How to Choose the Right Baby Carrier

There are different ways to carry your baby, whether home or outside, but probably nothing beats the baby carrier. 

Having your little one close to your heart at all times can be a priceless and invaluable experience. Sure, there are strollers or car seats, but the carrier definitely gives you the mobility the other two can’t. You can walk freely, move without fuss in public places and do all kinds of tasks during the day - while your baby relaxes or takes a nap safely tucked and warm on your body.

In fact, by promoting moments of bonding, the carrier is said to help with children who are more temperamental, as well as help mothers struggling with postpartum depression and anxiety. Physical contact with the baby actually contributes to the production of oxytocin in the body, which is the so-called “hormone of love”.

Baby carriers come in lots of shapes and sizes and can be used for both babies and toddlers. Some parents want to use them only in the early months of their baby’s life, feeling uncomfortable after the baby starts to grow. Others are happy to continue carrying them even when they’re 2-3 years old. Carriers are designed to handle all this, some models managing weights up to 50-60 pounds; they are specially designed, with ergonomic straps and pads that help shift the weight of your child onto your hips, rather than the shoulders.

Next, we’ll go through a couple of different models of baby carriers where you can have the chance to see which one will suit you and your baby best.

Types of Baby Carriers


Baby carriers usually fall into four main categories: slings, front packs, backpacks, and wraps.

Slings


Slings are carriers made of swaths of fabric that are carried over one shoulder where the baby comes in the front. Other benefits of the sling include:

A drawback in using slings would be that they’re not really ergonomic – because they’re worn on one shoulder, the weight of the baby falls unevenly and they can become uncomfortable as the baby grows and increases in weight. They can also be a bit confusing to use in the beginning; if not positioned correctly, the baby can slide out of the bottom. Make sure you know how to position it properly before using it.

Front Packs


Front packs have a bit of a more complex structure than the slings. They contain a seat that attaches on your front with straps that secure the carrier to your body.  


Backpacks


Backpacks are actually very similar to regular backpacks or camping backpacks. They consist of a seat and a frame that’s attached to your back with straps that cross over the shoulders.

Wraps


Wraps are similar to slings but are worn around the body and over both shoulders. Like slings, they’re made from softer materials and are pretty versatile, which makes them rather popular. You can easily adjust them by pulling on the fabric. They’re also more convenient when breastfeeding. The downside would be similar to the slings: they can become uncomfortable if you carry bigger kids because they don’t have the ergonomic support that the backpacks and the front packs usually have.

How to Decide on a Carrier


There isn’t one perfect type of carrier for parents and babies. As we saw earlier, they vary in proportions and forms, and some types fit some people better than others. A lot of parents also switch between them, especially as the baby gets older, trying on what would be most suitable for them and their baby.
The first thing to think about is where and how you plan to use a carrier. Are you planning on using it throughout the whole day, only indoors or for various occasions, both in and outside? Defining the purpose of the carrier will significantly help to narrow down your choices.

It’s always a good idea to first try the carriers while you’re in the store or borrow one from a friend or acquaintance, preferably with your baby so they have a say in the choice as well.

What to Look For


Some Safety Notes


While carriers are pretty convenient, there are some important safety precautions that need to be taken into consideration:
o   You have a baby under 4 months.
o   The baby is born prematurely or with low weight.
o   Has respiratory problems.

If you’re still confused about what choice you want to make when buying a baby carrier – and, granted, it is rather vast – you can find a list of best baby slings in our Best Baby Carry Sling Guide, that offers the handiest choices for both mother and baby.