There are 6 different types of baby carriers.
Why so many?
Because baby carriers are very personal and are designed to suit your individual lifestyle. A carrier that is perfect for one parent may be entirely useless to another. To help sort out the confusion I have written up a handy guide that looks at the advantages and disadvantages of each. By the time you have finished reading, you will be able to identify the ideal baby carrier for your lifestyle.
Okay, let’s jump right into it…
And I’ll never let my baby have an ego.He’ll be nice to everyone, wherever we go…
No no no… Not baby rap. Baby wrap
Basically little more than a long cloth, a baby wrap is most basic kind of baby carrier. As the name suggests; you wrap the cloth around your body to form a snug carrier for your baby. The wrap can be worn in a variety of different ways, called a ‘carry’. While wraps are the most versatile of baby carriers they also have the highest learning curve as an improperly wrapped carry can be dangerous to your baby.
Across the hip, on the back and the more familiar front carry among many more options. It entirely depends on how you choose to wrap.
Age group: Newborns (yes, even preemies) onwards
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of baby wraps.
Also known as a buckle carrier; a soft structured baby carrier (or SSC) is similar to a basic backpack that can be worn on your front or back. Inside the backpack sits your baby. Rather than waste time wrapping your baby in (or learning to) you simple slide the baby carrier over your shoulders strap yourself in using buckles and clips.
Out of all the baby carriers, soft structured are by far the most popular.
Soft structured baby carriers are suitable for newborns although depending on the carrier you may need an infant insert to pad out the extra space. Some soft structured carriers can even be worn comfortably until your baby reaches 3 years of age.
Positions will vary from carrier to carrier. While some only allow you to carry your baby on the front, others will allow you to back or hip carry. Some soft structured carriers will allow you to swap between multiple carrying positions.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of soft structured baby carriers.
If a baby wrap and a soft structured baby carrier were to have a baby, the result would definitely be the Mei-Tai Carrier.
While it looks incredibly similar to a soft structured baby carrier; the Mei-Tai is actually a rectangular piece of fabric with 4 straps (one on each corner). By tying the 4 straps to your body, the fabric will create a pouch for your infant to sit inside. Due to the simple design, you can pick Mei-Tai carriers up at a bargain price.
Mei-Tai carriers are much less bulky than soft structured baby carriers. This allows you to perform housework and other activities that would be difficult with larger carriers.
Front carries (facing in or out), back carries and hip carriers. Just be mindful that the hip carry can be a little awkward unless you choose a Mei-Tai carrier specifically designed for hip carries.
6 months through to preschoolers. No head support is offered making this carrier unsuitable for babies that cannot support their neck.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons Mei-Tai baby carriers.
There are two different types of baby slings:
Baby slings are generally designed to carry your baby on your front only.
Age group: Newborn to early toddler (or until to heavy to wear).
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons baby slings.
If you can tear your eyes away from this dad’s dreamy smile (I saw him first!) you will notice that he is wearing a front facing baby carrier.
A front facing baby carrier is worn the same was as a soft structured baby carrier except that rather than face towards your chest, your baby faces away from you.
While many soft structured carriers will also allow your baby to face outwards, front facing carriers have been designed to provide your baby with maximum support while facing away from you. The result is a more comfortable baby and wearer.
Front carry only with your baby facing away from you.
Age group: Newborn to infant.
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of front facing baby carriers.
As you can see there are way more disadvantages than advantages for front facing baby carriers. If a front facing baby carrier does appeal to you then I strongly recommend a soft structured baby carrier that will also allow your baby to face forwards. You will thank me.
A backpack carrier (also known as a hiking carrier) is incredibly similar to a camping backpack. Instead of having an area to store camping gear, there is a baby seat instead. As the name suggests, backpack carriers are carried on the your back; allowing you to comfortably carrier your baby (soon to be toddler) as he gets heavier and heavier and heavier
If you have ever been on an extended walk while wearing a baby carrier, you will realize just how heavy a baby can be. Since your back can support a lot more weight than your front, a backpack carrier has been designed to carry your baby without tiring yourself out over long distances
Important: Do not confuse a backpack carrier with a baby carrier that can be worn on both your front and back. These do not provide the same support and comfort as a purpose made backpack carrier.
Due to the bulky nature of backpack baby carriers; you will only be able to carry them on your back with your baby facing forwards.
Backpack carriers are suitable for children that can sit upright without assistance on your part (typically around the 6 month mark).
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of backpack baby carriers.
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