Picking the right baby carrier or baby wrap for you is no easy task. The selection is wide and understanding various types of babywearing devices can be overwhelming. What most people already know is whether or not they want to learn wrapping. If you’re open to the idea, I recommend stretchy or woven wraps. If you are somewhat undecided, then a ring sling can be a great in-between option. And if you are sure you don’t want to spend time learning how to wrap, I recommend choosing a baby carrier. See my top three tips below on how to pick a baby carrier. But first, let’s look at the main baby carrier types.
Baby Carrier Types
Soft Structured Full-Buckle Carriers
This is the carrier type most people think about when they hear the word ‘baby carrier’. Full-buckle carriers consist of a back panel, shoulder straps, and usually a waist belt. Both the shoulder straps and the waist belt have buckle closures.
Half-buckle carriers are quite similar to full-buckle carriers but their shoulder straps are to tie. And only the waist belt can be closed with a buckle.
Asian Style/Meh Dai Carriers
Meh Dai baby carriers have a rectangular back panel with long straps at each corner. These straps are to tie, and they have a similar function as the waist belt and shoulder straps of the buckle carriers.
The Top Three Things to Look for In a Baby Carrier
There are so many things you can consider when buying a carrier. To make it easier, I narrowed it down to these three top recommendations on how to pick a baby carrier.
1. Adjustable Base
The base of a baby carrier is at the bottom of the back panel. Ideally, the width of the base should reach from one knee of the baby to the other. This way, the baby can sit in an ergonomic spread squat position. If you can adjust the base, then the carrier can optimally support your baby’s legs as she grows. That’s why it’s worth picking a carrier with an adjustable base.
2. Suitable Size
Some baby carriers are designed to grow with your baby in other ways as well. These carriers can be used from the newborn age into toddlerhood. The exact age and weight limits differ from model to model, so always check the manufacturer’s guidance. It’s also worth noting that some baby carriers only fit newborn babies with an additional insert. Some manufacturers have sized carriers, which might fit some babies and caregivers better. The drawback is that you need to buy the next size when your baby grows out of it.
3. Comfortable Fit
The adjustability of the base and the correct size are quite straightforward and easy to find out from a description. However, finding the right fit is trickier. Baby carriers are like shoes. Even if you get the right size and your friend loves theirs, it’s not guaranteed that you’ll find it comfortable too. The best way to find out whether or not a baby carrier fits you well is trying it on with your baby (or weighted doll/bag of rice). It’s worth trying on a few models and even different baby carrier types to find the most comfortable one for your body.