Baby Carriers – Which is right for you and your little one?
Baby carriers keep your hands free and baby close to your heart. Parents have been wearing them for centuries, wrapping their children around their front or on their back while doing everyday chores. For modern day use, carriers are great for your daily activities around the house, walking around town, going shopping, or even going out for a fancy dinner. You get your work done without worrying about your newborn crying in another room, and baby can stay snuggled and secure close to you.
There are many different types of baby carriers on the market today, many of them tailored to a particular age of your baby or to your lifestyle. If you’re unsure what style is right for you, try several different types in stores, or ask your friends or family what they prefer. Below is a list of some different types of baby carriers, and what they are best designed for:
Slings and wraps
The traditional wrap is a large piece of cloth tied a certain way to hold baby to your body. Modern slings are similar, but usually have straps that can be tied or adjusted around the shoulder or neck using sturdy rings. Baby slings are best for newborns, who lay in a hammock position similar to the womb, and who can easily reach up and nurse. The great thing about slings is their versatility, as you can tie it in a variety of positions for different ages. Slings come unpadded (for maximum versatility) to various amounts of padding. Best selling sling makers include:
Mei Tai (Asian or ABC) carriers
Front, Hip and Back Carriers
Instead of baby laying in a piece of fabric, they sit vertically in a structured pouch. Front baby carriers offer parents ease of use with straps rather than having to learn complicated wrapping and tying techniques. They can be used for newborns, but are best for infants who are strong enough to hold their head up to see the world as you do. At its most basic, a front carrier consists of a fabric pouch with straps wrapped around a caregiver’s shoulders. Some brands can also convert to a side (hip) and back carriers. Popular brands include:
For older babies and toddlers, backpack carriers are perfect for longer excursions, hiking or camping trips. Your toddler is wrapped in the carrier and looks over your shoulder, seeing everything you see. Backpacks are not recommended for infants under six months of age, as they must be able to support their head. Baby backpacks are more expensive than other carriers, but the trade-off is ruggedness, sturdy and comfortable straps, and several features such as removable child cockpits, pouches, sun and rain visors, and a kickstand to easily load baby. One model can even convert into a stroller! Look for well-established companies who specialize in rugged outdoor wear, such as: