Parents use baby carriers through all stages from newborn through infant and some well into the toddler stage.
While a carrier isn’t necessary, it does let you keep your baby close to you, leaving your hands free for other things.
Most parents swear by the baby carrier regardless of the brand or type. Parents love the freedom it gives them while remaining within touching distance.
The carrier comes in especially handy when maneuvering crowded spaces like airports or shopping malls.
With our list of the best baby carriers, you can confidently choose the one that best suits your needs.
Best Baby Carriers 2018
|Ergobaby Omni 360 All-In-One|
|Lillebaby Complete All Seasons|
|Osprey Packs Poco AG|
|BabyBjorn Baby Carrier|
|Baby Tula Ergonomic|
|BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One|
|Infantino Sash Mei Tai|
|Boba Air Baby Carrier|
|Moby Wrap for Newborns|
1. Ergobaby 360 Omni All-In-One Carrier – Best Overall Baby CarrierErgobaby 360 is a baby carrier that does it all and is our top pick. Combining the Ergobaby 360 and the Ergobaby Adapt, the 360 Omni has all the features Dads, and Moms, love.
The Omni 360 has four carry positions, outward, front facing, on the hip, and on the back. Newborns start with front facing before switching to outward facing once baby reaches six months or has good head stability.
So, is this a carrier parents will love? Let’s look closer at what puts the Omni ahead of the pack and makes it a family pleaser.
Why the Ergobaby Omni 360 Is So Unique
Dads, and Moms, love the idea of no longer fighting the dreaded infant insert. By making a few simple adjustments, the parent and the baby are ready to move in half the time. The Omni 360 is a truly infant ready carrier. The overhauled design of this baby carrier, without the infant insert, makes carrying a newborn a breeze.
A simple leg width adjustment to the newborn position and securing the Velcro tabs keep your baby snug and safe. The included neck pillow, with pushbutton adjustments on each side, supports baby’s head. Ergobaby added a neck panel you can fold in for even more head support.
Other unique features of the Ergobaby Omni 360 baby carrier are:
- Ergonomic option for forward-facing
- Adjustments take baby from newborn to toddler
- Lumbar support gives extra back comfort and support
- Included detachable zippered storage pouch
Ergobaby Omni 360 and All Its Amazing Features
As we mentioned above, the most unique and best feature of the Ergobaby Omni 360 is its newborn carry ability. The Omni 360 carries your baby without a newborn insert and grows with your child from 7 to 33 pounds. But the Ergobaby has some other pretty impressive features in its baby carrier.
The Omni 360 gives you four baby positioning options, on your back, hip, front facing in, and front facing out. All positions give you ergonomically correct comfort positioning for preventing injury. Known as a healthy hip product, the Omni helps prevent the common hip dysplasia injury.
Changing carry positions from the front-facing to out is simple and easy. A quick switching of the outside buttons from black to grey and you quickly go from the face-in to face-out position.
The Omni comes with an adjustable headrest cushion and hood. As your child grows, the headrest has three positions for supporting the head.
A pocket under the headrest holds the hood. Just roll the hood out, and your baby has shade from the sun or privacy when sleeping. The hood easily snaps onto the shoulder straps making adding and removing easy.
The Ergobaby Omni 360 Delivers in Comfort and Ease of Use
Next to safety, the focus of the Ergobaby Omni 360 is the comfort of the carrier and the infant. A lumbar support and extra cushioned crossable shoulder straps offer extra comfort not found in many baby carriers. The Omni evenly distributes your baby’s weight while supporting the lower back and shoulders. This extra support makes the Omni the best baby carrier for back pain sufferers.
Adjustable straps ensure a proper fit for any sized person, and any extra length can fold away and tuck in. Easily adjust the waist straps without unfastening the buckles. The lumbar support band protects the carrier’s skin and keeps the buckles from digging into the back.
A structured bucket seat holds the baby in an ergonomically correct position that makes carrying comfortable in all four positions. Added lumbar support makes the Omni 360 great for holding older and heavier babies.
As your baby grows, Velcro seat tabs adjust to the baby’s height for a proper fit. The head and neck support easily change in a matter of seconds for uninterrupted naptime.
If you choose, you can breastfeed while the baby is in the carrier without the need for taking them out. The added ease of breastfeeding in the carrier makes the Omni one of the best baby carriers for breastfeeding.
Crossable shoulder straps give the carrier more back support for extended babywearing. These straps easily attach without your hands ever leaving your baby. Quickly unclasp the buckles with one hand, even with the safety locks on. The crossed straps make the carrier more secure and quicker to put on and tighten by yourself.
2. Lillebaby Complete All Seasons 6-in-1 Carrier – Best Baby Carrier for DadsNext on our list of baby carriers, and the best carrier for fathers, is the Lillebaby Complete All Seasons 6-in-1Carrier. This highly functional carrier has Scandinavian styling and comes with a load of comprehensive features.
As the name suggests, the Lillebaby Complete has six carrying positions paired with a wide weight range. The Complete All Seasons safely holds infants from seven pounds to toddlers up to forty-five pounds.
The All Seasons has a cotton exterior with a breathable 3D mesh lining and zip-down front section. The zip-down front adds versatility to adapt to varying weather conditions making it the best baby carrier for hot weather. This baby carrier lets you allow more airflow to the baby’s sides, back, and torso for better comfort.
Like the Ergobaby Omni 360, Lillebaby did away with the infant insert. The carrier is ready for supporting newborns as small as seven pounds. Also, the carrier has six different carrying positions which include the fetal tuck.
Further Reviewing the Lillebaby Complete Carrier
Other carry positions include legs out tuck, front-facing tuck, rear-facing tuck, side sling, and back carry up to forty-five pounds. The six, well-constructed carry positions give good support and a high comfort level for parent and baby.
Lillebaby handles Mom and Dad’s comfort with a wide waist belt, lower back lumbar support, and comfortable shoulder straps. The lumbar support of the All Seasons makes it a baby carrier with the best back support available. If you already suffer from back problems, this is the best baby carrier for back pain.
The All Seasons carrier is easy for parents to put on and off as well as putting the baby in and out. This carrier is a reliable and well-built way to take the baby with you wherever you go.
3. Osprey Packs Poco AG Premium Carrier – Best Baby Carrier for HikingOsprey, well known for their hiking packs and bags, doesn’t disappoint with their Poco Premium Baby Carrier. This amazing backpack carrier has a design engineered and made for carrying young and older children. The Poco AG fits different sized wearers and is a good baby carrier for small Moms.
This all-around pack comes loaded with features and is ideal for hiking families. Osprey incorporated their award-winning backpack suspension system in their Poco Series of baby carriers.
The AG Premium added lightweight aluminum stays for added load stability without a lot of additional weight. The mesh shoulder harness and back panel combination maintains the wearer’s comfort level throughout the outdoor adventure.
Osprey makes child comfort and safety a top priority. A fully padded and framed cockpit, fleece-covered butterfly harness, and built-in safety leg loops make the trek a comfortable and safe one.
More on the Osprey Packs Poco Carrier
An extra-wide base and locking foot bar gives the carrier added stability when setting the pack down. When you’re ready to move again, two large reinforced grab handles give you a safe and secure pick up.
Adult comfort also plays an important role in the Osprey AG Premium carrier. A Fit-on-the-Fly™ hip belt makes getting a proper fit when switching out baby on the same walk, super easy. The hip belt technology lets parents easily share the weight with the removable daypack.
An integrated sunshade helps protect baby’s delicate skin, while several storage pockets keep supplies secure. The front cockpit has a removable, washable drool pad for keeping baby happy.
4. BabyBjorn Baby Carrier – Best Starter Baby CarrierBabyBjorn Baby Carrier is a best front-facing baby carrier and makes baby wearing an easy to use option for parents. Straps and buttons easily secure baby in place whether seated outward or inward.
What makes this carrier a great starter piece is how effortless it is to use. The BabyBjorn comes with clear, easy to understand instructions for inserting your baby. Once you have your baby secure, adjusting the carrier, if needed, is easy.
When facing in, your baby is snug against your body. Once baby gains good head control, at about four months, you should face the baby out. The BabyBjorn is a great starter carrier for infants 0-4 months of age. At this early age, the baby is lightweight, and you can carry him or her in the facing in position.
When using the carrier during the early months, the product has a wide range of advantages. The BabyBjorn is intuitive and easy to use, has a lightweight and is comfortable for both parent and baby.
More on the BabyBjorn Carrier
When it comes to older babies, the BabyBjorn carrier falls short in all areas. You have limited comfort positioning for older or heavier babies and toddlers.
The 25-pound weight limit makes the time for using the BabyBjorn short. Usually after baby gains enough head control to front face, the BabyBjorn usage maxes out at 4-6 months. For toddlers, we recommend a carrier suited for back wearing and heavier weights.
5. BabySteps Ergonomic Baby Carrier with Hip Seat for All Seasons – Best All-Weather Baby CarrierThe BabySteps Carrier for All Seasons is an ergonomic, 6-in-1 carrier that lets you carry your baby in any position. Choose from front inward, front outward, back carry, single strap, and hip seat single use.
The All Seasons carries a baby from three months of age to thirty-six months or from eight to forty-four pounds.
The soft, organic cotton and polyester fabric mean no friction on baby’s legs. The breathable fabric delivers maximum airflow making the BabySteps All Seasons not only comfortable but perfect for any weather.
Further Reviewing the BabySteps Ergonomic Carrier
A built-in ergonomic hip seat keeps baby seated naturally, distributing the weight between the carrier’s shoulders and hip. A folding head support and back support in the hip seat carrier ensures smooth breathing in the facing out position.
The All Seasons has a quick-tie buckle system that delivers simple and easy operation. Put the baby in or take him out without stress to you or your little one.
Super strong Velcro on the waist belt keeps baby safe without sticking to your clothes. Suitable for different sized wearers, the All Seasons has an adjustable waistband up to 48.8 inches.
Easy portability and light weight make the BabySteps All Seasons Carrier the perfect baby carrier for parents on the go.
6. Baby Tula Ergonomic Carrier – Most Supportive Baby CarrierThe Baby Tula Ergonomic Carrier is a soft structured carrier that carries baby in the ergonomically correct M-position. M-position means the baby has their knees higher than their bottom, an optimal position for reducing hip dysplasia injuries.
If you’ve been looking for baby carriers, you’ve noticed an overwhelming number of them available on the market. But, when it comes to the soft structured carrier or SSC, the Tula wins the popularity vote hands down.
Tula comes in two sizes, baby and an optional newborn insert, and toddler. The baby size supports infants from 15 pounds or with a newborn insert from 7 to 25 pounds.
The toddler size lets you carry your little one from 25 pounds up to 50 pounds. In addition to size, the Tula has tow carrying positions, a back carry and front carry inward facing.
Moms and Dads love that the Tula is handmade and comes in a variety of color and pattern choices. The Tula features a removable hood and small storage pocking on the hip belt.
More on the Baby Tula Carrier
Tula carriers have adjustable shoulder straps that provide up to three inches of additional length. The adjustable hip belt with a high-quality Duraflex buckle adjusts from 28-inches to 55-inches.
Tula added a movable chest clip for precise positioning for the most comfort whether using in back or front carry. With a taller and wider panel, Tula allows you to wear your child far beyond their first year.
The panel gives support higher on the child’s back while the carrier width provides knee to knee support.
7. BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One – Best Carrier for Bigger KidsThe minimalist styling of the Carrier One has a solid build yet a profile lower than any other baby carrier. Covered in a soft cotton and polyester blend material the Carrier One offers safety even when sucked or chewed on. The machine washable material makes cleanup a breeze.
Wide padded shoulder straps give a comfortable fit without a toddler’s weight causing the straps to dig into the shoulders. The child’s weight gets evenly distributed by a supportive waist belt that sits on the wearer’s hips.
A unique zipper system helps with easy adjustment as your baby grows. Change size by simply lowering the inner zipper and adjusting the leg openings. A helpful feature of the Carrier One is maneuverability of the baby from front to backpack style with one hand.
Even with its large bulky size, the Carrier One folds down and fits in a diaper bag for easy travel.
The Carrier One has certification for safety through the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association or JPMA.
8. Infantino Sash Mei Tai – Best Budget PickWinning our pick for the best budget carrier is the Infantino Sash Mei Tai. With its outstanding performance and great low price, it’s no wonder the Sash Mei Tai is a favorite.
The Sash Mei Tai is a grab-and-go carrier for active parents. This softly structured mei tai style carrier, with a build from sturdy material, holds the baby securely wherever you go. The simple make of the Infantino Sash makes it easy to use and has a price you can’t beat.
Like its more expensive counterparts, the Infantino Sash places baby’s weight on your hips and not your back. However, instead of using claps, the Infantino Sash ties into place at the shoulders and waist.
While it takes practice to use a sash-type carrier, the lack of buckles, rings, and clips makes things much simpler. You also benefit from a carrier you can tie for a fit perfectly suited to you. With the helpful instruction labels sewn directly on the carrier, you never worry about which strap ties where.
Further Reviewing the Infantino Sash Mei Tai
The Infantino Sash is a top quality carrier, and it receives our best budget pick for several reasons. The Sash is basically a fabric panel with four attached straps. However, the carrier is very sturdy and holds baby securely, has great versatility and is an easy, grab-and-go carrier.
The biggest downside to this budget-friendly baby carrier is it doesn’t offer adequate support for a toddler. When your child outgrows the Infantino Sash, and you still plan to babywear, you’ll need a new baby carrier.
9. Boba Air Baby Carrier – Best Baby Carrier for Flying and Plane TravelWhen traveling or flying, you need a baby carrier that’s easy to store and comfortable for long periods of walking. You want a baby carrier that has a carrying case and doesn’t take up a lot of room.
The Boba Air Baby Carrier is the best baby carrier for flying and plane travel. Boba Air is lightweight at only 0.7 ounces and folds into itself for self-storage. The Boba Air delivers a bunch of features found in a regular size carrier packed in a small compact size.
The ultra-lightweight nylon parachute material is machine washable. After a long airplane ride, just throw it in the washing machine to get rid of all those travel germs. The Boba Air is a well-made carrier that holds up to many washings.
The Boba Air has both front and back carry options and can hold children weighing from 15 to 45 pounds. Adjustable shoulder straps accommodate caregivers between five and six feet tall. The waist belt adjusts between 25 to 40 inches making it wearable by most people.
10. Moby Wrap for Newborns – Best Carrier for Newborn BabiesMoby Wrap, one of the first wildly popular wrap-style carriers, gives parents another option for keeping baby close. The Moby Wrap provides a snug hold in the front carry position and is perfect for infants under one year.
Built around a simple concept, the Moby Wrap is a single eighteen-foot piece of 100% stretchy cotton fabric. With a cotton fabric composition, you just toss the Moby Wrap in the washer and dryer, and you’re ready for your next outing.
The Moby wraps around the body and secures your baby in several different ways. There’s a learning curve to using these carrier types and securing baby in a semi-fluid wrapping motion is the key. However, after a few wrapping sessions, wrapping your baby securely against you becomes faster and easier.
More on the Moby Wrap
The Moby Wrap swaddles the infant in soft fabric and closely snuggles them against Mom. When correctly wrapped, baby’s weight is well distributed and keeps baby’s spine and hips in the proper support position. Correct wrapping and even weight distribution lets parents wear the carrier for extended periods.
A bonus to owning the Moby Wrap is using the carrier while breastfeeding. The Moby Wrap makes a convenient nursing cover for feeding baby anytime anywhere. Moby Wrap and its feeding convenience make our list for the best baby carrier for nursing.
Things You Must Know Before Buying a Baby Carrier
In the first few months of life, touch is the most important thing you can give your baby. And, while holding your little one all day is desirable, it’s just not possible. There are things you must get done that require using both hands. Because of the need for work and the desire for keeping baby close, babywearing is a hugely popular option.
With baby wearing comes the need for comfortable and supportive carriers that keeps baby close but leaves your hands free. You also want a baby carrier that places your child in the ideal “M” position. Baby’s knees should always be higher than their hips to avoid possible hip dysplasia injury.
When choosing a baby carrier, you want one that makes using comfortable yet gives your child the stability they need. But there are so many carriers available, how do you know which one is best for you and your baby?
The Different Types of Baby Carriers
Baby wearing is centuries old, but continued development in know-how and technology present more choices than ever before. The evolution of today’s baby carrier is a modern take on the historic slings, wraps, backpacks, and papooses. While the babywearing concept is the same, modern carriers give safety and comfort to both baby and the wearer.
There are five main types of baby carriers to choose from:
- Baby Wraps – Stretchy and Woven
- Soft Structured Carriers or SSC
- Backpack Carriers or Hard Frame
1. Baby Wraps
The baby wrap is a single, long fabric piece that wraps snugly around you and baby. Available in woven or stretchy fabric, the wrap ties in different ways for a safe and womb-like environment. The type of fabric you choose determines the carrying positions you can use the wrap in.
The mei-tai wrap is a cross between the soft-structured carrier and a wrap. A mei-tai carrier consists of four straps that attach to the carrier’s main body. The straps let you secure your baby in a variety of ways.
Slings, like wraps, are a single piece of fabric and goes over one shoulder. The sling forms a pouch that holds your baby on your hip or in front of you. The popular ring slings are woven wraps that are threaded and sewn between two rings. When a baby is in the pouch, the tension holds baby securely while spreading the weight across your shoulders and back. Slings work best for newborns and younger babies.
4. Soft Structured Carriers
Soft structured carriers are like the backpack carriers and are ideal for everyday carrying and longer outings. SSCs have padded shoulder straps and a buckling system. Soft structured carriers provide options for back and hip carry, and some have front carry with a child facing out. The carriers are easy to use, and you can use them from the newborn to toddler stage.
5. Hard Frame or Backpack Carriers
Hard frames or backpack carriers have metal frames with the stability for carrying larger babies for longer periods of time. Such carriers are the pick of avid hikers because of their maximum comfort for baby and wearer alike. When you need a carrier for hiking, extra long day trips, or space between you and baby, the backpack is ideal.
Other Features to Consider
When choosing the perfect baby carrier, there are a few other considerations with simplicity and longevity being top factors. A carrier that works the first months, like a wrap or sling, don’t do well when the baby turns one. If you want a baby carrier that grows with your child, you need a hard-framed baby carrier. Or, you may need two carriers to fit with your family’s needs.
Is it Easy to Clean?
Carriers get dirty regardless of which one you choose, so picking a machine washable carrier with easy maintenance is ideal. Most carriers have a composition of child safe materials and natural dyes, and some fading can occur after washing. But if the carrier is machine washable, Mommy saves a lot of time.
Comfortable while Providing Support
With newborns and for the first few months, your baby is small and light, and carrying your baby isn’t difficult. However, as they continue to grow, the strain on your back gets uncomfortable for you and baby if you don’t have the right baby carrier. Look for a carrier that keeps baby’s knees above their hips and supports their thighs while giving the wearer good lumbar support. The carrier needs wide padded shoulder straps to help relieve strain on the shoulders.
Easy to Use
You need a carrier that’s easy to understand how to use, and one you are comfortable with using it correctly. If you only plan on carrying for the first two to three months, you need something super simple. The last thing you need is a baby carrier with a huge learning curve. However, if you plan to babywear for one to two years, then you need the bigger carrier.
When sharing the baby carrier with another caregiver or using it while nursing, you need an easy adjusting model. An easy adjusting carrier gives you more versatility with your constantly changing lifestyle.
Our Final Take on the Best Baby Carriers
Studies show that when infants are close to Mom and Dad, they remain calmer while viewing surroundings more efficiently. For parents, carriers make things simpler by letting you get things done while still holding your baby.
Unless your lifestyle dictates otherwise, we recommend going as simple as possible. A versatile yet supportive baby carrier can take you from newborn to toddler with ease.
Depending on the needs of your family, you might even consider two carriers for different life stages or occasions. If you’re a hiker, a sturdy, hard frame carrier is a must. However, you might want a lighter, soft structured carrier for everyday use.
Regardless of which carrier you choose, baby wearing is a great way to keep your baby close, safe, and secure.