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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.
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Target
$59.95 at Target

Find baby carriers, hikers and slings at Target.com! The award-winning baby ktan breeze baby carrier is an innovative 50% mesh/50%... natural soft cotton baby carrier that is an ideal blend of a sling, wrap and carrier, providing the positions and benefits of all three. There is no other carrier available like it. It is a breathable ready-to-wear wrap-style carrier that enables parents & caregivers to comfortably carry infants and toddlers (from birth to 3 years) in multiple positions. As easy as a tee shirt to put on and take off, the baby ktan breeze baby carrier is lightweight and compact like a sling, yet goes over both shoulders to evenly distribute baby's weight like a... Read More

Target
$59.95 at Target

Find baby carriers, hikers and slings at Target.com! Keep your baby close, comfortable and secure with the baby k'tan baby carrier.... This ready-to-wear wrap lets you carry your little one in several different positions. It is lightweight and compact like a sling, but it's worn over both shoulders to evenly distribute your baby's weight. This easy-to-use carrier has no wrapping, buckles, snaps, rings or hardware. Its adjustable back band offers extra comfort and support. Made from soft organic cotton, it is ideal for nursing or lulling your baby to sleep. Sizing tip: the carrier size generally corresponds to your fitted t-shirt size. If you are between sizes or 5'2 and under,... Read More

Target
$79.99 at Target

Find baby carriers, hikers and slings at Target.com! With the ergobaby wrap, there is a material difference. The ergobaby wrap fea...tures a luxuriously soft 4d stretch material that produces the right amount of stretch for the perfect fit, doesn t sag from baby s weight to create long lasting support, and is movable in all directions to provide maximum comfort for both wearer and baby. Designed with newborns and infants in mind, the ergobaby wrap can be used from day one and throughout the first year (up to 31lbs) using different carry positions during different stages of your child s development.â with the ergobaby wrap, parents can keep their baby close and... Read More

Target
$79.99 at Target

Find baby carriers, hikers and slings at Target.com! With the ergobaby wrap, there is a material difference. The ergobaby wrap fea...tures a luxuriously soft 4d stretch material that produces the right amount of stretch for the perfect fit, doesn t sag from baby s weight to create long lasting support, and is movable in all directions to provide maximum comfort for both wearer and baby. Designed with newborns and infants in mind, the ergobaby wrap can be used from day one and throughout the first year (up to 31lbs) using different carry positions during different stages of your child s development.â with the ergobaby wrap, parents can keep their baby close and... 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.
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Rockin' Baby
$99.99 at Amazon

Rockin' Baby Slings help you carry your baby in comfort & style while helping a mother in Haiti-"Mother to Mother." Rockin' Baby S...lings bring modern luxury to the tradition of keeping baby close with their fully adjustable ring sling. The gorgeous 100% cotton woven fabrics can be reversed from a fashion forward print to a rich solid color to give you two different looks in one sling. The adjustable ring sling can accommodate your baby from newborn to toddlerhood (40 pounds) in a variety of positions that are comfortable and for you and baby. With a zipper pocket in the tail to hold your keys and a diaper, this sling will go everywhere with you. The tail is handy as a breastfeeding, sun or wind cover. All Rockin' Baby slings are proudly made in the United States. <p>Rockin' Baby's Mission: For every sling purchased, Rockin' Baby will donate a new sling to a mother in need in Haiti, and educate them on its importance--"Mother to Mother." Read More

Rockin' Baby
$99.99 at Amazon

This beautiful woven sling is one of our favorites. A Rockin' Baby original textile, this brown, yellow, orange and cream floral f...abric has little pops of green. No two are alike. Made with 100% cotton, this sling comes with a zip pocket that can hold your keys, wallet, or a few extra diapers. Tumble dry low. Made in the USA. With every sling purchased, Rockin' Baby will donate a new sling to a Haitian mother, and educate her on its importance. Mother to mother. Read More

Target
$59.99 at Target

Find baby carriers, hikers and slings at Target.com! The karma baby sling is so easy to use. It is loved by new mothers and father...s everywhere for the ease and comfort it provides. Simply throw it over one shoulder and slip baby in. There are so many reasons to carry your baby close to you. It helps to soothe fussy babies. It also makes breast-feeding in public very easy and discreet. Babies who are held more cry less. Carrying your baby close to you allows you to continue your daily life while keeping your baby close. All of our slings are made from organic fabric and are manufactured here in the us. . â . â 100% organic cotton twill â simple and easy to use; no rings or... Read More

Target
$59.99 at Target

Find baby carriers, hikers and slings at Target.com! The karma baby sling is so easy to use. It is loved by new mothers and father...s everywhere for the ease and comfort it provides. Simply throw it over one shoulder and slip baby in. There are so many reasons to carry your baby close to you. It helps to soothe fussy babies. It also makes breast-feeding in public very easy and discreet. Babies who are held more cry less. Carrying your baby close to you allows you to continue your daily life while keeping your baby close. All of our slings are made from organic fabric and are manufactured here in the us. . â . â 100% organic cotton twill â simple and easy to use; no rings or... 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
Target
$23.99 at Target

Find baby gear accessories and replacement at Target.com! Stylishly shield your baby from cool winds, bright sunlight, and prying ...eyes. The canopy's front closure easily opens and closes, allowing you to check your little one without disturbing them, and the elastic outer band conforms to each car seat for a perfect fit. Made out of lightweight, breathable fabric, our super-soft cotton/spandex sateen cover also folds small to slip easily into your diaper bag or purse. Fits most standard infant car seats. Read More

Target
$16.19 $17.99 at Target

Find bibs, burp cloths and mats at Target.com! Protecting your babybjörn baby carrier one, this watertight bib is a must-have. Pra...ctical for you yet soft and pleasant on baby's mouth and cheeks. Free from health-hazardous substances and safe to chew and suck on. . soft bib protects your baby carrier from saliva and stains bib has a water-resistant, breathable terry surface that is gentle against baby's mouth and cheeks fabric is oeko-tex class 1 certified material guaranteed harmless to infants 13l x 6w x 1d machine washable Read More

Target
$12.41 $13.79 at Target

Find baby gear accessories and replacement at Target.com! Soft bib for baby protects your carrier from saliva and stains

Target
$35.99 $39.99 at Target

Find baby gear accessories and replacement at Target.com! Cover fits all babybjörn carriers and acts as a protective, removable ho...od to keep baby warm and dry. 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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