Baby carriers are excellent additions to any parent’s infant equipment. But a baby carrier that doesn’t fit your child or doesn’t allow you to get work done while wearing it isn’t really useful. Let our buying guide to the best baby carriers show you what to look for as you shop.
Type of Carrier
There are three major types of baby carriers that you can choose from. While each works essentially the same way (by carrying your baby about your torso and hips in a cradled pack), their designs are subtly different and can afford you different movement options.
The first baby carrier type is the Wrap. Baby carrier wraps are among the most common carriers you can find online. They tend to be made of only one or two long sections of fabric. They are usually tied very closely in place and hold your baby very close to your chest and torso. These are usually quite comfortable and keep your arms very free for work. They are best for infants and newborns.
The second type is the soft-structured carrier. Soft-structured baby carriers are much more defined and have more straps and a more durable construction. These distribute most of the baby’s weight toward your hips. The resulting fit is very snug and comfortable. Most of these carriers offer several sitting positions, so you can continue to use it as your infant grows into a toddler.
Finally, backpacks are the third type of baby carrier. These are heavier but have additional padding to allow you to carry your young one on your back. These are great for older toddlers and are best used for children that can hold their heads up on their own.
Keep the overall carrier size in mind before you make a purchase. Carriers that have adjustable straps or plenty of room for your baby to grow in size will be able to be used as your child becomes a toddler. Smaller carriers won’t last as long since your infant will outgrow their restraints and you'll have to purchase a new carrier sooner rather than later. Essentially, purchase a bigger baby carrier with more adjustment straps if you plan to use it for a few years to come.
The ideal baby carrier will have a few different sitting positions. Keeping your young one positioned in the exact same spot or seated in the same direction can lead to discomfort both for you and your baby. Baby carriers that allow the child to move around a little or adjust their seating position are a great choice. They usually last for a longer time and have additional padding to let the young one shift around without taxing the restraints or putting too much weight on your shoulders.
Of course, the comfort of a baby carrier for both you and your baby is of utmost importance. Uncomfortable carriers will result in your little one squirming and struggling the entire time. Carriers that are uncomfortable for you will be difficult to use when you need to get things done while carrying your baby.
It pays to purchase a more expensive baby carrier if it comes with extra padding or weight adjustments. Comfortable baby carriers can be used in a variety of situations and will let you get necessary chores done much more reliably than uncomfortable ones. In the long term, it’s a much better bet to purchase a comfortable baby carrier rather than go with a cheap, uncomfortable one.
A good baby carrier should afford you plenty of breathing room. In some baby carriers, the adjustable straps to let you personalize how much breathing room you need depending on your child’s weight or position. Regardless, all baby carriers need to be sized and designed to give your chest plenty of expansion room. This is especially important if you plan to use your baby carrier constantly. Being unable to breathe will prevent you from actually using the baby carrier as intended.
Ease of Use
Finally, try to find a carrier that is quick and easy to use. This means finding baby carriers that have adjustable straps and which are easy to take on and off. Some of the best baby carriers will have buckles or straps that are easy to secure and undo. We’d recommend always picking these carriers over ones that only have ties, as these carriers take less time to equip and undo.
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