Best Baby Wrap
Babies are carriers by nature. If they feel the closeness and warmth of their parents, they feel secure and come to rest. Mom and dad can enjoy the closeness to their baby with the baby carrier around the belly and also have their hands free.
Perfect when the dishes are piling up or the older sibling wants to be rocked on the playground. The baby carriers in our test make everyday life with your child easier and promote the healthy development of the child’s hips thanks to the ergonomic squat-splay position of the baby’s legs.
What is a baby carrier?
A classic baby carrier is a backpack-like carrying device that allows parents to carry their baby or toddler on their body while keeping their hands free. The selection of different baby carriers is enormous. The backpack carriers are available in a wide variety of designs and price ranges. The carriers are usually suitable from birth or from a body weight of the child of 7.7 lb. It is important that the seat bar of the carrier reaches the back of the child’s knee. This supports and rounds the back. Some carriers can be used by parents for premature babies, some are either equipped with a newborn insert or it is available separately.
The most important selection criterion is the size and age of the child. Good support and ergonomic shape for correct carrying technique are essential.
An incorrectly fitted carrier or one in the wrong size can be detrimental to the baby’s health. Further down in our guide, we present other important buying criteria. Many baby carriers are designed to be very safe and intuitive to use.
What are the benefits of wearing a sling?
Babywearing is a natural, evolutionarily developed behavior. We, humans, are baby carriers. A baby cannot walk and depends on parents to carry it. In the past, this was essential for survival in dangerous environments. Our ancestors, therefore, carried their offspring almost constantly on their bodies. This is no longer necessary today. Parents can put their baby down in the safe environment of the home or push it in a stroller. However, carrying in a baby carrier or sling has many advantages.
The child gets a lot of closeness, security, and warmth. In addition, in contrast to a baby carrier, it can feel the heartbeat of its mother or father, for example. This creates a sense of well-being and security and strengthens the bond with the parents.
Many babies can only be calmed by being carried. They fall asleep better or feel better more quickly, for example, in the event of colic. A big advantage is that parents can give their children attention while keeping their hands free. If the baby is sitting securely in the carrier, the mother or father can do the housework, go for a walk or even play sports without any problems. The child also gets many impressions of the environment early on, which should promote development.
Is a baby carrier harmful?
Baby carriers can be harmful if parents choose the wrong model for the child’s age or adjust the carrier incorrectly. If the baby sits ergonomically correctly, carrying is healthy for the child. Many carriers can be intuitively adjusted to fit the child and parents and support healthy carrying. Posture problems and back problems are possible for the child if the baby constantly slides to the side in the carrier. Most manufacturers offer detailed carrying instructions. Midwives or babywearing consultants can also help parents.
Warning: Regardless of the type of carrier, parents must always ensure that their child is properly secured at all times and can also breathe freely. It is also important to avoid overheating by wearing the baby carrier too tightly or for too long at higher temperatures.
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What are the types of baby carriers?
Baby carriers can be distinguished according to various criteria. For example, there are differences in the carrying position. Some models can only be worn in front of the stomach, others are also designed for carrying on the back. The most important distinguishing feature is the type of construction of the carrier. Below is an overview of the different variants of the carrying method, whereby only classic models are considered in contrast to, for example, carrying jackets:
The full buckle baby carrier
This type of baby carrier also called a comfort carrier or full buckle baby carrier is one of the baby carriers for babies and toddlers. It is characterized by the pre-shaped seat for the child, which is usually flexible but does not change its basic shape. The carrier in the full buckle carrier is attached to the person carrying the child by means of two shoulder straps and a wide waist belt, which are equipped with buckles. The straps of the full buckle stretcher are usually adjustable and adaptable to the size of the person wearing it. In many models, the width of the baby seat’s bar can be varied and grows with the baby.
Once adjusted to the size of parent and child, such a carrier is very quick to put on and easy to use. Many full buckle models can be worn on the back much like a backpack and offer additional carrying options.
Advantages and disadvantages of a full buckle carrier
- Enables anatomically correct squat-splay fit of the child
- Good weight distribution on the shoulders and hips of the wearer
- Individually and easily adjustable
- Often different carrying positions possible
- Grows with the child and can be used for several years, depending on the model
- Available in different price ranges
- Often not suitable for newborns or only with a special insert
- Adjustment may be awkward if both parents are of different sizes
- Partly stiff and bulky
The baby sling
A baby sling does not require any buckles or other fasteners. It is a length of fabric at least 4.5 meters long, which is wrapped around the body of the baby and the wearer using a special tying technique. There are several tying techniques, including one for carrying on the back. Compared to the full-buckle sling, putting on the sling is somewhat more complicated and time-consuming. The advantage is that parents have to re-tie the sling for each use. With the right technique, it is therefore always well adapted to the child’s body. Thus, the sling is also suitable for carrying newborns or premature babies.
Parents can carry their baby both lying and sitting, which makes the sling very flexible to use. The body contact is closer compared to the sling, which is advantageous for small babies. The center of gravity is also further in the middle of the body, which makes carrying more comfortable for parents and prevents back pain.
Advantages and disadvantages of a sling
- Can be used from birth
- Very flexible adapts very well to the shape of the body
- Different tying techniques possible for carrying in different positions
- Much closeness to the body
- Easy to store
- More complicated and time-consuming to put on
- Not as long-lasting as many full buckle carriers
The mei tai stretcher
The baby carrier is a hybrid of a baby carrier and a sling. It has a waist belt and shoulder straps, but they usually do not have buckles and are tied. The mei tai carrier is easier to put on than a sling but has its flexibility because the baby sits in a flexible sheet of fabric. However, such carriers do not adjust to the wearer’s body as well as a traditional sling. Many mei tai carriers allow the baby to be carried in front of the stomach and on the back. Some models, called half-buckle carriers, have buckles on the straps that make it easier to put on.
- The ergonomic fit of the child
- Easier to put on than a sling
- More flexible than a sling with buckles
- Less flexible than sling
- Less ergonomic for the wearer
Be careful with the hollow back! Those who tend to make a hollow back should be careful with baby carriers with the belly carrying method. Because wearing the baby carrier in front of the belly can increase the hollow back. This makes for severe back pain.
The half buckle baby carrier
There are also the so-called half buckle baby carriers, also known as half-buckle carriers. The basis of the half buckle baby carriers is the mei tai carrier with its rectangular back part. In the best case, this should be made of sling fabric. Unlike the mei-tai, however, the hip belt is not made of long knotted fabric panels. It is much shorter and has a buckle or Velcro closure. By means of the buckle or Velcro, the usually sturdy hip belt can be adjusted even tighter. It takes more pressure off the shoulders as the child grows.
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What is important when buying a baby carrier?
Baby carriers come in countless varieties and price ranges. To simplify the selection of the appropriate model, below are some purchase criteria that parents should consider:
- Age and size of the child: Not every baby carrier is suitable for every age of the child. Many full-buckle carriers are not intended for newborns, but can be loaded up to a weight of 20 kilograms and used for a correspondingly long time. There are models that come in different sizes and differ, for example, in the width of the bars, the padding of the shoulder straps, and the length of the back section. Some models are not suitable for newborns and very small babies due to their design, while others have accessories such as seat reducers.
- Ergonomics: the baby carrier should allow the child to sit in the anatomically correct position. Otherwise, the musculoskeletal system can be damaged. The model should also be ergonomic for the parents. There are baby carriers that are not suitable for very tall or small, petite people. The individual carrying feeling also plays a role. Parents should feel comfortable with the carrier, be able to move freely, and not get back pain even after a long period of carrying.
- Handling: Baby carriers differ significantly in their handling. While a full-buckle baby carrier can be put on very quickly and intuitively, tying a sling takes more time. With a little practice, putting on the sling is also very quick.
- Features: some full-buckle carriers come with useful features and accessories, such as a small pocket for keys and smartphones or a bib to protect the parents’ clothes from dirt. In any case, a carrier for newborns or very small babies should have head support.
- Baby’s preferences: sometimes children also have a say in choosing a baby carrier. There are babies who feel perfectly comfortable in one model, but not in another.
- Design: The design is an important issue for many parents, but should only play a role after the model has met all safety and ergonomic requirements. There are significant differences in the weight of baby carriers or their bulkiness or flexibility. Some baby carriers can be folded to pocket size and transported and stored very easily. Many manufacturers offer their baby carriers in different colors, so most parents should find what they are looking for.
Best Newborn Baby Carrier Sling Wrap
Konny Baby Carrier
Enjoy hands-free, hassle-free, and buckle-free babywearing without frustration or excess fabric of a traditional wrap or sling. Ergonomic smart design evenly distributes baby’s weight and supports proper baby wearing posture for hip development. Made with functional fabric with Sun Protection (UPF 40) and moisture-wicking. Comfortably holds babies from birth to 45 pounds.
Best Ring Sling
Nalakai Ring Sling Baby Carrier
Creates a nourishing heartfelt bond: carrying your baby close to your chest will feel like being wrapped in a loving embrace, which helps your little love gain a sense of trust & belonging. Our custom blend of bamboo and linen fabric provides an ultra-strong, lush woven fabric that is lightweight & silky smooth to gently shelter your baby as he or she drifts to sleep.
Best Baby Carriers for Plus Size Moms and Dads
TULA Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier
Back carry and front carry options to provide a natural, ergonomic position best for the long term, comfortable carrying that promotes healthy hip and spine development for the baby. Dual-adjustment padded straps: provide optimal neck & shoulder comfort and offers quick and easy adjustments for multiple wearers. Hand-made from breathable and lightweight cotton.
Best Convertible Baby Carrier
Infantino Flip 4-in-1 Carrier
4-in-1 carrier with an adjustable ergonomic seat, shoulder straps, and waist belt to shift weight to the wearer’s hips for a more comfortable fit. Convertible facing-in and facing-out design for newborns and older babies, weighing between 8-32 pounds
Best Baby Ergonomic Carrier
Ergobaby Ergonomic Multi-Position Baby Carrier
Long-wearing comfort with lumbar suppor waistbelt & cushy shoulder straps distribute weight evenly between hips and shoulders. Have multiple carry positions: Inward, Hip & Back Carry. Great for carrying older babies on your back (12-45 lbs.)
What carrying positions are possible?
Different carrying devices allow different carrying positions. Many baby carriers offer several options and can be used in different positions. Which position parents choose should depend not only on personal preferences but above all on the age of the child. The following is an overview of some carrying options:
- In front of the belly, facing the body of the person carrying the child: This is the classic carrying variant, which is already suitable for newborns and is recommended for very small babies. The baby has a lot of body contact with the wearer and is protected from too many stimuli. In the best case, the baby sits in an ergonomically correct position, also known as the M-position.
What is the “Anhock-Spreiz-Position”? The body position is the position that newborns reflexively assume when they are picked up. The legs are squatted and the knees are at about navel level. The thighs are spread apart. The baby’s lower body forms the letter M, which is why the position is also called the M-position. A baby carrier is considered ergonomic and healthy if it supports the posture.
- In front of the stomach facing forward: the carrying position is becoming increasingly popular, but is often criticized. Some baby carriers allow the child to be carried in front of the body facing forward. Parents should only do this when the child is a little bigger, and even then it is better to do it only very briefly and in quiet surroundings. There are few carriers that allow an anatomically correct position of the baby in this position. The main argument against carrying in this position is that babies perceive too much of their environment and the feedback to the parent is missing. The overstimulation of the child can lead to an increased pulse, restlessness and sleep disturbances.
- On the back: Most carriers are designed to allow the baby to be carried on the back. This variant is recommended for babies who are somewhat larger and can already sit independently. For the little ones it is less comfortable and the eye contact with the parent is missing, which is why many manufacturers recommend carrying on the back only at the toddler age. Parents who carry their child for a long time should switch to the back position at that age because the child becomes too heavy to be carried in front of the body.
- On the hip: This is the classic carrying option for larger babies who can already sit. Many parents also carry their children on their hips without a carrier. In some baby carriers, the upper part can be removed. What remains is a hip belt with a seat that distributes the child’s weight over the entire hip of the carrying parent via the belt and reduces the punctual load on the hip. In the carrying variant, the parent must hold the child with one arm.
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Baby carrier - FAQ
Baby carriers can be used from the day of birth with the right wrapping technique. Many belly carriers should not be used until the child is 6 to 9 months old and can sit freely on his or her own. When buying, parents should pay attention to whether the carrier can be adjusted to the size of a newborn or whether, for example, a separate seat reducer is available.
Parents should make sure that the width of the back part of the baby carrier should end just before the back of the baby’s knees. While the width ends just before the back of the knees, the back part length ends at the nape of the neck. At most, it should reach the bottom of the baby’s ears.
Most baby carriers are made of easy-care material. Stains can be easily and quickly removed with a damp cloth. Many models are machine washable at low temperatures for more thorough cleaning. If parents or children have sweated a lot while carrying, they should make sure the baby carrier is dry before storing it in a closet.
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