Babywearing has gone mainstream and is now more popular than ever. If you want to babywear, you have a plethora of options to fit every “body” and baby (or kid).
The brands Tula, Ergo and Lillebaby each have their diehard fans and no doubt they would recommend their preferred brand in a heartbeat.
My top choice for the Best Carrier Overall is the Lillebaby Complete because of the many features I describe below.
Ergo Baby vs Tula vs Lillebaby Compared
|Tula Free to Grow||Lillebaby Complete||Ergo Baby Omni|
|Weight range||7-45 lbs||7-45 lbs||7-45 lbs|
|Carrying positions||Front – face parent|
|Front – face parent|
Front – face out
Front – wide seat
|Front – face parent|
Front – face out
|Crossable shoulder strap||No||Yes||Yes|
|Sun protection||Removable hood||Removable hood||Hood|
|Adjustable seat width||Yes – 3||Yes – 2||Yes – 3|
|Fabric||Twill||Varies by model||100% cotton|
|Yes – 1||Yes – 2||Yes|
But which one is the best choice for YOU?
Let’s dive in and see how these carriers stack up against one another with features and benefits!
Each brand – Ergo Baby, Tula, and Lillebaby, have many different models, making it difficult to compare at the brand level. For the sake of an apples-to-apples comparison, I will look at the Tula Free to Grow, Lillebaby Complete and Ergo Baby Omni, as they are the most ripe with features.
All three of our compared models have the same weight range of 7-45 lbs. This means you can use it from newborn through toddlerhood, assuming your baby is at least 7 lbs.
- The Tula Free to Grow has 2 positions: Front Carry (facing parent) and the Back Carry.
- The Ergo Baby Omni 360 has 4 positions: Front Carry (facing parent), Front Carry (facing out), Back Carry and Hip Carry.
- The LilleBaby Complete has the above 4 positions plus an additional two: Fetal position (for the smallest babies) and the Front Carry (facing parent) with the wide seat.
I did not find Tula on their list. To see the complete list of carriers deemed “hip-healthy”, go here.
- Tula offers standard waist
- Lillebaby offers lumbar support attachment in the back
- Ergo Baby states that lumbar support is present on the Omni 360 and from what I can tell, it’s a wider than normal section of the waist belt in the back
Crossable shoulder straps
Crossing the straps in the back can help petite moms get a better fit. Both the Lillebaby Complete and Ergo Baby Omni 360 offer crossable shoulder straps (as pictured above), while the Tula Free to Grow does not.
All three carriers have a hood for sun protection, which can be stowed away when not in use. This is handy on a sunny or windy day or during breastfeeding in the carrier.
An infant insert is not necessary for any of these three models. Such great news because in my opinion, it is just an extra cumbersome thing to carry around as well as raising the temperature of you and baby.
Of course, safety is first, and all three brands have done their homework to make sure the carriers are safe for your baby without the insert starting from 7 lbs. Please follow manufacturer’s instructions to secure your infant safely in the carrier.
Adjustable Seat Width
All three carriers have some degree of adjustment on the seat width.
The Tula Free to Grow carrier has 3 seat width positions – Narrow, Middle and Wide
It also has 2 height positions, which is unique as the other two carriers do not offer this.
The Lillebaby Complete has 2 seat width positions – Narrow and Wide.
- The Narrow position is suitable for Front Carry facing parent for newborns (NOT Fetal position) as well as older babies in a Front Carry facing out position.
- The Wide position is suitable for Fetal position, Hip Carry, Back Carry and Forward Carry facing parent when child’s legs can be comfortably on each side of your waist, usually 6 months +
The Ergo Baby Omni 360 has three width settings – Narrow (A), Middle (B) and Wide (C), but they are actually based on the baby’s height.
This refers to the baby being able to see not only the parent but to be able to view facing out. The Ergo Baby Omni 360 and the Lillebaby Complete offer a 360 degree view while the Tula Free to Grow does not allow forward facing, but parent facing only.
For many moms, fabric is a very important element of the decision as this fabric will be close to you and your baby quite often and maybe for extended periods of time.
The Tula Free to Grow is “Made with breathable and lightweight twill hand-made from 100% OEKO-TEX Standard 100® certified fabric”.
The Ergo Baby Omni 360 is made with 100% premium cotton.
The Lillebaby Complete fabric varies by model. The Original has 100% cotton, the Airflow has 3D Mesh, the All Seasons has a mix of the two, the Embossed has faux suede and microfiber, the Organic has 100% brushed organic cotton, and the Woven is a blend of 47% tencel/53% cotton.
All three brands have at least one pocket, the Lillebaby Complete has two if you count the pocket that the hood sits in. If the hood is removed, it becomes an extra pocket.
All three brands are machine washable.
Best carrier overall
My pick for Best Carrier Overall is the Lillebaby Complete. I based this on the multitude of features and benefits it offers for mom and baby such as:
Many models to choose from
Within the Lillebaby Complete family, you can choose from the Original model, Airflow(made of mesh for warmer climates), All Seasons (middle panel can unzip to provide cooler mesh exterior, or be zipped up), Embossed (soft microfiber), Organic (100% Organic brushed cotton) and Woven (elegant tencel/cotton blend). This really gives you a lot of choices while at the same time providing all of the below benefits.
SPF 50+ hood that is removable or packable into a pocket.
The bib and hood (pictured above) combined offer you a lot of coverage to discretely breastfeed.
The extra lumbar cushion is great for supporting your back and helping with posture.
No infant insert needed
The Lillebaby Complete is for babies 7 lbs + with no insert needed. This is great news as it eliminates the need to carry around anything else with the carrier. It does have an infant strap that should be secured around the little tot, but this is attached inside the carrier.
This bib is great for head support when babies are little or asleep (or both!). It also helps cover you up for breastfeeding purposes. It snaps down for when you don’t really need it to be flipped up and in that position, it’s supporting the baby’s back.
Extra large pocket or two
If you don’t use the hood, you can remove it and have the large pocket for other things. Plus it also has a zipped pocket which is perfect for your phone, or other valuables.
The most positions
Out of the 3 carriers compared, the Lillebaby Complete has 6 seating positions. And while you may not actually use all 6 (I never branched out into the hip position, for instance), it’s nice to have the options in case they fit your needs.
Best Carrier for Infants
My pick for best carrier for infants is the Lillebaby Complete. It’s ready to go out of the box, with no additional infant insert needed and is available in several models – Original, All Seasons, Airflow, Embossed, Organic or Woven. This means that not only is your baby (from 7 lbs plus) going to be very comfortable no matter what, you also can customize your preference based on temperature, comfort and style. Here are some more reasons why this carrier is great for infants:
No infant insert needed
This is a great benefit of the Lillebaby Complete and one of the features that is winning over mommies everywhere. No more haggling with another thing to carry around. We are already carrying around plenty, we don’t need any more, do we?
When I used my original Ergo with my newborn, while I felt he was very secure, it just made us so hot that it was not enjoyable. And it wasn’t even summer, but spring in a temperate climate. Lack of an infant insert helps keep both mom and baby comfortable temperature wise.
Instead, infants in the Lillebaby sit in the “Fetal” sitting position. I did use a rolled up muslin blanket for the first few weeks, as shown in the below video. But after those first few weeks, I didn’t find it necessary.
Bib that can be flipped up
I don’t know about you, but life goes on after you have a baby. Sure there’s the initial period when everyone is helping you out, but after that, grocery shopping and errands with baby are inevitable. I found it so helpful to have the option to flip up and clip the bib part of the Lillebaby so that the baby’s head was nice and supported. Bending down to grab something on a grocery store shelf was no longer a problem. I’d still put my hand on his head while bending down but it was more for extra security. I felt my baby was very safe and supported.
And when you don’t need it, the bib clips down and out of the way.
This bib is also great for breastfeeding as it helps cover you up more and keep things discreet as well as supporting baby during the feeding.
This infant strap is clipped around the infant inside the carrier for extra security. When not in use, it does not interfere with the baby.
Best for warm climates
One of the downsides of babywearing in warmer climates is that it can quickly become a hotbox scenario when being in close quarters with your baby, especially for an extended period of time. Luckily, carrier manufacturers have come up with genius ways to keep you and your baby as cool and comfortable as possible.
Many brands now offer mesh fabric carriers for maximum ventilation. Lillebaby offers the Airflow, Tula has the Coast Mesh line and Ergo Baby has the Cool Air Mesh options for several of their carrier models. My pick for best carrier for warm climates is the Tula Coast Mesh carrier. Here’s why:
Simple and Straightforward
Clean lines, uncomplicated and lightweight, this is a great carrier for hot days or perhaps a family outing outside. Grab it and go get some fun with your baby in tow.
Mesh panel AND mesh hood
Mesh panel helps keep baby cool, which in turn keeps you cool. A nice feature is also the coordinating mesh hood to go with it. Protects from the sun while letting the breeze in. Win-win!
Easiest Carrier for multiple wearers and/or babies
The pick for most adjustable is the Ergo Baby Omni 360. It is easily adjustable between tall and short wearers, such as husband and wife. It also easily adjusts between different kids that may need different seat widths.
The velcro straps for the seat have 3 different positions that are color coded – Red for the smallest babies (7+ lbs), Yellow once baby is around 3 months old and Blue for babies that are 9+ months.
Here is a video from Ergo Baby showing how easy it is to adjust it:
If you love to babywear but you don’t want to feel and look like you’re gearing up for bootcamp, the Tula Free to Grow is a great choice. This carrier is not quite as supportive as the others in the waist but is a great grab and go carrier. It can be tucked away into a bag and put on at a moments notice. The Tula has always had a simple, comfortable design and this carrier is no different.
Tula founders have always made it a priority to stay true to their minimalist look without extra straps, buckles or zippers. It’s sure to become a favorite for any babywearing minimalist.
These are my recommendations but you know what? Everyone is different. Every baby is different. If you try one of these carriers and they don’t work out for you the way you expected, don’t give up! Try a different carrier, as it may just fit your body better and your baby better. Happy babywearing!