The Guide To The Best Baby Carrier In 2021by Your Baby Club
Whether it's for around the house, in the shops, or even at work, baby carriers provide a great way to keep your little one close and keep your hands free so that your day can be as normal as possible without having to carry baby everywhere or push them around in a pram when you don't need to, which is why making sure you have the best baby carrier for your baby can be a lifesaver for new parents thanks to the benefits they bring past simply keeping your baby close.
Questions to ask when choosing a baby carrier
Choosing a baby carrier is not always as easy a decision as it might seem, there are things that will need to be taken into consideration for the sake of both the baby and the parent, and the best option could change even simply due to the point at which you are buying it, so here are some quick questions to help you narrow down what type of baby carrier will be the best baby carrier for you.
When am I going to be using it?
How long will I be using it for?
Will I need to wear it for longer durations of time?
What carrying positions do I want it to manage?
Do I want padded straps or do I want a sling or wrap style?
Will I need to buy an infant or newborn insert?
Can it take my baby's weight/ what is the weight limit?
Is it machine-washable?
Do I need to keep my hands free when I'm wearing it?
Different types of baby carrier
Baby carriers can come in all different styles and materials, which can mean that choosing the best baby carrier for your baby isn't always as simple as it seems. One thing you will find is that different baby carriers will end up suiting you and your baby at different stages throughout their development. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the benefits of different styles of baby carrier for both you and your little one
Soft wrap carriers
Soft wrap baby carriers are carriers more targeted at younger babies, this is thanks to the long piece of super soft stretchy piece of fabric which forms it, these carriers are usually made from materials such as lycra or spandex, but in combination with cotton to give them a sublime combination of comfort and support, whilst also not causing any unwanted soreness.
A soft wrap carrier, sometimes known as a stretchy wrap, can be a bit of a struggle to put on and take off when you get started, as they work by wrapping the fabric around your body and then being tied up, however a great way to learn is by getting involved in babywearing classes or groups, or if you can't make it to any of those, there are loads of online guides that can help you get the hang of it and find the correct way to carry your baby.
When your baby gets a bit older, you may find that a woven wrap proves to be a suitable alternative to a soft wrap carrier. Woven wraps work in the same way as soft wraps, and can provide the same kinds of carrying position as you would find with a soft wrap, with the added benefit that these are made of sturdier material, making them an effective option when your baby's weight increases or if you want to carry a toddler.
Ring slings are considered across the board to be the best baby carrier if you are looking for a baby carrier that is portable and easy to put on. Usually made from a woven fabric, these carriers provide a great option for you and your baby for those quick trips to the shop or other small trips you need to take with your baby thanks to the ease of use and compact design.
One downside to using a ring sling is that, due to the fact they only go over one shoulder rather than having two shoulder straps, they can cause a great deal of discomfort to that singular shoulder, so these carriers are not such a good idea if you are likely to be using it for a long period of time, or if your baby is slightly heavier.
Soft Structured baby carriers
Soft-structured baby carriers are by far the best baby carriers if you are looking long term. Soft-structured carriers use a combination of shoulder straps and padding to provide a comfortable experience for both parent and baby and can be used alongside a newborn or infant insert to allow you to use it all the way through from their first days to when they become a toddler.
Soft-structured carriers are made from sturdy woven fabric, but this is partnered with padded shoulder straps to ensure not only the safety of your baby but your own comfort when wearing it. Many of these baby carriers can also be used for both front and back carrying either with or without a converter to allow this and are able to be put on like a t-shirt thanks to the placement of the buckles.
Many parents have found structured carriers to be the best baby carrier for them when they need to keep their hands free when, for example, shopping, where without a baby on top you will likely already have enough to hold and you may simply want to get things done without the extra hassle.
Meh dai carriers
Meh dai carriers provide a nice middle ground carrier between soft wrap carriers and a structured baby carrier, as it uses a combination of stretchy cloth, like that used in a soft wrap carrier, and padded shoulder straps like those used on structured carriers, to provide a soft but secure carrier which can be used for carrying on both the front and back.
One drawback with this style of baby carrier is that they can become uncomfortable for the parent using it depending on your baby's weight, as these carriers have been seen to cause discomfort when used with babies over 9 kilos. Despite this, their capability to comfortably support front, back or hip carrying means they can be a great way to keep your baby supported and comfortable in their early years.
Basic carrying positions and the best baby carriers for them
Baby carrying doesn't always have to mean being locked in a staring contest with your little one as you walk around Morrisons, as they develop, it is more than likely that they may want to turn around and see the world a bit more for themselves, or you may feel more comfortable with them in a different carrying position. To help you understand carry positions more, here is a quick guide to some of the basic carrying positions and when best to use them.
The traditional style of front carry for younger babies when babywearing. Facing in is the front carrying position you will want to use until your baby is around 6 months old, although this can be recommended until anywhere up to 8 months to allow your baby to develop to the point where they can fully support their own head.
For this stage in your baby's development, the best carriers would be either a ring sling or a soft wrap carrier. This is because these carriers give a great amount of support, and can be adjusted to allow for changes and growth in your baby's hips.
After around six months, you may find that your baby begins to try and turn and see the world for themselves now they can support themselves more. When this starts to happen, which can be any time up to normally around eight months old, you can start to consider putting your baby in a facing out position when babywearing.
When it comes to choosing the best baby carrier for this stage, there are a number of options, firstly, you might find that your current carrier is adaptable and can be switched to a forward-facing position. If your carrier isn't adaptable, more times than not you will find that you can buy attachments for your baby carrier which allow it to safely be used as a forward-facing carrier. If you're looking to buy a new carrier, the best baby carriers to look at will be woven wraps or a ring sling as they provide a strong amount of support for your growing baby whilst also being adaptable to their changing hip and lumbar support needs.
The next stage of development in your baby carrying journey is the back carry. You can usually start back carrying once you see that your baby is able to sit unassisted, as this shows that their spine and the surrounding muscles have developed to a point where this is safe. This doesn't mean you have to, but it means you can choose between front or back carrying depending on which it is you prefer.
The best baby carrier for your baby in this carry position would be a structured carrier, as structured carriers provide support and comfort across your baby's back and neck to keep them stable as you move, whilst also using straps and buckles to provide security and peace of mind for parents. A structured carrier can be used from as early as a newborn with a newborn or infant insert, and as your baby grows, structured carriers will be able to continue to hold them sufficiently up until they are even a toddler.
Hip carrying is a possibility for your baby from as early as three months old, although it could take anything up to around the six-month mark. The sign you're looking for that will tell you they're able to be hip carried is that they will be able to hold up their own head without support, once they can do this, your baby is able to be carried in this carry position.
For hip carrying, the best baby carrier will be either a ring sling or woven wrap carrier will allow you to keep your baby close and with adequate lumbar support, whilst also giving them enough freedom to look around and hold up their head.
"So what is the best baby carrier to buy?" You ask. Here are 5 top picks
Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier Move
The Baby Bjorn Carrier Move proves to be a great example of the functionality and stretching capabilities of structured carriers, this carrier comes with great levels of support for your baby's back and neck, whilst also being made of a breathable but sturdy 3D mesh which makes it great for parents with an active lifestyle. An added bonus of this carrier is that it can be used from newborn without need for an infant insert! This means you can use the Baby Bjorn Carrier Move until your baby is 15 months old (or 12 kilos in weight) without issue! One drawback with this carrier is it is only for front carrying, however, it is well suited to both facing in and facing out positions meaning your baby is able to see the world as and when they want to.
ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier
The ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier is a great structured carrier for every situation a parent or baby could have. It comes with a padded headrest that is foldable as well as a hood that can be stowed away when not needed, meaning you can avoid your baby being woken or uncomfortable due to windy or sunny conditions. It also has a privacy screen for when you need to breastfeed in public, and small pockets that can easily fit keys, a phone or a dummy for your baby so that you're ready for any scenario. Some of the other great features of this carrier include a supportive waist belt that provides great lumbar support for parents, as well as functionality for front, back and hip carrying, as well as a 20-kilo weight limit meaning you are all set for when they grow to a toddler.
Infantino Flip 4-In-1 Baby Carrier
The Infantino Flip Baby Carrier is a great value baby carrier for anyone looking for a structured baby carrier that is cheap but effective in supporting both themselves and their baby. This baby carrier supports both back and front baby carrying positions, has padded straps for the parent's shoulders and a supportive waist belt to help distribute the weight and avoid discomfort. The Infantino Flip carrier can support babies up to 14.5-kilos heavy, all for a fraction of the price but without any loss in quality creating. a great experience for both you and your baby.
Solly Baby Wrap Carrier
The Solly Baby wrap carrier is one of the best baby carriers out there for newborns or parents wanting a light and breathable soft wrap carrier. This baby carrier is made from Lenzing modal fabric, giving it a great combination of support, softness and breathability for your baby. The carrier is machine washable and has a weight limit of 11 kilos, making it a perfect baby carrier for newborns without the need for any adapters or inserts, making this a great option for day to day usage. Since this is more targeted at newborns, it is only usable as a front carry wrap but it provides a great option for parents looking for their first carrier and need something that is not only comfortable for baby but simple for them.
Moby Ring Sling Carrier
The Moby Ring Sling Baby Carrier is a great value, simple to use baby carrier for anyone wanting to try different carrying positions without necessarily wanting a soft wrap or structured carrier. This ring sling baby carrier has great adjustability, allowing it to grow with your baby all the way until they are a toddler, which is helped by its 15-kilo weight limit. This carrier is breastfeeding friendly and capable of being used in the front or hip carrying positions with zero difficulties, and its breathable fabrics mean your baby stays cool and comfortable for as long as they like.
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