Baby carriers allow you to comfortably carry your baby right on your body, and they help to free up your hands so that you can do chores, interact with friends, or even shop. These carriers are not only convenient, but they also offer other benefits, like helping parents and babies to bond and making it easier to comfort an unhappy baby.
While baby carriers aren’t necessarily a necessity, many new parents love them and they’re highly popular. Active parents, in particular, may enjoy the added freedom that a baby carrier provides.
Read on to see our top picks of the best baby carriers, and to learn about what to look in an ideal carrier and how to use baby carriers safely.
Our Top Picks: Summary
- Best Overall: Lillebaby Complete
- Best Wrap: Moby Classic
- Best Ring Sling: Maya Wrap
- Best Soft Structured: Ergobaby Omni 360
- Best for Toddlers: Tula Explore
Six ergonomic positions and the ultimate comfort for parents and babies.Check Price
Why We Picked It
The Lillebaby Complete isn’t just convenient and full of great features; its six ergonomic carry positions are designed with your baby’s health and comfort in mind. The adjustable seat and leg openings allow for a customized fit for proper hip support, frog-leg seating, and a curved C-spine position. As your child grows, the adjustable back panel provides ongoing support to your baby’s head and neck. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has acknowledged this carrier as a “hip healthy” baby carrier, so you can buy and use the carrier with confidence.
The carrier is also highly adjustable for the adult’s comfort, too. A waist belt and adjustable straps mean that you can adjust this carrier for petite to tall parents, and the unique lumbar support helps to evenly distribute your baby’s weight and relieves lower back pressure. The dual adjustment straps allow you to choose an H-style or X-style for your comfort. Versatility is key with this carrier.
This carrier is full of features that enhance its use. Its hands-free design features generous padding for your comfort. A headrest and lumbar support ensure that your baby is comfortable and receives proper support, while a sleeping hood adds both support and protection from the sun. This carrier is suitable for year-round use, and in warmer temperatures, the zip-down top reveals a mesh interior to help maximize airflow.
Keep in Mind
Some petite parents found the carrier to be bulky, but still enjoyed the comfort offered by the generous padding.
In a Nutshell
- Accommodates six carry positions
- Adjustable to grow with your child
- Generously padded and includes lumbar support for adult’s comfort
A much-loved, flexible wrap for a custom fit.Check Price
Why We Picked It
The Moby Classic takes a sleek approach to baby carriers with its soft, stretchable, and durable fabric. This wrap evenly distributes the weight of your baby across your shoulders, hips, and back, which helps to keep you comfortable and avoid stiffness and pain. The wrap allows for hands-free carrying for convenience when you’re on the go.
With this wrap, you can carry your baby in a number of different positions, including the newborn hug, hug hold, hip hold, and kangaroo hold. When not in use, you can use the wrap as a blanket or pillow.
This wrap is designed to be one-size-fits all for adults, and it will grow with your baby. It can support babies who are preemies, all the way up to babies weighing 35 pounds, so you’re sure to get plenty of use out of the wrap. It’s also available in a variety of beautiful patterns and styles, so you can choose an option that fits into your wardrobe.
Keep in Mind
Learning to put this wrap on can take some practice, and you may need to experiment before you find the right tension.
In a Nutshell
- Soft, stretchable wrap is comfortable for babies and adults
- Distributes weight across your shoulders, hips, and back for comfort
- Wrap can grow with your baby, accommodating preemies and babies up to 35 pounds
The customization of a wrap with the ease of a structured carrier.Check Price
Why We Picked It
The Maya Wrap’s simple design makes it easy to put on and take off, since there are no complex wrap techniques or multiple straps to adjust. Made of 100 percent hand-woven cotton, this wrap is soft and breathable for both your and your baby’s comfort. With the wrap, you can carry young babies facing in, or carry older babies facing out. You can also adjust the position so that you carry an older baby on your hip.
This wrap is a convenient addition to your diaper bag, since it easily fits inside and takes up minimal space. It includes a zippered pocket that’s large enough for a cloth diaper. It’s also machine washable for easy care.
The Maya Wrap will fit babies as little as eight pounds and as large as 35 pounds, so you can use it for many months.
Keep in Mind
With this wrap, your baby’s weight is distributed only over your shoulder. This may lead to some stiffness and fatigue if you plan on using the wrap for hours at a time.
In a Nutshell
- Easy to put on, take off, and adjust
- Made of breathable, soft hand-woven cotton
- Carry babies facing in, facing out, or on your hip
This versatile carrier has multiple position options and is comfortable to wear.Check Price
Why We Picked It
The Ergobaby Omni 360 gives you plenty of position choices, all with the benefits of a thoughtful design that makes for easy and comfortable use. This carrier accommodates all carry positions, and you can carry your baby facing in or out, as well as on your hip, stomach, or back. This carrier features a padded lumbar support belt for your comfort, and you can wear the straps crossed or in a backpack style. A one-handed slider adjustment allows you to quickly and easily change your baby’s position to face in or face out.
This carrier features an ergonomic design and the International Hip Dysplasia Institute has recognized it as being “hip healthy.” The bucket seat supports your baby in an ergonomic position, and the carrier can be adjusted to fit babies from newborns to toddlers. An included UPF 50+ tuck away hood protects your baby from the sun and wind, while also making for breastfeeding privacy. The whole carrier is machine washable.
Keep in Mind
A few reviewers found this carrier to be bulky, and that feeling may be enhanced for parents who are petite. Keep in mind, though, that the extra padding which can make for a bulkier feel also enhances your comfort.
In a Nutshell
- Accommodates all carrying positions and allows for forward or backward facing carrying
- Padded lumbar support belt and padded shoulder straps increase the parent’s comfort
- Adjustable to fit babies from newborn to toddler
This carrier can be used from the time your baby is a newborn through the toddler years.Check Price
Why We Picked It
The Tula Explore is a 6-in-1 adjustable carrier that can accommodate newborns through toddlers, with a weight range of 7 to 45 pounds. This carrier is capable of both outward and inward carry positions, and allows parents to carry their babies on the front or on their backs. All of the positions create ergonomic positions for your baby’s health and comfort. The body panel can be adjusted to three different widths to grow with your baby, ensuring you get plenty of use out of the carrier.
This carrier includes a padded and adjustable neck support pillow that can support newborns and sleeping babies with the neck support they need. Padded shoulder straps and a wide, padded waistband help to evenly distribute weight to keep adults comfortable. Made of breathable cotton, this carrier is machine washable.
Keep in Mind
Some reviewers found that the shoulder straps were bulky, but because this carrier is so adjustable, you may need to experiment with different fits until you find the option that’s just right for you.
In a Nutshell
- Capable of a variety of ergonomic carry positions
- Padded shoulder straps and wide, padded waistband maximize adult’s comfort
- Adjustable neck support pillow is ideal for newborns or sleeping babies
How We Chose the Best Baby Carriers
In choosing the best baby carriers, we considered multiple factors to find the best quality products to share with you. We used the following factors when choosing our picks:
We looked for carriers that are easy to use safely. The safest carriers included no fabric that could get near the baby’s mouth, carriers that were designed so that it’s easy to get a good fit, and carriers that put your baby in an ideal, ergonomic position. All of the carriers that we picked are on the International Hip Displaysia Institute’s Healthy Hips List. The list recognizes products that encourage healthy hip development in babies, particularly for babies that are six months old or younger.
Some carrier styles are better than others, and some parents will prefer certain styles. We chose products that are known to be supportive for a variety of body types, and that also fit a variety of adult body types. The increased support offered by these carriers helps to keep both babies and the adults carrying them comfortable.
Some parents prefer to use one wrap for younger babies and then to transition to another carrier for older babies or toddlers, but that means you have to purchase multiple carriers. Instead, we gave preference to carriers that can suit a wide range. All of the carriers we chose are highly adjustable for an optimal fit and can grow as your baby grows. Most accommodate newborns to toddlers.
A good carrier doesn’t need to cost a fortune, but we also looked for products that balance price with their quality and durability. The carriers we picked are all fairly priced and, since they can grow with your baby, you’ll be able to use them longer than a single carrier that can’t grow with your child.
We also considered reviews written by the customers who are using these baby carriers. Our top picks are products with largely positive reviews.
Do I Need a Baby Carrier?
Baby “wearing” is highly popular these days, even though people have enjoyed the convenience of wearing babies forever. Both parents and babies enjoy a variety of benefits from this practice, and being able to carry your baby with you can be helpful if you need to get things done but can’t be far from your baby.
Parents choose to wear their babies for many reasons and benefits:
- Soothe and comfort a baby easily, and touch them more often to comfort them.
- Intimately learn your baby’s cues and responses, which is made easier by having your baby close to you throughout the day.
- Bond with your baby, and help your baby get used to your voice, facial expressions, and movements.
- Support your baby’s digestion through the carry position and help your baby develop muscle groups and balance.
- Nurse discreetly, thanks to the coverage provided by the carrier (some even have built-in shields for this purpose).
- Naturally discourage people from touching your baby in public, which can be a significant benefit during flu season.
- Deeply connect with your baby and enjoy a fulfilling life with your baby along for the ride.
Types of Baby Carriers
You can choose from three main types of baby carriers. Many parents feel that baby carriers are like jeans—you have to try them all on to determine what you like, and the right baby carrier is largely a matter of personal preference. Many parents also use more than one type of carrier as their babies reach different ages. Some parents feel certain carriers are better suited to different purposes, like doing chores around the house or going out to run errands.
To determine the style of carrier that you’ll like best, you’ll need to understand the different options available:
- Wraps: Wraps are soft carriers that usually consist of one piece of fabric. They generally don’t include padding and don’t have the definition that you’d see in a soft structured-style carrier. Wraps can be made of stretchy or woven fabric, and they’re one of the most traditional carrier styles. By tying or adjusting the fabric, you can customize the fit of the wrap as your baby grows. However, learning to tie and adjust wraps properly takes some practice.
- Slings: Slings are also usually made of a long piece of fabric, and they create a sort of pouch for your baby to sit inside. Slings often are anchored by a single ring, and this can make adjusting them easier than adjusting a wrap may be. Slings are fairly user-friendly and they also make it easy to nurse your baby while carrying him or her. Keep in mind that a sling unevenly distributes your baby’s weight on one shoulder, so this carrier style isn’t ideal if you have back or shoulder pain. As your baby grows and gains weight, using a sling may become uncomfortable.
- Soft Structured: Soft structured carriers are often well-padded to keep both you and your baby comfortable. They have more definition than the other styles, and usually consist of multiple pieces and straps. These carriers often include generously padded shoulder straps, and some also feature padded lower back straps for your comfort. This carrier style tends to be bulkier than slings and wraps, but it can also be more supportive for your baby. Structured carriers often allow for a variety of position options, making them a versatile option that can usually grow with your baby as he or she grows.
What to Consider When Choosing a Baby Carrier
Personal preference will play a role when choosing the right baby carrier, but it’s also important to consider the below factors to choose the carrier that’s right for you and your child:
A carrier needs to fit both you and your baby in order to be comfortable, and the fit for your baby is also essential for his or her safety. If you can arrange to borrow carriers from friends, it’s a good idea to try out a variety of carrier types to determine what you and your baby find most comfortable. Different styles have different fits, so you’ll need to understand what works best for you and your baby.
Some carriers are highly adjustable, while others only allow for minimal adjustments. Many adjustable carriers will allow for six positions, so you can choose the option that’s best for your baby or find the particular position that comforts your baby at a certain time.
Some carriers are more difficult to adjust than others, and some may require a second person to help you adjust them. Ultimately, whether a carrier needs to be adjustable will depend on your preference and your baby’s age.
Some carriers are better options for newborns, while others can be used into toddlerhood. You may want to have one carrier for the newborn months and then purchase another carrier of a different style as your baby gets older.
If you’re looking to buy one carrier to accommodate your baby as a newborn and as a toddler, look for a carrier that’s adjustable and that offers different position options. Be sure that the carrier provides enough neck support for when your baby is a newborn. You’ll also need to look at the weight limit. Many adjustable carriers can accommodate weights from 8 to 35 or even 45 pounds.
If you’re traveling and want to stash the carrier in a diaper bag, then you’ll want to consider the carrier’s portability. Some carriers, like slings and wraps, fold up neatly for travel and have little bulk to them. Soft structured carriers tend to be bulkier and will take up more room in your diaper bag.
You will need to wash your baby carrier from time to time, so look for a carrier that allows for easy cleaning. Check to see if the carrier can be put in the washing machine or if it requires a special cleaning method.
Baby Carrier Safety Tips
Baby carriers are generally considered to be safe, but it’s always important to use carriers properly and to follow safety precautions. Keep the following guidelines in mind to ensure that your baby is safe in the carrier:
Focus on proper positioning. Your baby’s legs should be in a squat “M” shape, with his or her thighs spread across your torso.
Keep your baby visible. You should be able to constantly see your baby so that you can keep an eye on your baby’s airways. Your baby’s chin should be up off of his or her chest and your baby should be in a position so that air can freely circulate around the nose and mouth.
Ensure the carrier fits. Your baby should be supported, but there shouldn’t be any fabric near your baby’s face or blocking the airways. If your carrier features neck support, make sure that the support is properly adjusted to keep your baby’s head in a natural position.
Use the kiss test. Your baby should be positioned high enough on your body so that you can kiss your baby on the head.
Once you’ve found the perfect baby carrier, be sure to review the following resources for other quality must-haves for your baby: