!

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