I might as well have named all three of my kids ‘Joey’ because they are basically tiny baby koalas that would give anything for me to carry them in a nifty built-in pouch. Unfortunately, for them (and maybe for me?), I’m not a marsupial and thus, have to outsource my baby carrier needs. Not to brag, but after babywearing three deliciously chunky, clingy babies for the past six years, I’m kind of a baby carrier connoisseur.
If it’s been advertised on Instagram – I’ve probably tried it. If it’s made it onto any sort of must-have registry list – yep, I’ve definitely tried it. There will be pros and cons no matter what baby carrier you choose. The most important qualities in a carrier for me are: comfort and ease of use. In my experience, having a few different options to reach for has been a lifesaver and more importantly, a back saver. Different carriers are more appropriate for different ages and stages. Not to mention baby carriers fit differently on different bodies. Finding a carrier that works is like meeting your soulmate. I had to date a lot of carriers before finding the ones I couldn’t imagine parenting without. These are my favourites.
For Younger Babies:
The BabyBjorn Mini: This is the best carrier I’ve used for newborns and tiny babies.
Pros: I love that it’s the perfect size for newborns without having to fuss with any additional inserts but it’s designed to last up to one year. The soft fabric felt really appropriate for a young baby with nothing rough or uncomfortable digging into his body. My husband absolutely loved this carrier when our baby was smaller, too. He didn’t babywear our other two kids nearly as much and I think this carrier is the reason he took to it so well with our third. An added bonus: this carrier comes in the sweetest, muted colour palette.
Cons: I wouldn’t recommend using this as your only carrier after about six months. It just doesn’t have enough structure and support for a heavier baby in my opinion and I found my back feeling increasingly strained. The cross-back straps were really comfy when my baby was smaller but started to dig into my shoulders as he got bigger. It’s an expensive carrier for how long you’ll use it.
The Solly Baby Wrap: This one takes some practice to put on but all three of my babies absolutely loved it and I did, too.
Pros: This baby wrap is one long, incredibly soft piece of fabric that folds up quite small making it easy to toss in your diaper bag. One end has a little pocket that you fold it into and I never went anywhere without it. I loved the way it supported my babies so they were cuddled right up against me and able to fall asleep almost instantly. I was also able to sit down once they fell asleep due to its soft and flexible nature which felt like a major win when they were in the phase of only napping when worn. My babies felt like they were able to get into a much more natural position (like being held) which made this baby wrap a necessity during the early months.
Cons: Like the Babybjorn, while this baby wrap can be used for your baby’s first year, I wouldn’t recommend it for use that long. The same issue with digging into my back occurred and it felt like it began to stretch out more quickly as my baby got heavier. The learning curve on this is a bit steeper – it’s not a throw-on-and-go carrier. I highly recommend practicing how to use it before you’re sleep deprived with a crying newborn. Trust.
The Boppy Baby Carrier: This carrier is the best of both worlds with a waist strap that buckles and shoulder straps that wrap.
Pros: This baby carrier was my favourite for when my baby was two to three months old but can be used much longer than that. I love the fabric. It’s like a thick yoga pants material that hugs your body and your baby. It’s easier to put on than a full baby wrap but still gives you the benefit of a soft wrap. The stretchy fabric gives it a little bit of a bounce which was great for getting my baby to sleep.
Cons: As with most unstructured carriers, it started to hurt my back a bit as my baby got heavier around seven months.
For All Ages:
Ergo Baby Carriers: No list of baby carriers would be complete without an Ergo (or two). This was the first structured baby carrier I used and I credit this carrier with surviving colic with my first baby. I purchased the Omni 360 with my third because he was getting quite warm in the Omni in the summertime. I also tried the Aerloom carrier in my search for a cooler summer option but I didn’t love the way I had to flip the waistband under to put it on and didn’t find the Formaknit fabric had enough stretch to justify a less structured option.
Pros: Both Ergobaby carriers were incredibly supportive and I felt like my baby was secure enough that I could go for more active outings. I love that I can easily buckle myself into this carrier so I’m not stuck needing an extra hand when I’m the only one on baby duty. This is my main carrier that I reach for over and over again now that my baby is ten months old. He loves the front-facing carry option and I love that he will still fall asleep in it when I need him to take a catnap at the end of the day.
The LILLEbaby Complete Carrier: This is similar to the Ergo 360 but allows for back carrying which is a major plus. This is probably my favourite all-around carrier.
Pros: So many carrying options! This is by far the most versatile carrier I’ve tried. The lower back support is incomparable to any carrier in my opinion. I’d go so far as to say this is the best baby carrier for back support. It’s a substantial carrier that I will probably use until my third baby is at least two.
Cons: The fabric at the baby’s legs can be a little rough when your baby isn’t wearing pants. My baby hasn’t seemed bothered but it’s something to keep in mind. Also, it’s bulky! This baby carrier is not going to fit in your diaper bag.
The Sakura Bloom ring sling: Some babies love a sling and others not so much. I had two out of three ring sling babies. They can be a little tough to learn how to use but lots of parents swear by them.
Pros: This is a really lovely way to carry your baby. Ring slings feel elegant to wear and unlike wraps, once you thread your rings you don’t have to do much to re-adjust when you take your baby in and out. They also provide flexibility with a few different positions on the front, back, and hip.
Cons: Again, the learning curve can be pretty steep. Once you figure it out it feels quite easy but it can take a little while to get comfortable with it. Ring slings aren’t as sturdy as structured carriers and tend to hurt your shoulder if you wear them for long periods of time.
Do you need seven different carriers? Absolutely not. I’d recommend one wrap style and one more structured carrier for most parents. Find a local babywearing group or ask friends if you can check theirs out so you can make an informed decision. I hope my (too many) baby carrier purchases can help you narrow down your search. Happy babywearing!