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Baby Carriers

Whether you’re snuggling with a sleepy newborn or trying to stay hands-free while you shop with your tot, baby carriers help you keep your child close while you’re on the go. 

Types of Baby Carriers

Wraps and slings, backpacks, mei tais, and soft structured models—baby carriers come in various fabrics, can be worn in numerous ways, and suit a variety of activity levels. You can further customize any carrier with a range of accessories.

Pros: Allow for a wide variety of holding options, including various front, hip, and back carriers. Designed for use with a range of ages (newborns to toddlers); protects a child from sun, wind, and touchy strangers. Convenient for breastfeeding, wraps are washable, easily adjusted, and usually more affordable than other carrier styles. Wraps are also ideal for those following an attachment-parenting philosophy, as they keep a child close to the body.

Cons: Because of the variety of styles and carry options, wraps can have a steeper learning curve Wraps and slings, backpacks, mei tais, and soft structured models—baby carriers come in various fabrics, can be worn in numerous ways, and suit a variety of activity levels. You can further customize any carrier with a range of accessories.

Wraps

A wrap carriers is a long piece of material (often cotton, but can be linen, silk, bamboo, or breathable mesh) worn twisted around the body. 

Pros: Allow for a wide variety of holding options, including various front, hip, and back carriers. Designed for use with a range of ages (newborns to toddlers); protects a child from sun, wind, and touchy strangers. Convenient for breastfeeding, wraps are washable, easily adjusted, and usually more affordable than other carrier styles. Wraps are also ideal for those following an attachment-parenting philosophy, as they keep a child close to the body.

Cons: Because of the variety of styles and carry options, wraps can have a steeper learning curve than other carriers (although most wraps come with printed directions and a DVD/online video for added instruction). Some parents find the wrapped fabric keeps them too warm while wearing Baby.
Shop Wraps
Moby Wrap
$44.99 at Babies R Us

The design of the Moby Wrap uses your entire back, as well as your shoulders, to carry the weight of your baby. Unlike other carri...ers, which have narrow straps or go across one shoulder, the Moby Wrap is a wide piece of durable fabric that is wrapped over both shoulders. It is amazingly comfortable and easy to wear. There are no buckles, snaps or other fasteners (that may break or bend). It is easy to adjust the fit of your Moby Wrap by varying how tightly you wrap yourself and baby. Moby Wraps are one size which means all caregivers can easily and comfortably share one wrap. Moby Wrap can be used for babies from 8-35 pounds. Moby Wraps align Baby's center of gravity uniquely close to a parent's body to provide extra comfort and security. These wrap-style fabric child carriers don't have buckles, snaps or other fasteners. It is easy to adjust the fit of a Moby Wrap by varying the tightness of the wrap itself. Moby Wraps are optimal baby carriers for babies up to 45 pounds. Also, Moby Wraps are high versatile, Baby can be wrapped facing in, out to the world, sideways or on a parent's back. When not being used as a carrier, the Moby can be used as blanket, pillow or anything else a parent can imagine. Read More

Moby Wrap
$49.99 $55.99 at Babies R Us

The Moby Wrap baby carrier is 100% cotton with UV protection / SPF 50+ and allows hands-free comfort while securely wrapping baby ...to your body. Moby Wrap evenly distributes your baby's weight over your shoulders and back, creating a custom fit for every wearer. Moby Wrap, Inc., headquartered in Chico, CA, was founded by two mothers on a quest for the perfect way to carry Baby. Their sling-like fabric cotton wrap designed to distribute the weight of Baby evenly from a parent's shoulders to hips. Moby Wraps align Baby's center of gravity uniquely close to a parent's body to provide extra comfort and security. These wrap-style fabric child carriers don't have buckles, snaps or other fasteners. It is easy to adjust the fit of a Moby Wrap by varying the tightness of the wrap itself. When not being used as a carrier, the Moby can be used as blanket, pillow or anything else a parent can imagine. Read More

JJ Cole Collections
$39.99 at Babies R Us

The Agility offers close comfort for mom and baby. The carrier slips on like a t-shirt to simplify carrying your baby in multiple ...positions. A breathable back distributes weight and offers shoulder support. The JJ Cole Agility Stretch Carrier keeps baby close and secure. The Agility carrier has no clips, buckles or wrapping, and slips on like a shirt. The four carrier sizes to ensure a proper fit for you and comfort for your baby. Carry your baby in several positions, including newborn snuggle, outward facing and inward facing. The Agility is safe for carrying babies between 8 and 35 pounds, and the back panel evenly distributes baby's weight. The carrier is made of soft stretch fabric and is machine washable. JJ Cole Collections is committed to providing parents with fashion-forward products that epitomize utility and convenience. Known through North America and Europe for high quality products and superior customer service, JJ Cole applies a model of constant innovation to expand its range of baby and child travel gear and travel accessories including diaper bags, carrier covers, baby bunting and more. JJ Cole is committed to the safety and well-being of its customers. Products undergo rigorous third-party testing to ensure that the highest safety standards are met, as well as additional 'voluntary' safety regulations applicable in the U.S. Read More

Moby Wrap
$79.99 at Babies R Us

The Moby Wrap GO Baby Carrier is an amazingly comfortable baby carrier designed with the ergonomic features and comfort of the Mob...y Wrap. Features include wide shoulder straps for superior comfort, easy-to-reach side buckles, cross-shoulder design for even weight distribution, and dual foam waist belt for comfortable wearer support. The Moby Wrap GO Baby Carrier Features Read More

Slings

These swaths of material are worn over one shoulder to form a pouch to hold your baby. Slings can be either a circular piece of cloth with a fixed pouch or a rectangular length of fabric threaded through two rings and whose pouch size can be adjusted. 

Pros: A variety of carry positions, including front (facing in and out), hip, and back. Slings are simple to put on and remove; allow for discreet breastfeeding and easy to store in a diaper bag. Slings are available in a wide variety of materials, colors, and patterns, letting you express your style. 

Cons: Wearing a baby in a sling can become physically taxing if done for extended periods and as Baby gets older and larger. Circular pouch slings are sized, so it can be tricky to order one without trying it on. Ring slings’ design means that there will always be a drape of its extra material hanging in front of you—a potential annoyance for some.
Shop Slings
Balboa Baby
$60.00 at JC Penney

A baby sling is a comfortable way to hold baby more while still being on-the-go and getting tasks accomplished. The Balboa Sling w...as developed, tested and recommended by "Americas Pediatrician" Dr. William Sears. It offers hands-free motion and promotes bonding. It is also a convenient way to breastfeed. carry baby in 4 different positions, from cradle to the hip holddeep pocket design and covered elastic trim keeps baby snug and secure, so you can move freely without worrycontoured, padded shoulder strap evenly distributes babys weightadjustable ringssafety stopperoutside pocket to hold a cell phone, keys or other essentialsfolds easily and can be stored in diaper bag or strollerone size fits all3x12x61"cottonwashableimported Read More

Balboa Baby
$60.00 at JC Penney

A baby sling is a comfortable way to hold baby more while still being on-the-go and getting tasks accomplished. The Balboa Sling w...as developed, tested and recommended by "Americas Pediatrician" Dr. William Sears. It offers hands-free motion and promotes bonding. It is also a convenient way to breastfeed. carry baby in 4 different positions, from cradle to the hip holddeep pocket design and covered elastic trim keeps baby snug and secure, so you can move freely without worrycontoured, padded shoulder strap evenly distributes babys weightadjustable ringssafety stopperoutside pocket to hold a cell phone, keys or other essentialsfolds easily and can be stored in diaper bag or strollerone size fits all3x12x61"cottonwashableimported Read More

Balboa Baby
$59.99 at Babies R Us

The Adjustable Sling by Balboa Baby is so soft and comfortable that "slinging" your baby will feel totally natural for both of you.... Designed to grow as your baby does, the Balboa Sling offers parents hands free motion and promotes bonding. The unique contoured padded strap features a sleek design, yet evenly distributes your baby's weight. The covered elastic trim ensures your baby is safe and positioned close to you, while the deep pocket design keeps baby snug and secure, allowing you to move freely without worry. The one size Balboa Baby Sling folds easily and can be conveniently stored in a diaper bag or stroller. An outside pocket fits all your essentials which can be accessed without disturbing baby. Read More

The Peanut Shell
$49.99 at Target

The attractive Peanut Shell adjustable sling in Chocolate is ideal for keeping Baby comfortable and secure. This machine-washable ...sling is adjustable to grow with baby, has a no-slip safety strap for added security and the slightest bit of stretch to make getting baby in and out easier. There is even a storage pocket for your necessities. Features: Adjustable, Front-storage Pocket, 4 Carrying Positions, Padded RailsManufacturer Newborn and UpMinimum Age: NewbornMinimum Weight Supported: 8.0 Lb.Maximum Weight Capacity: 26.0 Lb.Material: Cotton, SpandexSafety and Security Features: Safety StrapCare and Cleaning: Machine WashDimensions: 11.0 " W x 2.5 " D x 25.0 " L Weight: 0.75 Lb.Includes: Instruction Booklet Read More

Mei Tai Carriers

Sometimes called Asian-style baby carriers, mei tais are a rectangular pieces of material worn on the front, back, or hip. Four straps secure them (usually one over each shoulder and two at the waist).

Pros: Made in a wide array of colors and patterns; can be used with infants and toddlers. They evenly distribute the weight of the child and can be adjusted from a high-back, looky-loo carrying position to a lower, nap-friendly carrying position.

Cons: May be tricky for those looking for a quick on/off carrier. Straps usually not padded and can dig into shoulders and hips. Depending on the design, some mei tai carriers may not provide enough support for newborns.

Soft-Structured Carriers (SSCs)

Able to be worn on the front, back, or hip, soft-structured carriers feature a rectangular piece of material secured to the wearer’s body with clasps and buckles. Some models keep the child in a seated position; others, in a vertical one. Although suitable for newborns through toddlers, some SSCs require a separate infant insert.

Pros: Soft-structured carriers provide a more streamlined look than other options. The carriers’ buckles and clasps offer a customizable fit for parent and child, and the padded shoulder straps—and in some cases, padded waist belts—increase comfort, disperse the child’s weight, and provide lumbar support for the parent. Often quick and easy to put on and place baby in. Also offered in more dad-friendly styles than other carriers.

Cons: Does not allow child to be worn directly on parent’s chest, which may disappoint those looking for that close contact. The design leaves a child’s legs unprotected, potentially exposing them to sun and wind. Soft-structured carriers can be bulkier than other options, making them harder to stash into a diaper bag or stroller basket. Some parents may also find the buckles and clasps burdensome or uncomfortable. 

Backpack Carriers

Suited for more active, lengthy outings (such as hikes or a day out), backpack carriers can be smaller models built into a traditional school backpack or larger options constructed on backpacking frames. Babies carried must be able to keep their head upright unassisted, making these carriers most suitable for kids 6 months and older.

Pros: Available in a wide variety of designs, sizes, and comfort levels, including lightweight models for short journeys to more substantial styles for longer trips. Many backpack carriers have additional storage pouches for diapers, snacks, and your own essentials.

Cons: Backpack carriers can be used in only one way. Models vary and may lack the adjustment options or sufficient padding you’d desire. Storage can be problematic because of the carrier’s bulky shape. Backpack carriers position the child high on your back, so hanging lights, door frames, and tree branches are potential hazards.

Carrier Accessories

Varying greatly by brand, carrier accessories include infant inserts, sun hoods/sleeping hoods, cover enhancements, weather covers, strap extensions, seat extenders, and bibs/drool clothes.

Infant insert: Certain carriers, such as mei tai or soft-structured ones, are not suitable for infants as-is, often because the children’s small size makes them sit too low in them. Although many models now include an infant insert or have been redesigned to not need one, some still require purchasing a separate accessory.

Sun hoods and sleeping hoods: These are optional accessories for mei tai carriers, soft structured carriers, and backpack carriers; they protect your baby from the elements and provide a shaded place for her to snooze.

Cover enhancements: Some carriers can be updated with additional swatches of material that you purchase and attach to them.

Weather covers: Waterproof weather covers fit over your carrier, providing warmth and protection from rain and snow.

Strap extensions: Strap extensions create extra sizing flexibility for shoulder and waist straps. 

Seat extenders: Seat extenders (available for some carriers) offer additional comfort and support for larger babies.

Bibs/drool cloths: Children often bite, suck, and drool over the front of their carriers. Easy-to-clean bibs or drool clothes cover this portion of the carrier, protecting it from marks and stains.
Shop Carrier Accessories
Britax
$16.00 $19.99 at JustKidsStore

The extra-large Britax Baby Carrier Bib snaps into place for a secure fit, maximum coverage and protection of the the Britax Baby ...Carrier. Read More

BabyBjorn
$13.95 $19.95 at JustKidsStore

The Baby Bjorn Bib for Baby Carrier is made from a waterproof, breathable terry cloth. The fabric has been tested and approved in ...accordance with Oeko-Tex Standard 100 for baby products. They are guaranteed harmless to children's sensitive skin and will not trigger allergies. Perfect for protecting your carrier, the Baby Bjorn Bib saves you from washing your carrier too often. Perfect for using with the Original Carrier, Air Carrier, Active Carrier or Synergy Carrier. Unfortunately, those of you with the Comfort Carrier will have to handle a tad more drool. Read More

Britax
$20.00 $24.99 at JustKidsStore

The Britax Seat Extender Insert can be used with the BRITAX BABY CARRIER once your child no longer requires use of the infant inse...rt. The Seat Extender Insert is a removable support that provides a wider seating area by cradling your baby's bottom and thighs, which allows your child to wrap or splay their legs around your waist when facing inward through the entire use of the carrier. This supports a wide, spread squatting position for your child and enhanced longer-wearing comfort for you through balanced weight distribution. Read More

Britax
$22.00 $26.99 at JustKidsStore

The Britax Seat Extender Insert Organic can be used with the Baby Carrier once your child no longer requires use of the infant ins...ert. The Organic Seat Extender Insert is a removable support that provides a wider seating area by cradling your baby's bottom and thighs, which allows your child to wrap or splay their legs around your waist when facing inward through the entire use of the carrier. This supports a wide, spread squatting position for your child and enhanced longer-wearing comfort for you through balanced weight distribution. Read More

Purchase Considerations

There’s a baby carrier suited to every taste and parenting style. But before selecting a model because it looks cute or was recommended by your cousin, bear in mind a few things. How would you like to carry the baby? During which activities will you wear the carrier, and how would you prefer to attach the carrier to your body? Will you be wearing the child for long stretches of time, and are your kid’s age and weight—or even your own physical limitations—potential factors? And, finally, will there be more than one caregiver using the carrier?

Carrying positions

Common carrying positions include front facing-in, front facing-out, cradle, hip, kangaroo-hold, hug-hold, high-back, and low-back. Some baby carriers offer only one or two options; others provide a half-dozen. More is not always better, but having various carry options can allow you to do a wider array of activities and help find that magic position to calm a fussy baby.

Activity types

Most carriers are comfortable for wearing around the house, but not all are suited to all home activities. You wouldn’t want to wear a front-facing carrier while cooking, and a backpack carrier isn’t the best way to transport a baby on the subway. Also consider if you’re planning to breastfeed while wearing the carrier. Some styles make this very convenient; others, nearly impossible.

Attachment style

When it comes to attaching the carrier to you, consider the ease, look, and comfort of the various options. Think about the locations where you’ll be putting the carrier on, how fast you need the on/off process to be, and any distracting elements that may take your attention away from attaching the carrier.

Length of wearing

Parents planning on wearing their baby for long periods should make sure to find a carrier that is padded, comfortable, and easily adjustable.

Age and weight limits

Many baby carriers suit a range of ages and loads, but some require additional accessories for infants, and others are better at distributing a child’s weight, making them more comfortable for those carrying older, heftier kids.

Physical issues

Some baby carriers are harder on certain body parts, such as sore shoulders or a weak back. Be sure to select a carrier that does not strain your injured areas and that provides adequate support and padding.

Multiple caregivers

If several people will be using the carrier, ensure that it is adequately adjustable and gender-neutral to allow all to wear it comfortably. Wraps, mei tai carriers, and ring slings are simple to tailor to multiple wearers, but the straps on some soft-structured carriers and backpack carriers require more time and effort. One-piece circular slings are available in a particular size and are trickier for caregivers to share.
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