Best Baby Carriers 2018

Best Baby Carriers 2018

by Donna Fogarty |

Babywearing is a “modern” parenting method that’s not so new. It has been around for centuries and was abandoned earlier in the 20th century. Now that it’s been revived, parents are finding a multitude of benefits to babywearing, such as the freedom of hands-free chores and the closeness that it allows for both baby and parent.

With a plethora of options in the current market, it can be hard to choose the carrier that is right for your family.  But we are here to help you out! We’ve spent countless hours researching all the top baby carriers.

Baby Carrier
Why It Is Best Mom Rating
Lillebaby Embossed Complete Stylish and comfortable, 6 carrying positions, no infant insert required, good value for $ ♥♥♥♥♥

 

Boba 4G Reasonably priced, comes with removable infant insert, foot pads, purse strap; comfortable ♥♥♥♥♥
Beco Soleil Baby Carrier Cute designs, detachable hood and bag included but might run warm. ♥♥♥♥
ErgoBaby Omni 360 4 carrying positions, hip healthy, might run warm. ♥♥♥♥
Pognae No 5 Rugged, outdoor fabric.  Hip seat rests on wide, supported waist belt.  Pricey. ♥♥♥♥
Lillebaby Complete All Seasons Versatile 6 position carrier with zip down panel for variable temps. ♥♥♥♥
Tula Free to Grow Minimalist, simple style.  Easy to grab and go once adjusted to your body. ♥♥♥♥
Baby K’Tan Comfy wrap carrier perfect for newborns and small babies. ♥♥♥♥
Baby Bjorn One Easy to adjust, hip healthy, easily transferred between caregivers.  Expensive. ♥♥♥♥
BabyHawk Oh Snap Easy to adjust, comfortable, good for bigger builds, for children 15 lbs + ♥♥♥

The Best Baby Carriers of 2018

Lillebaby Embossed Complete

The Lillebaby Embossed Complete baby carrier is my top pick for best Baby Carrier because it has a stellar mix of features and not very many downsides.  It has great support for babies from 7 to 45 pounds, with a hood and a pocket.  Parents also love the lumbar support it provides for them.  The soft, breathable fabric is great for any climate.  It’s easily adjustable and transferable from user to user.

Pros

6 Carrying Positions

I love the versatility of a carrier that has many options for carrying.

Some babies love to face out, some love to face in, sometimes you need to put baby on your back so you can get stuff done.  Even if I don’t use all the options (for example, I never did use the hip carry option with my Lillebaby), I still appreciate having it available.

Babies and kids make our lives interesting and you just never know when you’ll need to be flexible to accommodate life.

No Infant Insert Needed

One of the things I love about Lillebaby’s is that you do not need a separate infant insert.  The last thing we busy moms need is something else to carry around!  The carrier is suitable for newborns 7 lbs or bigger.  There is also the option to use a rolled up muslin blanket or hand towel to put under the baby’s bum to support them a little more.

The Lillebaby also comes with an infant strap, which attaches around the baby on the inside of the carrier for further protection.  Of course, judge for yourself.  If baby is super skinny, or just barely 7 lbs and doesn’t feel secure to you in the carrier, maybe put it aside for a bit and try again when baby is a little bigger.

Even though my son was bigger than 7 lbs at birth, I still supported him while carrying him in the Lillebaby, while bending down or making any other awkward movement (reaching for something in the grocery store, etc.).   Probably just a mom instinct, but better safe than sorry!

Hip Healthy

The Lillebaby carriers are approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute and are deemed hip healthy.  This means they don’t contribute to the formation of hip dysplasia in babies, where other carriers might.

Soft Fabric

The Lillebaby Embossed comes in a velvety microfiber that is so soft on the baby’s skin.  At the same time, the fabric is more breathable than one might think so it stays reasonably ventilated even during warmer weather.

Of course, it’s not as breathable as a mesh type fabric, but still I was pretty happy with it.  Some people might consider the Lillebaby All Seasons carrier instead because it has a section that zips down to reveal a mesh fabric for warmer weather.  Or even the Lillebaby Airflow which is made of mostly mesh material for ultimate breathability.

However, many people are choosing the Lillebaby Embossed as an alternative because it has a similar temperature rating without cumbersome zippers.

Stylish

Each color of Lillebaby Embossed comes with it’s own unique pattern and hardware color.  If you love simple but elegant, the Embossed collection is for you.  For example, check out this beautiful Mickey Embossed.

Cons

Pricey

You get what you pay for, and that’s certainly true in the world of baby carriers.  The Lillebaby brand is a solid brand with quality products and to me, that is well worth the price tag.  There are usually sales, especially during the holidays so if you’re not in a huge rush, be on the lookout for these.

Might Run Warm

Even though the Lillebaby Embossed is one of their coolest carriers in terms of temperature, it still might be too warm for some climates.  If you live in a hot or humid climate, you might look into the Lillebaby Airflow carrier, which is made of cool mesh for extra breathability.

For an in-depth comparison of the Lillebaby vs other popular carriers, check out this post.

Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars based on 250 + reviews on Nordstrom.com

Boba 4G

The Boba 4G is an easy to use carrier that includes a lot of bells and whistles.  It includes an infant insert, a hood and foot pads and offers a unique clip for keeping your purse strap attached to the shoulder of the carrier.  For all these helpful features and high quality of the carrier, it’s still very reasonably priced.

Pros

Easy to Use and Adjust

Unlike other carriers, the learning curve on the Boba 4G carrier is minimal.  It’s basically ready to go out of the box, with a few adjustments to size it to your body.  And because it’s easy to adjust, it’s easy to transfer between you and your partner or other caregiver.  That’s always a plus in my book!

Infant Insert Included

The Boba 4G carrier comes with an infant insert included.  The infant insert attaches to the inside of the carrier seat to lift baby up and bolster it from underneath.  Most other carrier just say to roll up a hand towel, which works fine, but it is nice to have this thoughtful inclusion.

The Boba 4G infant insert has two positions – snapped together for a newborn baby, or unsnapped for slightly older babies, to make a sort of M shaped seat for them to sit on inside the carrier.

When baby is much older and doesn’t need it anymore, the infant insert just detaches.

Detachable Hood and Foot Pads

The Boba 4G carrier comes with a detachable hood and detachable foot pads, which is a unique feature.  Many carriers feature the removable hood but this is the first one I’ve seen that comes with foot pads included.  The foot pads help keep your toddler’s feet and legs in an ergonomic position.

Multiple Pockets

Unlike other carriers which lack storage, the Boba 4G comes with multiple pockets.  There is a zippered pocket on the waist and another pocket which the removable hood folds up into.  If you are not using the hood, that is an extra pocket for storage of other things.

Unique Purse Strap

The Boba 4G is also unique in that this carrier includes a strap for your purse, to keep it secured to your shoulder (instead of flopping around).  This is a nice gesture, because it can be a struggle to figure out how to juggle the carrier, purse, diaper bag, etc.

If you are out and about and can get away with only bringing your phone and keys, the pockets will suffice.  If you need to bring your purse, the purse strap will keep it anchored to your Boba 4G shoulder strap.  Either way, the makers of this carrier thought of the user’s convenience and day to day usage, which I really appreciate.

baby carrierBreastfeeding Compatible

The Boba 4G makes breastfeeding on the go easy as pie.  With the removable hood, you get extra privacy when you need it.  And the side adjustments are easy to loosen to allow for comfortable breastfeeding.  Many moms were able to breastfeed hands free in this carrier, which is pretty amazing!

Reasonably Priced

I was pleasantly surprised how well rated the Boba 4G was compared to the price.  It’s much more reasonably priced than most of the carriers on this list and as popular as any of them among users.  This would be a great carrier for parents on a budget who still want a quality item that will last them years.

Cons

There are none that I can think of!

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars based on 30 reviews on Target.com

Beco Soleil Baby Carrier

The Beco Soleil baby carrier is suitable for children from 7 to 45 pounds.  It features front, back and hip carry positions.  It also has a detachable hood and bag, which comes in very handy.  This carrier is comfortable for both baby and parent.

Pros

Compact Storage

Users love that this carrier folds up smaller than other, bulkier carriers.  Too often, with these SSCs (Soft Structured Carriers), there is so much padding that it becomes cumbersome to fold.  And that means that it doesn’t readily fit into a diaper bag or large purse.  Users of the Beco Soleil really appreciated it’s compact fold, as it helped them use the bags they already had instead of carrying around a special storage bag for the carrier.

Detachable Hood and Bag

The Beco Soleil features a detachable hood and bag.  So when you want a minimalist look, you can choose to use neither.  But for sunny walks or naps, or when you need to breastfeed in the carrier, a detachable hood is a great addition.  The snap on bag is great for stashing phone or keys and even a folded up disposable diaper.

Easy to Adjust

The Beco Soleil is a carrier that is easily adjustable, and can transfer easily from person to person.  Many users reported sharing the carrier with their much bigger and taller husbands with no issues transferring easily between them.

Cute Designs

The Beco Soleil is available in many cute designs, which are eye catching and trendy.  Some carriers are only available in solids or muted colors, not so with the Beco.  You will be able to express your and your baby’s personality with these cute patterns.

Cons

Not Good for Smaller Babies

Even though the Beco Soleil carrier is for 7 lbs or more, many users reported feeling like it was better for older babies, at least a few months old.  The smaller babies just didn’t feel secure enough to most users.  It might depend on the build of the baby as well, so definitely judge for yourself, but be cautious.  Some users ended up buying the infant insert separately or at least rolling up a hand towel to put underneath the baby’s bottom.

Runs Warm

The Beco Soleil is made with 100% cotton, so it’s fairly breathable.  However, even so, some users have found that the carrier runs a bit warm.  Of course, any carrier is going to battle warmth as having bodies close together will naturally create a build up of heat.

Cumbersome Buckles

One of the huge downsides to this carrier is the cumbersome buckle.  In the name of safety, the buckle is fairly difficult to unbuckle, but so much so that some people actually returned the carrier because they found it too difficult.  Some people wound up hurting their fingers trying to push the buckle to open.

At the same time, others didn’t mind it and even welcomed the safety measure.  So if you have trouble with buckles in the first place (because of wrist issues, etc), you may want to steer clear of this one.  I, myself, have weak wrists so this would not be a good choice for me.

No Forward Facing Position

If your baby loves to look around, this carrier might not be a good choice as it does not offer the front facing out position.  I know my baby is very curious and this would be a deal breaker for me.

Reviews

4 out of 5 stars based on 3 + reviews on BuyBuyBaby.com

Ergobaby Omni 360

The Ergobaby Omni 360 is a solid carrier that is hip healthy, has 4 carrying positions and fits babies 7-45 pounds.  The Omni 360 offers facing out carrying position (hence the meaning of 360) which some carriers don’t.  It’s comfortable, adjustable but it also runs a little warm unless you opt for the mesh version.

Pros

4 Carrying Positions

The Ergobaby Omni 360 has 4 carrying positions – front carried facing parent, front carried facing out, back carried and hip carried.  I love the flexibility that multiple carrying positions allow.  Sometimes baby is curious (assuming they are old enough to hold their head up independently) and wants to look around at the world, and other times baby is tired and wants to snuggle in private.

And while I personally never used the hip carry option myself, I know many women find this super helpful.  Check out Ergobaby’s video on the hip carry position:

Hip Healthy

The Ergobaby Omni 360 is listed as hip healthy on the IHDI’s website, meaning it meets the requirements to not contribute to hip dysplasia as the baby develops.  This is so important as there are a lot of carriers out there that are not deemed as hip healthy.

Lumbar Support

I like how the Ergobaby Omni includes a lumbar support pad, just like the Lillebaby does.  This makes a big difference in the comfort for the person who is carrying.  Especially on long outings, the weight can really begin to take a toll.  The lumbar support pad provides gentle but firm support where you need it most.

ergobaby omni front and back

Crossable Straps

This is handy for moms that are maybe more petite and find the straps to be too long (or cannot be adjusted to be any smaller).  Crossing the straps makes them accommodate even the smallest builds, so if you are petite, this would be a must.

Adjustable Seat Width

The Ergobaby Omni 360 has 3 different seat width adjustments, based on baby’s height and age.  The narrowest position is for newborns (minimum of 7 lbs) and up to 20 inches tall.  The middle position is for babies from 24 to 28 inches tall.  The widest position is for babies approximately 9 months old and over 28 inches tall.

ergobaby omni age guide

Cons

Might Run Hot

When I owned my Ergobaby carrier, the downside I experienced is that it ran a bit hot.  Having your baby close to you is bound to generate some heat but some carriers disperse it better than others.  If you have a sweaty baby or live in a warmer climate, you might consider getting your Ergobaby Omni 360 in a cooler fabric, such as the Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh carrier.

Still have more questions? Check out the FAQ for all things pertaining to the Ergobaby Omni 360.

For an in-depth comparison of the ErgoBaby Omni 360 vs other popular carriers, check out our Tula vs ErgoBaby vs Lillebaby post.

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars based on 160 + reviews on Target.com

Tula Free to Grow

The Tula Free to Grow is a sleek, minimalist carrier that will appeal to users who don’t want a lot of buckles and fluff.  It’s suitable for children weighing 7 to 45 pounds.It’s comfortable once adjusted to your body, but the learning curve might be a turnoff to some.  This also might be the best carrier for a single user, not one you would need to transfer between caregivers. The cute designs and durable canvas fabric are easy on the eyes and will last for many years.

Pros

Comfortable

The Tula Free to Grow has comfortable straps and the design of the carrier is such that after getting your adjustments figured out, it should be very comfortable to carry your child, even when they’re older and heavier.  Many users report remaining comfortable during extended periods of carrying their bigger babies (20 lbs or more).

Simple

Many people who chose the Tula Free to Grow did so because they wanted a sleeker, simple design that wasn’t full of straps and hoops.  Some carriers, while providing a slew of positions and benefits, end up being on the bulkier side.  The Tula is the more minimalist carrier, offering simple, sleek lines.  It does end up sacrificing some carrying positions as a result, but this probably won’t be a deal breaker for minimalist parents.

Durable

The Tula Free to Grow is made with durable canvas fabric, which makes the carrier fairly breathable while at the same time, sturdy.  Users have also reported that even after months of prolonged use and many washings, the fabric remained looking new.

Cons

Learning Curve

When starting out with the Tula Free to Grow, there is a slight learning curve in using the carrier.  First, the straps need to be adjusted to your body (and baby).  Once you get everything adjusted, it should be fairly easy to put it on independently.  However, users also reported having a lot of difficulty adjusting the back strap (that goes between the shoulders) while the carrier was on.

Another downside of the adjustments is that once you have the settings just right, you may not want another person using it and changing them all up.  So in essence, this would be an ideal one person carrier.

Not Great for Small Babies

Because of its sleek and streamlined design, the Tula Free to Grow does not offer head support, so it might not be the best choice for newborns and small babies.  Some users have reported their skinny babies felt not very secure in the carrier and they had to wait until the babies got a little bigger.

Limited Positions

The Tula Free to Grow has 2 positions: Front Carry (facing parent) and the Back Carry.  Many parents are very content with these positions, but some might miss the Front facing out position.  If you have a curious baby or if you desire this position in a carrier, you might want to look at the Lillebaby or Ergobaby Omni instead.

Expensive

Like anything worth it’s weight, the Tula Free to Grow carrier is not the cheapest on the market.  But most parents who have purchased it feel it is well worth the price tag.  And since it can very well serve as the only carrier you’ll need, it’s an investment that can be justified.

For an in-depth comparison of the Tula Free to Grow vs ErgoBaby and Lillebaby, read our comparison article.

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars based on 120 + reviews on Target.com

Pognae No 5 Outdoor Organic Baby Hipseat

This newer carrier, designed and made in South Korea, is earning a great reputation among baby wearers.  This carrier features a hipseat for the baby to sit on, which provides a lot of support vs fabric on standard carriers. It’s rugged, with multiple pockets and convenient features such as hood and teething bib that are included in the purchase.

Pros

Rugged Fabric

The fabric on the Pognae No 5 is durable and rugged, and it’s easy to spot clean with a baby wipe when a mess occurs.  The fabric is rated as an outdoor fabric, so it is water resistant and wind resistant as well.  Plus it looks neat, as if it’s slightly shiny.

Zip Down Panel

The Pognae No 5 features a zip down panel which you could zip down in warmer weather to provide some ventilation for the baby.  This is a nice feature for climates where it can be hot and cold on the same day, such as Colorado.  Or to handle multiple seasons with ease in other climates.

pognae baby carrier

Supportive Waist Band

The waist band on the Pognae No 5 is sort of unique in that it is a velcro and buckle combination.  To put it on, you velcro together the wide waist band first, and then buckle it as well.  It’s rather wide also, which provides a lot of support on the abdomen and takes the strain off the shoulders.  This comes in especially handy for the hip seat.

Multiple Pockets

The Pognae No 5 has two pockets – one on the waistband, a little off to the side, and the other on the front of the carrier.  Neither has zippers, but rather an elastic across to keep the contents enclosed.  It’s nice to have multiple pockets in different locations for different items.

Hip Seat

The Pognae No 5 is also unique on this list in that it is an actual hip seat as well as a carrier.  The hip seat and carrier come attached to one another as a complete carrier, but it can also be unzipped to become a hip seat only.

The weight of the baby rests on the hip seat and is supported by the wide waist belt that sits on the parent’s hips.  This makes me think of the age when my son just wants to be carried around on my hip most of the day which gets very tiring on the arms and torso.  Having a hip seat like this would take a lot of strain off of my body while keeping him happy.

Hip Healthy

According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, they affirm that the Pognae No 5 is a hip healthy seat.  The fabric where the baby’s legs would wrap around is slightly narrower than other carriers, but because the baby is sitting down on the hip seat, they still achieve a hip healthy leg position.  This also makes a front facing out position much more comfortable for the baby.

Included Bib and Drool Padspognae drool pads

The Pognae No 5 includes with it organic cotton bamboo drool pads, which are very absorbent.  This is probably one of the best features of this carrier, because other carriers do not include these and usually it’s an aftermarket purchase through a different retailer.

The bib and drool pads are easy to remove and wash, when necessary.

Multiple Hoods Included

The Pognae No 5 includes 2 different removable privacy hoods – one in a regular material and one in mesh.  I find this to be a very thoughtful inclusion because as nice as hoods are, sometimes they unfortunately add to the temperature.  If it’s already fairly warm out, a mesh hood is a brilliant idea to get some shade on the baby while keeping them somewhat ventilated.

Cons

Expensive

This carrier is currently at the top of the list for price, along with the Baby Bjorn One.  With all the features, most users find it well worth the price.  Especially considering that many parents end up buying aftermarket bibs and teething attachments, and they are included in the price.  But it still might be a turn off to many budget conscious buyers.

Not for Newborns

The Pognae No 5 carrier is recommended for babies 3 months and up.  It will accommodate newborns only with an infant insert which must be purchased separately.  Since this carrier is already very expensive, that’s an unfortunate addition to the expense.  Without the infant insert, 3 months is bare minimum age for using this carrier.  Until that time, babies usually don’t have good head control and cannot hold their head up by themselves.

Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars based on 11 reviews on Pognae.com

LILLEbaby Complete All Seasons

The Lillebaby Complete All Seasons is a versatile carrier because of it’s zip down panel, so it’s great for most climates and seasons.  Just like the Lillebaby Embossed, it has the same weight range of 7-45 pounds.  It comes in cute patterns and colors, and will appeal to your stylish side unlike some bland looking carriers.

Pros

Versatile

One of the huge benefits of the Lillebaby Complete All Seasons carrier is its versatility.  It can be used in cool weather as is, or the panel zips down during warmer weather.  When the panel is zipped down, it reveals a mesh fabric, which lets the breeze in and keeps the sweat down.

Babies can be sweaty to begin with and add in warm weather and a mom in close quarters and it’s a recipe for overheating.  Plus it’s certainly not enjoyable to carry  a baby around when you’re all baking.  Zipping the panel down helps let the breeze in and as a result, everyone will stay comfortable.

If you live in a warmer climate or plan to use a baby carrier a lot during summer outings, you might consider this one.

Hip Healthy

Just like the rest of the Lillebaby family of carriers, the All Seasons is a hip healthy carrier as deemed by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.  You are probably tired of reading this, but seriously, it’s so important!  It’s the most important factor you need to consider while babywearing.  Well, aside from making sure the baby is safely in the carrier per the instructions, that is.

Cute Designs

I love the many looks of the Lillebaby All Seasons carrier, which often has a contrasting fabric on the zip down panel than the rest of the carrier.  You can always count on Lillebaby to make a statement with their carriers.  These are not only functional but a great accessory to your wardrobe.  If you’re a busy, tired mom like me, this carrier will make you look good, I promise!

6 Carrying Positions

Just like the other Lillebaby carriers, this one offers a whopping 6 different carrying positions.  From newborn, all the way to 45 pounds, you can carry your child all the way from newborn position to carrying on your back while going for a hike.

Easily Transferred

Feedback from a multitude of Lillebaby users is that this carrier is easy to transfer between caregivers.  The adjustments are not terribly cumbersome and it’s fairly easy to get a good fit.

Cons

Pricey

Just like the rest of the Lillebaby family of carriers, it’s got a decent price tag.  But truly, it’s well worth it as the design of the carrier is well thought out and the fabrics and manufacturing is high quality.  You get what you pay for usually, and this is definitely true in the baby wearing world.

However, even though the price is high, if you choose to resell it after you’re done with it, you can recoup quite a bit of it.  I sold my lightly used Lillebaby for about 70% of what I bought it for.

Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars based on 1,200 + reviews on BuyBuyBaby.com

Baby K’Tan Baby Carrier

The Baby K’Tan is a wrap carrier that is really nice for those first few months of babyhood.  It imitates the close, warm environment of the womb, making baby nice and cozy and happy.  And happy baby equals happy parents.  Although it’s not great for older babies due to not being able to support the weight, if you don’t mind getting multiple carriers throughout the journey, this would be a great carrier to start with.

Pros

Simulates Womb

The Baby K’Tan is so nice for those newborn months when baby is just getting used to the outside world and loves to snuggle up for safety and comfort.  The K’Tan provides the perfect snuggly environment for baby, snuggled up close to her parent.  Babies that are worn this way experience less crying and fussiness.  After all, what is there to fuss about?

Compact

There are many wrap style carriers out there, but some of them utilize large piece of fabric that sometimes hang in the way.  I suppose the reason for this is to make them one-size and adjustable.  The Baby K’Tan is different in that it comes in 6 different sizes and there is no leftover fabric as a result.  It simply comes in fabric loops that then turn into a carrier.

I remember vividly trying to put on my Moby wrap carrier, and the long ends would dangle on the ground while I was putting it on.  This is okay at home, but not so great if you are out and about in a public place.

The Baby K’Tan also comes with it’s own carrying bag.  The carrying bag also turns inside out to become a part of the wrap itself in some carrying positions, such as this Hug Position.

Multiple Positions

You wouldn’t think that a wrap carrier made of two loops would have much variance in the positions, I know I did.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the genius minds behind the Baby K’Tan came up with some pretty clever variations.

baby k'tan positions

There’s the Kangaroo position, which is best for babies from birth to approximately 3 months or when it’s no longer comfortable.  This cradles the baby in a very natural and soothing position, similar to a womb environment.

The Hug position can be used from approximately 1-18 months and it’s probably the most common position.  This is best for when baby does not need the newborn hold anymore but still enjoys the comfort of a close hug with you.  Baby’s legs and hips are in the proper M position around your torso.

The Explore position is for ages approximately 4-12 months old.  In this position, baby is facing semi towards you and semi out.  It’s great for when they are a little more curious and not always content just facing you.  Baby’s legs are cradled inside the wrap.

The Adventure position is for ages 5-20 months, and it’s the step up into big kid territory.  Here they are facing out, taking in all the world has to offer.  Baby K’Tan does say to pay attention to baby’s cues when they are in this position, as they can get overstimulated with no way out.  In another position, they could turn away from the stimulation but here they don’t really have that option.

The Hip position, used from 6-36 months, is basically just like when we carry our babies on our hip but much more supported.

Hip Healthy

The Baby K’Tan carrier is approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as a hip healthy carrier.  Per Baby K’Tan, this “acknowledgment affirms that the Baby K’tan Baby Carrier encourages hip healthy development – hips spread naturally, with thighs supported and knees bent”.

The hip healthy certification is for when manufacturer instructions are followed.  If you are not completely sure if you’re doing it correctly, check out the instructional videos on Baby K’Tan’s website.

Cons

Might Run Warm

One of the downsides of having baby so close to you is all the heat that is generated between you.  Depending on your climate and season, this might be a consideration.  Baby K’Tan also makes Sport and Mesh versions so be sure to check those out if you need a carrier with more ventilation.

Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars based on 400 reviews on Target.com

Baby Bjorn One Baby Carrier

The Baby Bjorn One carrier is hip healthy, unlike it’s earlier predecessors.  This one is comfortable, easily adjustable carrier that transfers well from caregiver to caregiver.  It’s also one of the most expensive carriers in this compilation.  It’s great for older babies but might not be a good choice for newborns.  Per the manufacturer, this carrier is for babies 8-33 pounds.

Pros

Ergonomic and Hip Healthy

The Baby Bjorn One carrier has a fully adjustable seat which puts the baby’s hips in an ergonomic and hip healthy position.  This carrier is one of the few Baby Bjorn makes which is listed on the IHDI’s list of hip healthy carriers.  So if you’re considering this carrier, make sure you don’t get confused and choose another model of Baby Bjorn as it most likely will not be as hip healthy as this one.

4 Carrying Positions

The Baby Bjorn One has 4 carrying positions – In the front facing parent (2 different height positions), in the front facing out and on your back.  In the front facing parent position, the upper position is used for newborns and acts as a built in infant insert.

Comfortable

Many parents loved this carrier for its comfort.  It has nice thick padding in the shoulder straps to ensure your outing with the baby is comfortable.  It also has an ergonomic support waist belt to help relieve the pressure of carrying.

Easy Back Carry Transfer

Baby Bjorn recommends that the back carry position be used after 12 months of age.  Based on the video below, it would be very simple to get the toddler into the back carry position.  You just put them in your front, facing you and then swivel them around.  The baby is supported the entire time.  Arguably this method can be used with other carriers as well.

Head Support for Baby

There are carriers out there that lack head support (such as the Tula), but I really feel it’s great to have, especially if you’re planning on carrying from newborn on.  It’s great to have support for their fragile necks and heads when they cannot support it themselves.  And it’s really nice for older babies too if they get tired or are taking a nap.

Easily Transferred Between Partners

I read in the user reviews over and over how easily this carrier was to transfer between users.  The adjustments made it very user friendly and quick to do so.  This is certainly not the case with a lot of carriers, so this is a major plus for me.  If you are searching for a carrier that will be shared between you and your partner or other caregiver, this might be a good choice.

Cons

Very Expensive

The Baby Bjorn One is arguably one of the most expensive carriers out there.  Many parents felt the pricetag was completely worth it given how much use they were getting out of the carrier due to it’s comfort.  However, unless you have a big budget for a carrier, you may look at some other carriers that are just as good but without the hefty price tag.

Not the Best for Smaller Babies

While some users were okay having their babies in there, others felt the carrier was much more suited to children at least a year old.  The younger babies felt like they were swimming in the carrier, it was just too roomy for them, according to some parents.  So if you’re looking for a carrier to use from day 1, this might not be it.

No Hood or Pocket

A major downside of this carrier for me is that it does not come with a hood or a pocket of any sort.  I always felt like it was really nice to have a hood, in case you were out and about in bright sunny weather and wanted to shield the baby.  A hood is also nice to have if you are planning to nurse in the carrier, for more privacy.

A pocket is great for stashing keys, credit cards or phone when you don’t want to lug your purse along.  So not having one is kind of a bummer.

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars based on 1,100 + reviews on Walmart.com

BabyHawk Oh Snap

I recall about a decade ago, when I was having my first son, Baby Hawk had quite a die hard following.  One of the original brands of baby carriers, they had quite a hit with their Mei Tei carrier, which had ties.  The Baby Hawk Oh Snap was introduced to follow in the footsteps of the original.  Instead of the ties which can be cumbersome, the snap theoretically is much more user friendly.

Pros

Simple and Comfortable

Parents who purchase the BabyHawk Oh Snap liked how simple it was to adjust and use.  It was good to go almost out of the box, with a few minimal adjustments.  The carrier was comfortable even though the shoulder padding is not quite as generous as some other carriers.  If you’re looking for a carrier that has the support without the bulk, this might be a good choice.

Good for Taller People

The BabyHawk Oh Snap is a generous size, so while it’s not great for smaller parents and babies, it seems to fit well on taller people.  Sometimes, taller parents have trouble getting a good fit with other carriers due to the width or height of the torso.  For these parents, the BabyHawk Oh Snap might be a good choice.

Cons

Not for Babies Under 15 lbs

The weight range for the BabyHawk Oh Snap starts at 15 pounds, so this is definitely not a carrier for newborns and smaller babies.  However, it will definitely accommodate babies and toddlers, all the way up to 45 pounds.  The body of the carrier is built for bigger babies, so there is plenty of fabric to give toddlers the support they need to be carried comfortably.

No Storage

Sadly, the BabyHawk Oh Snap does not include any storage capabilities with it.  For the minimalist, this is probably fine, but it still would be nice to have at least one pocket for small items like phone, or credit card, keys etc.

Hand Wash Only

The BabyHawk Oh Snap is a hand wash only item.  As a mom, I tend to stay away from “hand wash only” items, because who has time for that?  To me, this would mean that I would have to be careful with it, which kind of defeats the purpose of having a helper (i.e. carrier) around the house.

Reviews

None found

Considerations when Buying a Baby Carrier

Hip Healthy or Not

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a baby carrier is whether it is hip healthy or not.  I’m sure you’ve seen people out with their babies in “crotch-danglers”, those carriers that have baby dangling on the front of the parent.  The Baby Bjorn was the original carrier of this sort on the market, from what I recall.

With the popularity of baby carriers booming, it seems like everyone is getting into the baby carrier market.  But buyer beware, not all of them are hip healthy.  Why is hip healthy important?

According to the International Hip Dysplasia Institute, the cause of hip dysplasia is believed to be developmental, meaning that as baby grows, it’s environment affects the development of the hips.  Part of the environment is the manner in which the baby is carried around, including in a baby carrier.

The IHDI certifies carriers as “hip-healthy” when the hips are spread out, such as in a natural carrying position (like when parents carry child on hip).  Hip dysplasia has more of a prevalence in situations where the baby’s hips are straight and restrained.

If you think about it, it’s definitely not a natural position for their hips at an early age, as I remember my boys always would do the “happy baby” yoga pose while rolling around (on back with legs in the air, usually eating their toes in the process).

Prior to buying a carrier, be sure to check whether the model of the carrier you’re considering is deemed hip healthy by the Institute to give your baby the best possible start in life.

For your safety of mind, ALL of the carriers on this list have been double checked by me to be Hip Healthy per the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

Adjustable

A good carrier will be adjustable to accommodate growing babies and different body shapes.  Many families use the same baby carrier between mom and dad and these individuals are very seldom a similar size.

So the ability to adjust the baby carrier is a must!  Unless you plan to be the only person who is using the baby carrier, but even then it’s nice to be able to adjust to your particular body.  Some carriers are adjustable but have a hefty learning and adjustment curve.

With these carriers (Tula Free to Grow is one of them), it’s best for a single baby wearer rather than switching the carrier between multiple people and having to readjust every time.

Other carriers adjust very easily and transfer easily between multiple wearers.  Be sure to take into account your family’s needs and research thoroughly the carriers you are considering for these features.

Comfortable

Chances are, you will be using your baby carrier many hours a day or at least a week.  And you baby will only keep getting heavier.  So it’s important that the baby carrier you choose is one that is comfortable for you both.  Some carriers are naturally more comfortable than others based on design and fabric choice.

But it also depends on body type and shape, as each of us is unique in those characteristics.  Add to that our unique babies.  There are some carriers on the market now that I think will be a good fit for about 85% of the parent/baby population.  But even those carriers will not fit some pairs the best and another carrier might be a better fit.

There are also brands of baby carriers that have been around for a LONG time that are notoriously uncomfortable for the majority of baby wearers and their babies.  Baby Bjorn is one of those.  Typically anything else that is a “crotch dangler” type of baby carrier where the hips are not supported – these carriers have a very narrow crotch and the legs just sort of dangle.

Number of Available Positions

Some brands only have the back carry position while others can accommodate front facing as well as hip carrys.  You may not know right off the bat which you will want to use but I typically think the more options the better.  I may not ever need to use the “Hip carry” position, but I like knowing that it’s available to me (I’d have to find my instructional booklet to figure it out, ha!).

However, the nice thing about some carriers that “keep it simple”, is that they are typically less heavy and complicated than others.  So you will want to keep in mind your style while shopping.  A minimalist for example might enjoy a less complicated carrier even if it means it’s limited in carry positions.

Right Temperature

One of the considerations when choosing a baby carrier is keeping in mind the temperature of your climate and season.

For example, if you live in Arizona and plan to use it year round, including in the summer, you may want to shop around for one of the carriers that includes a mesh fabric.  Or at least is advertised for hotter temperatures.

Whereas if you live in Michigan and plan to use it in the fall, you may want something that is more padded.  If you plan to use it year round, you may want something middle of the road – some carriers have panels that zip down to reveal a mesh panel for hotter weather but zip back up for cooler weather.

Another temperature consideration is whether your baby is one that sweats profusely.  Some babies sweat a lot and therefore a more ventilated carrier would be a good fit. No matter what you decide, make sure it will fit your needs.

Try It On Before You Buy

Babywearing has gotten a lot more mainstream, so many box stores now have sections where you can go touch, feel and even try on many brands of baby carriers.  Target, Buy Buy Baby are a few I can think of.

Sometimes, all the best research online can only get us so far and actually seeing the item in person can give a better understanding of fabric types, functionality etc.

You may also look on https://babywearinginternational.org/chapters/ to see if there is a local babywearing group near you.  It may be helpful to go check out all sorts of baby carriers and talk to other parents in person about any questions or concerns.  Most parents who baby wear are very happy to share their experience with baby carriers.

Benefits of Baby Wearing

Bonding Time With Baby

Many parents love to wear their babies for bonding time with the baby or child.  Babies love to feel close to their parents, especially their mom.  Many moms find that baby wearing their child eliminates or greatly reduces fussiness, probably because the child is really getting their comfort needs met during baby wearing.  Others find that children benefit from increased baby wearing during teething or an illness also due to the comfort that baby wearing gives to the child.

Imitates Closeness of Womb

When a baby is born, it leaves its’ close-knit, warm environment of the womb.  Sometimes this transition is scary and not very comfortable.  Having a close, warm environment for the baby helps baby transition into this big world comfortably.

Most babies enjoy the close warmth of baby wearing for the first few months of life, as they integrate themselves into their surroundings.  Some babies have more sensory needs and others are more easy going.  A lot will depend on your baby’s personality, as far as their needs of comfort during this transition time.

Hands Free

Many parents find that having a child in a baby carrier helps them with tasks around the house, especially when baby is particular needy, such as during teething etc.  Instead of holding baby in your hands, you can delegate that job to the baby carrier and use your hands for whatever needs done.

I remember my baby carrier being a life saver in the fussy evening times when it’s also time to cook dinner.  Having my hands free (or mostly free) was a huge help.

FAQ’s

How do you wash your baby carrier?

Most of the carriers on this list can be washed on the gentle cycle in the washing machine but be sure to check with your carrier’s instructions to be sure.  Some carriers will only recommend that you spot clean and hang to dry.  Others are sturdy enough to withstand washing machine and tumble drying.

For example, I washed my Lillebaby Embossed in the washing machine on the delicate cycle and tumble dried on low heat with other items, like towels and it looked brand new when it came out each time.

As with other items, machine washing and tumble drying can be hard on even the sturdiest of fabrics.  Personally, spot cleaning would be my go to, with machine washing (if allowed) reserved for once in a while, thorough cleaning.

How do you store a baby carrier in the diaper bag?

Everyone knows that baby gear can add up quick.  This is especially the case when you’re out and about and toting around multiple items such as diaper bag and baby carrier.  Many people prefer to have a bigger diaper bag that can hold a baby carrier in it (folded up).  If you choose to do this, you may consider the size of the baby carrier when folded when deciding which one to purchase.

Another consideration would be your lifestyle.  Are you planning to be out and about with baby frequently or just every once in a while?  Parents who are out and about with baby frequently may want to think through thoroughly the storage of baby carrier and the logistics of carrying everything.

Others prefer to have a backpack style diaper bag that can be worn at the same time as a baby carrier.  For example, I could have a SSC (Soft Structured Carrier) worn on the front, and a backpack diaper bag on my bag (this would also double as a purse).  I admit this would make me look like a sherpa, but looks aren’t everything and functionality wins usually.

If you’re planning on baby carrying on your back (instead of front), it might be worthwhile to use a crossbody type diaper bag for easy reach.

Whatever you choose, I love versatility, so a baby carrier that can be versatile in choosing positions and a diaper bag that can do the same would be a huge plus in my book.

Are baby carriers safe for newborns?

Whether a baby carrier is safe for newborns or not depends on the carrier and the guidelines the manufacturer has outlined for it.  Some baby carriers can accommodate a newborn with an infant insert, others can do it with no special equipment required and then some are NOT for newborns entirely but are for older babies.

Newborns are fragile and little and need the utmost care.  Always follow manufacturer instructions and guidelines regarding the handling of newborns in the baby carrier.  If and when that manufacturer recommends it at all.

Why is an ergonomic baby carrier important?

Because you’ll likely be using the baby carrier at least sporadically if not daily, and babies only get bigger, ergonomic support is very important.  Otherwise, a baby carrier that is not ergonomic will get uncomfortable quickly either for baby or mom or both.

The more comfortable a carrier, the more likely that the baby wearing days will last longer and this results in a happier mom and baby.

Is it safe to buy a used baby carrier?

Well, that depends.

Baby carriers are in high demand, and they are an item that is used only temporarily during the baby years.  So it makes sense that many are getting sold secondhand afterwards.  And because they are a high dollar item, there is a need for lower priced, used baby carriers to meet the demand of budget conscious consumers.

Most carriers on this list are very well made, and would stand up to use from multiple users.  However, I would be leery of buying a used baby carrier without being able to see it first and inspect it myself.

If you are thinking of buying a used baby carrier, do your research.  Find out the prices for the brand of the carrier – new and used.  Steer clear of lowballers – you don’t want to buy a carrier that is falling apart or has been in a moldy storage.

I would much rather buy a used carrier from someone in my local community than a complete stranger on the internet.  So places like Facebook Marketplace or local babywearing groups might be a good place to start, rather than eBay, for example.

If you are going to venture on eBay, be sure that the carrier you buy can be returned just in case it doesn’t fit you properly or if there is something the matter with it.  Each seller sets their own return policy, so always check prior to purchasing.

Can you sell your baby carrier?

On that same note, it’s also possible to SELL your used carrier once you are done with it.  Especially baby carriers that are very expensive or have a cult following (Lillebaby, Tula, Pognae etc.) would be fairly easy to sell.

If you have kept your carrier in good shape by taking good care of it, you can recoup probably around half of the original cost.  Of course this depends on many factors like your market, your audience, the condition of the carrier, etc.

I, myself, sold my Lillebaby carrier on their Facebook group which is very active in buying and selling carriers.  Carrier specific Buy Sell Trade groups, or baby wearing groups would be a good place to start.  Also Facebook marketplace, or eBay if you haven’t had luck with the other avenues.

What are the best baby carriers for hiking?

If you would like to take your baby on a hike, a carrier that is carried on the back with baby facing you is probably best.  There are carriers out there that are heavy duty, hike specific.  I didn’t include a carrier of that sort on this list because being hike specific, they are not versatile enough for everyday use.

However, if you are an avid hiker, you might be okay buying a hiking specific carrier in addition to your everyday carrier.  Some of the benefits of a hiking specific carrier is that they are sturdy, have a frame so as to take weight off your shoulders and sit baby up higher so they can see more.

If so, some hiking carriers that come to mind are:

Clevr Cross Country Baby Backpack Hiking Carrier with Stand and Sun Shade – it’s rated 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon.com and it’s an economical choice in the world of hiking baby carriers.

Thule Sapling Child Carrier – it’s rated 3.7 out of 5 stars and is from a tried and true, trusted brand

Luvdbaby Premium Baby Backpack Carrier

If you would rather go hiking with an everyday baby carrier, you have some great options from our list.  The Lillebaby Completes, whether you would enjoy the Embossed or the All Seasons, are all great for back carry position, which would be best for hiking.  The Boba 4G is great for the back carry position as well.

Another great option is the Pognae No 5, which is made of an outdoor fabric and has a hip seat for added support for baby and parent.

I don’t have a huge budget, can I still find something that is well made and comfortable?

Absolutely!  There are carriers out there for every budget, from very reasonable to very high end.  Even on this list, a carrier like the Boba 4G is very reasonably priced versus some of the other carriers which end up being almost double the price.

With baby wearing being more mainstream, more and more companies (including foreign ones) are jumping on the bandwagon.  But be sure to do your research.  Just because a carrier is cheap, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s well made, ergonomic, or hip healthy.

Would it really be worth the savings to have a carrier that either hurts your baby or hurts your hip or doesn’t last very long?

Always double check that the carrier you are considering purchasing is on the “Hip Healthy” list by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.

What are the best kind of carriers for dads?

There are so many benefits to dads baby wearing their babies.  It helps the family take adventures out of the house, such as hiking or going for walks.  The nice thing about having a carrier that either parent can wear is that dad can help relieve some of the weight and give mom a break.

Or maybe dad is the primary caregiver, in which case a carrier is great for helping dad accomplish things around the house.  Carrying the baby also helps dad and baby bond and spend time together.

First and foremost, a neutral color carrier might help encourage dads to wear the baby.  I know my husband would never wear a pink carrier, no matter how lovely I think it is!  Some dads might not have an issue with that, but we are all different.

When deciding which carrier to get, keep in mind your husbands personality and preferences and perhaps lay out some options that you both can decide on together.

Aside from color, it depends on the dad as far as their preference.  Some dads might like simple, minimalist carriers like the Tula Free to Grow in a neutral color.

Others might want to backpack and hike with their baby or child.  In this case, a more rugged, padded carrier like the Pognae No 5 would be a better fit, or even a hiking specific baby carrier.

No matter their style, any dad can find their perfect carrier in our Best Baby Carrier for Dads article!

Conclusion

Have you found the right carrier for you?  I think the list here is a great place to start when looking for a carrier.  Any of them would be a good fit for the right person.  Make sure to take into consideration your own needs, family needs, budget, etc.

If you have any questions, I’d be happy to try and help answer them!  If you have found another carrier that’s not on the list, do share in the comments.

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Donna Fogarty
I'm a mom of three boys and enjoy researching just about everything, especially when it comes to picking the best anything to buy for my babies.

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