If you’re new to babywearing or interested in learning more about the best baby carriers and wraps you’re in the right place!
I am a HUGE babywearing advocate! I’ve been using wraps and carriers since my oldest was a newborn. It has tons of amazing benefits. One of my favorite benefits is you can keep your baby or toddler close to you and you don’t have to lug any extra stuff around with you, (like a stroller or carseat). You’re already carrying around so much extra stuff when you have kids, that anything you don’t have to bring with you is hugely helpful!
When I had my first baby, I had no idea how to babywear or use a wrap and my mom kept telling me I had to try it. She finally convinced me to go to a babywearing meeting (where other women who were babywearing experts could help newbies like me, figure out how to use wraps and carriers correctly).
Once I got the hang of it, I was hooked!! Besides loving having my hands and arms free, while still having my baby close to me, my baby also loved it. She was the type of baby that wanted to be held all the time awake or asleep so the wraps and carriers came in handy.
The practicality of babywearing was very evident once I had my second baby. I was no longer afforded the long lazy days of laying in bed or sitting on the couch with my newborn. I had a toddler to chase around. So in order to meet her needs, and still have my son close, I used baby wraps and carriers!
I have tried various wraps and carriers over the last 4 years. These are by far my personal favorites!
The best baby carriers for babies and toddlers
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Stretchy Wraps-(Wrapsody, Moby, Baby K’tan)
These are my favorite options for newborns. The material is soft and you can use these with even a tiny baby. With a lot of the structured carriers, your baby has to be bigger to use them. Or you need an infant insert to make sure your baby is seated correctly.
When my babies were brand new, I really liked the idea of putting them in a soft snuggly wrap. While there was a learning curve for me, (because I had never used a wrap before) the wrapsody was easy to get on and easy to get my babies in and out of.
Some of these stretchy wraps, like the wrapsody, you can wear various ways and you’d either have to watch Youtube videos or go to a babywearing meeting to get guidance on how to use them correctly. I got really good at one way to wrap my kids and that was enough for me! I’m pretty lazy with wrapping and I was not trying to figure out 20 different ways to wrap them up!
I used a stretch wrap for both my kids from when they were newborns until they were about 3-4 months old
Can use with babies of all sizes
Very soft and snuggly
Keeps baby secure against you
Comfortable for mom and baby
Cheaper than most of the structured carriers
Many different ways you can wrap your child if you are inclined to do so
Less stuff to bring with you when you’re out and about
Can be overwhelming for a newbie to try to learn different ways of using the wraps
Depending on the stretch of the wrap (if it’s a super stretchy material) it becomes less comfortable as your baby gets bigger
These are a nice option because you can wear your baby on your side without too much manipulation of the fabric, (like you would with a wrap). Having your baby snuggled up in front of you is nice, until it’s time to do dishes, cook, or do laundry!
You aren’t supposed to do a back carry until your child can sit up on their own. So I wasn’t able to put my babies on my back to do those chores but I also couldn’t keep them in front of me either. Having an option of putting your baby on your side is nice.
I will say that this was not something that was comfortable for me to use for a lengthy time. I do know many other women love ring slings and wear them with babies or toddlers. But for me it ended up hurting my shoulder if I wore my baby for too long. But again, it is a nice option to use when you need to hoist them up and onto your side for a little bit before you are able to put them in a back carry.
You can easily put your baby on your side
A cheaper option for a carrier
You don’t have to learn multiple ways to use the material to make it into a wrap as it’s already assembled as a sling
Less stuff you have to bring with you when you travel
Can be difficult to figure out for those newer to babywearing
May cause discomfort on your shoulder if you wear it for lengthy amounts of time.
Not a great option for squirmy babies/toddlers. If they squirm, they will wiggle out of the seat you created which can cause them to drop out of the ring sling.
I really love this structured carrier because I could easily do a front carry or a back carry, (once my kids were old enough). I didn’t have to manipulate any fabric to figure out how to do it, you just clip it on your waist, put your baby in and clip it on top! What I love about this carrier also is you can easily use it when your baby becomes a toddler. But unless you use the infant insert, your baby has to be a certain weight for them to fit appropriately in the carrier.
I chose to use this carrier once my kids grew out of the stretchy wrap and I still use it now with my two year old. The downside to this carrier for me was the neck was low, so when I would wear my kids as toddlers, their heads would sometimes fall to the side when they fell asleep, (instead of staying nestled inside the carrier).
They do have a hood you can use to keep your child’s head from moving too much, but sometimes the hood can be hard to access especially if you are doing a back carry and you don’t have someone to help you.
But that is really the only downside, the Ergo is really comfortable. It has huge thick straps to keep the weight from being too hard on your shoulders and a wide waistband to keep your back supported.
Can use from baby to toddler
Can easily do front or back carries
Is very comfortable for long amounts of time
Is much easier to take with than a stroller or car seat
The neck area is not tall, so as your child gets bigger their head may roll to the side when they are sleeping unless you’re able to use the hood.
This was my favorite structured carrier. It was very comfortable with cushioned padding for my shoulders and a wide waist band to support my back. It overall seemed to fit my body a little better than the Ergo. It also has a high neck so your baby can snuggle up and have their head supported when they are sleeping, even as an older toddler. You can easily do front and back carries with the Kinderpack.
The downside of these carriers, is they are expensive and elusive! They aren’t sold all over the internet or in stores like the rest of the carriers on this list. I actually acquired mine because I am a part of a facebook group for babywearing and people will post carriers for sale and I was able to snatch it up at a great price! But it’s worth it if you can find one! I used mine for my kids after they were 4 months old up until the present. I regularly use it with my two year old and on occasion my four year old still likes to sit in it!
Very comfortable for long periods of time
You can use it for your infant up to an older toddler
Can easily do front and back carries
Easier to pack up and go rather than using a stroller or a car seat
High neck to support your child’s head when they sleep
Difficult to find
I still preferred the fit of the Kinderpak, but the Tula is another great alternative! Again this carrier has padded shoulders, and thick waist band for support. This is comfortable to use for a long time.
The downside, (as with the other structured carriers on this list) is it is more expensive than the soft wraps. It has a higher neck than the Ergo for when your older toddler falls asleep, they have a little more support.
Comfortable for lengthy periods of time
Easy to pack up and go. Don’t need a bulky stroller or car seat
Can easily do front or back carries
Can use it from baby to older toddler
To prolong the life of your carrier, you can get these suck pads so your child doesn’t chew through your carrier over time. Those teething babies are no joke!
If you have never worn your baby or toddler before, I would suggest trying them out before you buy them. See if there are any local babywearing meetings you can attend because sometimes they will let you borrow carriers for a short amount of time to see how you like them. Comfort and safety are key so you want to make sure your baby is positioned correctly. You can find videos online to help you with that if you can’t find a babywearing meeting. When you find the right one, carriers and wraps are hugely helpful and I really believe they are an asset to your everyday life.
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