Last Updated on April 30, 2018 by Sarah
If you’re familiar with the benefits of babywearing, you’ll know how important physical contact is between mother and newborn.
It not only helps the bonding process, but babies worn against the body are generally more content and therefore cry less (result!).
But how do you choose the best type of baby carrier for a newborn?
There are so many newborn baby wraps, slings, pouches and backpacks available, it’s easy to find yourself falling down a kind of baby carrier rabbit hole.
Personally, I ended up in hormonal tears at my indecision over the merits of a Mei Tai over a Boba wrap. It wasn’t my finest moment.
So, to avoid you entering the rabbit hole (and any spontaneous tears), below I’m going to explain:
- 5 things to consider when choosing a newborn baby carrier
- the main types of baby carriers available for newborns
- the benefits of each type of carrier, including some best selling/popular recommendations.
Things To Consider When Choosing a Newborn Baby Carrier
Firstly, before we look at the main types of baby carriers for newborns, here are 5 things for you to keep in mind when selecting your baby carrier:
How much do you want to spend?
Baby carriers range from around £20 (around $25) right up to well over £100 ($130), so keep in mind how much you want to invest. Although if you consider that a Bugaboo Chameleon is pushing £1000 in the UK, a sling is a pretty minimal investment!
How long do you want your baby carrier to last?
Do you just plan to carry your baby for the first few weeks or months? Or do you plan to babywear into the walking stage and beyond? Some people opt for 2 slings – one for the newborn stage and another for when the baby is a little older. Personally, I got on fine with a Mei Tai right from the newborn stage until my daughter was 3, but this will come down to personal choice.
Ease of Use
Are you liable to fly off the handle if you can’t tie your sling first time! I loved, loved, loved my Mei Tai and it’s really easy to put on once you’ve practiced it a couple of times. But if you think this may be one thing too many to deal with, a soft structured baby carrier with buckles may be a better choice.
A baby carrier that digs into your shoulder or doesn’t distribute the weight well is not going to be comfortable for long and will likely drive you nuts. Check reviews for what others are saying and opt for soft materials that are easy and comfy to wear.
Equally, baby needs to be comfortable too. NCT UK recommend against carrying baby in a front facing sling, since it forces baby’s back against your chest, plus causes their legs to dangle. This can mean baby’s weight rests on the crotch rather than spread more evenly across bottom and thighs.
Using a newborn baby carrier is a fantastic way to bond with your baby. But it’s also important to make sure you’re doing it safely.
Whilst this is largely common sense or down to maternal intuition, the School of Babywearing has a helpful acronym called T.I.C.K.S., which sums up how to use a carrier safely. Remember to keep these in mind when selecting a newborn baby carrier:
T – Tight
I – In view at all times
C – Close enough to kiss
K – Keep chin off the chest
S – Supported Back
The Main Types of Baby Carrier
Ok, so now let’s look at the main types of baby carrier.
The are a lot of carriers out there, but generally, you’ll find that baby carriers for newborns fall under one of the types below. Understanding this makes it much easier to navigate all the carriers on the market and ultimately make an informed decision on which one is right for you.
1 – Wrap Carrier
Wrap carriers are basically a long piece of fabric that wraps around you and your baby.
A versatile option, they can be adjusted to meet the needs of the wearer.
It can sometimes seem a bit intimidating at first learning how to use a wrap sling, but like anything, it just takes practice. Most wrap carriers allow you the versatility to carry your baby on your front, hip, or even back, once they are old enough.
A great choice for a baby wrap is the popular Boba Wrap.
2 – Pouch Sling Carrier
Pouch sling carriers are made of a single piece of fabric that you wear diagonally across your body. One end goes over one shoulder and the other around your hip. This forms a pouch inside which you can fit your baby.
I’ve found that pouch sling carriers are one of the cheaper baby carrier options, but they do tend to come in fixed sizes, making them less practical if you plan to share the sling with a partner (unless they are the same size as you!).
I started out with a pouch sling carrier and did not get on with it AT ALL. Every time I bent over, I was convinced baby was going to fall out.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has also advised caution with these types of slings with newborns, as due to the nature of the sling shape, there have been instances of babies heads getting pushed forward, restricting airflow.
So, based on personal experience and CPSC advice I’d avoid these in favour of a different baby carrier options.
3 – Ring Sling Carrier
Generally similar to the pouch slings in shape, ring sling carriers are secured via a pair of rings. The weight of the baby or infant keeps the rings secure and in place.
Unlike pouch slings, ring slings are adjustable, which means they can be shared with a partner.
Many people get on fine with a ring sling, but others don’t find them the easiest option to adjust with baby in.
If you opt for a ring sling, it’s recommended babies sit in an upright position in a ring sling, not a cradle position. A popular choice is the Maya Ring Sling.
4 – Mei-Tai Carrier
A mei-tai has four straps attached to the main fabric panel of the baby carrier.
These can generally be tied in a variety of ways to secure your baby in place. The most common way is to tie 2 straps around your waist and 2 wrapped around your shoulders.
I used a (Mei Tai) and LOVED it.
Mei tai newborn baby carriers are:
- easy to get the hang of
- safe to use with newborns
- very versatile – it packs up neatly into bag and I was still happily (and comfortably) wearing it when my Little Lady was 3.
- a great choice for good lumbar support
- suitable for indoor or outdoor use
- more airy then some of the other options, which some people get too hot in. (I never got too hot in my mei tai, even during summer.)
- hard wearing (mine looked almost exactly the same after 3 years of daily use).
Here’s a great video from Infantino on how to wear one of their Sash Mei Tai Baby Carriers:
5 – Soft-Structured Carrier
These are a bit like a softish backpack with padded straps and buckles that are connected to the main body of the carrier. They are a popular choice with many caregivers, because, like a backpack, the buckles generally make they quick and easy to put on and take off.
They usually feature a thick padded waistband and shoulder straps for a more ergonomic fit. The soft structured carriers are a popular choice with many parents but are, generally, one of the more expensive options.
My Own Experience With a Newborn Baby Carrier
After spending endless hours researching newborn baby carriers, I eventually went for a pouch sling carrier, based on cost and a range of positive reviews.
I hated it.
I spent all day worrying my Little Lady was going to fall out. Plus I kept having to move her head round so it wasn’t covered by the fabric.
I also found it uncomfortable, as having a sling diagonally across my body (with the weight all on one shoulder), seemed unbalanced.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has also since advised using caution with these types of carrier.
So I binned the pouch sling and invested in a Mei Tai and loved it from day 1.
It was super comfortable, I quickly got used to tying it (flipping the straps around my shoulders like a Kung Fu Mama in the supermarket was the highlight of my day), plus my Little lady was snug as a bug and frequently refused to nap anywhere else.
The Mei Tai also disributed the weight so evenly, which is much better for posture. The straps also never dug in, as some reviews suggest they do with some of the more structured carriers.
A Final Word On Baby Carriers For Newborns
Wearing your baby in a newborn baby carrier is a fantastic way to connect with your newborn child. Most baby carriers are hard wearing, versatile and won’t break the bank.
Based upon my own experience, I recommend a Mai Tei baby carrier for comfort, versatility and even distribution of weight across the shoulders.Wrap carriers are also very popular with parents and make another great choice.
Or if you want something a little more structured or that Dad won’t mind wearing too, the Ergobaby is an award winning, popular option.
Always supplement with your own further research though, to make sure you get the best newborn baby carrier for your own personal needs.
Have you used a newborn baby carrier? What’s your favourite?