Babywearing is one of the easiest and most fulfilling ways of getting yourself and your baby from point A to point B.
But how do you decide what baby carrier is best in a sea of different models all promising to be the be-all-end-all?
As a mama with several years of carrying her babies under her belt, I know that the best way to decide what baby carrier is best for you is to take a look at your own needs and expectations first and then apply it to your baby carrier hunt!
Baby carriers really do make mom-life a hundred times easier, whether you’re going for a trip to the Dollar General or taking a walk in the park.
And your little one will definitely appreciate being so closely snuggled up to you.
When I first set out to look for carriers, I was so confused by all the different models and brands.
I couldn’t make heads or tails of the different features and what I thought would be an easy Amazon purchase turned into an all-night research session.
That’s why I’ve decided to share everything I’ve learned with you (and hopefully save my fellow moms some precious time), so picking a baby carrier can be a breeze!
For all of you busy moms, here’s a quick list of our top picks!
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1. LÍLLÉbaby 6-in-1 Pursuit All Seasons Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier for On-The-Go Babywearing
I have to admit, we’re not the most active family out there.
It seems like every week there are plans to hit a hiking trail nearby, but those plans almost always fall through for one reason or another.
But on several occasions when we did spend weekends walking and playing in nature, the LÍLLÉbaby baby carrier was our best friend.
Even if you don’t have a very outdoorsy lifestyle, this carrier hits all the marks you’re looking for even for running errands on a daily basis with your baby in tow, making it one of the best baby carriers around.
If you asked me to pick a favorite feature of this baby carrier, I would definitely choose just how versatile it is.
It can carry your baby from birth all the way until she reaches 45 pounds, meaning that the Pursuit baby carrier can follow her all the way until toddlerhood.
To be honest, I was a little hesitant about this feature, but the carrier really exceeded my expectations in this area and adjusted perfectly to my growing kids!
The baby carrier also provides a lot of lumbar support, which is so important for long walks – you never know how heavy your 6-month-old really is until you’ve been carrying her around for 3 hours straight! Your baby will even have lots of neck support.
And ever since having kids, my lower back has become more prone to giving me trouble, so I definitely appreciated the added lumbar support.
It also meant that I never had to cut a single hike short because of back pain!
It won’t matter either what kind of climate you’re living in, since the Pursuit baby carrier adjusts to all sorts of weather conditions.
This means it’s a great travel baby carrier, as it will adapt to any climate.
The fabric is water-resistant but won’t have you sweating buckets on hotter days.
Of course, it’s not the most affordable of all baby carriers, but when you consider all its great features and how versatile it is, I think you’ll see it’s a real bang for your buck.
If 360-degree movement is an absolute must on your checklist, then the LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Baby Carrier will have what you’re looking for.
2. BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Mini
I got this Baby Bjorn baby carrier for my bestie’s baby shower – at the time, she wasn’t sure if she wanted to continue carrying her baby into toddlerhood, but she definitely wanted to avoid the complications of a baby wrap, so I figured this simple baby carrier was a good fit for her.
And she hasn’t had any complaints so far!
She really loves how easy it is to put on and take off and the buckle that gives a loud noise when it snaps in place, so she is certain that her baby won’t accidentally fall out.
The material is great for hot summers too! Kudos to Baby Bjorn for preventing sweat stains.
The biggest difference between this carrier and the one I discussed above is the age range, of course.
This model is only okay until your baby turns 1 year old, or reaches 25 pounds, so it won’t go such a long way.
On the plus side, there are two ways of carrying your little one in this model, either facing you or facing away from you.
If your baby falls asleep while in the carrier, you can easily lift her out without disturbing her precious sleep in the process.
To design this baby carrier, Baby Bjorn even paired up with pediatricians who made sure the carrier could give the perfect amount of support for the baby’s hips, neck, spine, and head, making one of the best baby carriers when it comes to helping your baby grow healthily.
3. Baby Tula Explore Baby Carrier
Among soft-structured carriers, the Baby Tula is hands down one of the most beautiful carriers I’ve seen so far.
You have a choice between more than half a dozen beautiful patterns.
They’re really popular among moms in my area as well and every time I see one, I wish my kids were still old enough to fit in one of those!
The Baby Tula comes with shoulder straps that have padding so you don’t return from your walk with really sore marks on your shoulders.
There are three different ways to carry your little one in this model – facing away from you, facing you, and “backpack mode” where your baby travels on your back.
The neck support cushion has different ways of width adjusting, so you can modify it according to your baby’s needs.
Which brings me to the great part – this baby carrier fits babies from 7 pounds and goes up to 45 pounds.
The waistband is also really versatile and can be adjusted from 27 to 57 inches.
And when you’re walking around for longer periods of time, you always want to avoid your baby’s legs getting too uncomfortable or even chafed, which is why the Baby Tula comes with leg openings that are padded.
4. Ergobaby Omni 360 All Carry Positions Baby Carrier
When Ergobaby says that their baby carrier supports 360-degree movement, they really mean it.
Your baby can be carried in the front, back, but also on your hip!
What’s more, it can accommodate newborns as well as toddlers as old as 4 years.
This definitely justifies the price tag, which is a little on the higher end.
But as I set out to discover what baby carrier is best in 2021, the Ergobaby carrier impressed me with a lot of other pros in addition to its weight range.
One of the really big pros is the hood that comes with UPF 50+ to protect your baby’s sensitive skin.
It can also be used as a cover during breastfeeding. I also really love that the entire carrier can be put into the washing machine.
There’s even a removable pocket for storing all your accessories and baby gear like wet wipes, pacifiers, and diapers, that can go into the wash too.
5. Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Convertible Carrier
One of the best baby carriers that fits in a more affordable price range is this Infantino model, which comes in two simple colors – grey and black.
Even though it’s not as expensive as some of the carriers above, it comes with a lot of great pros.
For one, the weight range is pretty big (from 8 to 32 pounds).
Then, there is the fact that there are several positions to carry your baby in – facing you (in a newborn baby seat and a bigger seat for older babies), facing away from you, and piggyback style on your back.
What’s more, you won’t need to think about getting an extra infant insert.
All you need to do is adjust the seat depending on your baby’s weight and you’re good to go.
If you would like a drool bib, you don’t need to pay any extra, as the Infantino baby carrier already comes with a bib.
And you can use it no matter which direction your baby is facing.
The waist strap fits different body types (from 29 to 55 inches in waist length).
Most importantly, the ergonomic design supports good hip development and positioning, which is really important to know, especially when you’re looking at more affordable options.
6. Bebamour Baby Carrier 6 In 1
The Bebamour baby carrier comes with a neat option that makes traditional carrying a lot easier. You can actually detach the hip seat from the rest of the carrier and use it to support your baby while your arms hold her close.
This way, you don’t need to twist your hip left and right to accommodate your little one and you can place her in 6 different carrying positions!
There is a front carry as well as a back carry option. Unfortunately, this carrier is not okay for the washing machine, so you would need to wash it by hand (and only after removing the foam pad inside the baby’s seat).
This is one of the more affordable baby carriers on the market, but don’t be fooled by its price. A close friend of mine had a surprise baby a few years after having sold all of her baby gear, including the carrier she had used with her older two kids.
This time around, she ended up buying a Bebamour since she didn’t feel like spending hundreds of dollars, and she has been really happy with it!
7. Mission Critical S.01 Action Baby Carrier
Technically speaking, none of the baby carriers above are exclusively made for moms or dads – the most important thing is that they fit!
But let’s be real, most of the baby carriers are geared exclusively towards women or are made to be unisex.
So when I saw my brother-in-law walking through the front door with his adorable daughter in the front of this military-style baby carrier, it literally made my week.
Your little one should weigh a minimum of 8 pounds and a maximum of 35 pounds to be carried in the Mission Critical model, so the weight limit gives you plenty of time to enjoy it with your baby boy or girl.
My brother-in-law was really pleasantly surprised by how comfy it is (the rugged appearance is a little misleading) and it’s really easy to take off even when the baby is still in it.
Even though it was designed with men in mind, there are three colors to choose from – coyote, black, and grey.
The waist belt has a lot of range (up to 64 inches), so every dad will be able to look like the coolest dad in the neighborhood with this carrier on.
8. Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Signature Series Child Carrier
The PerfectFIT Signature Series Child Carrier by Kelty Journey is a backpack-style baby carrier that’s a favorite among active parents who love traveling and exploring.
The carrier comes with a 5-point safety harness so your baby can sit nice and tight as you hike through different environments.
Or run through airports, even!
Another feature that sets this traveling baby carrier apart from others is the foot stirrups that allow your baby to be as comfortable as possible.
In fact, the entire baby seat has your baby in a kind of a safe cocoon where she can even nap if she wants to.
While the weight limit is 40 pounds, this only includes the child, but the entire carrier can handle 48.5 pounds in total.
This is where the 4 pockets come in handy for all your toy and snack needs!
9. Baby K’tan Print Baby Wrap Carrier
The Baby K’tan Baby Carrier does a pretty good job of visually tricking you into thinking this is a baby wrap! No need to panic, it’s not; all you need to do is adjust your baby into the carrier and no wrapping is needed.
Even though this is a much simpler carrier, it still offers five ways of positioning the baby or toddler. A newborn, for example, should be facing you as this carry position allows the best head support. But older babies can sit with their arms and legs “unleashed.”
It’s made completely out of cotton, so it’s not only breathable but so easy to wash and dry.
The carrier itself is free of any buckles, rings, and other similarly hard objects that might press into your body and cause aching, allowing for some extra comfort on top of the already ergonomic design of this carrier ‘wrap’. No more sore backs or hips for you!
10. Moby Evolution Baby Wrap Carrier
Moby has all sorts of high-quality baby carriers to offer, including ring slings and baby wraps.
This carrier belongs in the second group, as it’s a traditional wrap which obviously requires – you guessed it – wrapping!
If you’re really eager to get into babywearing or have previous experience, this should be no challenge for you!
If that’s not your case, however, you should probably take some time to weigh the pros and cons.
In my case, I had a period of time during my second pregnancy where I really wanted to try babywearing since I saw many moms in my area who loved it, but ultimately I decided that with a toddler and a newborn, it might not be the best choice for me.
But it goes without saying that the Moby Evolution is one of the best wrap baby carriers around, despite strong competition from brands like Boba and Solly Baby.
It’s not only suitable for infants but for toddlers as well, so you can continue getting cuddles and bonding with your little one as he grows.
There is only one carrying position though, where your baby faces you.
This Moby wrap, however, is perfect for doing things around the house since it’s so comfortable and more discreet than other baby carriers, so you can do laundry or simply lounge around with your baby close to your chest.
11. Nalakai Luxury Ring Sling Baby Carrier
No baby carrier list would be complete without a ring sling.
This model by Nalakai comes in more than a dozen colors to fit each mom’s style.
The linen and bamboo fabric is so soft to the touch, making this a great everyday babywearing option, even in hotter climates.
One of the great things I’ve discovered about bamboo fabric is that it’s not only lightweight but also provides natural protection against UV rays.
Even though I personally wouldn’t forget all about sunblock, it’s always good to know that your little one has an added layer of protection against the sun.
If you’re breastfeeding, the extra fabric on the tail can double as a nursing cover, so you can easily get a bit of privacy when you’re nursing on the go.
Because ring slings can be a bit tricky to get a hang of at the beginning, Nalakai has set up an entire YouTube channel to help you get started!
Still, this sling is easier to put on and adjust compared to most wraps, so this is a great choice for moms who are new to babywearing too.
How To Choose What Baby Carrier Is Best For You
As an experienced baby wearer, I can assure you that spending a little extra time researching baby carriers will definitely pay off in the end.
Things like back support or ease of use might fall to the sidelines, especially when you start thinking about prices, but since you’ll be spending a fair amount of time walking and getting snuggles from your baby at the same time, it’s really important that you feel comfy wearing it too!
As you have noticed by now, there are many different kinds of carriers to suit different family needs.
In addition to soft-structured baby carriers, you might also be interested in sling carriers, wraps, or even backpack-style carriers.
To help you choose, I’ll give you a quick breakdown of the most important things to know!
Soft-structured baby carriers
It’s no surprise that the bulk of my recommendations fall into this category!
These are some of the best carriers around, because a) they’re easy to use and b) are comfortable for both baby and wearer.
Sure, they might not be as practical if you’re traveling or packing, but if the last thing on your mind right now is learning how to use a baby wrap, then you’re definitely perfect for a carrier in this category.
What’s more, you don’t have to worry about different sizes when it comes to these carriers, because they come with straps that you can adjust to fit your body type.
They also offer different ways of carrying the baby, whether it’s in the front or in the back, and many of them can be used well into toddlerhood (another reason why it’s worth spending a few extra minutes reading and researching!)
If you’ve decided that a soft-structured baby carrier is the one for you, then there are a few things to pay attention to, such as ergonomics.
For younger and older babies, it’s key that they’re placed in a position that aids their growth.
Poorly designed carriers can even increase the risk of hip dysplasia, so it’s always worth spending a couple of minutes reading about the carrier in detail.
Versatility is a key factor too!
For example, I knew that I wanted to continue carrying my babies even after they turned one, which is why I zeroed in on versatile models that could support my kiddos as they grew up.
Besides, if you’re wearing a baby carrier, you’re probably not going to be using a stroller at the same time.
If I was leaving my stroller at home, that meant the diaper bag wasn’t coming with me either (I just didn’t have the strength in me!) so the carrier had to have enough room for a diaper or two and a few smaller baby accessories at least.
You should never forget about your own comfort as well!
This not only includes whether the carrier offers enough back support, but also what the fabric is made of and if it will do a good job of keeping the sweat at bay.
Especially if you live in a hotter climate – you’re going to want a carrier with a breathable fabric.
And while I’m at the topic of fabric, I must add to double-check how it should be cleaned!
Baby spit-up is always easier to clean if it’s in a washing machine, right?
Hard-structured baby carriers
Remember the Kelty Journey carrier I mentioned above?
It’s a great example of a carrier with a harder structure that resembles a backpack.
If you’re an outdoorsy, nature-loving family and you want to teach your kids all about the great outdoors from the time they’re a baby, then this type of baby carrier will be right up your alley.
With lots of pockets, they give plenty of storage space for food, snacks, toys, and baby gear.
At the same time, they come with the kind of ergonomic support you’ll absolutely need if you’re going to be carrying another little human being for hours at a time.
The downside is that they’re usually quite big, so if you’re a fun-sized mom, you might find it challenging to carry.
Ring slings are some of the softest and simplest baby carriers around, and they’re a great choice when you’re still breastfeeding and don’t feel like carrying a nursing cover.
They consist of a large piece of fabric and rings that are used to fasten and secure the sling according to your own body and baby.
Even though they’re pretty easy to put on, slings drape only over one shoulder.
As a result, longer periods of babywearing can turn out to be extremely uncomfortable because the weight is not distributed equally across both shoulders.
Baby wraps are a wonderful piece of baby gear because they’ll make you feel close to your baby, allow you to get all those precious cuddles, and help your baby feel safe and relaxed.
In fact, many fussy babies do a complete 180 when they’re wrapped close to their mama’s chest.
But if you go on YouTube, type in “baby wraps” and hit search, the results will tell you the most important thing there is to know about wraps.
On the results page, there are dozens of videos with millions of views, all about one thing – how to wrap a baby.
As you can see, there’s a bit of a learning curve involved in this process.
For some moms (like me), it was just too much work and I knew I wouldn’t have the energy to invest in learning a whole new skill.
And if you feel the same way, there’s no shame in that!
On the other hand, if you have successfully mastered the craft of baby wrapping, then more power to you!
Trying to find the right baby carrier can be so tiring!
There are so many different models that make you confused about what you actually need, so I hope that I was able to bring you some clarity.
Baby carriers were a staple during my kids’ early years – I wore them to the store, while on vacation, and during long walks in nature.
Sure, strollers are great and you’d have a hard time finding a parent in this day and age who doesn’t have one, but baby carriers allow you and your little one to be active and on the go without giant pieces of baby gear slowing you down!
While picking a carrier, you should always remember to make a choice that suits your needs and lifestyle – maybe that means baby wrapping or a backpack-style carrier to take on long hikes with your family?
Regardless of what you end up choosing in the end, I’m one hundred percent sure that you’ll love it!
Happy baby carrying!
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