Best Baby Carriers of 2017

  Photo by  Steven Cleghorn  on  Unsplash
Photo by Steven Cleghorn  on Unsplash

While there are a wide variety of baby carriers in stores today, the truth is what works best for you depends on many factors. The baby carrier you enjoy most when your baby is a newborn won’t be practical when she’s 18 months old. If you want a carrier that can be shared between Mom, Dad, and other caregivers, the options that come in different sizes are not for you. If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of carriers that are under $100. By keeping in mind your unique desires and circumstances, you’re sure to find the baby carrier that suits your lifestyle.

Best Baby Carrier for a Newborn

The Baby K’Tan Original Baby Carrier is an excellent choice for newborns and babies under 6 months old. It’s not as difficult or time-consuming to put on as more traditional newborn wraps and slings. Baby is snuggled close to Mom’s chest, in a comfortable, stretchy fabric.

Baby K’Tan also makes a mesh version, called the Breeze Wrap. It’s available in black or white. The mesh version is great for those who live in a warmer climate or have a summer baby.

Best Features

  • Baby is supported entirely by fabric, so you can be truly hands-free.
  • At $50 and under, this is one of the least expensive, highest quality baby carriers around.
  • Doesn’t require much time and effort to put on.
  • Available in cotton or mesh, black or white.

Drawbacks

  • It comes in sizes–which means if Mom and Dad have large height and weight discrepancies, it can’t be shared.
  • It does stretch out slightly, so the first few wears will be tight.
  • There is a learning curve for putting on and wearing your child quickly and comfortable. Most parents will figure it out with a few tries in front of a mirror.

Retail Price: $45-$50

Where to Buy: Target, Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us

Best Baby Carrier for a Toddler

For toddlers between 18 and 24 months, a more structured, and supportive carrier will alleviate the strain on the backs and shoulders of parents. The Original Ergo and Newer Ergo 360 are both great options for reigning in your busy toddler.

Favorite Features

  • Can be worn four different ways: front facing in, front facing out, back carry and side/hip carry.
  • Adjustable straps mean it can be shared by parents and caregivers of all sizes.
  • Zippered front pocket allows parents to store keys, wallets, and cell phones during walks or trips to the store.
  • Easy to put on and take off.
  • With a weight limit of up to 33 lbs, this carrier can be used from the baby stage to preschool. It can be used for your baby or your toddler–whoever needs to be held more that day.
  • Has a built-in “hood” for use when your baby is sleeping or needs to be shielded from the sun.

Drawbacks

  • Starting at over $120, this model is on the more expensive side.
  • For infants, a separate insert is required, which may be too hot in some climates. The insert ranges in price from $20-$30. Some parents use a rolled up receiving blanket as an alternative.

Retail Price: $120-$160

Where to Buy: Target, Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, Babies R Us

Best Baby Carrier for Plus Size Moms

The Beco Gemini Soft Structured carrier is ideal for plus size mothers, fathers, and caregivers. While many of the other carriers can only accommodate up to a 50″ waist, the Beco waist belt can accommodate a 59″ waist. It also features perfect fit adjusters and adjustable straps.

Favorite Features

  • Can support a child from 7-35 lbs. This carrier will last from infancy to toddlerhood.
  • Allows for four different positions: outward facing, inward facing, back carry, and side/hip carry.
  • Adjustable straps making nursing-on-the-go discreet and easy.
  • No infant insert is required for younger babies.

Drawbacks

  • $130 retail price may be cost prohibitive to some.
  • There is no front pocket for storage.
  • There is no sunshade or hood.

Retail Price: $130-$160

Where to Buy: Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, Albee Baby

Best Backpack Baby Carrier

For those of you who are serious hikers, climbers and love the great outdoors, a framed backpack carrier might be ideal. While pricey, these supportive carriers are great for exploring nature with your toddler. The Deuter Kid Comfort III is a great choice for you outdoorsy mamas.

Favorite Features

  • Max Weight Limit of 48.5 lbs allows you to carry your child, plus your gear.
  • Aluminum Frame and 5 Point Safety Harness ensure a safe ride for your little one.
  • Adjustable straps so the carrier may be shared by multiple parents and caregivers.

Drawbacks

  • The carrier alone weighs 6 lbs, without a child inside, so it may be hard for a smaller parent to carry.
  • At about $300, it’s quite expensive.
  • The sunshade isn’t sufficient for rain.
  • It’s impractical for everyday use.

Retail Price: $299

Where to Buy: REI, Amazon

Best Green/ Eco-Friendly Baby Carrier

The most eco-friendly carrier out there will be the one your purchase at your local thrift, consignment, or resale shop. You’ll also find gently used carriers online on sites like eBay, Craigslist, Close5, or OfferUp. This is a great option if you want one of the most expensive carriers but can’t justify spending hundreds on it. Ergo and Beco Baby Carriers can be found secondhand for $40-50. Baby K’Tans usually sell for $20-$25.

Favorite Features

  • Pricing–buying secondhand you’ll save 50-70% off retail prices.
  • Environmentally conscious–instead of adding to the waste in the world, you’re reducing, reusing and recycling.

Drawbacks

  • You’ll have to meet in a safe, public location to inspect merchandise purchase over sites like Craigslist.
  • You will have to ensure the product is from a clean, smoke-free home yourself.

Retail Price: $20-$80, depending on the carrier and accessories.

Where to Buy: Local Consignment, Thrift Stores, Craigslist, eBay, Close5, LetGo, OfferUp

Best Budget Baby Carrier

Again, visiting your local thrift shop, consignment store, or perusing eBay and Craigslist are your best option when choosing a safe, inexpensive baby carrier.

Some parents choose to purchase cheaper carriers like the Baby Bjorn (retailing for about $45), but these carriers are known in the babywearing community as “crotch danglers”. This is because the child is hanging by his crotch, thus not properly supported. Too much time in these types of carriers can lead to improper spinal and hip development, resulting in hip dysplasia or development delays.

In fact, if your baby is under 6 months old, you should avoid wearing them outward altogether.

  • The dangling legs of a baby who’s facing outwards may stretch their developing hip joints and increase their risk of hip dysplasia.
  • When you wear your baby outwards it shifts their weight distribution from their bottom onto their crotch. Imagine how you’d feel if you were sitting with all that pressure on your privates. It wouldn’t be comfortable.
  • Outward facing has the potential to interfere with normal spinal curve development by flattening out the backward kyphotic curve. This can even cause a delay in normal motor development

Retail Price: $20-$80, depending on the carrier and accessories.

Where to Buy: Local Consignment, Thrift Stores, Craigslist, eBay, Close5, LetGo, OfferUp

Enjoy wearing your baby!

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