Baby Carrier Guide: Best Soft-Structured, Wraps & Slings

Babywearing has been practiced for centuries all over the world. Baby carriers, wraps and slings are effective bonding and soothing tools for caregivers. Our movement, the sound of our voice and heartbeat, and the warmth of our bodies have a calming effect on our babies. Baby carriers have become an essential baby gear and are included in most baby registries.

The variety of baby carriers available today can be overwhelming. There are so many brands, models and designs to choose from with prices range from $40 to over $100. Wraps and slings are ideal for newborns as they keep babies uniquely close and are also very comfortable for parents. However, the popular and versatile soft-structured carriers either offer infant inserts or are already designed to carry babies from 7 pounds through as much as 45 pounds.

After spending a lot time researching, testing and talking to other parents about the best baby carriers in the market, I have compiled a list of my favorite soft-structured carriers, wraps /slings, and lightweight/travel carriers. Hopefully this list you help you narrow your baby carrier options and make a decision!

Soft-Structured Baby Carriers

Ergobaby carrierErgobaby Original

The Ergobaby carrier is a favorite among parents for its comfortable and ergonomic design. The Original Ergo holds baby in an ergonomic and natural sitting position and has a padded waistbelt that evenly distributes baby’s weight between your hips. The Ergo comes with a zippered storage pocket and a protection hood for baby. It allows for 3 carry positions: front, back, and hip but it does not provide a front-facing option (which is a great position for older babies as they become more interested in the “world” and enjoy facing out).  It fits babies 7-45 pounds but requires an infant insert for babies 7-12 pounds.

The Boba 4G Baby Carrier

Boba Baby CarrierThe Boba 4G comes with several unique features that make this carrier one of a kind. These features include an integrated infant insert, removable foot straps (for toddlers), removable sleeping  hood, breastfeeding adjustment strap, multiple pockets for on-the-go storage,  and shoulder strap holders to keep purse in place. Also, the body of carrier rises 2″-3″ higher than other brands offering better back and neck support for babies. It comes in a variety of patterns including the popular Tweet pattern.  It allows for 2 carry positions: front and back, and like the Ergo, it does not provide a front-facing option. It fits babies 7-45 pounds (it does not require separate infant insert).

Beco Gemini Soft-Structured CarrierBeco Gemini

The Beco Gemini is versatile, comfortable and a great all-purpose baby carrier. It allows for 4 carry positions: front-facing-in, back, hip, and front-facing-out. This carrier has an innovative design that includes a width alternating base to accommodate small babies and to enable facing out position (for older babies). Instead of a full sleeping hood, it has a padded headrest support that can be raised. Another great feature is the ability to cross the straps in the back or to use it straight like a backpack. I really like the Gemini’s beautiful and stylish patterns with vibrant gender-neutral colors.  This carrier does not include storage (which parents love to have) and it has a lower weight limit than other brands (for toddlers up to 35 pounds). It fits babies 7-35 pounds (it does not require separate infant insert).

BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One

BabyBjorn Carrier One Soft-Structured CarrierThe Baby Carrier One is BabyBjorn’s latest baby carrier and it great multifunctional baby carrier.  It is the only Baby Bjorn that allows for back carry and 3 front carry positions: newborn position, inward-facing and outward-facing.  The special inward-facing newborn position allows you to carry the baby high up on your chest, providing eye-contact and closeness (it also includes a head support for newborns). The One has two zippers, one on each size, to adjust the leg holes allowing for better leg positioning when baby is facing forward. The One also has a unique function that allows you to safely place your child on your back without assistance. You move the baby carrier from front to back while your child sits in the carrier (the shoulder straps will remain on your body like a closed loop during the process). Lastly, this carrier can be rolled up for easy storage.  Just like the Beco Gemini, the One carrier does not include pockets for storage and it has a lower weight limit than other soft carriers (for toddlers up to 33 pounds). And, it is only available in silver and black. It fits babies 8-33 pounds (it does not require separate infant insert).

These four soft-structured carriers are all priced above $100. If you are looking for a soft-structured carrier that is also high quality but a little more affordable, consider the Moby Go Carrier or the JJ Cole Medley Baby Carrier. The Moby Go Carrier is an ideal carrier for children who have good head and neck control weighing at least 15 lbs.

Slings and Wrap Carriers

Moby Wrap CarrierThe Moby Wrap

The Moby Wrap is a wide piece of durable fabric that is wrapped over both shoulders (it is 5.5 meters in length). There are no buckles, snaps or other fasteners. When I first got my Moby Wrap, I was very intimidated by the long piece of fabric. But after watching the instructions video and wearing it a couple of times, it fell in love with it. If you talk to other parents that have used the Moby Wrap, most of them will share the same experience. The Moby is very comfortable (it is designed to use your entire back, as well as your shoulders) and enables you to carry your baby uniquely close (which is particularly great for newborns). It comes in a variety of solid colors and patterns (my favorite is the Born Free Design). It fits babies 8-35 pounds.

Baby k'tan wrap, sling, carrierBaby K’tan

The Baby K’tan carrier is a very unique and user-friendly carrier. It is the hybrid of a carrier, wrap and sling and allows you to carry your baby in six different positions. It has no buckles, rings, snaps, or clasps and rather than one long piece of fabric, it includes two attached loops that cross over your shoulders and connect to a back support band. It also comes with a support sash (to be used in certain positions) that doubles as a handy storage pouch. Its fabric is soft and stretchy and unlike most carriers that are “one size fits all,” the Baby K’tan comes in 5 different sizes (XS, S, M, L, XL). Make sure to carefully read their sizing guide before purchasing it. It fits babies 8-35 pounds.

Lightweight Carriers

ERGOBABY STOWAWAY

Ergo Lightweight Travel Baby CarrierThe Ergo Stowaway is part of Ergo’s Travel Collection and is a comfortable, compact, and very convenient carrier. It is made with 100% recycled polyester and folds into its own front pouch for easy storage. You can put it in your diaper bag and even wear it on your wrist, thanks to the handy strap. Similar to the other Ergo carriers, it is ergonomic and allows for 3 carry positions (front inward-facing, hip and back). It is less bulky than the original Ergo but not as comfortable. I still recommend the original Ergo for longer carry periods. This is perfect for travel and for warm weather.  It comes with a hood and a large storage pocket. If you are looking for a sleek and modern design, I recommend the Urban Chic Model (but it costs $20 more). It fits babies 7-45 pounds but requires an infant insert for babies 7-12 pounds

BOBA AIR

Boba AirThe Boba Air is very lightweight and is perfect for parents on the go and travelers. The carrier has an ergonomic design and allows for 2 carry positions: front and back. It is made of 100% nylon, which is light, durable and easy to clean.  The Boba Air is compact and self-storing – it folds up into its own hood pouch to be easily stored in a purse or diaper bag.  Also, it includes a removable sleeping hood for sun, rain or nap time. It fits babies 15-45 pounds.

Baby k'tan breeze carrier, wrap, slingBABY K’TAN BREEZE

The Baby K’tan Breeze carrier has the same double loop design as the original Baby K’tan which allows for multiple carry positions, but is made of 50% breathable mesh and 50% soft cotton. The mesh/cotton fabric is a very light fabric that reduces heat and moisture, making it more breathable and comfortable for baby and parent.  It is perfect for warm weather and outdoor active use. It is only available in black or white and fits babies 8-35 pounds.

 

CLICK HERE TO SHOP FOR THE BEST SELECTION OF BABY CARRIERS. 

 

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