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Choosing the Right Baby Carrier

A baby carrier can be a lifesaving baby gear item for parents who want to keep their children close while also keeping their hands free for other daily activities. Selecting the right baby carrier for your needs can be quite a challenge since there are an endless number of carrier options on the market today. With the wide array of choices, parents are sure to find a carrier that meets their lifestyle needs at a price that is within their family budget.
To begin choosing a carrier, you should have a good idea of how often you plan to use the carrier and what activities you’ll likely participate in while wearing the carrier.

Some other important factors to consider include your lifestyle and activity level, budget, age of your child, fabric durability and adjustability of the carrier.

Lifestyle

To begin your search for a baby carrier, it is best to first assess how often you’ll use it and what activities you plan to participate in while wearing the carrier. Parents often find that specific types of carriers or positions make it easier for them to continue there normal activities while babywearing. Some activities that can be done while babywearing include daily activities like housework and gardening, taking long walks, hiking, breastfeeding, carrying a sleeping baby or putting a baby to sleep and even swimming and showering. Find out more about Incorporating Babywearing Into Your Daily Routine. Additionally, some styles and models are better for babywearing twins than other types.

Budget

Before you decide on a particular carrier, it’s a good idea to have an idea of how much money you are willing to spend on a carrier. While there are several affordable carriers available on the market some more complex frame carriers and carriers made of luxurious fabrics such as silk are typically in a higher price range. Do not get discouraged and rule out a carrier type simply because of a higher price tag. Many of the more affordable carrier brands are expanding their lines to carry a variety of carrier types that perform as well as many higher end carriers.

Child’s Age

When selecting a baby carrier, it is important to consider both your baby’s age and weight. While many carriers are suitable for children of multiple ages, some are better suited for children of a particular age. Frame carriers for instance can be used with children from 6 months of age, but are better suited for use with toddlers one year of age and older. Parents of newborns will find that a padded ring sling or pouch works best for carrying and breastfeeding their little ones during the earliest months of their lives. Wraps and slings tend to be better choices for parents of preemies who use carriers for Kangaroo Care

Fabric Selection

The type of fabric that the carrier is made of should also be considered when selecting a baby carrier. Regardless of the carrier’s fabric, it is important to remember that this will be an additional layer of fabric that is covering you and your baby. Synthetic fibers, multiple layers of fabric as well as padding will make wearing the carrier hotter for you and your baby. Carriers made of cotton and/or mesh are the coolest options for those wearing babies in warmer climates. It’s important to keep in mind that while a thinner fabric may be cooler you will be sacrificing durability. In colder weather fleece carriers provide the most warmth though many parents choose to wear their regular carriers with an overcoat over them during the winter months. Read more about how to choose a carrier for the weather in our article Babywearing Throughout the Year.

Carrier Adjustability

Selecting a carrier that can be adjusted to evenly distribute weight across your body will become important after wearing the carrier for an extended period of time as well as when your child begins to grow. A carrier that is adjustable can help to provide you with the perfect fit and can also adjust to accommodate your child has he gets taller and heavier. Additionally, an adjustable carrier is more likely to fit multiple caregivers whereas a carrier that is available in sizes such as small, medium and large may pose problems for parents who plan to share a carrier since it may fit one, but not the other. Larger parents may have a more difficult time finding a carrier that fits properly, but Baby Carriers for Pluz-size Parents can help to make it easier.

Physical Restrictions

Be sure to take into account any physical restrictions that you have such as back, shoulder, neck or sacroiliac problems when choosing a baby carrier that you’ll be wearing. Caregivers with back or hip problems typically find backpack style and front carriers to be more comfortable since they distribute the baby’s weight evenly cross the body to eliminate press on one area. Wraps can also be used to provide a well-balanced weight distribution.
Once you have determined which type of baby carrier will be right for your needs, you can begin to use our Baby Carrier Comparison Tool and Baby Carrier Reviews to narrow your search for the perfect brand and model.