What type of baby carrier should I get?

baby carrier

Are you feeling overwhelmed by all the baby carrier choices that are out there? I know it can feel like there are too many options and you’re not even sure where to start.

I hope this article (and video below) makes this choice a little easier for you. I’m sharing my three favourite types of baby carriers and what stages I get the most use out of them, so you can work out what’s right for you. I’m also going to share some of my favourite brands for each of the styles of baby carrier, so all you have to do is pick your favourite design (which might actually be the hardest choice of all).

Can I just start by saying – baby carriers have come a loooong way from 7 years ago. I remember when I was pregnant with my first, my options were a babybjorn and some of the early versions of the Ergo. They came in black and black. And maybe grey if you were lucky.

Now they come in all the beautiful colours and fabrics and I can guarantee you there is a style and type for every kind of fussy baby.

What to think about before you buy your baby carrier

I know it can be hard to choose what you’ll need before your baby arrives and before you know what life with your baby looks like. But if you can think about the following questions, you’ll have a better idea of what type of carrier is going to be right for you.

What will you be doing while you use your baby carrier?

What you plan to use your baby carrier for will impact which one is right for you. If you mostly see yourself using it to go for your daily walk, the carrier for you will be different than if you are thinking you’ll mostly use it when you’re doing the grocery shopping.

Or if you’re thinking your baby will spend most of the first few months sleeping in the baby carrier, you might choose a different one than if you were buying one to wear while you chase after your toddler.

Who will be using your baby carrier?

The size and build of the person who is planning to use the carrier will also make a big difference to which one is right for you. My husband will happily wear a structured carrier (where they clip up), but would put the baby in a zipped up jumper before he’ll attempt to use a wrap carrier. (And yes, I came home one day from a yoga class to find our newborn son tucked up asleep in his jumper because he couldn’t find the structured carrier.)

If you and your partner are planning on sharing your carrier you may find that you prefer different styles. Remember you can always buy one to start and if it doesn’t suit, add another one to your collection later.

What age will your baby be when you use your baby carrier?

The baby carriers I prefer to use during the newborn stage differ greatly to those I end up using on high rotation with a one or two year old. Have a think about what age you plan to use your baby carrier from and until.

Again, remember you can always buy one for the newborn stage and upgrade later if it is no longer working for you.

What season will your baby be born in and what is the weather like where you live?

It’s a good idea to consider the temperature when choosing your baby carrier. Wrap carriers are great for winter babies and newborns, but not so much for older babies who need their space (Watch the video below to see me trying to wrangle my 10 month old into a wrap carrier. Fun times!) Ring slings and structured carriers can be a cooler option if you’re living in a really hot climate.

Baby carrier comparison

Wrap Style CarrierRing Sling CarrierStructured Carrier
Best for age:Newborn to 3 monthsNewborn to 1 year (ish)4 months to 2 years 
PositivesSoft and comfortable to wear.Bub sits nice and cosy on your chest.Soft and comfortable to wear. Newborns can sit on your chest or in a cradle carry.From six months baby can sit on your hip or on your chest if going to sleep.Rolls up nice and small.Easy to get on and go. Very secure – great for physical activity.Bub can be work in number of ways – on front, hip and back carry. 
NegativesCan take time to learn how to get it on. Takes time to get it set up.Can slip and loosen if you’re being active while wearing it. Lots of fabric to deal with.All weight is on one side. Once they’re big enough for hip carry, I prefer to use for short periods of time. Eg. shopping trips over long walks. Is bulkier to carry than ring sling.Not great to use when bub is a newborn (though you can get the wrap variety of Zarper Bebe to use when they’re newborn or use a newborn insert with Ergo)
Favourite BrandHug-a-bubChekohZarpar Bebe
Other BrandsChekoh
Make your own wrap carrier.
Sakura Bloom
Make your own ring sling.

Which baby carrier is right for you?

I wish I could give you a simple answer but it really depends on your lifestyle and how you plan to use it.

Personally if I were having my babies all over again. I would buy a Chekoh baby ring sling for the newborn stage and the structured (all clips) Zarpar Bebe to use from 4 months. My husband happily uses the Zarpar and the ring sling still gets used now that we’re passed the newborn stage. It stays in my bag and gets pulled out at the grocery story when he refuses to sit in the trolley.

How to choose before you buy

You don’t necessarily have to buy your baby carrier to know if it’s right for you. Here are some ideas for free ways to try before you buy.

+ Try searching Facebook groups for a babywearing group in your area. Many have free lending libraries that you can borrow and try out the style of carrier you’re looking at. They also often have meet ups where they’ll happily demonstrate how the different styles of baby carriers work.

+ Try them out in the shop first. While not all brands of carriers will be stocked in your local baby store, many at least have the three styles to offer. This way you’ll be able to get a feel for whether you like the wrap, ring sling or structured variety before you start looking at brands.

+ Ask your friends! If you have friends with babies, ask which types of carriers they prefer.

Now that you know which type of carrier you’re going to get – maybe you want to practice some babywearing yoga with me?

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