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Baby Carrier Guide: The Best Baby Carrier For You & The Benefits Of Babywearing

Baby Carrier Guide: The Best Baby Carrier For You & The Benefits Of Babywearing
Babywearing is safe, but there are a few general guidelines that you should keep in mind when wearing your baby. Practicing safe baby wearing will allow you to enjoy all the benefits of keeping your baby close while also keeping them safe.
Are you planning on wearing your baby? Here's a guide on The Best Baby Carrier For You And The Benefits Of Babywearing. The pros and cons of wraps, carriers, ring slings and mei tais.
Are you planning on wearing your baby? Here's a guide on The Best Baby Carrier For You And The Benefits Of Babywearing. The pros and cons of wraps, carriers, ring slings and mei tais.

The Wonder Of Babywearing

Are you planning on wearing your baby? It might sound strange at first and no matter how cozy that swing or bouncy seat (that you spent a lot of money on..) is, what babies love the most is to be in your arms.

But carrying your little love around in your arms all day isn’t very convenient unless you have arms of steel (and a maid, a chef, and a nanny to take care of your other kids). This is where babywearing comes in handy!

Babywearing is the practice of carrying your baby or toddler in a carrier. Moms have carried their babies like this for centuries. Society might say that you’re spoiling your child by carrying too much. But moms around the world are bringing back the tradition of babywearing for a lot of (awesome) reasons.

 

I bet that there's at least one benefit of babywearing on this list that you didn't know!… Klicka för att Tweeta

Benefits Of Babywearing:

  • The most obvious reason, if you only use your arms to carry your child it will quickly become heavy. When you have your child in a carrier, your child is close, while you have your hands free to do anything else.
  • Babywearing equals happy baby. A study published in theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics showed that infants who received supplemental carrying (not only in reaction to fussiness) cried and fussed 43% less overall, and 51% less during the evening hours.
  • The awareness of the babies needs increases. When the baby is close, the mom can more easily recognize early signs of hunger and can begin to nurse (sometimes right in the carrier) without baby needing to cry.
  • The bond between parent and child becomes stronger. Wearing your baby is a great way to connect with each other. You can look into your baby’s eyes while you talk or sing to her and you can sniff her head to smell that sweet scent.
  • Babies who are held close are more able to regulate their own physiological functions (breathing, heart rate, temperature) in response to their caregiver according to a Harvard study.

And A Few Cons:

  • Sometimes it’s too hot to wear your baby.
  • Spit-up always ends up on you.
  • It can be hard on your back. Even if you use an ideal carrier, lugging that extra weight around all the time will likely give you some back pain.
  • If you fall, you might fall on your baby.


This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using this link. Read my disclosure here

Remember to Bookmark, Print or Pin this list so you can easily access it when it’s time to start preparing for your new baby!

 

Baby Carrying Safety 101

Babywearing is safe, but there are a few general guidelines that you should keep in mind when wearing your baby. Practicing safe baby wearing will allow you to enjoy all the benefits of keeping your baby close while also keeping them safe.

T.I.C.K.S.

the TICKS rules of safe babywearing

Photo credit: Baby Sling Safety

A UK agency called The Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers have developed a checklist to promote sling safety. It is known as the TICKS Rule for Safe Baby Wearing. It is easy to remember and gives you a good foundation for babywearing safety:

TIGHT – Your carrier should be as close to you as possible while still being comfortable to wear. Any slack/loose fabric will allow your baby to slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and cause back pain for you.

IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES – You should always be able to see your baby’s face. The fabric of a sling or carrier should never wrap up around them so that you have to open it to check on them. In a cradle position, your baby should face upwards, not be turned in towards your body.

CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS – Your baby’s head should be as close to yours as possible. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the forehead.

KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST – There should always be room between the baby’s chin and their chest. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.

SUPPORTED BACK – If wearing your baby in the upright position, their back should be supported in its natural position. If their back isn’t supported, it can cause them to slump and hinder their breathing.  A baby in a cradle carry should be positioned carefully with their bottom in the deepest part so the sling does not fold them in half.

A few more (important!) safety tips

  • Never drink hot beverages while wearing.
  • Never ride a bike or drive while wearing.
  • Practice with a doll or stuffed animal the first few times.
  • Always check all buckles and knots to make sure the carrier is secure.
  • Check your carrier for signs of wear or damage periodically.
  • Tuck in any loose fabric so you don’t trip on it.
  • Be very careful when picking something up. Bend/squat at the knees instead of at the hip and use one of your arms to hold baby securely against your chest.
  • Carriers, where baby’s legs are dangling, should be avoided, as they do not support proper positioning and can lead to hip dysplasia:

Unfortunately, certain carriers and carrying positions can be a huge danger for causing dysplasia.

Hip dysplasia is a common developmental issue that usually happens during the first few months of life.

Hip Dysplasia

This diagram from the International Hip Dysplasia Institue shows the right and wrong ways baby should be carried.

In the “wrong” position, baby’s thigh is not supported to the knee joint. The resulting forces on the hip joint may contribute to hip dysplasia.

In the right position. The baby’s thigh is supported to the knee joint. The forces on the hip joint are minimal because the legs are spread, supported, and the hip is in a more stable position.

 

 

Each carrier will have it’s own safety guidelines, so make sure to read the guidelines of the carrier you choose before use.

 

Which Carrier Should I Choose?

There’s a whole lot of different carrier that you can choose from and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, cause let me tell ya, it’s a jungle out there. Every carrier has it’s own features and pros and cons. Make sure to choose one that fits your lifestyle and your needs.

Stretchy Wrap

Stretchy Wrap

Age range: Newborn – 12 months
Weight range: Up to 25 lbs (11 kg)

A stretchy wrap is a long piece of elastic fabric that is tied around your body, creating a pocket and straps that secure the baby to your chest. It is suitable for carrying your newborn and even your premature baby. The advantage with a stretchy wrap is that it’s soft and comfortable against the baby’s sensitive skin, but also very easy to tie.

You don’t have to untie the wrap when you want to take out or put in your baby. Wich is practical since there’s a lot of diaper changes with a new baby..

When the baby weighs a bit more though, the wrap may feel weak. The stretchy wrap doesn’t reduce the weight of the baby as well either. Most people exchange their stretchy wrap for a woven wrap at this point.

  • Allows you to breastfeed in
  • You can wear your baby from day one
  • Distributes the weight very well over your entire torso (No sore shoulders or back!)
  • Can only be used until the baby is 6-12 months
  • There’s a learning curve to get a hang of the tie
  • Not quick to either put on or take off

 

It is vital that you check your baby’s position every now and then – No matter which carrier you choose

 

 

 

Ring sling

Ring sling

Age range: Newborn – 2-3 years
Weight range: Up to 45 lbs (20 kg)

The ring sling is made from a single piece of fabric that is pulled through two rings and form a loop. It doesn’t need to be wrapped and is worn over your shoulder, kinda like a sash. It is important to not only wear the ring sling on the same shoulder and by changing shoulder the parent avoids spine pains.

The beauty of a ring sling is that it’s quick to pick out and put in the child because the wrap doesn’t need to be untied. If the ring sling is tied right and it is properly tightened, a child can be worn for a couple of hours without causing pain in the back or shoulder on the parent.

A larger child is preferably worn on the parents hip, with support from the ring sling under the buttocks and above the child’s back. A smaller child can be worn like a small frog on the stomach of the parent.

  • Quick to put on
  • Distributes weight between shoulder and pelvis
  • Easy to breastfeed in
  • Can be used in a lot of carrying positions
  • Takes a while to learn how to adjust
  • A weight limit of 45 lbs
  • Not suitable to use for long periods of time
  • Might not fit both parents since they’re fit to size

Woven Wrap

Woven wrapAge range: Newborn – 3 years
Weight range: Up to 35 lbs (15 kg)

Woven wraps are a long piece of cloth that is wrapped around the parent and baby and then tied, creating a tight, secure, and supportive wrap. The woven wraps aren’t as elastic as the stretchy wrap which makes them more stable and provides better support as the baby gets heavier.

There are a lot more ways to tie a woven wrap compared to the stretchy wrap. The baby can be worn on both the stomach, hip and back but it can not be lifted in and out of the wrap without you having to untie the wrap.

A lot of parents start with a stretchy wrap and switch to a woven wrap as the baby gets bigger and heavier. But it is possible to use woven wraps for newborn children as well. The woven wrap also lets you carry the child for long periods of time, even for a full day, without getting sore shoulders or back because the shawl distributes the weight evenly across the back, shoulders, and hips.

  • Allows you to breastfeed in
  • Distributes the weight very well over your entire torso (No sore shoulders or back!)
  • Can be used from newborn til 3 years
  • You can wear the child in a lot of positions
  • Takes some practice to get the tying technique right
  • Can be hot and cumbersome due to the length of the material
  • The size of a wrap indicates it’s length. (Size 5, 6 and 7 usually fits all.)

 

Wrap, Ring Sling, Mei Tai or #Carrier? This #Guide will help you decide what's best for you! Klicka för att Tweeta

Mei Tai

Mei Tai InfantinoAge range: Newborn – 4 years
Weight range: Up to 45 lbs (20 kg)

Mei Tais are based on traditional Asian baby carriers. It’s a mix between a wrap and an ergonomic carrier. A Mei Tai has a back panel just like a carrier, but instead of the shoulder strap and hip belt (like on a hiking backpack), a Mei Tai has four straps that tie the same way as a wrap.

The weight is distributed to both shoulders which make the Mei Tai great for parents with heavy children. The child is generally worn on the front or back, but can also be used in a hip carry position.

Mei Tai carriers offer a lot of versatility, is easy to use and provides good relief for both moms and dads no matter what position they prefer to carry in. A Mei Tai has a long service life, it is cool, easy to bring and great to breastfeed in.

  • Adjustable to fit all body types
  • Can be used for front, back, and hip carries.
  • Can be used from newborn til toddler
  • Comfortable to use with heavy children
  • Long straps which may possibly drag on the ground
  • At the age of 3-5 months, the babies seem to be too big to curl their legs in, and too small to spread their legs outside.
  • Not as compact as slings

 

 

Structured Carrier

Structured carrier ErgobabyAge range: Newborn (with extra insert) – 3 years
Weight range: Up to 35 lbs (15 kg)

Structured carriers are suitable for babies age 6 months and older till they reach 18-20 kg (depending on the carrier size). A lot of carriers have an extra insert for newborn babies so you can carry your little ones as soon as they are born.

These carriers have a wide and padded hip belt that distributes the weight to end up on the hip and not on the shoulders of the parent. The child sits in an ergonomic position that supports the pelvis and thighs and lets the child sit in the frog position. The back is also supported, but at the same time allows it to follow its natural round

You can wear your baby in a tummy-to-tummy position or on your back. Some carriers also let you wear your baby on the hip. Structured carriers are among the most comfortable carriers, especially if you intend on wearing your child even as they get bigger and heavier.

  • Super easy to use
  • Can be used from newborn til toddler
  • Very comfortable to use, especially with heavier children
  • You can choose from a lot of features, colors, and patterns
  • Doesn’t fit that great on parents who are short
  • Infant inserts are almost always needed
  • Can be expensive
  • Not as compact as slings

 

 Advice When Choosing Baby Carrier 

  • Try them on – Ask your friends to try their carriers with your baby or go to the store and ask to try different models. It’s a good idea to test different carriers before buying one to make sure that you choose one that you find comfortable.
  • Set a budget – Most good quality and ergonomic carriers cost between $30 and $175 so there are options at every price point. Buying a (gently) used carrier is a great way to save money. Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s website before purchasing, to make sure that the carrier model hasn’t been recalled first.
  • Save the receipt – Some babies refuse to be in a carrier. Make sure to ask the stores return policy and save the receipt in case you want to return the carrier.
  • Choose machine washable – Your carrier will be part of accidents involved both puke and poop so it’s a good idea to choose a carrier that can be washed in a machine.

Before you leave, make sure to check out the guide on What To Pack In Your Hospital Bag – A Complete Checklist.

We’re also working hard on writing these posts:

  • Pacifiers: The different kinds and does your baby really need it?
  • The best bouncer and swings for your baby (Budget or Delux)

Make sure that you don’t miss them by subscribing to our newsletter and we’ll let you know when they go live!

Let’s chat down below! Did you use a carrier and what did you think about it?

13 Comments

  1. Jasmine Hewitt

    we tried a few different carriers-Moby was best when my son was little. The Baby Bjorn didn’t get used much as he quickly became too fat for it. The Ergo was probably the best for me, and my husband had a Boba carrier which is basically the same design as an Ergo.

    Svara
  2. Nicole

    Wow that was a ton of information. Great job! I had a ring sling that I gave up on because I could not get it right! I wish I would have seen this post before I sold it!

    Svara
  3. Kanani B.

    I wished I’d discovered babywearing sooner. I was always so nervous about it with the first 3 kids but by my fourth I was ready to try it. I used a Boba and loved it <3 Took a lot of practice and you tubing to get it just right!

    Svara
  4. Bailey

    I’m an avid baby wearer! I love a little of everything. I use a ring sling when they are little, but also wrap with size 5-6-7 length woven wraps. I also have a place in my life for buckle carriers especially since I’m tandem baby wearing. I use an Onya with my toddler since he’s 35 pounds, and use my lenny lamb with the tinier baby as she fits it. I never really enjoyed stretchy carriers.

    Svara
  5. Chrissie

    This is so informational! I loooved wearing my son in those early months. We used the Baby K’tan when he was teeny, and then used the Ergo360 as he got bigger. Such a lifesaver!

    Svara
  6. Nicole caudle

    I loved babywearing. Now that my children are older they still come and lay on my chest whenever they need comforting. My daughter is 5 and still talks about my heartbeat. She said it calms her to sleep.

    Svara
    • AwesomeAlice

      Aww, that’s adorable!

      Svara
  7. Jenn

    Very informative post! I myself used a Moby until he was 3 months. I transitioned to an Emeibaby. It’s important to know what works well for you!

    Svara
  8. ohmummymia

    We have stretchy wrap and ergo carrier. I cant imagine my motherhood without good carrier. It’s like every Mom must have:)

    Svara
  9. Shannon Cairns

    I used the Solly Baby wrap! I like the Moby too, but it was a little bit too hot for me.

    Svara
  10. Chelsea @TheCrazySAHM

    I am an avid baby wearer with my little one, because as a mom of 3, it is the only way to get things done sometimes! I have a Tula which, while pricey, has been absolutely amazing!

    Svara
  11. Lee

    I love babywearing 💜 Been doing it for 14 years

    Svara

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HI, I'M VIKTORIA.

I'm a craft lover, mother of two from Sweden. I'm here to provide you with tips and tricks that makes motherhood easier.

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 Here's a guide on The Best Baby Carrier For You And The Benefits Of Babywearing.