Baby carriers make parents’ lives much easier when traveling, walking, hiking, and more! In addition, babywearing helps parents and caregivers bond with an infant through touch, scent, and sound. When babywearing, your little one can feel your heartbeat and warmth, while also enjoying everything the world has to offer. Other benefits of babywearing include increased vertical tummy time, enhanced mental development, emotional and physical stimulation, and more. Our Babywearing Guide, shares more about the many benefits of babywearing.
But how do you choose the right baby carrier, both for your comfort and your baby’s? Here, we will explain how to find the right type of baby carrier for your needs and the different styles available to you and your family. When finding the right baby carrier fit, you should consider your baby’s age, development level, and your own preferences.
Baby Age and Developmental Milestones
When considering which baby carrier is right for you, consider your baby’s age and developmental milestones. For example, newborn babies will have different needs when being carried than a 1-year-old. Below are some guidelines on how to choose and how to use a baby carrier based on notable characteristics:
When you start using a baby carrier with your newborn, you must support their neck and make sure they are snug in their carrier. We suggest putting them in an “m-position”, which means that they are facing you with their knees slightly above their bottom. This will allow their back to round slightly and will assure they are supported from all angles. At this age, you should use a carrier with a transitional seat designed for newborns or a newborn insert.
Our Together carrier provides everything you need to carry your newborn throughout this stage and beyond with adjustable carrying positions. Additionally, any Infantino carrier that starts at an 8 lb. weight range has a newborn position.
Babies That Can Hold Their Heads Up
Once your baby can hold their head up on their own, it may be time to adjust their carrier. Similar to the newborn position, babies at this developmental milestone should be carried in the m-position, with their bottom firmly supported. If you have an adjustable carrier, try widening the base to ensure the seat goes from knee-to-knee, providing full support for their hips. Babies at this stage should still be facing in.
Strong Head and Neck Control
When your baby has strong head and neck control, it might be time for a front-facing carrier! This way, the older baby can enjoy both physical contact and observation of their surroundings. Babywearing, especially on adventures like walks and hiking, provides infants an eye into the world and is a huge learning opportunity.
Our Flip carrier is one of our most popular because it can easily be transformed from a facing-in carrier to a front-facing carrier, which means that you can use it from infancy to toddler years! Or, for more lifted support, some parents prefer the Go Forward, which offers a seat-like panel for forward-facing children.
Over a Year (or 22 pounds)
Once your baby hits this milestone, a back carry will likely be most comfortable for both you and your baby. After about a year, most babies get a little too heavy to carry comfortably in the facing out position. Putting them on your back allows them to still view the world, but with less pull on your shoulders.
Because of that, back carriers provide the most support and comfort. They are also ideal for babies and children who want to interact with their surroundings a little more. Back carriers give the baby more freedom to look around because they aren’t as restrained, like with a facing-in carry.
Finding the right baby carrier depends on your little one’s physical, social, and emotional needs. You can learn more about babywearing positions in our infographic, Babywearing Positions: Age Isn’t Enough.
How to Choose a Baby Carrier: Your Preferences
While we always want to keep baby safe and comfortable, we also want to think about mom and dad! After all, you’re going to be the one actually carrying your baby, so your comfort and preferences matter, too.
Some questions to ask yourself when deciding which baby carrier is right for your situation may include:
- How long do you want to babywear? A few months? A year? As long as possible?
- Who will be using the carrier? If there are multiple individuals, will it need to be adjustable?
- What adventures will you take your baby on? Social outings? Shopping? Nature walks?
- How often will you use your carrier to travel?
- Do you want a carrier that can be adjusted throughout your baby’s life, or do you want to purchase multiple carriers for multiple developmental milestones?
- Should your carrier be comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time?
- What should your ideal carrier accomplish?
- Do you care whether or not your baby carrier is fashionable?
How you answer these questions will determine which type of baby carrier best suits your needs. Take our quiz to find your your own personal babywearing style!
Babywearing is one of the oldest and most important ways for parents to bond with their babies. Plus, it leaves you hands-free while still keeping your little one close. When shopping for a baby carrier, make sure to consider developmental milestones and your own preferences.