Baby carriers that are meant for infants are smaller and suitable to be worn anywhere from 0-4 to 0-9 months. At that point you would switch to a larger “soft structured carrier,” which will take you well into toddlerhood.
There are various types of baby carriers for a newborn baby: soft structured carriers (those designed for newborns and infants tend to be smaller), baby carrier wraps, and slings. We will go over the best baby carriers in each of these categories in a few, but first, let’s talk about how to choose a carrier that’s right for your family and your family’s needs.
Top Newborn Carriers
The Original Baby Bjorn ~ $159 – Easiest carrier to take on and off but not the best option to wear for long durations
Moby Wrap Original ~ $46 – Economy Pick ~ Big learning curve to tie, but the comfort and closeness is worth it
Baby K’tan ~ $49 – Wears like a wrap but without the frustration of tying
Nesting Days ~ $115 – Editor’s Choice ~ Wear around your tummy like a shaper, perfect for c-section mamas
Wild Bird Ring Sling ~ $69 – Offering beautiful aesthetics, this ring sling is quite possibly the easiest to nurse in
* Got twins? Check out our recommended Baby Carriers for Twins guide.
Picking the Right Carrier for Your Newborn
Do you need an infant carrier for your newborn baby?
We used to recommended getting an newborn carrier first and then upgrading to a soft structured carrier once your baby outgrew it; this was because most structured carriers required the additional purchase of a newborn adapter in order to use them with a young baby (0-6 months), and without the adapter, small babies (0-6 months) tend to get swallowed up.
However, most of the top-of-the-crop soft structured carriers either no longer require an infant adapter at all or include one with the carrier (at no additional cost)…. so skipping the infant carrier altogether has definitely grown to be an attractive option.
That being said, there are still some advantages to having a baby carrier designed for small babies. Many of the options out there (like the wraps) are light and soft, easy to stash in a diaper bag, and very comfortable to use from day one. Plus, they offer a feeling of closeness that, in our opinion, is unparalleled — and all of that without adding much bulk to your load.
Here are the best baby carriers for infants.
1. Original Baby Bjorn ~ $135
*If the Original is out of stock, the cool air mesh version, the Baby Bjorn Free, is a good alternative ($159).
For me, this is hands-down the easiest carrier to take on and off, especially if you leave it in its semi-intact position after taking it off. In the Bjorn, your baby can face in or out, which is fab. It can also be used very early on for newbs without needing a special newborn adapter. Lucie loved facing out in the Bjorn so she could watch the world go by.
However, this is not Sweden’s finest piece of engineering… the downside for the parent is the ouch-factor: think of carrying a heavy backpack on the front of your body. This carrier exerts a great deal of pressure on the lower back and the straps tend to dig into your shoulders. This results in a condition I call “Bjorn back” or “Baby back” (you may also be stricken with Baby wrist, Baby hips and knees, or Baby shoulder — none of which are pleasant). The BabyBjorn Miracle is slightly easier on the back, but for that price? I think you can do better.
People also love to hate on the Bjorn because it’s a dreaded “crotch dangler” [drink!], which means the baby is not in an ergonomically correct carry position and, in theory, could develop hip dysplasia. With casual use, I don’t think this is a real issue. However, for baby’s sake, I would not wear it heavily. Speak to your doctor if you have concerns.
Having just talked all that smack, I have to admit I LOVE the Bjorn for its easy on/off, around the house convenience. Need to throw it on to unload the dishwasher, get the mail, or tend to another child? YEP! For 0-4 months or so, this is a very handy carrier indeed. Closeted, crotch-dangling mothers around America agree.
But after baby hits the 15 lb mark? Forget it, your back will be DYING. It absolutely pains me to see moms or dads carrying around older infants or even young toddlers in a goddang Bjorn. Ouch, people! It makes me want to have an impromptu baby carrier intervention.
I’m not sure I would buy one new, but if you can borrow one from a friend for the first few months, you’ll be glad you did. It’s all about options!
The Carrier One, named so to be “the only carrier you’ll need from birth through toddlerhood,” is pricey (but pretty nice!). It behaves more like a traditional soft structured carrier, like the Ergo, but with the convenience of easy in and out that Bjorn is known for. Bonus point for being able to use it with an older baby without breaking your back. Read our complete review of the BabyBjorn Carrier One.
Another great BabyBjorn contender for infant carriers is the Carrier Mini. Retailing for $79 (on sale for $70 on Amazon), the mini is the perfect size for babies from 0 to 12 months (or 24 lbs) and can be used facing in or out. We particularly love the 3D Jersey material because it is ultra soft and cozy.
2. Moby Wrap Original ~ $40
The Moby is the bizzaro Bjorn: difficult to get on, but a pleasure to wear. The closeness and comfort that you get with a wrap is like no other, mainly because you are literally wrapping newborn baby to your body so you move together as one unit.
It’s almost like you’re still pregnant.
The Moby is a single, long piece of stretchy fabric that you tie around you and your baby and, like grits, is an acquired taste. It takes a bit of practice to tie it correctly, but once you do, you’ll be in love. Unlike the Bjorn, it’s great for wearing for long durations because it doesn’t cause back fatigue. Seriously though, I would never have figured out how to tie it if I had just read the manual.
I made an instructional video here:
Just remember: it takes some practice and patience. If you lack both of these qualities, see #3. The Moby is totally perfect for your 0-6 month old baby and at $46, it’s very affordable.
Runner-Up Best Baby Carrier Wraps
- A lesser known, but similar wrap carrier is the Boba Wrap ($39). Many moms like it better because it’s stretchier (made of 5% Spandex) and less bulky. The big difference is that the Boba only allows your baby to be facing toward you.
- Ergobaby just released the Ergobaby Aura Wrap. This wrap has a built-in pocket to store all the fabric so it doesn’t drag on the ground.
- Solly Baby is the cool kid in the baby wrap town. Charlene had a serious addiction to their wraps way back when. The Lenzing modal material felt like second skin, and it was so lightweight that she could carry her babies with virtually no extra heft. She also couldn’t get enough of the beautiful prints. Check them out here.
3. Baby K’tan (pronounced Ka-TAHN) ~ $59
The K’tan fits like a wrap carrier, except with NO tying. Your baby can face in or out (yay!) and can be carried on your hip when they get older. Unlike most other carriers, the K’tan is not a one-size-fits-all option. It is sized to fit the wearer (you), not your babe. Therefore, you may not be able to share it with your partner if there is a great size difference between the two of you (which there usually is). This is the biggest downside. The K’tan also comes in two breathable versions to keep baby cool, the K’tan Breeze ($69) and the K’tan Active ($65).
For a video on how the K’tan compares to something like the Moby, click here.
- Pay close attention to the sizing recommendations. If you are at all in-between sizes, get the smaller one. The material is quite stretchy.
- It comes with an extra piece of fabric that you can tie around to give you extra support (more like a Moby) if you feel like you need it. Some people forget about this piece then complain it isn’t secure enough. It’s there – use it.
4. Nesting Days ~ $115
The Nesting Days carrier is different because you wear it around your tummy, like a shaper, which makes it very secure, comfortable, and totally hands free. This carrier also gives much needed tummy support after giving birth, especially for C-section moms.
The creator of Nesting Days, Julie Arvan, is a nurse and postpartum doula who also worked in the apparel industry. With the Nesting Days carrier, she brought together the best of both worlds. The fabrics are soft, stretchy, and completely machine washable.
This has become my go-to gift for new moms, and the friends who received one can’t stop raving about it. See our demonstration video here.
Sizing is based on your pre-pregnancy dress size. They run a little small, so size up when you order. Wrong size? Nesting Days sends you the right size in a few days, and a pre-paid envelope for the return. Made for newborns 5-18 pounds. You’re going to love going skin-to-skin!
Available exclusively online at nestingdays. Enter discount code LUCIESLIST (or LuciesList) and you will get a $5 discount off any order.
**See other similar baby wearing shirts here!
5. Wildbird Ring Sling ~ starting at $69
Ring slings can be intimidating at first, but once you get the hang of it, they’re so easy to use — no wrapping or buckling needed. They’re suitable from birth, but most of them can be used up to 35 lbs. Plus, with just a few length adjustments, nursing in the sling is easy, and you can use the tail for some privacy.
Charlene loved Wildbird for various reasons… the first one being: she could reclaim her hands without giving up her style. From neutrals (like sparrow and owl) to stripes (like mist and twilight), Wild Bird has so many different color options that you are sure to find one that fits your aesthetics. Each sling comes with various color options for the ring: gold, rose gold, black and silver. The brand offers slings in single and double layers, which is more supportive but a bit harder to use and thread.
We also love that WildBird is dedicated to support working moms and to source each and every sling responsibly.
Plus, it recently became available on Amazon!
Sakura Bloom is another favorite in the baby ring sling department. It comes in many different colors and fabrics (linen, bamboo and silk). These slings feel so luxurious and will elevate your style. Plus, they get softer with each wash.
Many designer slings and woven wraps can run upwards of $1,000, which I personally find ludicrous. Many slings and wraps are homemade and can be found on Etsy and such. If you really get into babywearing, it’s fun to explore all the different wraps and slings out in the realm of DIY.
For babies already 6+ months old, check out…