With a baby in the house, it can be hard to get a free minute to eat lunch or run an errand. That’s where baby wearing comes in. No matter where you are—in your kitchen or on the bus—you can strap on an infant or toddler while keeping your hands free to fold laundry, read a book or carry bags. Plus, you’ll be able to promote skin-to-skin contact and may even make it easier for your baby to fall asleep. To help you pick the best baby carrier for your lifestyle, we’ve answered some common questions and selected six favourites—from wraps to backpacks.
Do you need a baby carrier?
However, some babies fall asleep more easily in a baby carrier than a swing or bouncer since they can hear your heartbeat. Many parents also love baby wearing for practising skin to skin and promoting closeness while they’re doing chores or navigating through a crowded street, mall or airport. A baby carrier is also a nice accessory on long hikes where your arms may easily tire and a stroller will be hard to handle.
Types of Baby Carriers
Baby carriers come in a variety of styles:
- Wrap: A baby carrier wrap is a long, stretchy piece of fabric that can be looped over your shoulders and around your waist to carry your baby multiple ways.
- Sling: A baby sling carrier is a piece of fabric that sits on one shoulder and loops around your hip. Ring slings are a style with two rings that help you tighten or loosen the fabric.
- Soft structured carrier (SSC): Ideal for extended baby wearing or for parents looking for extra lumbar support, an SSC looks a bit like a front backpack and usually has padded straps that go over each shoulder. This style of carrier tends to last the longest—from newborn to toddler.
- Backpack: Some soft structured carriers can be worn as backpacks. There are also more elaborate frame baby carriers with extra back support for long hikes.
Baby Carrier Safety
When carrying your child in a baby sling or carrier, it’s important to follow Health Canada’s safety tips:
- Keep your baby upright with their face in view (not pressed into the carrier or your body) at all times.
- Make sure their chin isn’t pressed into their chest and their legs aren’t bunched up to their stomach because these postures can restrict breathing.
- Wrap or strap your baby in snugly enough to support their back.
- To prevent falls, ask someone to help you strap in if you need it and take care when bending over or adjusting.
- Skip the zip! Don’t enclose your baby in their carrier and your jacket at the same time, as they might overheat.
- Be extra mindful and gentle with babies under four months old, whose airways are still developing.
What type of baby carrier are you looking for?
Best Baby Carrier Wrap
Weight range: 8 to 33 pounds | Material: Cotton | Carry positions: Front parent-facing, front world-facing and hip carry
A hybrid carrier that you pull on like a T-shirt then tighten with the strips of fabric, the Moby Fit Wrap combines the ease of a soft structured carrier with the closeness and casual style of an unstructured baby wrap.
|This hybrid wrap carrier is easy to put on, even if you’re alone (unlike most other wraps).||You may need to wrap the fabric around the metal rings to prevent digging.|
|It’s lightweight and feels soft, so the fabric is comfortable on bare skin.||It can take a bit of trial and error to find the most comfortable fit.|
|It comes in a single, adjustable size so parents and grandparents that range in height can use it.||It may not be comfortable for plus-size people.|
|The cotton is breathable and machine washable. Just use the gentle cycle and tumble dry on low.|
Baby girl loves being in it and falls asleep in it 95% of the time, which is awesome because I’m able to get so much done while she naps.
The rings cut into my sides and, quite frankly, I’m not sure this wrap is made for plus-size individuals like myself.
Best Baby Carrier Backpack
Weight range: 7 to 45 pounds | Material: Polyester | Carry positions: Front parent-facing, hip carry and back carry
Though not quite as supportive as the Moby Move Four-Position Carrier (our favourite for hiking), the Evenflo Boulder is a great alternative if you don’t want to spend a ton of money and are looking for a soft structured carrier that you can wear as a backpack.
|The Evenflo Boulder is one of the more affordable carriers on the market.||Some customers say that the carrier doesn’t offer enough support for newborns and is best for an older infant or toddler.|
|Its lumbar support helps to distribute weight to the hips and reduce back strain.||Depending on the carry position you use, you may need help getting your baby into the carrier and doing up all the straps.|
|It has a relatively high weight maximum of 45 pounds.||There is no “world-facing” position. Your child must always face you.|
|It’s lightweight (just 1.2 pounds), easy to wipe down and machine washable.|
The natural fit carrier is lightweight, and I don’t feel any uncomfortable pressure points or discomfort in my shoulders, hips or back. The fabric doesn’t overheat you in the hot weather either.
I don’t like the fact that it’s a bit hard to get your kid into. Took me a little bit but I figured it out.
Best Baby Sling Carrier
Weight range: 8 to 33 pounds | Material: Cotton | Carry positions: Front parent-facing and hip carry
If you’re looking for a simple, elegant carrier for your newborn or young baby, the Moby Ring Sling could be your perfect match. Not only does it come in three colours (rose, pewter grey and blue), but it’s made with a gauzy cotton textile that’s lightweight, breathable and soft to the touch.
|It’s easily adjustable—simply pull the loose ends through the rings to make it looser or tighter.||It’s probably not the right model for someone with shoulder or back pain.|
|It will fit just about anyone.||If you leave the free end hanging, it may catch in a door or drawer or get a little dirty.|
|You can use it to support your baby while breastfeeding.||Though it technically can be used for babies up to 33 pounds, this carrier is probably best for a younger, lighter infant.|
|It’s available in multiple pretty colours and the gauzy fabric looks stylish.|
This sling really came in handy when it was time to get things done around the house. It was not only comfortable for her, but for me, as well.
It’s going to take me a couple of tries to get the hang of slinging baby properly!
Best Baby Hip Carrier
Weight range: Minimum 12 pounds for carrier, minimum 17 pounds for hip seat | Material: Cotton | Carry positions: 4 carrier positions (front parent-facing, front world-facing, hip and back carry), 3 hip-seat positions (front parent-facing, front world-facing and hip carry)
For children ages four months to four years, this Moby baby carrier and hip seat offers seven different positions to help you carry your little one. The carrier format is perfect for hands-free snuggles, while the hip seat creates support for toddlers—and you can easily transfer them from the seat to the floor and back again without undoing clips and straps.
|The Moby 2-in-1 provides ergonomic support and proper positioning for a young child.||It says “one-size-fits-all,” but the waist belt may feel too tight on some waistlines.|
|It’s especially helpful for small caregivers who find other carriers put a lot of strain on their shoulders and hips.||It won’t work for newborns. The weight minimum is 12 pounds.|
|It’s incredibly versatile and easy to adjust.||It can be a bit bulky.|
|It features a hood with UPF 45+ sun protection to shield your child on sunny days.|
I am tiny at 105 pounds. Having this carrier takes pressure off my hip and my shoulders and gives my son a better place to sit.
If you have a bigger waistline, this will not fit. The people creating these products should take in mind and adjust to bigger-sized people.
Best Newborn Baby Carrier
Weight range: 8 to 35 pounds | Material: Polyester, cotton and spandex | Carry positions: Front parent-facing and front world-facing
The JJ Cole Agility Stretch Carrier is stretchy and comfy for new parents and their tiny newborn babes. Just keep in mind that you may want to size up, since some women say it fits a bit small—especially if you have a large bust. On the hunt for more newborn essentials? Take a look at our baby checklist for minimalist parents.
|The JJ Cole Agility carrier is super affordable.||While great for newborns, it probably won’t work as well for older babies because it’s a snug fit.|
|It has no clips or buckles, which makes it comfortable and easy to put on.||The material is thick, so it’s not ideal for long walks or hikes in the summer.|
|You won’t need help from another person to get baby wrapped. You may just want to watch the brand’s YouTube video before your first time.||Some users say that the fabric can get a bit itchy around the neck.|
|The soft, stretchy fabric is ideal for newborns that need plenty of skin-to-skin contact.|
This allows for me to be hands free for cleaning and playing with my oldest! My baby is so comfortable that he falls asleep on me all the time.
Maybe I need a size up because my baby can’t even fit in it and she’s small for her age (almost four months). Perhaps my bust is too big and takes up room.
Best Hiking Baby Carrier
Weight range: 7 to 45 pounds | Material: Terylene, polyester and cotton | Carry positions: Front parent-facing, front world-facing, hip carry and back carry
Soft structured carriers (or structured frame carriers) are best for hiking because they offer the most back support. The Moby Move in particular is sturdy and ergonomic, yet lightweight and breathable for summer use. You’ll love all the extra features including two storage pockets and a privacy hood with UPF 45+ sun protection. The Moby Move also comes in black and charcoal. And if you’re also into camping, check out our tent buying guide and family camping checklist.
|The Moby Move has a waist belt, integrated lumbar support and padded shoulder straps so you won’t begin to ache after a long walk.||The mesh on the straps can be a bit rough on bare skin.|
|Padded head and neck support ensure baby is comfy, as does the cushioned, ergonomic seat.||The carrier may feel a little large on a very petite caregiver.|
|It features a taller setting for toddlers and can be used with kids up to 45 pounds (which is on the higher end for baby carriers).||The Velcro adjustors for the legs don’t have a pre-set size, so you have to estimate that each side is the same.|
|It’s machine washable—just put it on the cold, gentle or delicate cycle and hang it to dry.|
It has back support, wide handles for shoulder protection and extra fabric to cover the baby from the sun and provide some privacy while napping or breastfeeding.
I do wish the Velcro for changing the wearing style was more clearly labeled. You have to estimate where to put it.
Get Everything You Need
- Canadian Breastfeeding Foundation. The Importance of Skin-to-Skin Contact.
- Health Canada. Baby Sling and Carrier Safety.
How we choose products: Simply put, we don’t recommend any products we wouldn’t buy ourselves. Our writers leverage a number of sources as a starting point, including reputable third-party reviews, Walmart.ca user reviews, and Walmart Canada’s category specialists. theHUB editorial staff has final say for all products included in this guide.
Any product claims noted are provided by the manufacturer, unless otherwise stated.
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