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Babies need their cuddle time and if you’re looking for ways to keep your infant close, and also keep your hands free, a baby carrier is a wonderful way to accomplish both! A baby carrier allows the skin-to-skin time your baby needs while you answer emails, get your steps in outside, or maybe even sneak in that all-important bathroom break. Basically, a baby carrier allows you to get stuff done.
Finding ways to keep infants close has a long history, and caregivers have been baby-wearing (no joke) for thousands of years. This is a great item to have on hand with all your other baby gear like a bottle sterilizer, baby mattress, and a high chair. We spoke to a few Bobbie moms who shared which baby carriers they adore, why they are super awesome, and how they can be easier to navigate than a clunky stroller. “Carry” on to read their choice for best baby carriers of 2023.
What is a baby carrier?
A baby carrier lives up to its name allowing you to carry your baby against you. This specially designed device lets you “wear” your baby on your chest (and sometimes even on your back) so your child is kept safe and cozy right up next to you.
A baby carrier is soft and adjustable and has many benefits for both baby and wearer—besides letting you assemble your kiddos bottle and your own lunchtime PB&J hands-free. Babywearing is a wonderful way to bond with your baby. Babywearing also supports an infant in sleeping better (Sign me up!) and can even help soothe colicky babies.
Types of baby carriers
- Soft structured baby carriers: A super popular choice in the world of baby carriers, this one is designed to keep a lot of the weight on the wearer’s hips which makes them great for wearing your baby longer. This carrier has a body panel, buckled waist strap, and two shoulder straps which are generously padded for maximum comfort. Some SSC come with adjustable newborn head supports, too, in order to support a newborn’s fragile head and neck. With this carrier you’ll want to make sure the fit is adjusted correctly so that’s it slightly snug because this will keep your baby securely next to you.
- Baby wrap baby carriers: The opposite of a structured carrier, a baby wrap is a long piece of material that’s knotted or tied around the wearer’s body and creates a pouch. The material is designed to hold the weight of your baby and will fit over your shoulders and torso. It does this so the weight of your child is evenly distributed which can take the pressure off your hips and shoulders. Figuring out how to use the wrap can take some instruction reading or video watching, but it’s definitely less confusing than assembling your baby’s bassinet. With no buckles, clasps, or large padded areas, the wrap is easy to fold and pack in an oversized bag.
- Ring sling baby carriers: Even though this sounds like a gizmo out of a Marvel Studios Doctor Strange movie (oh, wait, that’s a “sling ring”) this type of carrier is made from a long piece of material (like a baby wrap) but uses two rings to help make its cozy baby carrying pouch. No snaps or buckles in use here and the ring sits on one shoulder so your baby can cuddle up against your chest. When it comes to wearing, these are less puzzle-like than a baby wrap, but it doesn’t work to distribute your infant’s weight quite as evenly so it may take a minute to get used to wearing.
- Hybrid baby carrier: With a hybrid carrier, you get the best of both baby carrier worlds: the closeness of a wrap and the ease of a structured carrier. There’s enough structure for your baby to rest in a more “seated” position while you feel them snuggled up against you. These wraps have fewer buckles and claps than a SSC and some even slip on like a t-shirt which allows for some quick baby soothing.
- Hiking baby carrier: These baby carriers are built especially for the great outdoors and walking long distances. A hiking baby carrier is bigger than your usual soft structured carrier and made for wearing on your back. These carriers generally have pockets for snacks (We can all use more pockets, right?), a sunshade, and a good suspension system to keep your back in shape while you carry your child. If you’re ready to take your little one hiking know that this type of carrier is generally suggested for babies older than 9 months.
Now that you’re up to speed on each type of baby carrier, let us “carry on” with the best carriers in each category. This way you can get a feel for which one (or two) might work for you. And check out our Bobbie mom reviews as those can help you on your baby-wearing journey as each mom spills the tea about her preferred carrier.
15 Best Baby Carriers
Best Soft Structured Baby Carriers
1. Best baby to toddler baby carrier: Ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier
This soft-structured baby carrier has its own ergonomic seat that adjusts as your baby grows. For use with newborns up to toddlers, this transformer-like carrier can be used front and facing inward, front and facing outward, on your hip, and eventually moved to your back. The padded shoulder straps come with a criss-cross option and has double adjusters which gives you extra back support. Bobbie Mom, Jamie, says she primarily used the Ergo for her kids. “It was lightweight, easy to use, very comfortable, and I could put it on myself on my back,” she says. Bobbie mom Frances is also a fan of the Ergo saying both she and her husband love wearing it!
2. Best baby carrier for different carry options: Lillebaby Complete All Seasons Baby Carrier
This carrier offers 6 different carrying options and can be used with infants on up to toddlers. It’s well padded and has an extra wide waistband (to help distribute your baby’s weight) and lumbar support— so wearing is a comfy experience. It comes with an adjustable and removable sleeping hood and even has temperature control panel zip-ups. Use this one as your baby grows so your child-wearing experience can continue into toddler back rides around the neighborhood or just through your living room.
3. Best baby carrier for newborns: BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Mini
A fabulous first carrier for newborns, BABYBJORN has been rockin’ it for moms for decades. This SSC is made from comfortable and flexible fabric that proves a great fit for both you and your little one. With an adjustable seat, head support, and two front carrying options, you’ll find this carrier super user-friendly. Our Bobbie Mom, Bethany, was not a fan of the baby wraps because she found them confusing and time intensive. “I found this prior to baby number two and it was a game changer during the tiny months,” she reveals. “This carrier was incredibly easy to put on, soft, and supportive— highly recommend!”.
Best Baby Wrap Carriers
4. Best easy-to-use baby carrier: Baby K’Tan Baby Wrap Carrier
This wrap is super easy to wear and quick to slip into. This goes on like your favorite t-shirt and has no buckles, hip belts, or rings to deal with while wearing. Allowing for even weight distribution and major snuggles, this carrier also gives you five different comfy ways of wearing your baby. A favorite of Bobbie Mom, Kristie, says, “I love the Baby K-Tan! It’s easy for me to figure out—I had a lot of trouble working out how to tie the long scarf ones.” Made from 100% cotton and is machine washable, use this one with a baby up to 35 pounds.
5. Best one size fits all baby carrier: Boba Wrap Baby Carrier
Designed for the first 3-months of parenthood, this stretchy and soft wrap is easy to tie. The latter feature (in combination with a center marker) is a definite plus as it won’t leave you struggling how to figure out if need to wrap yourself tighter than your holiday presents. This wrap is one-size fits all and machine washable. Made with 95% cotton and a touch of Spandex, this allows it to retain its shape and provide flexibility for your baby. More than 22,000 parents have given this a thumbs up on Amazon— it must be for good reason!
6. Best lightweight and breathable baby carrier: Solly Baby Wrap
Made from material that feels like your favorite t-shirt, this wrap easily works for any wearer. It boasts a fit that feels “reminiscent of the womb.” It’s machine washable and then can be tossed in the dryer on low heat without a second thought about shrinkage. Bobbie Mom, Elieke says she used the Solly for her child’s infant stage. “I had to watch a LOT of YouTube videos to figure out how to wear the Solly, but once I nailed it, taking that thing on/off was super easy,” she says. Elieke says the baby fits snugly and there was great neck support. And a big bonus was she could use her winter coat with it. “This was a big plus for the Chicago winter,” she says.
Best Ring Sling Baby Carriers
7. Best easy to put on baby carrier: Wildbird Ring Sling
Made from the best quality Belgian linen, this high-quality ring sling is professionally crafted by working moms in Salt Lake City. Bobbie Mom, Alex, says, “I loved my Wildbird ring sling; absolutely a breeze to put on…” Alex says this fast easy-in was essential when her kiddo was on the move and “running wild.” This carrier works with newborns up to toddlers weighing 35 pounds and lets you carry your baby on your front, hip, and even on your back for those trips to the park, grocery store, or for getting in your steps out-of-doors.
8. Best eco-friendly baby carrier: Nalakai Ring Sling Baby Carrier
This baby wrap will wrap your little one up in temperature-regulated comfort since it’s made from eco-friendly, super-soft bamboo and linen. Nalakai is a family-run company and they’re committed to providing sustainable products and packaging as well as a great product. This ring sling is great for beginners offering a quick learning curve. It comes in loads of colors and is easily adjustable for the support you and your baby need.
9. Best budget baby carrier: MOBY Baby Wrap Sling Carrier
This easy-to-wear carrier is all about maintaining everyone’s comfort as your baby grows by offering both front carry and hip options. The suggested age for this carrier is 4 months on up to toddlerhood as it holds up to 33 pounds. It goes on quickly and is super easy to use. Made to fit all body types, it’s machine washable, but air dry. Great for travel, too, since it folds up flat!
Best Hybrid Baby Carriers
10. Best trendy baby carrier: Artipoppe Zeitgeist Baby Carrier
When the whole team at Bobbie is totes over the moon about a product, then it’s definitely worth mentioning. Artipoppe’s hybrid baby carrier is checking all the boxes when it comes to function, comfort, and style. This carrier is suitable for newborns up to two years and the body panel can be adjusted in four different sizing positions. A combination of buckles, with the softness of a wrap, this carrier gives the best of both worlds. Add this one to your push present list because the patterned designs are super individual…and just cool.
11. Best beginners baby carrier: Lalabu Baby Carrier
This carrier leaves behind the bulkiness of a soft strutted carrier while keeping the softness of a wrap intact. Simply clip at your waist and put your arms through the straps and you’re ready for your baby to join you in some snuggle time. Machine washable and made for kiddos from 13 to 28 pounds, this carrier is a favorite of Bobbie Mom, Shira. “It’s really comfortable and works well for a tiny infant or a bigger baby.” Shira goes on to say that it has all the benefits of a soft wrap without the hassle of getting it on. “It also looks good which doesn’t hurt,” she adds.
12. Best cozy fit baby carrier: Boppy Baby Carrier
If you’re looking for an uncomplicated and super cozy carrier, this hybrid might be your perfect fit. This carrier is easy to put on and even comes with a “Stash N’ Go” pouch that makes tossing it into your diaper bag simple. Inspired by the movement and freedom yoga wear offers, this bulk-free wrap gives you an adjustable belt and easy-on arm strap—for you and your “happy baby.” (Yep, a little yoga pose humor.) An extra added bonus here is that the fabric is UPF 50+ and is machine washable.
Best Hiking Baby Carriers
13. Best baby carrier for travel: Ergobaby Aerloom All Carry Positions
14. Best baby carrier for hiking: Kelty Journey PerfectFIT Elite Child Carrier
Ready to explore the great outdoors with your baby? This backpack-style baby carrier offers you all the greatness that goes along with the great outdoors with perks like an easily adjustable suspension system, sun shield (to cover babies face), a wide seat base, and large zipper pockets for ample storage. Comfortable enough for your kiddo to take a nap on your back, this works well for beginner and advanced hikers waiting for their next outdoor adventure.
15. Best multi-position seat baby carrier: Chicco SmartSupport Backpack Baby Carrier
A well-known name in baby products, Chicco has been around since 1958 “creating better solutions for parents.” And this hiking carrier doesn’t fall short with its multi-position seat, padded backrest, and five-point harness. It’s no secret, that hiking with a kiddo on your back can feel a little heavy after a time, and this backpack’s padded shoulder straps and lumbar supports are there to support you through those tougher trails.
Is a baby carrier worth it?
A baby carrier can give you the freedom you need to keep up with the fast-paced life of parenting while also giving your baby all the benefits of skin-to-skin contact and just getting in those extra sleepy-time cuddles. Those physical and emotional benefits extend well past infancy and deepen your connection. A baby carrier can help you carry on with your busy parenting lifestyle while keeping you’re little one close.