My top picks for the best babywearing carriers for infants through to toddlers. From comfortable wraps to ergonomic designs, find a carrier perfect for you and your little one.
I huffed and puffed as I walked up the last flight of stairs to my apartment. I sounded like a steam engine trying to climb a steep mountain.
And… I couldn’t feel my arm.
Carrying my daughter in her car seat up 3 flights of stairs wasn’t so bad when she was a newborn. But with her last few growth spurts, it was getting intense.
“How do parents manage this with more than 1 kid??” I wondered.
Flash forward 3 years and another baby later and I finally learned the magic – babywearing!
Using a baby carrier not only saved my arms and back but also helped me manage life with 3 kids as our family grew.
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Table of Contents
Is It Worth Getting a Baby Carrier?
100% yes! They’re the only reason I managed to survive the early years with my kids. Here are a few reasons they’re so great:
Whether you need to cook, clean, or just want to have your hands free for a few moments, a baby carrier is a lifesaver. They allow you to keep your little one close while still moving around and getting things done.
I used one anytime I needed to get things down around the house or if I took the kids anywhere. I could ditch the bulky stroller and still have my hands free for my other kids.
Bonding with your child
Babywearing strengthens the bond between parents and their babies. All those snuggles help create feelings of attachment and affection.
My son loved to be in his baby carrier. Anytime he was stressed, sad, or needed comfort, he would settle in his carrier for a snuggle.
It was a great way to bond with him while still going about my day.
Comfort for parent and baby
Comfort for both mom and baby is a priority for most carriers. They make it easier to carry your little one for longer periods without straining your back or arms.
My youngest was a chunk! He was 20 lbs at 6 months. With babywearing, I could give him the comfort he needed without feeling like my arms would give out.
What to Look for in a Good Baby Carrier
As much as I love babywearing, not all carriers are created equal. I tried out several different ones and here is what the best babywearing carriers had in common:
Safe for baby
The first thing to look for in a baby carrier is that it’s safe for the baby. Your little one should be able to ride for extended periods.
Always look for carriers that:
- Have proper support for your baby’s head and spine for newborns and young infants.
- Support baby’s hip development. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute recommends that baby sits with their hips spread apart and their knees higher than their bottom.
- Use breathable fabric so your baby doesn’t overheat during warmer months.
Comfortable for mom
The next thing I look for in a good baby carrier is that it’s comfortable to wear. If the straps dig into my shoulders and my back is aching, I know I won’t use that carrier for long.
So look for:
- Wide, padded straps for extra comfort.
- Adjustable straps so you can find the perfect fit.
- Balanced weight distribution between shoulders and hips.
Easy to get baby in and out
The next thing I look for in a baby carrier is that it’s easy to use. Some carriers are so complicated it takes a whole army of people to get your baby in and out.
Avoid the headache and look for carriers that:
- Have simple buckles or ties.
- Allow you to easily adjust the fit while wearing.
- Are easy to understand without consulting the instruction manual every time.
I look for carriers I can master after a few tries and I can get baby in and out by myself. If I can’t, it’s not worth the hassle.
Lastly, the best babywearing carriers are easy to clean. Babies are messy. Even after the spit-up stage, I dealt with drooling, teething, and sticky fingers.
Having a carrier you can quickly throw in the wash or wipe down with a cloth as needed is a must.
The Best Babywearing Carriers for 0-24 Months
Now let’s dive into the best babywearing carriers! The ones listed below were my absolute favorites that I used for the first 2 years with my kiddos.
Moby Wrap: 0-6 months
First on the list of the best babywearing carriers is the Moby Wrap Classic. I used this carrier with my 2nd child until she was about 5 months old and she stopped liking carriers.
She was an early crawler and walker and couldn’t wait to move on her own.
With my son, I used it until he was about 4 months old and he got too heavy. By 4 months old my back couldn’t handle front carrying him for more than 10 minutes.
Despite that, I still loved this carrier for the first few months. It allows for your baby to comfortably snuggle up against your chest. It also has great head support for newborns and the material is super soft.
The wrap is machine washable which is great for those early days to deal with any messes that come along. My kids would spit up at the drop of a hat, so being easy to clean was a must.
Pros of the Moby Wrap Classic
- Soft material.
- Machine washable.
- Comfortable to wear.
- Great support and positioning for newborns.
- Very easy to switch between different users.
- Easy to adjust to your body for a secure fit.
- Held up well to through multiple children.
Cons of the Moby Wrap Classic
- Thicker material. It can be hot to wear in the summer.
- There is a definite learning curve to putting it on correctly.
- You can only use it in the front carry facing inward position.
- Won’t last as long for a heavier baby.
- The long material makes it difficult to put the baby in when you’re out in public without touching the ground.
Sling Ring: 0-18 months
The next baby carrier I recommend is the Sling Ring. I began using this carrier at around 4-5 months with my son.
I chose this carrier because it had a cute design and was affordable.
The carrier worked a little better when my son started to sit up on his own. By then, he was a little more comfortable in the sitting position used with sling ring carriers.
I like how sling rings are small and compact so they don’t take up a bunch of room in the diaper bag. They’re also easy to get baby in and out of and super easy to clean.
I didn’t use this carrier for too long because my son was so heavy, but it’s a great choice if your baby isn’t as big as mine. (He was 20 lbs at 6 months!)
Pros of the Sling Ring
- Light and compact so great to take on the go.
- Easily adjustable for different people.
- Lots of beautiful patterns and styles to choose from.
- Works for newborns through toddlers.
- Easy to take your baby in and out of.
Cons of the Sling Ring
- May take some practice getting the baby in a good position.
- May not work as well for bigger babies or toddlers.
Mesh Ring Sling: 0-18 Months
I bought the Mesh Sling Ring around the same time I bought the first Sling Ring and I wish I had gotten it sooner. I bought it so I could hold my son while taking a shower.
Because my husband worked out of town a lot, this carrier was my best chance at actually bathing every day. Plus, it was way less scary using the carrier than trying to hold a wet, soapy, and squirmy baby.
The Mesh Sling Ring made everything a lot easier. I could hold my son while washing both of us and not have to worry about dropping him. It also works great for trips to the pool, water park, or the beach.
I tried ours out during a beach vacation and loved it.
The mesh is super breathable so it’s also nice if you live in a hot climate as I do.
I found this carrier even easier to use than the traditional Sling Ring.
Pros of the Mesh Sling Ring
- Mesh fabric that can get wet.
- Easy to get baby in and out of.
- Breathable fabric so baby doesn’t get hot.
- Easy to adjust for different wearers.
- Easy to adjust for different-sized children.
- Good for newborns through toddlers.
- Great for water activities.
- Lightweight and compact, so easy to take on the go.
Cons of the Mesh Sling Ring
- May not be able to use it very long for bigger babies.
Mei Tai: 0-24 Months
My next pick for the best babywearing carriers for 0-24 months is the Mei Tai baby carrier. You can use it for front carry, hip carry, and back carry.
After my son grew out of the Moby Wrap and got big enough to back carry, this was the one I used. I used it anytime I worked out, did the dishes, or just wanted to get things done around the house.
The Mei Tai was also a lifesaver whenever he got sick. I could give him the cuddles he needed while still being somewhat productive.
It was hands-down one of my favorite carriers. I used it until my son was 2 years old and size 3T, so it’s great for bigger babies and even toddlers.
Another thing I liked about the Mei Tai is the material conforms to you and the baby. So you don’t have any fit issues like more structured carriers. I also found it to be super comfortable.
I wore my heavy son for up to 3-4 hours with no problems.
Pros of the Mei Tai
- Comfortable for bigger babies and toddlers.
- Easy to adjust to different-sized children.
- Easy to adjust for different wearers.
- 3 different carry positions.
- Comfortable to hold your baby for long periods.
- Machine washable.
- Good for newborns up to toddlers without any major adjustments.
Cons of the Mei Tai
- Long straps can make it tricky to put your baby in the carrier without getting the straps dirty when out and about.
- There is a slight learning curve to using the back carry position.
Tula Baby Carrier: 6-24 Months
It combines the comfort of a soft carrier with the ease of a buckle and strap carrier. I kept this carrier in my car at all times so I could carry my son when we were out and about.
The Tula was perfect for running errands, trips to the park, family events, or anytime he needed a nap when we were out of the house. My son loved it.
I also used it any time I was somewhere that I didn’t need a mischievous toddler running around.
It was a great out-of-the-house carrier because it was so easy to get my son in and out of it. A few clicks and he was ready to go.
I used this carrier for back carries the most because I didn’t get it until my son was over a year old. You can front carry with it, but it’s designed for babies 15-45 lbs. So if you want to use it with a smaller baby you have to buy a separate infant insert.
Pros of Tula Baby Carrier
- Easy and quick to put your baby in the carrier when out and about.
- Very comfortable design, even for long periods.
- Lots of cute colors and designs.
- The quality holds up well, so people often resell them (I bought mine on eBay.).
- Fits larger babies and toddlers.
- Works for front carry and back carry positions.
Cons of Tula Baby Carrier
- You have to manually adjust the straps to fit different wearers.
- They can be a bit more expensive than other carriers.
- Your baby needs to be at least 15 lbs to safely ride in one without a separate infant insert.
Babywearing Safety Tips
Here are some safety tips to ensure your babywearing experience is safe and comfortable for both you and your little one:
- Fully read over the safety requirements and instructions that come with your carrier. Different carriers have different instructions or requirements, so make sure you understand them clearly.
- When your baby is fully seated in the carrier, they should be high up on your body so that you can easily bend your head and give them a kiss.
- When seated properly in the carrier, your baby’s knees should be at their hip level or higher. This is called getting a “deep seat” for the baby. This helps prevent hip dysplasia.
- Use the front carry facing inward position until your baby has strong head and neck control.
- The back carry position is used only when your baby can sit unassisted.
- Use the hip carry position when your baby can sit unassisted.
- Keep your baby’s face clear and visible when seated in the carrier.
- Keep your baby’s body vertical while in the carrier. You want to ensure their chin doesn’t tuck into their chest too closely and compromise their airway.
You can also check out this video to see what some of those safety tips look like when holding a baby.
FAQ’s About the Best Babywearing Carriers
Here are some common questions about baby carriers and babywearing:
Are baby wraps safe?
Baby wraps are safe when used correctly. It’s important to always follow the instructions for each carrier and ensure your baby’s nose and mouth are clear.
Always check in on your baby frequently and be sure they have proper head and neck support.
What is hip dysplasia?
Hip dysplasia is a condition where the hip socket does not fully cover the ball portion of the upper thighbone, causing instability and potential dislocation. It can be caused by genetics or things like incorrect positioning or improper use of baby carriers.
To prevent hip dysplasia, always make sure your baby’s legs are in an ergonomic “M” position when in a carrier, and talk with your doctor if you have any concerns.
Can I breastfeed while wearing my baby?
Yes, many carriers are great for breastfeeding. Some even have special features like nursing covers or hands-free options to make breastfeeding on the go easier.
Just remember to follow safety guidelines and use proper positioning for both you and your baby.
What is the best baby carrier to have?
The best baby carrier for you and your baby will depend on things like age, weight, personal preferences, and what you’ll do while wearing your baby. It’s important to research and test out different carriers to find the one that works best for you and your little one.
If I had to pick one off the list, I would choose the Mai Tai because it’s great for infants up to toddlers.
Can my partner also use the same carrier?
Yes, many carriers can be easily adjusted to fit both parents. Be sure to properly adjust the carrier before using it each time to keep baby comfy and secure.
My husband was able to easily use the Tula and Mei Tai carriers with a few minor adjustments.
What are the 5 types of babywearing carriers?
The 5 main types of baby carriers are wraps, ring slings, mei tais, soft structured carriers, and backpack carriers. Each type has its own perks, so it’s best to research and test out different carriers to find the best fit.
What carrier is best for baby?
The best carrier for your baby will depend on their age, weight, and temperament. It’s important to consider things like comfort, safety, and ease of use when choosing a carrier.
Can I use a baby carrier for a newborn?
Yes, there are baby carriers made for newborns, such as wraps and ring slings. Follow the carrier instructions to ensure proper positioning and support for your baby’s head, neck, and spine. If you have any concerns, consult with a babywearing expert or your doctor before using a carrier with a newborn.
Final Thoughts on The Best Babywearing Carriers for 0-24 Months
I hope this list of the best babywearing carriers has helped you in your search for the perfect carrier. These are the 5 that stood the test of time and made babywearing a beautiful experience for me.
They saved my sanity during the early years with my kids, and I can’t recommend them enough. Plus, I didn’t have to worry about sounding like a locomotive anytime I had to climb upstairs.
What do you think are the best babywearing carriers? Did I miss one on the list? Let me know in the comments below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Candice is a mom of 3 who has been homeschooling since 2013. She has an A.A.S. in Early Childhood Studies and cares deeply about helping other parents get the information and resources they need to help them homeschool their children with confidence.