Types of Baby Carriers

See my last post for a breakdown on the benefits of babywearing! There are tons of awesome babywearing resources online, but here’s a quick rundown for the new mama, or just new-to-babywearing mama. I recommend having several different types, because they all serve a different purpose.

Why didn’t you mention the Baby Bjorn? I am not a fan of the Bjorn, though I know many mamas are. There is some evidence that they are harmful to babies’ spine development, and I just don’t find them as comfortable or as cozy as some of these other carriers! I’ve heard them referred to as “crotch danglers” – ouch!

Soft-Structured/Buckle carriers (SSC)~
GREAT for: back and front carries, wearing older babies, and I find that dads especially like them. Easy and versatile, the padded straps and supportive waist belt make them extra comfy for long walks, hikes, and trips to the farmer’s market.
Not great for: portability when you’re not using it – it’s pretty bulky; The Ergo is not great for newborns – you can buy an “infant insert” but that makes it WAY bulky and you don’t get the snuggly closeness you want. {Edit: There is a new SSC on the market – the Boba 3G – it’s adjustable so no need for an insert!}
Awesome brands: ErgoBaby, Beco Butterfly and Gemini, BabyHawk Oh Snap!, Olives & Applesauce, Boba

Mei Tai (“may tie”) and Asian-inspired carriers ~ These fabric, two-shouldered carriers need to be tied on but are very easy to use. Sort of a hybrid of a wrap and an SSC, mothers have used these in China for many years. They have a slightly higher learning curve than the Ergo-types, but are worth it for the added portability
GREAT for: back and front carries, wearing babies of all ages, sticking in the diaper bag or stroller basket, variety and fashion – they come in tons of fun fabrics
Not great for: they’re a little bit of a pain to put away because of the long straps, and they are less supportive over long periods when wearing a large baby
Awesome brands: BabyHawk, CatBirdBaby, FreeHand
**Check out a “half-buckle” for an even better combination of MT and SSC**

Pouch/RingSling ~ These one-shouldered carriers have a following, for sure, but they are a little trickier to get comfortable with than they appear. The pouch is great for cradling newborns, IF you have a baby who likes being cradled (many don’t). The ring sling is adjustable and great for nursing, especially since the fabric tail makes a nice cover (if you’re into that sort of thing 😉 )
GREAT for: On-the-go – I used to keep a pouch in my car for quick runs into stores, or in my bag for when the toddler got tired of walking; hip carries for babies of all ages, beautiful fabrics
Not great for: Though they look super easy, they’re a little hard to get the hang of. I personally am not a fan of the one-shouldered carry for long periods.
Awesome brands: Hotsling, Maya Wrap, PeanutShell, Kangaroo Korner, many others

Wraps ~ Ah, the wrap. It would make sense that the most versatile carrier is the toughest to learn. A simple, long piece of fabric (they come in sizes from 9’ to 17’ long), they can be stretchy or woven, and there are almost limitless ways to wear them. Back, front, cradled, hip, long, short, etc. They have a die-hard following among hardcore babywearers (like myself) and for good reason! If you like a bit of a challenge with a BIG payoff, I highly recommend trying a wrap! You can even wear twins.
GREAT for: versatility! Any age, any way, you can use a wrap (**Note: the well-known Moby Wrap is AWESOME for newborns, but really only useful up to 3 mos or so, and NOT suitable for back carries ever); there are some beautiful fabrics out there
Not great for: ease of use – learning new carries is fun but takes time. Once you have the hang of it, though, you’re golden! Also, watch out – you might get addicted!
Awesome brands: EllaRoo, Didymos, Natibaby, Girasol, Wrapsody, many others

I am currently rockin’ an EllaRoo wrap, a NatiBaby wrap, a BabyHawk Mei-Tai, a Hotsling, and an Ergo. I also have a Moby I loan out to my newborn clients.

 

And a handy Quick-Reference Chart:

Being a mom to a newborn and a toddler I knew I needed to learn more about the art of baby wearing. I was equipped with wraps and carriers, but too sleep deprived to read manuals or watch video clips.Devon helped me by showing me the proper way to wear my baby. She also made sure I was comfortable with the steps as well. Thanks to her expertise I am now in tow with my toddler and baby everywhere. Friends comment on what an expert I am with my wrap but I owe that all to Devon!

Gina, New Providence, NJ

 

Feel free to email me with any questions you have about choosing and using baby carriers, and if you’re in NJ, sign up below to get updates on my Baby Academy babywearing classes! Or, contact me about hosting a babywearing party at your home!

7 Comments

  1. Megan on November 11, 2011 at 2:39 am

    My niece is expecting her first in December and is acting already very “high-strung” about the event. I love how well-informed you are about baby care and can’t wait to pass this info about the infant carriers, as well as your website to her. I think it will give her a lot of comfort! Thank you, Devon!

  2. Laine on November 11, 2011 at 11:29 am

    My sister have both worn their babies, they use slings, pouches, mei tais, Happy babies, easy napping and nursing and free hands when someone needs to be held.

  3. Melanie on November 11, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Excellent overview! I have four kids ranging in age from 3 months to 9 years, and all of them have been snuggled close in carriers from birth. It’s such a convenient and easy way to get around with a baby… especially when you’re also chasing a toddler! Not to mention the joy of snuggling a little one in this way. (In fact, my 3 month old is sleeping in an EllaRoo wrap as I type this!)

    • Devon on November 11, 2011 at 1:59 pm

      I got my EllaRoo on your rec, Melanie, and I love it! What color do you have? I have Kristen… so pretty! (And holy cow, baby girl is THREE MONTHS already??)

  4. Lynn on November 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    I’m long past carrying my babies around (the youngest is 19!), but love the review and explanations of the different baby carriers! Maybe I’ll get one when I’m a grandmother one day!

  5. […] – Y’all know how much I love babywearing… here is yet another reason why it is so awesome. You need to get some things done around the […]

  6. Hillary Morrison on September 17, 2018 at 5:57 am

    Choose baby carriers that offer parents and babies comfort and safety, style and plenty of snuggle time.

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