As a new mom, your hands are always full, whether you’re stuffing yourselves with lactation cookies post-breastfeeding or trying to jot down memories of your newborn’s first days in your baby journal. You’re probably dying for a way to keep your little one occupied so you can scroll through your fave mom blogs for much-needed advice from those in the know. One of the best ways to be hands-free with your babe is by wearing them in a baby wrap or carrier. Plus, by baby wearing, you’ll get that lovey-dovey skin-to-skin time that’s such a great bonding opportunity for newborns and mamas.
There are tons of baby carriers out there and, for the uninitiated, it can seem daunting to take your precious LO and place them inside a backpack (gulp), but our helpful guide to all things babywearing can make the transition from hands full to hands-free much easier. And when your baby is super fussy or overly tired, babywearing can soothe them (bonus!).
The Difference Between Wraps and Carriers
Like the perfect-fitting pair of jeans, everyone has a different preference for the type of carrier and wrap they like. One may work great for you, but your BFF may hate it. In general, wraps are used for newborns and infants to wear them close to your body. Carriers are similar to front or backpacks, and can carry children through toddlerhood. Each has certain weight minimums and limits. Some wraps and carriers can be used to nurse babies. Some are solely front-facing. Others can be used in the front or back.
The best way to know what’s right for you is to try them on before purchasing one. Ask mom friends to borrow theirs and try them out with a doll (or an actual infant, if you feel comfortable). Or check out Babywearing International chapters in your area — for a small fee, you can borrow carriers to test out, and leaders can help you get started. Consider how you want to use your wrap or carrier. If you’re a hiker and want to bring your kiddo along, you’ll want a different carrier than a mama who wants to be hands-free at home. Here’s our helpful guide to the most popular baby wraps and carriers out there.
Active moms and dads tend to like carriers. Whatever carrier you choose, keep in mind that you might get sweaty holding a cuddly baby AND a carrier against your bod.
1. Ergo Baby: Many parents rave about the Ergo 4 Position 360 Carrier ($160). Some have traveled all over the world with their child in it. With the Ergo 360, you can face baby outward (which is helpful when your infant is curious about the world) and inward. Moms like that it is super secure and durable, easy to use and has a head cover for discrete nursing or sun cover. FYI, you’ll need to buy an Infant Insert ($25) to properly hold your newborn’s wobbly head and tiny hips.
2. Beco: The Beco Gemini Baby Carrier ($160) holds babes from 7-35 pounds in four different positions (hips, front inward, front outward and back). One mom shared, “There’s no insert required for newborns, multiple ways to carry, and both my husband and I could use it.”
3. Líllébaby: A stylish carrier that comes in different fabrics (including embossed!), Líllébaby is known for its All Season Carrier ($150) that has a temperature-control panel to keep you and your little one comfortable through all sorts of weather conditions. Plus, it can be used in six different positions. We heart the Donuts and Sprinkles print. Totally adorbs.
4. Tula: Another carrier that moms love is the Tula brand. If you plan on wearing your child from infancy (Baby Carrier [$149+]) through toddlerhood (Toddler Carrier [$169]), this is a great choice for you. Plus, it’s made with organic cotton. One mom told me, “It’s very cute and lightweight, and my daughter loved it too.”
Wraps & Slings
Some parents really love the closeness from a wrap or sling. It mimics the feeling of the womb for a newborn, which can be really comforting. But, some active babies don’t like the confinement of a wrap. Wraps are less pricey than carriers, but most hit the maximum range of 25-35 pounds. So if you want to continue wearing your baby, you’ll want to move on to a carrier eventually.
1. Solly Baby: As an LA-based mom living through plenty of hot, sunny days, I found the Solly Baby ($65) the most comfortable for me. The fabric is made from Lenzing Modal, which is sourced from the pulp of Austrian Beechwood trees, and is totally breathable and soft. It’s like wearing a t-shirt. Plus, I love the different designs — I have the Charcoal Swiss Dot and the Natural & Grey Stripe — that look fantastic with any outfit.
2. Boba: An affordable wrap option that moms also love is the Boba Wrap ($39.95). One mom said that she used it from newborn to 18 months and loved that she could “carry my son it in for a long time and it didn’t hurt my shoulders.”
3. Moby: Another great option is the Moby Wrap ($59.95). Made with organic cotton or all bamboo, this wrap was a fave of one mom who had a premature baby boy. “He was too tiny for a traditional carrier, so the Moby worked great. I could position him in a few different ways that helped protect his face from the elements and germs.” The company behind the Moby Wrap just launched a more structured carrier, The BabyHawk ($99.95), as well.
4. Maya Wrap: Some breastfeeding mamas really like the Maya Wrap ComfortFit Sling ($94.95). There’s a bit of a learning curve to putting it on, but as one mom said, “Once you figure it out, it’s quick. I had an active kid so I needed to get my wrap on quickly!”
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(Photos via Ergo, Beco, Lillebaby, Tula, Solly Baby, Boba Wrap, Moby Wrap, Maya Wrap)