How to choose the perfect carrier

I've known that I wanted to wear my babies since before I had them. But I never realized that I'd wear them with so many different carriers. I have used each carrier for a different stage of infancy (and toddlerhood), some overlapping with others. And each one brings something different to the table. From the basic, one piece carriers to those with snaps and harnesses. And after babywearing two kids I now know what I love and think that I can help out other mamas (or daddies) who plan on wearing their little ones.

Below are a few breakdowns of the different baby carriers I've used. I've highlighted what I love and what I don't love about each. And I just realized that almost all of the pictures show below are of my kids in carriers at Disneyland. Guess we're going to have to take the Kelty up there next time and update this picture!

Hotsling
Best for: 5-20 pounds, age 0-12 months
The one carrier I was able to "get" and use right away, like as soon as I brought my little ones home from the hospital, was the Hotsling. It's one piece of material that you fold in half on itself to create a pocket. It's versatile, light and easy to use. Plus it can double as a blanket or changing mat if needed when out and about.

I stopped using my Hotsling when my babies got a little too heavy and I needed a bit more shoulder and back support. I then started using it again with my son when he was about 11-12 months old and used it to hip carry. I would only use it for quick trips to the grocery store or mall when he didn't want to sit in a shopping cart. It's definitely the easiest carrier to learn how to use right away. No snaps, no wrapping, no pieces.

Moby Wrap
Best for: 5-15 pounds, age 0-6 months
I purchased my first moby wrap when my son was 3 months old. I was new to babywearing and had only been using my fleece Hotsling and Snugli before that. I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into but after researching how to wrap a moby as well as the different types of carries I became more and more comfortable with wearing him in it.

I still enjoyed using my Hotsling but felt like I had more support overall with the moby wrap when we were out for longer than 30 minutes. The moby wrap also kept my son warm and cozy. The fact that there is so much fabric means you have a built in blanket to cover up hands and toes if needed. But that also means that in the summer months it can get very hot for both baby and mom.


BABYBJÖRN or Snugli
Best for: 11-17 pounds, age 2-6 months
This type of baby carrier is the perfect next step after the Moby wrap, as it still provides that close comfort but also offers extra support for a growing baby. I felt comfortable wearing my son in this starting when he was around 12 pounds, but it began hurting my back when he got over about 15-17 pounds. The ERGOBaby and BABYBJÖRN/Snugli carriers are usually seen as competing products, with the BABYBJÖRN or Snugli being less expensive but not as long-lasting.

I’d advise buying the BABYBJÖRN if you want to do casual carrying around the grocery store and park up to about 6 or 7 months and plan to stop carrying after that. If you’re looking for a more long-term solution, invest in the ERGOBaby and use an infant insert to make it work for your lighter baby when they outgrow the Moby wrap.

ERGOBaby
Best for: 15-35 pounds, age 6 months – toddler without insert
              8-15 pounds, age 2 weeks – 3 months with insert
I love the ERGOBaby because of its incredible ergonomics. I can wear my son or daughter for hours without any back or body pain, and it works on the front, back, or hip! I also love how easy it is to put on and adjust. I can put it on in less than a minute and feel like my children are secure and comfortable at all times.

The one drawback to the ERGOBaby is that the baby can only face inward, so my kids occasionally get restless and struggle to look around and see what's going on behind them. But when that happens I can just put them on my back and they can see over my shoulder. I keep this carrier in my car at all times and grab it for quick errands and long trips.

Kelty
Best for: 17-40 pounds, age 6 months – 4 years
This is the carrier for people who are serious about carrying. We have the Kelty FC 3.0 Child Carrier and it is perfect for outdoor adventures and hikes. If you’re an active person and want to explore the outdoors with your children then this is the carrier for you.

It comes with a sun hood, changing pad, toy loops, kickstand, storage pockets…all the bells and whistles you could possibly need. The best part about this carrier is that, like the ERGOBaby, I can also use it for both kids, switching them in and out as needed. And my husband will wear it. He doesn't quite like the ERGOBaby but since this carrier is more like a backpack (heck... it has a backpack on it!) he feels more comfortable with it on.

I don't use this carrier for running errands or morning trips to the zoo, but this will always be my go-to solution for adventures and vacations to keep the kids and all their equipment all in one place. I cannot wait to try this carrier on our next trip to Mammoth Mountain.

Kelty sent me their FC 3.0 child carrier to review. All others were independently purchased. All opinions are my own.


3 comment(s) with love:

Annie and Jordan said... Reply To This Comment

Have all but the ergo. My fav was the moby (homemade) and next is my big backpack from rei but yes, very different purposes!! We are taking our backpack to Europe this fall. Maybe with my next I will try to get an ergo!!! Love carrying my baby :) great post!

Natalie | The Bobby Pin said... Reply To This Comment

I can't believe how many products are needed to do the same thing! I have always thought the Moby wrap looks amaze though.

Jen + Jeff said... Reply To This Comment

I love my Ergo! I used it on the airplane to put Leila to sleep last summer. I lent it to my cousin and have seen photos of her, her husband, and her sister using it to carry around their youngest son.