Like any other parent today, you must be looking for the best and safest way to carry your baby around. Toddlers love being carried on the back while infants love the snug grasp of their parents on the chest. Bearing this in mind, no other option will keep your baby closer to you at all times than the best baby carriers today. With a good baby carrier, baby wearing is going to be considerably easier. As such, you will continue to nature a stronger bond with your baby with every day that goes by.
However, there are numerous brands and type of baby carriers on the market today. As such, not just any carrier you find on the market today is good enough for your kid. While shopping for a good carrier, you need to get that one that is both comfortable and safe for you and the baby. To help you buy the best baby carrier today, here are some of the key considerations you need to make while shopping for one:
Types of Baby Carriers
Technological advancements and knowledge of what is comfortable and safe for babies have led to the development of a vast array of babywearing products. While the various baby carriers available today serve the same purpose, they feature different designs.
Modern baby carriers may be categorized into five broad groups as described below:
- Wrap – These feature a rather simple design. A wrap baby carrier is just a long piece of fabric that wraps you and the baby.
- Baby Backpack – Carriers in this category have a metal frame and are considered to be the best for carrying a baby on your baby for a comparatively long period.
- Soft-Structured Carriers – These resemble the backpack baby carriers. They have buckles and a padded strap attached to the main body of the baby carrier.
- Mei-Tai – This is a blend of the soft-structured carriers and wraps baby carriers. Carriers under this category feature four straps that are attached to its body. You may tie the straps in different ways to secure your baby.
How Old is Your Baby?
Different carriers are meant to suit babies of different ages. Therefore, your choice of the right carrier should be influenced by the age of your baby. For instance, babies less than five months old require additional support at their necks and head. If your baby is less than five months old, you should consider buying a baby carrier that offers adequate neck support. Again, babies within this age group are used to the position they assumed in the womb. As such, you should get a carrier that keeps them natural curled up while being carried. As the baby grows older, his or her carrying needs are going to change, as described below:
- Babies Between 5 and 18 Months Old
By the time they are five months old, most babies will have developed adequate neck control. Again, the baby will be weighing between 6 and 14 kilograms. Although this is the phase of your baby’s life when carrying him or her is really necessary, it gets increasingly difficult to carry them around as they grow older comfortably. At this age, babies need a lot of napping and sleep. When not sleeping, the baby will want to see the surroundings. This being the case, you should get a baby carrier that gives your baby an upright posture. Additionally, the right carrier for babies within this age group should be able to handle the increasing weight of the baby comfortably. If your baby is within this age group, it is advisable to buy a baby ring sling carrier. Alternatively, you can opt for an ergonomic soft structured baby carrier.
- Toddlers Between 18 and 36 Months Old
Most Toddlers within this age group weigh between 12 and 18 kilograms, a weight that is not easy to carry around. Such babies will be comparatively more active, running about and playing. Although babies within this age group still need more sleep, they will continuously struggle to remain awake and play. As such, a good ergonomic baby carrier will restrain your baby and allow him or her to sleep. If your baby is in this age bracket, your preferred baby carrier should be able to distribute the baby’s weight more efficiently.
Additionally, your preferred product should feature the right panel height for the baby. A good weight distribution system on your preferred baby carrier will make it easier for you to carry a baby as heavy as 15 kilograms without straining your back.
- Toddlers Older than 36 Months
Contrary to the misconception that babies older than three years should not be carried, you will discover that they need to be carried on the back every once in a while. At this age, the baby will be weighing about 20 kilograms. As such, you are going to need a baby carrier with a good weight distribution system. Another aspect you should consider is the panel height; get one that comfortably accommodates your baby’s size.
Ergonomics of the Carrier
In addition to the weight and size of your baby, you also need to consider how safe and comfortable a baby carrier is for you and the baby. These are key considerations because the body of the baby is still at a formative stage, particularly the spine. With regards to the ergonomics of the carrier, your preferred choice should not obstruct your baby’s natural growth. As a rule of thumb, the best baby carrier should put the baby in a position that is as comfortable and natural as possible.
As mentioned above, the right carrier for babies below the age of 5 months should put them in a curled up position. For older babies who can sit upright, the right carrier should be structured in a way that allows for the baby to be carried in a sitting position. Such a structure offers optimal support for your baby’s spine and promotes development. You should also avoid buying baby carriers that appear as though they are hanging your baby by his or her crotch. Such carriers exert unnecessary strain at the base of your baby’s spine, which may affect its development.
Simply put, the best baby carrier for your child should be versatile, easy to use, safe for the baby and highly supportive. As you have learned throughout this guide, the carrying needs of your baby will change as he or she grows older. As such you should continually change baby carriers to accommodate the baby’s increasing height and weight safely. For the comfort of the baby wearer, you should get one that distributes the increasing weight more efficiently, hence does not strain the wearer’s back.