Babies absolutely adore being held close to the chest of their mothers and fathers while they feel the warmth of their bodies and their overwhelming rhythm of their heartbeat. But your arms and shoulders are bound to get tired by carrying a growing baby around throughout the day. That is exactly where soft and sophisticated baby carriers and bay wraps come to your rescue. The baby products market is bombarded with a wide variety of baby carriers and baby wraps every year which makes it harder for consumers to decide which one is a better choice for them at an affordable price.
We selected 17 of the most popular baby wraps and baby carriers and subjected them to rigorous testing. Some of these included the decades old favorites such as the Baby Bjorn and ERGO as well as the new entrants into the market such as Mother Nest and Tula. The baby wraps lie in the price category between $35 and $150 while the price being in a correlation with the quality of the product. In order to ensure that our reviews were not marked by any bias, we purchased all the baby carriers and baby wraps rather than accepting anything from free. Each baby wrap was analyzed based on different parameters such as usability, safety, comfort, uniqueness, breathability, durability and reliability. Five mothers and fathers of varying shapes and sizes tested the wraps with 4 different babies ranging in age from 2 months to 2.5 years.
Carriers boasting soft structures are the most popular and flexible option when it comes to a baby wrap. These are available in a wide array of sizes, shapes, prices and quality. The baby wraps can be strapped in the front or your back with the baby looking forward or backward. In contrast to a traditional wrap such as the Boba or Moby, soft structured baby carriers are incorporated with an inherent padded design that provides a reliable cushioning to the baby while eliminating the probability of the baby adopting awkward positions as is the case with conventional wraps or slings.
The baby carriers and baby wraps are not as adjustable as the wrap carriers neither are they easy to use during travels but are way more intuitive in contrast to the wrap carriers which require you to learn how to wrap and tie them up. Having said that, there are a few features that you need to consider while purchasing a soft-structured baby wrap. Let’s discuss one by one in detail:
Ergonomic design: An ergonomic design of a baby carrier and baby wrap is essential in the appropriate hip and back development. There are a few things that you need to keep in mind in this regard. Firstly, your newborn infant should adopt the C spinal alignment which implies that the baby’s back gets into a nice curve with legs tucked up which is known as the fetal tuck position which tends to minimize pressure on the back and hip bones; thereby soothing the baby and assisting in digestion. Secondly, as your baby passes the three months barrier, his hips and hamstrings need adequate support to ensure that the baby gets into a frog leg position. This implies that you do not want the baby’s legs to hang down below the carrier which should be case for at least the first couple of years of growth of your baby. During our analysis, we tested newborn infants in fetal tuck position while older babies and toddlers were tested with the frog leg position.
Multipurpose: The days of the baby wraps being able to support a single carrying position are long but gone. There is no need to get a separate baby carrier and baby wrap for an infant, toddler, older kid and hiking. Majority of the baby carriers available on the market are designed for multiple purposes. Some carriers falling in the affordable category may support two positions that include forward facing and backward facing. Some more expensive options support six positions including the fetal tuck, legs out, forward facing, backward facing, hip sling and back carrier. The best quality baby wraps last for a long time and until your baby is well-passed the age of using them.
Safety and reliability: There can be nothing more important than the safety of your baby. You need to consider tons of factors in this regard. The stitching along the seams, the point of attachment of zippers and buckles, the quality of zippers, clips, fasteners, slides, loops and Velcro, their reliability and durability with repetitive usage, the quality of connectors, fabric and stitching, baby position, breathability of the fabric and the head and neck support furnished by the baby wrap. During our tests, we carried out short term tests and based our research on reviews given by parents to determine the long term impact of the above mentioned features.
Usability: Some baby wraps are great to look at, offer a nice subtle feel, turn out to be reliable and comfortable but are not easy to put on, take off and adjust. Baby wraps have improved over the years with regard to usability and intuitiveness but there are some out there that are quite flimsy in this regard. The best baby wraps included in our list have been analyzed based on the parameters of ease of wearing and adjusting.
Comfort and breathability: Comfort is an important feature that needs to be taken care of to ensure that your baby feels calm and comfortable in the baby carrier. The carrier should boast padding along the back contour, where arms and legs meet open air, on the hips and wherever the baby’s limbs are likely to come into contact with the fastening or adjusting components of the baby wrap. There should be minimum padding, on the other hand, around the head and face to guarantee maximum breathability and let the air flow unhindered.
Cost: You can baby wraps worth as low as $25 and as high as $200 which are loaded with exquisite features such as bells and whistles. Our list includes baby wraps in the higher price range that lies around $100 and can go up to $150. We have included some affordable options towards the end of the post such as NimNik, Mo+m Classic, Bebamour, Infantino Cuddle Up and Mother Nest carriers.
Now, let us discuss the best baby carriers and baby wraps for the year 2017:
1 – LILLEBaby Complete All Season Baby Carrier
The LILLEBaby Complete All Season Baby Carrier is a fantastic baby carrier that boasts aesthetically pleasing Scandinavian design and comes with a wide variety of features. The carriers are available in three classes namely the COMPLETE series, CARRY-ON series and ESSENTIAL series. As is evident from the name, the COMPLETE series is the most comprehensive one that supports 6 carrying positions and a weight range spanning infants of 7 pounds to older kids of 45 pounds. The COMPLETE series includes All Seasons, Airflow, Original and Embossed variants. Unless you are a resident of some really hot and humid conditions that would force you to go for the Airflow version, we would highly recommend you to opt for the All Seasons version. The All Seasons versions offers a cotton fabric on the outside along with a highly breathable mesh lining and a fabulous zip-down front section for warmer climates. This is a fantastic contraption since there have been complaints put up by several mothers out there that only a few baby wraps are acclimatize with all weather conditions.
It happens quite often that you begin strolling down your local park when it is a bit cooler while as you go out again for some lunch time walk, the weather would have gotten warmer by then. This baby wrap enables parents to minimize the insulation in order to ensure that the airflow is maximum to the sides, back and torso of the baby. There are numerous other features that have left us astounded by their efficacy. Firstly, in contrast to ERGO, there is no infant insert as the baby wrap is already designed to conform to infants weighing 7 pounds without using any insert. Secondly, the baby wrap offers six carry positions as mentioned earlier which include the fetal-tuck, a tuck with the legs out, front and rear facing toddler, hip sling style and back carrier for older kids. We found out that all the six positions were well designed, provided ample support and comfort to the baby as well as the parents.
The third feature of note here is the sleeping hood which is also a great device for protecting your baby from the sun and other natural elements. Fourthly, the baby wrap ensures that the carrier is as comfortable for the parents as it can get: it comes with a wide waist belt, a large spinal support pad, luxurious shoulder straps and altogether a very lightweight carrier. Fifthly, the baby carrier offers some value added features such as the different number of colors and styles it is available in, a handy zippered pocket at the front of the wrap for storing your everyday stuff such as a smartphone or keys, and the carrier can be tailored to meet the needs of the baby as well as the one wearing it.
During our tests, we also found out that it was quite easy to put on and take off and get the baby in and out. Moreover, the build is nice and solid and will surely last for a long time. The manufacturer has brought about some enhancements in order to resolve a strap issue and the resultant product is a highly reliable one. There are a few drawbacks but they can be overlooked considering the tons of benefits that you get from this great baby wrap. The storage pocket is located on the external side of the zippered-down flap which makes it a touch difficult to reach it when the flap is unzipped. The location of the storage pockets on the waist bands would have been rather nice. On the whole, it is a tremendous carrier that deserves to be placed at the first spot on our list. The baby wrap is available for a wide range of colors and styles here for just $140.
2 – Ergobaby 4-Position Baby Carrier
We were not able to reach out for this one last year but this year we got our hands on it for testing and we are glad that we did! The Ergobaby 4-Position “360” baby wrap is the latest model in the already high-profile Ergobaby carrier series. Not so long ago, the Ergobaby Original 3-Position carrier was ranked at the top spot on our list so they boast a rich history of coming up some really magnificent products. The Ergobaby 4-Position baby wrap is surely the most comfortable and luxurious baby carrier on our list. It is very light in weight, highly comfortable, soft and conforms to all body shapes with ridiculous ease. Our experimenters had it on for several hours while they traversed the towns and even some hiking trails and their backs and shoulders did not felt the pinch.
This one is surely more comfortable in comparison with the LILLEBABY and we also got the feeling that it was easier to breastfeed your little one while wearing it in contrast to LILLEBABY. The baby wrap is very easy to wear, get the baby in and out and adjust as and when required. There is also a sleeping nap that will protect your bundle of joy from the harmful rays of the sun as well as the elements. Having said that, the Ergobaby 4-Position baby wrap is simply not as versatile as the LILLEBaby since its weight capacity is not as high ranging between 7 pounds and 33 pounds. Moreover, you also have to purchase a baby insert separately and it also does not offer bucket modifications for accommodating both infants as well as toddler thighs. So, you get four carry positions and buy a separate baby insert to get the fifth position.
We also observed that it came with a small sized storage pouch to put your daily essentials in. In addition, the Velcro around the waist felt pretty great good except that it was rather loud to use. These are some of the reasons LILLEBaby was able to grab the top spot and the Ergobaby 4-Position baby wrap stayed behind but believe us, it was a close competition. The Ergobaby 4-Position baby wrap is so comfortable for both babies and parents that it really was a hard choice to make. It is definitely a magnificent baby wrap that boasts tons of attractive features and some deficiencies. It is available in a wide array of colors and patterns here for just $150.
3 – BOBA 4G Baby Carrier
The BOBA 4G Baby Carrier was our top rated baby wrap once owing to a number of reasons. It is luxurious, versatile, trendy, formidable and reliable. The waistband is rather thick which provides support to the baby’s weight without putting undesired stress on your body and ensuring equivalent distribution around it. The waistband offers a couple of adjustment positions which helps in evening out the binding around the waist. Just under the arm pits, there are also the adjustments for the shoulder straps that assist you in adjusting the fit even while carrying the baby.
The BOBA 4G Baby Carrier comes with a baby insert as opposed to ERGO and is compatible for babies weighing in the range between 7 pounds and 45 pounds. In addition, the baby wrap comes with a small zippered pocket along the waist. It can be a hassle to work around with a baby insert unless it is not incorporated in the carrier by default. The baby wrap is also equipped with little foot straps or stirrups to support the dangling legs of your baby. Moreover, the range of strap adjustment is quite wide; thereby allowing it to conform to bodies of varying sizes and shapes. So, in contrast to the ERGO, the BOBA 4G Baby Carrier definitely boasts plenty of features.
During our tests, we discovered that a vast majority of mothers were unanimous about the fact that the ERGO was more comfortable for the moms and offered more support to the baby. This does not mean that the BOBA 4G Baby Carrier is not a comfortable baby wrap. It is surely a comfortable baby wrap but it is comparatively less comfortable in contrast to the ERGO. It is available in a variety of colors and patterns and can be purchased for just $125. Here is the link for more details.
4 – TULA Ergonomic Baby Carrier
The TULA series is surely the most attractive, trendy and flamboyant baby wraps available on the market. It is quite comfortable, boasts an ergonomic design and is long lasting. The Velcro pocket at the front is quite impressive although it may be a bit difficult to access for moms with shorter arms or larger babies. It supports babies weighing in the range between 15 and 45 pounds which is a nice upper range but a very restricted lower range. This baby wrap is not going to be suitable until your baby is a few months old and if you want to use it for your infant in the early days after his birth, then you will have to purchase the baby insert separately. But once you start using it, you will love every bit of it.
The shoulder straps are highly padded and very comfortable while the supports provided for the baby’s legs and thighs are quite well-padded as well. The hood for the carrier is of a decent size and can be detached as and when required. The carrier is quite easy to put on and off. An interesting thing to note here is that the supports provided for the baby’s thighs and legs is adequately padded but it is not adjustable as is the case with other options that have been discussed so far. So, before that sweet spot is reached, the area for the baby’s thighs and legs supports will be too wide and hence too uncomfortable.
After almost an hour’s usage, most of our mothers wanted to get rid of the carrier owing to some back stress and get back the LILLEBaby on thanks to its cross-straps and lumbar support. They also shared that the baby wrap did not boast an effective airflow which could have been significantly improved with the inclusion of a 3D mesh. On the whole, the TULA Ergonomic Baby Carrier seems to be a nice option with a few deficiencies. The baby wrap is available online for $150 in a wide range of colors and patterns.
5 – BabyBjorn Original Baby Carrier
The BabyBjorn Original Baby Carrier is one of the pioneers that brought about a revolution when it comes to styling in baby wraps. It was responsible for making the baby carriers look flamboyant and attractive as opposed to the baby wraps of the 1980s which seemed nothing more than bulk and clumsy pieces of equipment. The BabyBjorn Original Baby Carrier is still one of the best in the soft baby carrier market but the price of its original version definitely has plummeted since its first introduction. The Original version is a basic model that comes with traditional shoulder straps, offers not adjustment features and comes without any baby inserts, waist strap, pocket or hood etc.
It is a decent carrier but is likely to cause pain in the neck and shoulders after an hour’s usage. Owing to these issues and the fact that the market had been taken over by more versatile and classy baby wraps, BabyBjorn decided to come up with another version that was more comfortable, reliable, sophisticated and structured in contrast to their Original version. The One carrier is similar to the Comfort model which was released the last year and comes with lots of attractive features such as front facing option, wait strap that goes a long way in relieving shoulder stress, adjustment options and plenty of padding.
The BabyBjorn Original Baby Carrier provides support for a baby with a minimum weight of 8 pounds and includes not baby insert, storage pocket and hood. Moreover, it is heavier and not easy to store in comparison with ERGO and Boba. In addition, in our tests, we found out that the BabyBjorn Original Baby Carrier does not provide appropriate cushioning to the shoulders thereby producing sore shoulders. On the whole, this is a nice affordable option that can be had for just $50.
Best Budget Baby Carriers
Have you been struck by budgetary constraints and a baby wrap worth $100 or $150 is not fitting your monthly budget? We have tested numerous baby carriers over the years and have come across a wide range of baby wraps that cost well under $50. These may not be the greatest options when it comes to making it to our annual top five list but they surely are compatible alternatives if you are looking to save some money up your sleeves. The above mentioned BabyBjorn Original Baby Carrier costs just $50. But if you are looking for a more versatile option that comes with a broader array of features then you should look at the following options:
1 – Bebamour Baby Carrier
The first one of our hip-seat carriers included in our list is the Bebamour Baby Carrier. This is a nifty baby wrap that is compatible with six carry positions and can be used on your chest for babies aged between 3 and 36 months old. It can also be used for inward or forward facing position as well as backward facing position. Similarly, the unique hip or front seat is the primary attribute of this magnificent baby wrap. Without the hip-seat feature, the Bebamour Baby Carrier is a conventional baby carrier that can support a baby weighing up to 44 pounds and offers lots of tiny pockets that let you store your phone, car keys and other essentials while carrying the baby.
It offers a wide array of adjustments that make it fit moms of all sizes and shapes thanks to its adjustment straps. The hood is made of breathable fabric that is attached with the help of little loops so there will not be any loud noise created while the little one is fast asleep. The fabrics are soft, the shoulder straps and hip belt are adequately padded and the carrier is a reliable device on the whole. It is a large sized carrier and we believe it is suitable for babies of about 4 to 5 months of age unless you have an unusually large baby. When you put it on in the conventional manner, the weight of the baby is even distributed along your waist rather than pressurizing your hip and back.
It can also be put on independently of the rest of the carrier and presents a great opportunity for resting the babies on their bottoms or side on the hip seat. As your little one grows older, the baby wrap is a great choice even then as it lets babies of older age to jump onto the hip seat and use their arms to hold on. The downside of this baby carrier is its large size which does not accommodate smaller babies. The Bebamour Baby Carrier has been produced by a Chinese manufacturer which makes the instructions and descriptions scribbled on the product and in the user’s manual a little hard to comprehend. The Bebamour Baby Carrier is available for just $40.
2 – Mother Nest Ergonomic Baby Carrier
The Mother Nest Ergonomic Baby Carrier is one of our most favorite baby carriers of all time that is available in the market for just under $50. It comes loaded with tons of features and a trendy look. It provides support to babies weighing between 12 and 33 pounds and comes without an infant insert which makes it suitable for babies once they are a few months old. It can be used rear-facing on the chest and on the back but does not work as a front facing carrier which is a bit of drawback. The shoulder straps are adequately padded while the addition of another strap to connect the two shoulder straps makes things nice and comfortable for the mothers and fathers.
The Mother Nest Ergonomic Baby Carrier comes with a detachable hood and boasts more pockets in contrast to other baby wraps available in the market. The four zippered pockets are placed on the carrier and on the waistband. The waistband is quite wide and thick for this price range while the use of a Velcro alongside a clip makes it safe and secure. During our tests, we found out the fabric of the baby wrap to be extremely soft and comfortable while there are some drool pads available as well that can be washed with exceptional ease. It is a fine baby carrier in this price range but does not support babies weighing lesser than 12 pounds. It offers a limited number of carry positions and can be bought for about $50 here.
3 – Mo+M Classic Baby Carrier
This is a phenomenal traditional soft-structured baby wrap that is loaded with tons of features in an affordable price range. It supports three carry positions including rear facing front, hip sling carry and front facing back. It does not include any forward-facing front position and infant position. The baby wrap does not even support the fetal tuck carry position and also does not provide support for babies weighing under 12 pounds. The carrier does provide support for babies weighing up to 36 pounds. There is a zip-down flap that can expose the mesh fabric to enhance breathability which is a feature that resembles the LILLEBaby. In addition, the baby carrier is fitted with a hood and number of storage packets. As far as the drawbacks are concerned, the Mo+M Classic Baby Carrier is not as comfortable and padded as some of our premium options discussed earlier while the cloth is also not as soft one would like it to be. Moreover, the Mo+M Classic Baby Carrier does not come with a baby insert so it does not provide support for infants. Despite these shortcomings, the Mo+M Classic Baby Carrier seems to be a decent options if you are looking to save a few bucks as it can be bought for just $35.
4 – NimNik Sling Carrier Hipseat
This is one of the most versatile baby wraps included in our list and we believe that it is suitable for older kids weighing around 45 pounds. The NimNik Sling Carrier Hipseat can be used as a forward-facing, rear-facing and hipseat carrier for older babies. The hipseat is a tiny seat that provides support to your baby’s weight around your waist. It can give mothers plenty of respite who have to carry their older babies in their arms all day long. The baby wrap boasts decent quality fabric that is soft and breathable. The NimNik Sling Carrier Hipseat is essentially a hipseat that has been integrated with back support to transform it into a baby carrier.
The NimNik Sling Carrier Hipseat comes with three small pockets that let you store your daily essentials. The waist band is nice and wide that provides comfort and a soothing effect particularly when the hipseat is being used. A Velcro and a buckle are employed to hold on the waist but the baby wrap comes without an infant insert and provides support for babies weighing no less than 12 pounds. It does not include any closing pockets and is not nearly as padded or soft as our premium quality baby wraps. However, if you are looking out for a baby hipseat that can also be used as a baby carrier, then the NimNik Sling Carrier Hipseat seems to be a nice alternative that can be purchased online for $50.
5 – Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier
Infantino have been coming up with a variety of baby products and baby wraps over the years. They have produced tons of baby carriers some of which are loaded with tons of features while others are not worth considering. It must be said that the Infantino series is quite impressive that is equipped with loads of features while the carriers are quite reliable and comfortable. However, as is the case with all the other carriers included in our list of affordable carriers, the Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier is also a baby wrap with limited features, carry positions and is not as comfortable as the premium quality baby wraps.
The Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier comes with a gorgeous baby hood cover that goes on like a soft hoodie cap and also boasts nice cute ears. The inside of the hood features a chevron pattern while the baby wrap is the only one included in our list that comes with a hood to keep your baby’s head warm in chillier climes. Similarly, there are front pockets just like your own hoodie that can help you store your car keys or phone but they won’t be safe in there especially when you are getting the baby out of the carrier or putting him in. The pads provide sufficient support and the adjustment options are decent as well.
The carrier will probably not produce lots of sore shoulders or backs amongst parents. Similar to the Mo+m and Mother Nest baby wraps, it only supports a couple of carry positions which are rear facing and front facing front carry. The Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier can provide support to babies weighing between 12 pounds and 40 pounds which is the typical range for the low cost baby wraps available on the market. The Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier can be purchased for about $40 online.