When I had my first baby I tentatively stepped into babywearing. I hadn’t even heard that term before, and I certainly wasn’t acclimatized to attachment parenting. It turned out that my little girl loved being next to her mama and constantly in motion, so wearing her in a baby carrier was a natural fit.
When she was first born, I had procured a second hand ring sling and Moby wrap baby carrier—you can see more about these below.
It was when a friend lent me her buckle carrier that I really fell hard for babywearing. I would have my growing infant with me while I worked at the farmer’s market, and a buckle carrier allowed me to easily carry on with my task. She could nap, observe, or simply come along for the ride.
Benefits of Baby Carriers
There are a myriad of benefits to wearing your child that are claimed by baby carrier companies and communities. You can find some of them in these articles by La Leche League and Healthline Parenthood. Both of those links also include safety tips, which are important to keep in mind if you’re wearing an infant (especially) or small toddler.
In our own lives we have found that wearing our children opened up a world of opportunity.
Baby carriers are ideal for any standing activity, such as berry picking or butchering. They do not work so well for tasks that require you to bend over/move up and down repeatedly. I have generally failed when I’ve tried to baby wear in the garden.
Now with my third child, I have a collection of baby carriers that suit every need.
The first baby carriers that I’ve reviewed are specific brands of buckle carriers. At the bottom of the list I’ve included three other styles of baby carrier.
Enjoy the list—I’m sure everyone can find a baby carrier that will work for their family.
I have only included reviews for carriers I have personally used. I was not reimbursed for any of these reviews either financially or with free products. Some of the links provided are affiliate. These may provide a small commission to GWR at no additional cost to you.
After borrowing my first buckle carrier I knew I needed one of my own. I dove deep into researching my options, and ultimately settled on a LilleBaby All Seasons.
The reasons I chose this particular carrier were:
-Younger babies can be worn forward facing
-There is no additional insert needed for newborns
-The zip-down mesh insert means that you can adjust the airflow of the carrier depending on weather
-There is a lumbar support pad if needed for the adult using the carrier
-The optional neck support combined with a snap-up hood supplies the best option I’ve used for napping babies
Not once have I regretted the purchase. Fifteen countries, three babies, hundreds of wears, and one mend later, our carrier is certainly looking worse for wear.
However, it is still the first carrier we reach for every time. I confidently recommend LilleBaby based on my experience. That said, many of the buckle carrier companies have now introduced products that include many of the benefits that came with my Lillebaby all those years ago.
The first buckle carrier I borrowed was an ErgoBaby.
It was a solid carrier that sold me on the style, but it was missing some of the features that I fell in love with in my LilleBaby. However, ErgoBaby now sells a Omni 360 that could compete. If I was in the market for a new carrier now, I would certainly consider this carrier.
ErgoBaby is quite pricey new. However, I find their carriers are easier to find secondhand than some of the other popular buckle carriers.
It is a well-known, enduring brand, and my experience with ErgoBaby was a positive one. With the features now available it is worth having on your radar.
Tula Baby Carrier
When I had my first baby, Tula Baby carriers had a cult following. I would come across women online who had over a dozen. There was also an insider “call” and response for Tula fans who spotted each other in public.
In my opinion, Tula is still the winning buckle carrier if you want eye-catching prints. There are countless options.
I have two different Tula’s, because they make toddler and baby sizes. Our toddler one is the carrier we still use if we have reason to carry our 4 year old. We also took it around Europe as the carrier for my oldest when she was 3. It truly works well for that age.
I have also known parents who have claimed that Tula is by far the most comfortable carrier. If you have concerns around back pain or discomfort with carrying, you may want to try a Tula as one of your options.
Many in-person stores will assist you in using a carrier properly, and let you try out the carrier. Please support your local store if you go in and use this service.
I see that Tula has also moved beyond their basic carrier and now offer a Coast Explore carrier with many of the features I originally looked for. Definitely check it out if you’re going the buckle carrier route.
I have always been attracted to the clean aesthetic of Beco Baby carriers. This brand was actually the second on my list when I was doing my original shopping. They have a lot of different carriers in their lineup, so take a look and see if anything catches your eye.
The caveat in this review is that the only Beco carrier I’ve ever personally owned is the Beco Butterfly, which is now discontinued. In fact, at least one of the Beco butterfly carriers experienced a voluntary recall.
That sounds like reason you don’t want this brand… But I like my Beco. It is a unique design, which allows a caregiver to put the baby on his/her back without assistance. With other carriers, this is a tricky skill that is really difficult to master.
However, Becos that are currently available don’t have this aspect to them.
I’ve had several different ring slings. They win the “easy to throw in a purse” prize. That sheer convenience is nothing to scoff at—travelling light(er) has a real appeal when you’re already toting the baby and all the gear.
Ring slings, however, are also one of the most difficult to master. I had to make many focused attempts to get baby snugged in just right.
The other downside, before I give you the advantages: wearing a ring sling for longer periods of time can really take a toll on the weight-bearing shoulder. I found I could combat it to some extent by spreading he supporting fabric across the curve of the shoulder, but it will still catch up with you after a while.
That said, I still like having a ring sling for my new babies. First of all, they offer the sweetest carry (in my opinion). Babies just make the loveliest little sleepy lumps right up against your chest when they’re bundled into a ring sling.
They are also wonderfully easy options for newborns. They are always my carrier of choice for the first several months.
However, once the baby gets heavier my ring slings get relegated to the back of the closet where they remain until I have another 7 pound human to carry around.
Should you get a ring sling? I enjoyed the benefits they offered for the early days. I also used these carriers for all my children, getting more mileage from them. They are less pricey than other carriers. Make the decision that feels right for you.
Baby Carrier Wraps
I have gifted wraps to several new parents. In our family, however, it is my husband who wears our babies in a wrap. He has taught several new dads how to wear their babies, because it’s such wonderful way to offer comfort.
I do think, of the baby carriers listed here, wraps are the most complex to put on. You’ll likely need a stretch of time and, at first, a YouTube video to get them right. As with all carriers, please be careful that your baby is safely ensconced.
I have only worn a baby in a mei tai once, but it was a pleasant experience. As tempted as I was to add another baby carrier to my collection, I knew I had to draw the line somewhere.
Because of my lack of experience, I’ll keep this review short.
A mei tai offers a hybrid between a buckle carrier and a wrap. They are less static and structured than a buckle carrier, but offer some of the natural flow and soft simplicity of the wrap.
If this appeals to you, a mei tai may be for you.
Moving Foward with a Baby Carrier
Whatever route you decide to go, I really believe that baby wearing is a wonderful option for most parents. Almost every baby will find it calming to be tucked close to a loved adult. The hands-free comfort option is also a way to continue to live, to an extent, while also taking the best care of an infant.
Personally, baby wearing has been such a big part of my parenting that I don’t even have a reasonable stroller. I have worn my babies to the top of Burmese temples, down cobblestone streets, and up tropical mountainsides.
However, my babies have spent more time on my back in the kitchen than anywhere else; that is the true beauty of baby wearing. I know they are safe, they know they are loved, and we can both exist in the comfort of daily life together.
Have you used any of the carriers I’ve listed above? What have been your experiences? Please let me know in the comments below.
If you’re interested in natural parenting options, you may also like our post Cloth Diapers for Beginners: An Ultimate Guide.