In an ideal world, every parent would have as many arms as an octopus. But, in reality, we only have two, two lowly arms whose use we must ration. One thing that helps us do this is a baby carrier. Designed to strap on and go, a baby carrier allows your baby to ride in style without you throwing your back out at the age of 30.
Why Buy a Baby Carrier – Is a Baby Carrier Worth It?
There’s no way around it – babies must be carried (unless your baby came out of the womb knowing how to walk – in that case, your baby is a deer). Carrying babies is important to their development because they need to be held close to their parents in order to thrive. This proximity promotes attachment and connection while helping the baby feel safe and secure.
But holding babies isn’t easy. Not only is it physically taxing to carry around a little being, but it’s also not realistic. Our arms? It turns out they’re something we need. This is where a baby carrier comes in. It makes carrying your baby easy, convenient, and comfortable. It allows you to carry your baby wherever you are, whether it’s around the house as you do chores or down the aisle of a grocery store. Of course, it also helps you travel with child in tow – don’t leave for vacation without your sunscreen or your baby carrier (don’t forget the baby either!).
A carrier is a good alternative when a stroller is not an option. Are you walking somewhere with lots of stairs or tight corners? How about in an area where strollers are forbidden? Grab your baby carrier instead. Keep one in the car for when these types of situations arise.
A baby carrier also makes breastfeeding efficient (okay, not for the dad – even with a carrier, it’ll still be impossible). For the mom, however, carriers come with a “breast feeding” position. Simply unclip the carrier and unclasp your bra. Then – wah la! – it’s dinnertime!
Are Baby Carriers Safe?
A lot of people wonder if baby carriers are safe. It’s true that not all baby carriers are ideal for your little one, but ergonomically designed baby carriers are made with safety at the forefront.
Unlike a regular carrier, where the baby’s thighs are not supported (risking hip dysplasia), an ergonomic carrier ensures that the baby sits in the M position. This prevents dangling of the baby’s legs and keeps the weight on the rear (which helps the hips develop properly). Hip development is crucial in the first few months of life as newborns are especially vulnerable to hip joint and spine damage.
But ergonomic baby carriers aren’t just about preventing this damage; they’re also designed to make sure your baby sits comfortably. Ergonomic carriers have a wide base to position your baby so that the hips are spread open and the knees and hips are level with one another. The weight distribution facilitates comfort all around (not only does it soothe your child but it also helps you carry your baby straight into toddlerhood).
Yep, the ergonomic design prevents back problems in you and your child too!
So, with that, what are some of the best baby carriers with ergonomic design on the market today? They include:
Ergobaby Carrier, Omni 360
This is an all-in-one carrier made to carry your child from newborn to toddler (it holds up to 45 pounds). It requires no separate infant insert and allows you to wear your baby facing in or out, on front or back. It also has a large storage pouch and a one-hand slider adjustment that allows you to quickly switch baby to face in or out on the fly.
Parents like that this carrier has a compartment for carrying your stuff (you’re a parent, so you definitely have plenty of “stuff”) and the seat width can be adjusted. The carrier is easy to use (easier than most) and comfortable (for both parents and baby). It has a front-facing option and a hood to protect from the sun. It doesn’t get as hot as typical baby carriers, either.
Parents don’t like that this carrier is quite tricky to put on the first time and requires some getting used to (it’s highly recommended that parents watch the video on the manufacturer’s website as the instructions in the package are not of help). This carrier may also be too big for petite babies. The price is another sticking point as it’s higher than many other products.
Lillebaby The Complete Airflow 360° Carrier
Parents enjoy the breathable mesh – it allows you to wear your baby without feeling like you’re strapped to your furnace. The zipper pocket is a nice touch too. This carrier is comfortable with nice straps and efficient back support.
Parents struggle with the neck support (for baby) – it’s not removable, even when you don’t need it. The hood inside the pocket is another hassle (it keeps coming out of the pocket). And the straps aren’t waterproof, something that may be problematic if you have a baby prone to putting anything close in their mouth.
Baby Tula Discover Free To Grow Baby Carrier
This carrier features an innovative body panel. It adjusts to three width settings and two height settings and works until toddlerhood. It also has dual-adjusted shoulder pads and is designed for neck and shoulder comfort.
The positives of this product are that it’s of high quality and sturdy. It has lots of padding and works for parents of all different sizes. The print is cute and the carrier can be adjusted on the fly. And it doesn’t require an infant insert to work with newborns.
The negatives of this product are that it’s not breathable and can get uncomfortable in hot weather. The material is heavy and adjusting the strap across the shoulders can prove trying. You can’t wear the baby facing front, either.
Boba Baby Carrier (Classic 4Gs)
This carrier includes an integrated infant insert (detachable) and a hood for sleeping (or head support). It’s designed for babies who are as little as 7 pounds up to 45 pounds and parents of all different sizes (from 5’0″ – 6’3″ in height and 25″ – 58″ waist). It also has several pockets for storage.
The pros of this product are that it is high quality and made of sturdy fabric. It’s nice looking, versatile, and easy to wear. The bells and whistles – like the extra storage – are also a benefit. So is the ease of which the baby can be taken in and out.
The cons are that the shoulder straps are uncomfortable with a tendency to rub the arms when wearing short-sleeve shirts. The carrier also doesn’t offer a forward facing option.
BABYBJORN Baby Carrier (Updated Ergonomic Design)
This carrier is updated from the 2015 design to cultivate comfort and a better carrying experience. It can carry babies from birth (no infant insert needed) to three years. It offers four carrying positions and comes with extra-padded shoulder straps.
The perks of this product include the sleek look and the ease of use (it’s super simple to wear and adjust). The teething bib is useful and the comfort level is high. You can walk around with your baby for hours without requiring a back surgeon!
The drawbacks are the lack of storage and lack of hood to protect the baby from the elements. It is more expensive than some carriers and the baby sits a little low. It’s also not ideal for parents who are shorter than average.
3D Baby Hip Carrier by AOXO
The good about this product is that the baby sits higher than other carriers and the fabric is soft. The baby feels safe, secure, and comfortable. The cushioned 3D hip seat allows your baby to travel long distances without growing sore.
The bad about this product is that it’s not a good choice for all infants and may require your child to grow a bit before you can use it. It’s also difficult for one person to take off and some people find it impossible to put on without help.
Lillebaby Complete Embossed Luxe Six-Position 360° Carrier
This carrier comes with six carrying positions and is lightweight. It offers hands-free comfort and allows you to carry the baby front or back. The material is cool to the touch and breathable. And it requires no separate infant insert.
Parents rave about the back support – it’s excellent. The material is soft and the design is elegant. It’s adjustable to your own needs and comfort level. It comes with a detachable hood and a big front pocket that can hold a smart phone or phablet (it’s phabulous!).
Parents rant about the difficulty of adjusting the straps when front carrying (it requires a certain degree of flexibility). The carrier may also push against the underarms and may require some modifications before you find the optimal experience.
Baby Tula Explore Baby Carrier
This carrier comes with multiple positions, including front facing, in facing, and back carry. It adjusts to three width settings and works from infancy (no infant insert needed) until toddlerhood. It has a padded neck support pillow, padded leg support, and is made of breathable material.
Parents buy this product because of the construction and high quality. It’s well made with effective and useful positioning. The print is appealing and the Velcro for adjusting is easy to use. It’s nice and comfortable to wear.
Parents pass on this product because the shoulder straps are a bit stiff and they may impede your baby’s view. It’s also not a great fit for petite babies and the head support does not adjust.
As mentioned above, every parent could benefit from being part octopus. But, until evolution catches up to these needs, we can buy convenience. If you have a baby, you need an ergonomic baby carrier. It frees up your hands to type, call, run errands, and, yes, pull out your hair in moments of unbelievable frustration.