Curated Experts Can Help You Find the Best Carrier for You and Your Family
If you need an extra set of hands—and most all parents do—a baby carrier can be especially useful. Essentially, a carrier is a fabric pack, wrap, or sling that can be worn around your body to hold a baby while freeing up your limbs. Baby carriers are often the most sought-after baby items as they’re ideal for keeping your baby close to you while you take care of business at home or venture out for big and small adventures.
While carriers can give you a needed break, they also comfort a baby in a way that no other baby product does—by letting them rest on you and listen to your heartbeat. The best baby carriers are extremely comfortable and ergonomic for complete peace of mind while babywearing. Curated’s inventory includes soft structured carriers designed to grow with a child, wrap-style carriers for seamless comfort, and backpack carriers for grand adventures. Our Baby & Toddler Experts can guide you through the choices and help you create a registry with your favorite carriers.
Soft Structured Carriers
A soft structured carrier (SSC) is a pack that holds a child on your front and/or back (and sometimes hips). This type of carrier often has padding and shoulder straps, adjustable buckles or snaps, and even lumbar support for the wearer. It provides more support and structure than a baby sling or wrap and can also be worn longer—some models can hold children up to 40lb or five years old! SSCs are engineered to position babies in a safe upright position while supporting their head, neck, back, and hips and allowing their arms and legs to move freely. They’re relatively simple to put on and take off and adjust to differently sized wearers.
Wrap-Style Baby Carriers
A wrap or wrap-style carrier is a single piece of long, stretchy fabric that crisscrosses around the body, usually covering both shoulders and tying around the waist. Many parents and caregivers love the comfort and snuggly feel that wraps offer babies. Wraps are typically lighter and easier to stash in a diaper bag than an SSC, and some models can hold babies up to 35lbs. They tend to be budget-friendly and less expensive than most SSCs.
Babies can experience the joys of hiking and the outdoors well before they can walk with a sturdy backpack carrier. These rigid-frame child carriers tend to have all the comfort and adjustability features that make for a happy day on the trails for both the child and the wearer. They’re lightweight and well-ventilated, while also incredibly durable and comfortable.
Backpack carriers are designed to carry older babies or toddlers for longer durations than a typical baby carrier. While they can hold heavier children (up to around 48lb), a child must be able to sit up unassisted (usually around seven to nine months old) before they can be carried in one of these. Specifically made for hiking or traveling, these carriers aren’t machine washable and are more expensive than other baby carriers, but your back will thank you.
How to Choose a Carrier
When choosing a baby carrier, it’s worth considering how long you plan to use it, who will be primarily wearing it, and how you want to position your child (on your front, back, or side).
Note: A baby should face inward for at least the first six months as this is a critical time for hip development. They can be turned to face outward after six months, but keeping them facing inward for the first year promotes healthy hips.
Here are some other important considerations:
- Comfort: Look for a carrier with wide, thick straps (padding always helps!) around the shoulders, back, and waist. This will help distribute your baby’s weight evenly and keep the carrier from swinging while you move. If you plan to use the carrier outside in a hot or humid environment, opt for a carrier made with mesh for adequate ventilation for both the baby and you.
- Fit: If you plan to switch the baby carrier between differently sized adults, make sure it’s adjustable. Also, follow the manufacturer’s instructions closely to ensure your baby is sized and positioned appropriately for the carrier.
- Ease of use: Not all carriers are easy to put on, and some require extra assistance to put them on your back. While some wrap-style carriers slip on like a T-shirt, others are more complicated and can take time to master. If that concerns you, opt for a carrier with buckles or snap for easier on and off.
- Longevity/age use: The best carriers are made with durable, baby-safe, and soft-to-touch fabrics that will hold up for a long time. Many SSCs can grow with a child from birth until nearly five years old, moving them from a front to back carry as they age. If you just plan to use a carrier for the first year or so, opt for a newborn-specific carrier and save some money.
- Care/cleaning: Most but not all baby carriers are machine washable, and some can even be put in the dryer! Be sure to check tags and follow manufacturer instructions.
Talk With an Expert
If you’ve got baby carriers on your mind, Curated has a wide range of attractive and functional carriers to make babywearing and carrying easier. We also have Baby & Toddler Experts to help personalize and refine your search, as well as help you build a registry if you choose! Head on over to Curated and take the baby and toddler quiz to get matched with these Experts today!