Baby carriers give parents the huge convenience of being able to carry baby close to their bodies and, at the same time, still have their hands free to do other tasks. But the wrong type of baby carrier can be uncomfortable, even dangerous, for your baby. Here is a brief guide on choosing the right type of carrier for your baby:
Front carriers come with shoulder straps supporting a fabric seat; it is worn in front of the parent’s chest, like a backpack worn in front of the body. These require baby to be worn upright and should never be used for babies that cannot yet sit up by themselves.
Slings are simple swaths of fabrics that are generally worn across the torso, with one side slung over the shoulder. These can be used to carry baby in a lying, front-facing, or back-facing position. These can be used to carry children from birth to two years old (or older, if your back is strong enough to support the weight).
A wrap is a sling that you have to tie on yourself and goes over both shoulders. The advantage of a wrap is that it distributes weight more evenly on the parent’s upper body, so your shoulder doesn’t get tired as quickly. The disadvantage is that it generally takes a longer time to put wraps on and take them off; some of them involve knots and require at least half a minute to put on.
Front carriers must have leg holes that fit baby’s legs just right; they should not be so loose nor too tight. The crotch support must be wide enough to fully support baby’s entire hip area; many front carriers actually have too little hip support.
Front carriers are often padded; slings and wraps are often not. Make sure the material of your carrier does not make your baby feel too warm; remember that carriers keep your baby held close to your own warm body, so a too-thick sling can overheat your baby.