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The best baby carriers

(Image credit: Tula)

Your baby spent nine months held lovingly in just about the cosiest and most comforting environment imaginable, suspended with no strain to muscles or bones. Once born, the outside world can be a bit of a shock to the system, both physically and mentally! But using a baby carrier can help with that.

Our favourite was the Boba Baby 4GS Carrier for its innovative design additions such as the shoulder teething pads and breastfeeding buckle, as well as providing excellent comfort for wearer and baby alike.

Holding an infant upright and on your chest in a baby carrier or sling helps them feel secure, which encourages healthy mental and emotional development. But it’s not only the mental wellbeing of the baby that can be improved ­- baby-wearing has been shown to ease post-natal depression too.

When used correctly, a baby carrier helps prevent physical abnormalities such as hip dysplasia, flattened skulls and ‘frog legs’ which have been linked to extended periods of time lying on their backs during those very early stages. In later years, toddlers can still enjoy exploring the world with you in a light-weight child carrier.

Upright carrying also promotes healthy digestion, particularly for the hour after a feed, meaning a lower risk of colic, reflux, trapped wind and other digestive issues. It will also help keep your baby’s heart rate and temperature in the ideal ‘Goldilocks zone’, and encourages regular feeds for consistent weight gain and milk production.

Oh, and did we mention you’ll get the free use of your arms back?

Baby Carrier guidance

  • Thighs should be spread around the adult’s torso and the hips bent so the knees are slightly higher than the buttocks with the thighs supported.
  • Baby carriers should support the thigh and allow the legs to spread to keep the hip in a stable position.
  • Baby carriers that force the baby’s legs to stay together may contribute to hip dysplasia.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Lillebelle Complete All-season 6-in-1 carrier

360 degree carrier with adjustable torso and an impressive 45lbs max weight

Can easily hold children up to 45lbs (20kg)
Adjustable signature seat designed to give babies extra support
Straps very well padded with cross-back option
Quite bulky 

Although quite a bit bulkier than your average baby carrier, the Lillebelle Complete All-season 6-in-1 carrier is very comfortable to wear because of it. Even a hefty three-year-old felt almost weightless when carried thanks to the excellent lumbar support and shoulder padding. That being said, padding may be in abundance for the wearer, but there’s less of it there for baby’s comfort.

Although suitable from birth and up, we actually liked this one for carrying older kids the best particularly in the easy backpack-style position. If you’re after something for a very young baby, you might be better going elsewhere but if you’re looking for a lightweight (compared to other toddler carriers that seem more suited to hiking) toddler carrier so you can ditch the buggy, this is it!

(Image credit: Amazon)

Baby Tula Explore Mesh Baby Carrier

Breathable cotton carrier with multiple ergonomic positions and adjustable growing panel

Multiple ergonomic positions including facing out
Adjustable middle panel to grow the width with baby
Extra padding for both baby and wearing
Some of the best playful patterns we’ve seen!
Long straps that might not suit shorter people

Right off the bat, lets talk about the design. ‘The Land Before Tula’ featuring adorable dinos and tropic foliage gets our vote – it’s just so cool. In terms of construction, it is bulkier than some of the other carriers we tried but the reason for that is the padding – on the shoulders, on the neck, on the waistband and an adjustable neck support pillow for babies.

Speaking of adjustable, we thought the unique expanding-width panel that sits central on the carrier was a great idea. It has three settings and allows for a comfortable fit from new born through to toddler years.

It’s very comfortable to wear and the fabric is lovely and soft, although our shorter testers did find the straps to be slightly too long.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Boba Baby 4GS Carrier

Sturdy baby carrier in chic, minimalist design that offers great back support

Best for avoiding back pain, even when carrying bigger kids
Optional detachable teething pads available
Comes in a range of designs including organic cotton
Suitable from newborn to toddler without having to buy extra inserts
None

There were many things about this good-looking carrier that pushed it right up to our top pick, fast. First of all, it’s a really stylish product – slim fitting in a wide selection of minimalistic designs and cute patterns. It looks great and like it’s high quality – which it is.

Second, we just loved the extra features we haven’t seen on any other carriers. The optional detachable teething pads for the straps (genius!), the ‘breastfeeding buckle’ tucked in against your chest for easy, discreet on-the-go nursing, the foot straps (which are still available on some, but not all of the 4GS range), the infant pillow insert that sits under baby’s bum like a little booster cushion, the head-support hood and the option of organic cotton too.

Of course, it’s ergonomic (we wouldn’t recommend one that wasn’t) for your baby’s hip health and we were also impressed with how adjustable it was, making it great for different heights. We found it was much more comfortable to wear than some of the other carriers we tried and back pain was mostly kept at bay.

(Image credit: Amazon)

Baby K’tan Cotton Baby Carrier

Soft cotton baby carrier that’s the perfect blend of a sling, wrap and carrier

Very easy to put on – like a wrap, but without all the wrapping!
No buckles, rings, snaps, clasps, bulky padding, metal or plastic 
Ready to wear in multiple positions
Back support-band and double straps for wearer comfort
Some may find it feels snug, but it's meant to!

If you love the idea of a wrap but find the prospect daunting, the K’tan carrier offers the perfect solution. It’s made entirely of stretchy, sling fabric without the buckles and clips you get on structured carriers, but it’s ready to wear so you simply slip it on like a t-shirt. It couldn’t be easier! It was a relief to not have to rely on our origami skills to keep our babies secure.

It’s got a pretty even distribution of weight across the back and it is a tight fit, to keep little ones in place. Bear that in mind when choosing your size - do expect for it to feel snug though, as it is meant to feel that way.

We thought it was excellent value for money, especially as this can be used from newborn right the way through to toddler years (age 3 or 15.9kg).

(Image credit: Amazon)

BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Mini

Easy-on lightweight carrier with a great, snug fit for newborns

Designed for newborns, so really nice and secure for little babies
Very easy to put on and adjust
Material free from harmful substances and approved according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100
Most suitable for first few months only (up to 1 year)

If you’re keen to have a carrier rather than a sling for your newborn baby, this is the best we found out there. As it is designed for baby’s first few months, it’s dinky and cosy and provides excellent support exactly where they need it most. As a new parent, it’s no doubt incredibly important to buy the safest option for your baby and this certainly feels it when you’ve got your bubba held soundly on your chest.

A big selling point for us was the sturdy, strapped carrier design with the added bonus of having an adjustable cross back for an even spread on weight.

Overall this is a great product. The only downside is that it’s only suitable up to 1 year, so you’ll probably have to buy another, but that baby-specific design is what makes it excel too.