Name the Best Baby Carrier

Thinga-reader Sara P. asks:

“We are expecting our first baby in just a couple of months, and have been having a hard time making up my mind about slings. We have a hand-me-down Baby Bjorn, but have generally been told that it’s fairly useless after about 6 months. So I would like to find something that would allow me to wear my baby into the early toddler years. I’ve been doing lots of research, but have been having a hard time finding something that seems right. Any suggestions?

Also…I’d love the dad’s point of view…we’d like something my husband can feel comfortable wearing the baby in, and so many of these slings only come in very feminine prints.”

We can help Sara, yes?

First thought… If you have a Baby Bjorn, give it a good try out when the little guy (gal?) arrives. Take note of what annoys you, then go shopping with some experience under your belt. And if you like the Bjorn, don’t sweat shopping until you stop liking it.

For longevity you can look at each carrier’s weight limit, but sometime after the 1- or 2-year mark you have to balance your child’s growing heft against how physically fit you happen to be. If a carrier strains any part of you, especially your back, it won’t stand the test of time.

Maya_wrap

Way back on my second day of blogging, I reviewed the Maya Wrap. It remains my wife’s favorite carrier. You manipulate two rings to wear your baby front, back or from the hip.

The portion running over your shoulder is wide, not like a backpack strap, which helps distribute some of the weight.

Many parents find ring wraps confusing, which is why this one comes with an instructional DVD.

My wife uses the wrap nearly everywhere we go. When the baby is snug inside, strangers don’t try touching him. And, you can breastfeed in relative secrecy. It served us well into the second year for our first child, although she was a bit on the small side.

Unfortunately, a key selling point is no longer valid. We loved that the Maya Wrap had no padding. Now it has “light” padding at the shoulder. We generally find padding unnecessary while making your padded portions sweaty.

Two photos of a mother carrying a baby in her Ergobaby carrier on her front and on her back. In the front photo she has her shirt pulled up to nurse the baby.

The ERGObaby carrier (“the Ergo”) has grown on me, though I confess I hate navigating the straps on all similar carriers. You can avoid this issue by not sharing the carrier with your spouse who will assuredly mess up your sizing adjustments.

The Ergo is a backpack style carrier that is very comfortable, with a lot of the weight transferred to your hips instead of your shoulders. It too can place the baby at your front, back or hip. A special insert is needed for newborns to provide neck support.

A photo of my old style Kelty backpack and a newer model.

Our third carrier is an older model Kelty frame carrier bought used from a friend (recalled for repair, thanks friend!). The first thing you notice about Kelty packs is their size, resembling a backcountry backpack.

And indeed, we primarily use it for hikes and community events such as parades. It’s good for parades because an older toddler’s head can sit above yours for a good view of activities while enjoying a shade cover. Like the Ergo, weight is evenly distributed, allowing you to wear it for longer periods of time. Of all carrier types, a frame carrier will give you the best product longevity.

The best thing when shopping for a carrier is to visit an independent baby store where you can try on each type of carrier and futz with them. A carrier is a very personal item, like a piece of clothing. If you can’t make it fit right, you won’t want to use it.

So, what say you, oh experienced Thinga-readers? Which carrier(s) do you and your spouse use?

Comments

42 Responses to “Name the Best Baby Carrier”

  1. OM says:

    Wow. Same here on the carrier front.

    My wife preferred the Maya Wrap until the kid was about 10 – 12 months, I always preferred the Ergo even today (she’s 17 months).

    I would suggest buying the Ergo online from http://www.myfavoritebabycarrier.com/ because they are one of the few places that offer a 90-day return policy. Each child and parent are different so what works for most may not work for you.

    If you live in a warmer climate, the Ergo can be a bit warm for the wearer especially with the heat of the baby and the straps are padded so I always had sweat marks on my shirts. I know, sexy…but I gave up sexy when I realized the sweat marks matched the spit up on my shoulder and boogers pressed up against my chest.

    Hope this helps.

    OM

    June 6th, 2008 at 3:21 am

  2. jc says:

    I love my Didymos wrap! No rings or padding, just fabric… a bit of a learning curve to wrap it, but mine came with a book and DVD, and I just learn one wrap at a time.

    This way I could carry my newborn lying down, or upright on my front, soon I’ll be able to carry him on my hip, and when he’s older, on my back. My husband wears it just as easily and has no complaints about the complexity of wrapping that people seem to worry about.
    http://www.didymos.com/

    June 6th, 2008 at 4:14 am

  3. phyllis says:

    i don’t know when baby is due exactly but this sling : http://www.theslingstation.com/tmsolar.html worked so well for a summertime baby. it was light and cool (can go into the water, actually), and had uv-protection which made me feel very safe, i’d just pull it up over the baby’s head but not feel like i was suffocating her.

    June 6th, 2008 at 4:30 am

  4. CanCan says:

    The Ergo is our favorite. We had an Ella Roo Wrap and a Maya Wrap…I just don’t have the patience for “wrapping.” We also tried the slingling and a ring sling. They both hurt my shoulder.

    June 6th, 2008 at 5:03 am

  5. Darby says:

    Generally, most moms find they need more than one baby carrier because certain carriers are better for certain uses.

    I have a Moby Wrap, which is awesome and is extremely comfortable for baby wearing, especially in the early months. I use that a lot at home when I want to hold my son but still be hands-free. It is 18 feet of fabric and requires some coordination and skill to use the first few times. Once you get the hang of it, it’s no big deal. There are many different “holds” so you can wear your baby different ways and until they are 2-3 years old if you want. But it isn’t as easy as slipping on a Baby Bjorn.

    Which is why I use our Baby Bjorn when we’re out and about, hiking or at the park. It’s just easier and quicker to get into and get the baby in when I’m standing by the car in a parking lot. But after a while, my shoulders and back get sore. The weight is not as evenly distributed as it is with the Moby Wrap. For the first few months, baby faces you (and you can breastfeed discreetly in it), but then you can have baby face forward after 4 months or so, which baby seems to enjoy because he can look around and see everything.

    http://www.mobywrap.com/

    I also have a heavy-duty Snugli frame backpack for carrying my baby when I go on long, strenuous hikes. It’s great – it has lots of pockets and places to carry things, ie: snacks, sippy cup/water bottle, cell phone, keys, etc. I found that I used that more once my daughter was almost a year old and older, so I’ll probably do the same with my son.

    Snugli: http://tinyurl.com/657vc7

    Someone just gave me their old Ergo carrier, which I am sure I will use once my son is a little bigger too. The point is, I like all of my carriers for different reasons and use them under different circumstances.

    June 6th, 2008 at 5:04 am

  6. Amanda says:

    I loved my Kangaroo Korner fleece pouch for the first year with my fall baby. Hubby used the Bjorn for the first 6 months. Now that he’s older, the Ergo reigns supreme for both of us (although readjusting the straps for our different frames is annoying). I tried the Maya and a variety of ring slings, but they weren’t for us.

    http://www.kangarookorner.com/

    If I had to pick one for all ages for both me and hubby, it would be the Ergo.

    June 6th, 2008 at 5:29 am

  7. Lindsey says:

    We have both the Ergo and a sling wrap. The sling wrap has a padded shoulder, which I like for comfort reasons. DS is almost 2 and close to 40 lbs. and I can still carry him comfortably in both.

    I’m pregnant with DS2 though, so I think I’m going to need to get an extender for the Ergo, it just isn’t fitting across the belly anymore. :(

    June 6th, 2008 at 6:08 am

  8. Will says:

    Mei tai. Google it. eBay it. If you spend more that $40, you paid too much.

    ’nuff said.

    June 6th, 2008 at 6:25 am

  9. Chief Family Officer says:

    I used three mei tais with my youngest and loved all of them. A Babyhawk, a Mei Tai Baby and a Kozy Carrier. They are a little different from each other, but I loved all of them and eventually, Tyler did too. They are so versatile and easy to use, I couldn’t have managed without them, since my oldest wasn’t even two when Tyler was born.

    If money hadn’t been an object, I also would have gotten an Ergo and maybe a Beco too – I loved wearing my baby! :)

    http://www.meitaibaby.com/
    http://kozycarrier.homestead.com/
    http://www.babyhawk.com/
    http://www.becobabycarrier.com/

    June 6th, 2008 at 6:28 am

  10. Emily says:

    I would definitely give the Baby Bjorn hand-me-down a chance, and also maybe try a friend’s sling or wrap (or at least try them on in a store) ONCE the baby is here before you go ordering anything ……

    You may not be able to imagine it at the moment, but the easy of use of a carrier & its comfort level may make ZERO difference to your baby, as they may resist being constrained by a carrier — and may be too fussy to have the patience with you as you are struggling to learn how to wrap & such … (I had a terrible time at a store w/my infant trying to learn to wear a wrap etc. I probably do not have the required patience & coordination, however).

    I used a Hotsling for the early days ….. (it’s very easy to use & can be worn before the baby hits eight pounds — the minimum for the Baby Bjorn) …. For us, it took a little while to hit the eight pound mark, and the Hotsling was a lifesaver early on when I was exhausted & needed a little hands-free time. Baby napped well in it & it was like our daytime swaddler; (at night, she could only fall asleep while swaddled).

    http://www.hotslings.com/

    For me, the Baby Bjorn [Active Carrier] has had much more longevity than my Hotsling; (husband uses a hand-me-down Baby Bjorn Original Carrier, so we don’t have to change any of the “settings”). I have tried to use the sling once in a while since those early days, but my little one is just too active, and it doesn’t feel secure to me, as she started lunging all over the place & back bending out of the thing (even at only about 11 or 12 wks. old).

    Our baby did not like the Bjorn a whole lot until she could face outward (around 4 months, I believe). Then, she loved it. She loves to kick around constantly, wave her arms, and look out at the world. That is just her.

    Now, at eighteen pounds, (9 mo. crawling, standing, and learning to walk), the Bjorn is not as comfy. It’s getting hot, she’s getting heavy (and long — legs banging my legs while walking around with her, etc.). I am now shopping for an Ergo (expensive, but I’m pretty convinced these are the ultimate). I think a used Kelty Back Carrier (can find these used fairly easily, unlike the Ergo) might be another way to go for our little one. She would love to be able to feel less constrained and see even more!

    I guess what I am saying is — there may not be one “best” carrier that will work from birth till toddler time. Also, you may have images of this snuggly Maya or Moby wrapped baby nestled to your chest (as I did), and you may find that the baby has other ideas / an entirely different personality:).

    Have fun! Even though it’s hot while pregnant, summertime is an excellent time to have a baby, as I think they (almost universally) love the outdoors.

    June 6th, 2008 at 7:03 am

  11. RobMonroe says:

    First off – use the FREE one you have now! Determine if your child will be a sling-baby or not before you invest in another one.

    We started with a ring sling and loved it.

    We then moved to using the ring sling jointly with the Bjorn, but our baby got big quick, so it did not last long. We went back to the ring sling and figured out how to let her sit in it.

    What we ended up doing is passing word around to friends that we were looking to upgrade. You would be surprised how many folks brought us carriers to try out. Some we liked, some were just too cumbersome for us.

    We ended up with the Ergo Baby and any subsequent children will start out in that. We use it everywhere from the farmers market to sporting events. It takes a little practice at first, but we have found it well worth the money.

    We even purchased the backpack that attaches to the Ergo Baby and use that as our regular diaper bag.

    My bottom line suggestion though is to stick with the free one to be sure that your particular baby will be receptive to it. I have two nephews that are not fans of being held much at all. My two neices, though, traveled through Scotland last summer in various carriers and could not have been happier!

    June 6th, 2008 at 7:07 am

  12. Sherri E. says:

    I liked my ring sling for hands-free breastfeeding with small infants, and my homemade pseudo-Moby for wrapping when they were small. We have also used a mai-tai (again, homemade) and liked it very much.

    But if I could only have one carrier, it would definitely be my Ergo. We love, love, love, love, love, love, LOVE our Ergo. I carried my youngest in it in front when he was three months old, and on my back from five or six months old. He is now 21 months and still in it almost every day for extended periods of time. I also still carry my 3 1/2 year old in it occasionally with a great deal of comfort and no back or shoulder strain.

    June 6th, 2008 at 7:38 am

  13. Summer says:

    I must be the only mom who never really used a carrier?! We had one Bjorn handed down to us from my brother and I think we used it 4 times? My daughter is also very tall for her age (ex. – she is 3 years old – turns 4 in March and is already 40 inches tall and weighs 37 lbs. and wears 5T) She’s not chunky just tall! My mom is 6′ so that expains the height and my brother 6’6″… somehow I didn’t drink my milk and only ended up 5’5″ the shortest in my family. But there is no way I could use a carrier with her at 3 years old now because she’s the size of a 5 or 6 year old! I guess I just never needed to use one that much.

    June 6th, 2008 at 7:45 am

  14. Lilia says:

    Our son didn’t like his Bjorn till about 3 months and was too heavy for any extended use after 6 months.

    After that we fell in love with a Hippychick Hipseat. It’s not that comfortable while walking more than a few minutes, but perfect for short shopping trips and social events. I used it to carry my son during a wedding – could combine wearing a nice outfit with having the little one on my hip. Although I’m not sure I’d pay full price for it (mine was from a second-hand store).

    http://www.hippychick.com/

    For a more extensive carrying (including hiking) with use Ergo. I would definitely recommend it over the Bjorn (which has the same problem of readjusting the straps, btw).

    June 6th, 2008 at 7:54 am

  15. Marketing Mommy says:

    For the first 4 months, I loved my hand-me-down Hug-a-Bub, which is like a Moby Wrap with a built-in pocket. My husband couldn’t deal with the complexity, so he used a hand-me-down Bjorn Active. I also used a sling for short periods of time, but they made me ache.

    http://www.hugabub.com/

    Around 5 months we switched to the Ergo. Love it!

    As everyone else said, don’t stress about it until baby comes!

    June 6th, 2008 at 7:56 am

  16. Stacy says:

    I second the babyhawk. I had a sling and my kid hated it. Had a Bjorn which was great in the beginning but I have a big baby. So after countless research hours we got the ‘Hawk. Love it and my husband wears it too. They have a ton of fabric choices.

    June 6th, 2008 at 8:24 am

  17. Kathleen says:

    We LOVE the Peanut Shell sling. It is very versatile and fits newborns through toddlers. Also, my husband loves our orange and white one as it isn’t too “girly / frilly” for a guy to wear :)

    While I didn’t like the expense (appr. $45), they can be found discounted and used.

    http://www.goo-ga.com/

    June 6th, 2008 at 8:49 am

  18. Marianne O. says:

    By far my favourite current carrier (best for crawlers & older) is the Hippychick Hipseat. t’s basically a belt with a nylon-covered foam wedge at one hip. My 1-year & 3-year old boys sit comfortably on the wedge while my spine stays straight. I can pick them up and put them down as often as they like (they’re runners at heart). It’s also great for the kids’ grandmother who has back problems. Very handy for short walks & emergency “pick me up” situations.

    Otherwise…we stuck with a standard tube-style sling (New Native, Peanut Carrier, etc… there are lots of brands but we went homemade generic) until the boys were too heavy to hang off one shoulder (approx 6 months).

    We also have a Phil & Teds backpack, which is very good but lacks a sun canopy or side wings deep enough for a sleeping child (their heads always seem to dangle off the side).

    Always wanted a podegi, though…
    http://www.wearsthebaby.com/babywearing/podegi.html
    http://site.peppermint.com/podegicarry.htm

    June 6th, 2008 at 10:52 am

  19. JMo says:

    I used a Storchenwiege wrap until my LO was about 6 months old. He was pretty small (although not preemie, and this wrap was fantastic. Lots of different holds and extremely comfortable.

    http://www.storchenwiege.com/

    I know lots of people who continue to use a Storchenwiege for their toddlers, but that just didn’t work for me.

    We are now using the Ergo carrier. I like it okay, but my LO 20 months old and we haven’t yet mastered getting him in the Ergo without 2 adults. Maybe when he’s a bit bigger and he will reliability hold onto my back.

    June 6th, 2008 at 11:42 am

  20. molly says:

    I love baby carriers and it appears many of your other readers do as well! I think it is really a matter of personal choice. Whatever works best for the individual. I like the Ergo and my pouch sling (an unpadded, reversable Peanut Shell) the best, for different reasons. Ergo for longer walks (though it does get hot in the humid DC summer) and the pouch for tucking in the diaper bag and pulling out whenever a baby (or my 2.5 year old) decide they want to be carried. I still carry both my kids in both carriers. My husband prefers the baby Bjorn though for our 10 month old. It always hurt my back though. And, I do have a Maya Wrap ring sling that I use occasionally as well but I find the rings get in the way and after a while they get loose — why I prefer the pouch. Sort of embarrassing how many carriers we have, even if some are handmedowns. Anyway, good luck and happy baby wearing!

    June 6th, 2008 at 11:45 am

  21. Inki says:

    I agree with the others that you should try the Bjorn first and see if you and the baby like it – some babies just aren’t big fans of being carried, although my DD loves it, and we have used our stroller a grand total of 6 times during her first 10 months!

    For the first 4 months or so we used an elastic wrap, not sure what type as a friend of ours lent it to us. That was a good way of getting into the wrap, which is still one of my favorite ways of carrying her. My other favorite is a Mei Tai (homemade) which is a bit less oppressive in the heat we are having now.

    My husband loves the Ergo (manly straps :-) and I had thought I would too, but it hurts my back. There may be some setting that would make it more comfortable for me, but the Mei Tai and the Ellaroo wrap I use now are so comfy that I’m very happy with them and haven’t really explored the Ergo that much.

    http://www.ellaroo.com/

    For airports and other places where I need quick in-and-out access, I love my pocket sling (kinda like the hotsling but homemade – gotta love my generous, crafty friends!).

    I also have a ring sling (maya wrap) but never really got into it, it just felt a bit flimsy to me on one shoulder once I got used to two-shoulder carries.

    June 6th, 2008 at 12:34 pm

  22. Nancy says:

    I totally disagree with Will when he says pay no more than $40. A good Mei Tai costs around 80 to 100 at least. Babyhawk and two top brands. I also like soft-structured carriers (SSCs). I love my Beco. Check out thebabywearer.com for more details. I

    June 6th, 2008 at 1:00 pm

  23. JoMo says:

    I have used a Bjorn, Snugli, RingSling, Ergo and PeanutShell. If I could do it all over again, I would have just the sling and ergo. I found them to be the most comfortable and had the longest life use.

    June 6th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

  24. Robin says:

    For baby wearing, there is a wonderful and very infomative, helpful, etc, etc forum : http://www.thebabywearer.com/forum/

    Not only can you read a LOT about most/all of the different carriers out there, you can buy/swap them too :) So as your little one grows out of one carrier, you can sell it and get another!

    June 6th, 2008 at 2:20 pm

  25. kristina says:

    I love my Beco Butterfly carrier. My son is 3 mos. old, and for the first 2 months I used (and was very happy with) the New Native sling. It started to hurt my back when he hit 10 lbs, so if you have big babies, I would skip straight to the Beco, which can be used for newborns.

    June 6th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

  26. Chic Momma says:

    They have all already been mentioned, but I have used a Hotsling, Baby Bjorn and Ergo and have loved them all!

    I just recently got the Ergo for my 18 month old son and my husband and I both really like it. My husband used the Baby Bjorn a lot as well in the infant days.

    I primarily used the Hotsling when my son was an infant. I loved carrying him in the sling, but now at 18 months old he does not like it. He loves riding on our backs in the Ergo though.

    I would say the Ergo is probably the most versatile and I look forward to having it for when we have more kids.

    June 6th, 2008 at 5:58 pm

  27. gertie says:

    We did almost exactly what you are advising.

    Started out with a hand-me-down Bjorn. We liked the idea, but it didn’t fit my husband well, so he bought a similar carrier by Jeep. The straps fell in a more comfortable position for him, and we used it often. My husband is excited about breaking it out for the new baby.

    I found that the baby always wanted to be on my hip, so I got a Maya Wrap. I loved it from day 1, although I’m sad to hear they’re padded now. In my mind the beauty of the wrap is in the simplicity, and I think padding would make adjustment difficult. In any case, I loved mine because it was small and easy to pack in a diaper bag, could be used as a blanket, easy to move the (sleeping) baby from my body to the swing, and very comfortable for me to wear. It also makes me feel like a hippie Earth-mama, which brings me more joy than I can express. Your mileage may very.

    We also bought a Kelty backpack carrier off of Craigslist, and have enjoyed that as well (although we don’t use it as often as we should).

    June 6th, 2008 at 11:54 pm

  28. Robin says:

    You need more than one we’ve found, for different reasons.

    Our KKAFP (Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch) is wonderful and cozy for a newborn, my son was in it until 9 months easily.

    The Hug-a-Bub wrap is also great for a small baby, just not as easy to use while out–I love buckles for being out. I like that you wear the HAB like clothing and pop the baby in and out.You can get a lot done in one around the house. My baby sucks on the t-shirt material of the HAB and I end up soaking wet from drool.

    The Baby Bjorn Active is really handy since you can wear the straps underneath a coat or jacket and then attach or detach the baby in the front, not having to take that article of clothing off–hard to explain, but with a wrap or sling wearing clothes that go over the shoulder sometimes pushes the carrier off your shoulder. With my first son, I was in agony wearing him in the Bjorn when he was about 14 lbs. Maybe I’m stronger or I’ve adjusted it better, my 4 month old 20lb son doesn’t feel heavy at all–not for hours.

    The Ergo is wonderful and useful for a 2 or even 3 year old. If I had to have only one carrier, this would be the one. Sort of a low back which made my son arch his back and that is not a good feeling (though he seemed safe) it hurt my back and was sort of unwieldy walking around with a toddler pushing against you trying to get upside down.

    We have a Beco on the way, it has just about everything I’m looking for and beautiful print too. You can wear it under a jacket or cardigan for a front carry and not have to take it off to get the baby out like the Ergo, it’s a front and back carrier, has a higher back than the Ergo, and an insert to keep the baby extra secure in the carrier. It might be better than the Ergo but only time will tell…

    I personally didn’t care for the Hotsling (not adjustable) or Mei Tai, I like buckles over knots, but will use these too, just not as enthusiastically.

    June 7th, 2008 at 4:54 am

  29. Sara says:

    I used a ring sling (homemade) but my husband was never a fan. I think in even the manliest of prints on the fabric, he thought the design itself was very feminine. Instead, he used a snugli carrier, which was versatile and came in solid black with straps and buckles. Between those two carriers, we did not need anymore. I agree with all the others that you should use your FREE carrier for as long as you can, and then borrow some of the other options from friends to “test drive” them before you spend any money. Our son was never super huge into being worn all the time, but we also weren’t out and about all that much. Baby #2 is on they way, and I imagine will spend more time in a carrier of some type, as we will be out and about much more to keep our older one entertained!

    June 8th, 2008 at 4:39 am

  30. HappyMom says:

    Just a couple more thoughts – Hubby and I both liked Baby Bjorn. Readjusting the straps when we traded off was a chore, so we bought an extra set of straps. A very worthwhile investment!

    We also used a Sling (no brand name) and I loved how close and intimate it was. I think the baby benefits from the almost womb-like feeling and staying so close to your skin and heart beat. My baby was comforted and “slinging” her calmed a lot of crying. It also grow well, from new born to 2-3 years (depending on baby’s weight).

    Learning to use the sling can take a few tries. Practice with a 5 lb bag of apples or potatoes, if you won’t want to fight with a fussy infant while you’re getting it figured out. It will be automatic in a day or two.

    June 8th, 2008 at 9:25 am

  31. Brenna says:

    I think this is one of the hardest decisions! I am pregnant with our third and still don’t know what I want!

    With my first I tried a sling first, which he hated. Then we had a Bjorn, which I hated. My husband thought it was fine though.

    With my second, I got an Ergo, which both my husband and I liked pretty well! It lasted forever, but then I sold it thinking we were done with kids.

    Now I am on the search for “the best”. I m thinking about trying a Hotsling at first, then probably decide between a mei tai or another Ergo. I dont think I have the patience to use a wrap.

    June 8th, 2008 at 11:04 am

  32. Michelle says:

    Thanks to everyone who responded to this question including links! I appreciated the comments, even though I was not the one who asked the original question.

    I have a 7 week old boy who is pretty big. So far we are using a Moby Wrap and loving it. It is a great way to go hands free and his head is well-supported and doesn’t go bobbing around. It is not that complicated to wrap, once you get the hang of it, but it does take a few minutes to do.

    We also have a water wrap from Gypsy Mama. We love this one!! We take our little one into the shower and he totally relaxes! The steam clears his stuffy nose and we are able to suck out his nose without him even waking up. (We use the nose frida, thanks to the review here on Thinga…)

    We are thinking about getting another wrap/carrier once he gets bigger, so I was glad to read all the comments.

    Thanks….happy baby-wearing!

    June 8th, 2008 at 1:47 pm

  33. Cary says:

    Whoa – hot topic!

    For itty bitty baby up to a year or so, I loved my Hotsling. It’s sized – so no adjusting. Baby can lie down, sit up (like a joey) or straddle your hip. It rolls up into a tiny package that fits easily in a handbag or diaper bag. It’s rather feminine in style, though.

    For a year up to three or four, we use and love the Ergo. We don’t use it often any more, but my skinny three-year-old still fits in it for hiking. The adjustments are fairly minimal — waist and shoulders.

    In general, a carrier is awesome to have for second or successive babies. I don’t know what we would have done without ours!

    June 8th, 2008 at 5:41 pm

  34. Rachel says:

    I love reading about all of the carriers that are out now! I feel like I had my first two kids in the dark ages or something. The only real choice out there were Didymos, Maya Wraps and OTSBH!

    Now that I am having #3 I am blown away by the variety of choices out there. When my first was born it was SO unusual to see babies in carriers, people were always stopping me to ask about my sling. Now it seems that they are much more common (which I am SO glad to see!)

    I have a borrowed Bjorn. I don’t like those types of carriers, but dh is excited to try it out and I think it will probably work well for him. I also have an Infantino I was able to find at a cosignment baby store for a great price so I figured I would try that out for the first few months. They don’t seem practical for very long, but since I am use to ring slings and the design seems like it would work well for a tiny baby and it was cheap, I figure those will work for now.

    I really want to try out a Babyhawk Mei Tai! If I can find one to try and I like it, I will invest in one of the customs when baby is a few months old. They are pretty!

    But don’t buy before the baby! And try them out! Don’t buy one cause it’s pretty!

    I think everyone here has had great advice.

    June 8th, 2008 at 9:19 pm

  35. IGNYC says:

    MY DD lived in a fleece Peanut Shell for the first 6 months. I found it very comfortable and the added bonus was that she would fall asleep the minute I would start walking with her in it. After that I used a mei tai carrier (babyhawk.com) which was fantastic. Now she is 2 and tall and slender – we use a Phil and Ted’s Metro backpack carrier and it is fantastic!

    http://regallager.com/products/pt/metro.aspx

    June 9th, 2008 at 11:04 am

  36. Sara says:

    Thanks for all the advice, links, and experience! We’ll definitely stick with the Bjorn, and put off any additional purchase until we have a better idea of what we (and the baby) like. And thanks to AJ for posting this question!

    June 9th, 2008 at 11:38 am

  37. Mama Peach says:

    Really your best bet is to head on over to http://www.thebabywearer.com and register for the forum. We are very nice over there and can give you a ton of recommendations.

    To the poster who said you shouldn’t pay more than 40 dollars and on e-bay no less – that has to be some of the worst advice I have ever heard. There is a reason even work-at-home moms have to charge the prices they do. It’s labour intensive to sew slings and Mei Tais that are SAFE. I mean this is your child you are carrying around. Buying from a reputable company (even work at home moms that are well-known in the babywearing community are reputable) will ensure some novice isn’t using craft rings when creating that cheap ringsling or is sewing the panel of a mei tai with the correct number of panels/stitches.

    I have a rather large collection of carriers. My daughter is turning 3 in August and I STILL wear her daily. Mostly now in our Babyhawks, Kozys, or Didymos wraps (real wraps that you tie, not ringslings). I do still keep our ringslings in the car along with a kozy and a wrap for emergencys but at toddlerhood mei tais and wraps (woven wraps that is) are your most supportive option.

    I never got into soft-structured carriers like the Ergo or Beco, but some people like them because they have snaps and buckles.

    Bjorns aren’t generally the greatest option for mom or baby…the weight distribution has baby hanging from their crotches, legs dangling, and away from mom or dad’s centre of gravity. Traditional baby carriers make the baby and carrier an extension of mom or dad, thus making carrying a toddler MUCH easier.

    Some other links that may help you:
    http://www.sleepingbaby.net – great work at home mom makes VERY affordable ringslings (she has a discount section for fabrics she manages to get cheaply). She does a pleated shoulder, I find it comfy but not everyone does.

    http://www.comfyjoey.com – great pouches and the owner is really wonderful to work with.

    http://www.upmama.com – wonderful ringsling / pouch hybrid, makes the learning curve of ringslings much easier and the sling is very poppable. It’s a bit tricky to learn how to thread it properly though, but Corrinne has great instructions on how to do it on her site.

    And my personal faves although the links have already been posted); Babyhawks (I own 7), and Didymos wraps (I own 6 in different lenghts and fabric weaves). I should mention all of my Babyhawks are reversible, so you could get a manly pattern on one side and a girly pattern on the other. They even have camo and snow camo lol.

    Try to get to a local babywearing groups where you can actually TRY some of the carriers. My daughter liked being ‘arms out’ when worn, so it made using a large-bodied Mei Tai like the Kozy somewhat tricky. It may take you, your hubby, and your baby a few tries in different carriers (and different carries, my daughter loved being on my back but didn’t like any of the buddha or cradle carries) to find one (or two, or three) that works for your family!

    June 9th, 2008 at 6:53 pm

  38. kelli says:

    My favorite carrier? Dad. Heh.

    He really likes our cheapo Snugli front carrier. You can do a front & back facing carry and also a backpack carry (facing the adult’s back) like the ergo. It’s lasted us through three kids! And it’s the only one that Dad likes — he likes the buckles rather than relying on knots or a ring.

    I used a ring sling for the first two, and the third really likes a Moby Wrap. Maybe I’ll get some use out of the EllaRoo that I never really used with the first two. The handiest thing about the ring slings (made by my mom)? I can just leave one in the car and adjust it to any of the kids if I have to carry them. Or we’ve used it as a blanket in the park when we’ve had an impromptu picnic.

    June 9th, 2008 at 8:58 pm

  39. Julie says:

    I love the moby wrap. I have had it since my two year old was born and he can still be in it. Now, I have a second baby and she loves it too. There are no bars for her to knock her little head on and I can have her positioned anyway I need. Plus, it is more comfortable than a normal sling, you can lift your arms and the weight is distributed better. I have the blue color, so my husband doesn’t mind wearing it either.

    June 12th, 2008 at 10:25 pm

  40. AC says:

    I have also been researching for days on this topic. I only have the Bjorn hand-me-down and I am not too fond of it, esp now I read how bad it is for the baby’s growing spine and hip joints. I was all set on purchasing an Ellaroo Mei Tei due to the hot climate where I am and keeping my baby cool is important to me. I also really like the look of it. However, I ran across the Beco Butterfly and it seems easier to use and I like the idea of being able to switch from me to my husband or from front to back carry w/o taking my son out of the carrier as well as having easy buckles. But I’m afraid the extra padding it seem to have might make it too hot for us. They seem very similar and I can’t decide. Which one do you suggest if following are important to me?

    - Keep baby cool
    - Have head support for baby when he is sleeping
    - Easy on shoulders and back (my husband has a bad back)
    - Does not irritate baby’s thighs even during long wear
    - Easy to adjust (even getting the easy Bjorn on while my baby is throwing a fit annoys me so I don’t want to fiddle with something hard)
    - Good for long wear

    On a separate topic, how do you deal with wearing your baby during hot sunny days? I use the stroller a lot just because I can shield him from the sun. I don’t see how this is possible with any carriers which is concern for young babies where using sunblock product is not recommended.

    Thanks!

    June 21st, 2008 at 9:39 pm

  41. Erin says:

    We started with a horrible Snugli, and moved to the New Native sling when the kiddos were still tiny. Now I love love love the Beco Butterfly http://www.becobabycarrier.com/
    which holds baby from 5-55 lbs. You don’t have to buy any special parts for it like you do the Ergo. It’s also 1000 times cuter. Another plus, it is a WAHM owned company and they are all made in the USA, Ergo can absolutely NOT say that, Ergos are made overseas.

    July 9th, 2008 at 1:10 pm

  42. JESSICA says:

    We tried everything, the moby (too complicated), the bjorn (crotch dangler), the ergo (bulky and expensive), etc.

    We love the Hanamuguri Baby carrier. It’s lightweight, compact, and very easy to use.
    It holds baby from 4 months to 3 years or 27 pounds, it folds into a little square when not in used for easy storage in the diaper bag. It’s all cotton material too. Find them here: http://www.poshmargot.com

    May 16th, 2010 at 10:55 am