A question I received often is, which is the best baby carrier? With an ever-growing selection of styles & brands it can be quite the task. And the answer isn't straight forward either. There is no best baby carrier, point blank. It's about finding the best baby carrier for YOU.
Before getting into the different types of baby carriers, let's talk about why babywearing is beneficial.
Babywearing fosters a strong sense of attachment between the caregiver and the baby, promoting emotional well-being and a sense of security for the child.
Baby carriers allow parents to go hands-free while keeping their baby close. This makes daily activities, such as grocery shopping, household chores, or even taking a leisurely walk, much more manageable.
The gentle swaying and rhythmic motion experienced while being carried often calm and soothe a fussy or colicky baby. It's a great way to hold baby when they want to be held, while being able to have your hands free.
For some people it's possible to breastfeed while babywearing, making it easier to feed your babies on the go!
Being at eye level with the caregiver while in a carrier exposes the baby to more social interactions and stimuli, which may enhance their cognitive development.
Types of Baby Carriers:
Wraps: Baby wraps are long pieces of fabric that can be tied in various ways to securely hold the baby against the caregiver's body. They provide excellent support for newborns and are highly customizable to fit different body types. Wraps do have a learning curve when it comes to tying, but many parents find them incredibly comfortable once they get the hang of it.
Ring Slings: Ring slings consist of a long piece of fabric threaded through two rings, creating a secure pouch for the baby. They are easy to adjust and quick to put on, making them ideal for quick trips or short periods of babywearing. I also love how small ring slings can pack down, making them the perfect carrier to bring traveling.
Soft-Structured Carriers (SSCs): SSCs, also known as buckle carriers, are designed with padded shoulder straps and a waistband that buckles around the caregiver's waist. They offer great support and are often adjustable to accommodate growing babies up to toddlerhood.
4. Meh Dais: Meh Dais originally from China and are a blend of wraps and SSCs. They have a square-shaped body panel and long shoulder straps that can be tied in different styles. They provide excellent support and are suitable for various carrying positions.
5. Hybrid Carriers: Some carriers combine features of different styles offering versatility and adaptability to meet different caregivers' needs. There are more and more of these options available from pre-tied wraps, half buckle / half wrap variations, and so much more!
When choosing a baby carrier, keep the following factors in mind:
Some carriers are better suited for newborns, while others are more appropriate as the baby grows and gains more head and neck control. You may need something for newborn and then something different once baby is bigger.
Look for a carrier that evenly distributes the baby's weight and provides adequate support for the caregiver's back and shoulders. Make sure the carrier goes up to the nape of baby's neck (not past), with a panel that fits from knee to knee. This full coverage is most ergonomically correct for baby & will provide more support for you!
Consider how easily the carrier can be put on and adjusted, especially if you will be using it frequently. Some carriers are straight forward and some have a bit of a learning curve, with the trade off of higher comfort or better fit. Also, consider who is using the carrier. If a carrier is being shared with between caregivers you may want to look in to options that are easy to adjust.
Think about fabrics & materials. Some carriers are easier to wash & maintain than others. Different blends will also be better or worse when it comes to temperature. Look for breathable and lightweight fabrics in warm weather and more structured and warmer options in colder climates. Babywearing hoods, jacket extenders, etc., also exist to support winter wearing.
Always ensure that the carrier is designed with safety features, such as secure buckles, rings, or ties, to keep the baby snug and prevent any accidental slips or falls. Watch for cheap knock offs! Purchase items that pass Canadian, American or European safety standards (European standards are the highest).
When selecting a baby carrier, consider your individual needs, lifestyle, and the age of your baby. Each style of carrier offers unique advantages, so don't be afraid to try different options to find the perfect fit for you and your little one.
Our lending library is a great way to try before committing to a carrier, even before baby is born! We have demo dolls to practice with.