How Do I Choose a Baby Carrier for My Newborn?
Posted: Feb 04 2016
The first time I remember seeing a baby carrier and really paying attention was at a summer festival in the Fremont neighborhood of Seattle. I know now that it was a stretchy wrap and wow, that day I was so amazed at how the mom remembered what to do next with such a loooong piece of fabric!
So when my close friends ask for help picking out their first carrier I can easily recall the overwhelm. Once my first baby arrived it wasn't long before I could wrap and tie that long piece of fabric - even in the middle of the night - and in the dark - when I was exhausted.
My top three picks for newborns are a ring sling, the Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid, and the Chimparoo Mei Tai (pronounced may-tie). If you want a buckle carrier, the Emeibaby is my favorite for sure followed closely by the Beco Gemini! Are there other options, yep! Could they be better for you than these? Yep! But let's start here and if you feel drawn to something else...that's great! This list may be out dated as new brands and styles are introduced (like the Fidella Fly Tai baby size!) but I'll try to keep it updated.
Let me tell you what I love about these three and then you just take a look at colors and designs because it is also important to love the look of your carrier! There is a learning curve with each of them and loving the look will hopefully trump any hesitation. Each of these carriers - and really all that I sell and recommend - will allow for ideal positioning for baby AND maximum comfort for you. And oh my, there is nothing better than your delicious newborn snuggled up in a carrier on your chest....ahhhhh!!
I also recommend you take a look at this graphic on safe and comfortable babywearing too. The key points apply for all carriers.
The ring sling is a piece of fabric with rings sewn into one end. You thread them like a d-ring on a belt and you can wear baby on your front and hip. I still use one with my 2 1/2 year old....so you'll get lots of use out of it.
- Ring slings are pretty quick to put on and take off.
- The single layer of fabric makes it cool for summer.
- You can also put it on under a coat before you go out so it is convenient for rainy winter days too.
- When babies reach about 4 months they gain a sense of direction and want to see what's going on - a hip carry is ideal because baby can easily look forward while remaining in the ideal ergonomic position and can turn in for comfort from mom, dad or their caregiver.
- Just one shoulder of support may start to feel inadequate over about 25lbsif you want to carry baby for long periods of time (over 45 minutes).
- Ring slings don't always work well in baby's wiggliest stage since it is just one layer of fabric - you'll adjust more often and that's ok.
The Wrapsody Hybrid is a long piece of fabric, it is 100% cotton jersey knit that stretches only in the length. Baby can be worn on your front, hip, or back. I used this wrap regularly until my youngest hit 27 lbs at a tall 2 yrs old - so again, lots of use!
- So soft and great for warm weather due to the thin and breathable fabric.
- The slight stretch can be forgiving when you're learning.
- Comfortable for hours!
- You can use the Wrapsody Hybrid for back carries when baby is around 4 months (*if you and baby are ready for that advanced skill).
- If you like simplicity in design - you can't beat a wrap.
- Wrapping in general does take just a little bit longer than a ring sling or buckle carrier.
- That also means there is more of a learning curve (but it's all worth it! :-) ).
A Chimparoo Mei Tai, takes some features of a buckle carrier and a wrap. It has the same rectangle pannel where baby sits like a buckle carrier but instead of a buckle waist belt and back-pack type padded shoulder straps, a mei tai has longer fabric straps that tie at your waist and another set that wrap over your shoulders and then around you and baby. This particular brand can be adjusted to fit a newborn juuuust right and then grow with baby until at least a year and a half really comfortably and beyond that for many babies.
- Really high on the ease of use scale because there are not a lot of adjustments to make while you're putting it on.
- Made from a soft woven wrap.
- Not too much fabric and not too many steps.
- Can be worn on the front, hip or back when baby is a bit older.
- A dad favorite because of the sleek look and ease and speed of use.
- This may not before you if you need a one-shoulder carry.....that is a prety lame con, but seriously, that's all I can come up with! Mei Tais are just so versatile!
I know I said just three carriers but if you just know that buckle carriers are your thing then my newborn pick is the Emeibaby. This comfortable and beautiful carrier grows with your baby really well and doesn't require an infant insert or any special parts or pieces. It will most likely fit very well until baby turns two.
And for good measure, the Beco Gemini: