For the first month of my daughter’s life, I would sit on the couch with her happily snoozing on my chest as I stared at piles of dirty dishes in the sink. The moment I’d put her down, she would cry. I soon learned that my most valuable tool as a new mom would be a baby carrier. But the one I owned (something a well-meaning friend added from my registry) just didn’t feel right. My baby’s head felt unsupported, and I constantly worried about her breathing. I knew I needed to find a new carrier that was safe and cozy for us both. So I pored through dozens of Amazon reviews, baby-gear websites, and even went to a few local baby-wearing meet-ups on my quest for the perfect carrier — now I’m passing the knowledge on.
Best infant wrap
The general consensus among Amazon reviewers and postpartum doulas I spoke with was that the Moby Wrap is the most comfortable and supportive for a newborn baby. Unlike the Baby K’tan I was using before, which allowed my baby’s head to wobble around, the Moby Wrap hugged us both firmly in all the right places and supported my newborn’s head as I ran chores around the house. I never felt like it was anything but fully secure. Also key: The long fabric could easily be adjusted so that my husband and I could both use the same wrap.
Best 3- to 6-month carrier
Eventually, my daughter became too heavy to comfortably lug around in just a stretchy piece of fabric. My local baby-wearing group suggested I try the LilleBaby Complete Airflow 360, a soft-structured carrier that could accommodate my growing baby in up to six different positions. The mesh fabric kept us both cool during the muggy summer months, and the generous lumbar support meant that I could go for long walks without an aching back. And yes, before you bring it up, the LilleBaby had a more practical design than the very chattered-about ErgoBaby 360 I tried, which had a Velcro back enclosure that got stuck to all my shirts and woke up my sleeping baby (she was not pleased).
Best 6-month-plus carrier
As my baby reached the 6-month mark, though, she began insisting on facing outward to see the world. I experimented with a friend’s Beco Gemini carrier, and was instantly sold: The generous shoulder padding and easily adjustable snap seat means that I can seamlessly transition my kid between an outward-facing position for exploration and an inward-facing one for nap time. I have a petite frame, so the crisscross back straps sit nicely on my shoulders and never droop down the way they typically do with other soft-structured carriers. A total winner.
Best 6-month to 1-year carriers
As my baby continues to grow, though (she’s 8 months now), I fear her bum may soon become too wide for the Beco Gemini’s narrow seat, so I’m already set on wearing her in one of the interestingly patterned Tula Ergonomic Carriers by her first birthday. These carriers, which have a cult following, have consistently been rated top in comfort and usability on baby-gear websites. They’re so trendy that some of the limited-edition patterns (like this doughnut one) resell for more than their original price on resale websites.
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