Curating for Baby: 5 Strategies for Finding the Perfect Baby Carrier
While expecting with my first child, I read a great deal about the myriad benefits of baby wearing.
It was a practice that was growing in popularity at the time, but it still felt rather intimidating to me. I wanted to try it, but I had a hard time envisioning myself pulling it off.
So, perhaps unsurprisingly, when my son arrived, baby wearing didn’t come naturally at first.
Newborns, even beefy ones like my 8 pound 10 ounce son, seem so shockingly tiny and delicate! I couldn’t hold my son carefully enough, let alone confidently manage to stuff him into some kind of fabric contraption!
Like so many of the experiences I encountered those first few weeks of motherhood, I felt decidedly ill-equipped and unqualified. Reading about baby wearing hadn’t prepared me for the reality of implementing it.
But I’m so glad I pressed on, and continued to explore different options for carriers. The first wrap I’d chosen failed to provide a snug and secure fit. But once I found the carrier that was right for us, I was amazed at how comfortable and confident I felt wearing my son!
When my daughter was born, my then savvier mama self was prepared with the perfect wrap for us, and I began wearing her just a few weeks after her arrival!
Finding Your Ideal Baby Carrier
In my opinion, the biggest key to baby wearing success is finding the right fit for you and your baby.
Everyone’s sizes, shapes, and preferences are different, but if you’re feeling excited about the idea of wearing your sweet little one, don’t give-up until you find that perfect fit! It’s out there.
So how to findthe baby wearing gear that’s right for you?
Don’t just trust those ‘top 10’ lists, which merely pull together a list of best sellers. That’s a sure way to end up with hundreds of dollars in unused baby gear.
After trying on way too many wraps and carriers, owning five different styles and brands, and wearing two babies, here are my 5 strategies for finding your best fit!
1. Try before You Buy
Plan to visit a store in person, and try on a variety of wraps and carriers in different styles and brands.
In doing so, I think you’ll notice right away that some will feel too big, some too small, and others, just generally awkward for you. Others still will be constructed from a material you just can’t stand.
So even if that certain wrap is super popular, listen to your intuition. If you aren’t loving it, cross it off your list.
If testing these products while pregnant, don’t forget to keep in mind that you’re about to become significantly smaller.
2. Test with Baby
I’m usually fanatical about washing everything before I use it, but when it comes to your baby carrier, I recommend making an exception.
You may want to wait to remove the tags, and test it out with baby first! Babies can be quite particular about how they are carried.
Case and point, my husband is the proud owner of a never-used LÍLLÉbaby carrier, in which both of my children refused to be worn. Had I waited to test the item before washing it, I would have sent it back to the store.
3. Plan to Purchase Two Carriers
For optimal baby wearing success, plan on acquiring two styles of carriers: 1) a wrap, and 2) a structured carrier.
For those first few months, I think most parents (and babies too) prefer the gentler, cozier fit of a wrap. Most wraps are constructed from soft materials that embrace baby in a womb-like hug.
Being able to recreate that womb-like experience was a saving grace with my daughter! She suffered from terrible bouts of colic, and her wrap became her happy place.
I’d wrap her up and head outside to walk and walk in the fresh air. This magical combination was the only thing that seemed to help.
Personally, I cherish those early memories of having my infant daughter snuggled tightly to my chest. Despite the challenges of colic, this cuddly phase couldn’t last long enough!
But as both my babies were large, heavy, and quickly-gaining, it wasn’t long before I had to switch to a more structured carrier.
Many brands state that their wraps can be used up to baby’s first birthday, but I think this varies greatly based on baby’s size. I felt the need for something more supportive at around 5 months.
From 6 months and beyond, structured carriers can help parents to keep moving, shopping, cleaning, hiking, and traveling, all while sharing the world with their little one (and supporting their backs).
A few examples of structured carriers include Ergobaby, BABYBJÖRN, and LÍLLÉbaby. Personally, my favorite structured carriers are made by Ergobaby.
I have the Ergobaby 360 (though I don’t face my babies out), and I just love the support it provides to baby and parent. It also just happens to be the best fit for my body type.
I’ve included an affiliate link to the Ergo 360 (non-mesh version) on Amazon. Should you purchase through my link, I may earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you. You can read the full details of my affiliate policy here. Thank you for your support!
4. Opt for Customizable
Semi-customizable wraps like the Baby K’tan may save parents the hassle of learning how to tie a baby wrap, but in my experience, it’s not worth it in the end.
With my first, I registered for the Baby K’tan Original Baby Wrap, and it ended up being too big. Because this is a pre-wrapped holder, I wasn’t able to adjust the sizing.
My son never felt secure, and I found myself compelled to support his neck while wearing him. While I still used it, it didn’t free me up to multi-task as I’d hoped.
Additionally, as a post-partum mama, our shape is changing weekly, while baby’s shape changes right along side us. The more customizable the wrap, the more easily we can adjust for these changes.
A few examples of fully adjustable wraps include Solly, Moby, and Boba. These are re-sized for that perfect fit with each use.
I personally used the Solly wrap. While similar in design to the Moby and Boba, it’s the details that make Solly’s wraps special: gorgeous colors and patterns, super soft Lenzing modal, and sewn in Los Angeles, California.
In addition to these special touches, these wraps are simply lovely. Just look at this dreamy photo from Solly’s website; kind of makes you want to have another baby, doesn’t it?
I’m not an affiliate for this company, but I’ve included a link to their website because their wraps can be a little harder to locate. They aren’t aren’t offered by major retailers like Amazon, Target, or buybuyBaby.
It can certainly be intimidating to envision fastening a long strip of fabric into a baby wrap, but there are so many wonderful tutorials available all over the internet, from product websites to YouTube.
I promise that after a few days of practicing, you will emerge a wrap tying expert! I’m just wretched with assembly, so if I can do it, you can too.
5. Consider that Baby Wearing is HOT!
Before becoming a mom, I never imagined how hot my life was about to become!
Whether nursing, schlepping, or baby-wearing, life with a baby can be kind of sweaty, particularly during the spring and summer months.
Black may be chic, but it’s sure to be hot too! Luckily, options for wraps and carriers are ever-expanding into new colors and patterns, so you’re sure to find something you love in a lighter color.
And if you’re set on finding baby-wearing gear that’s neutral, consider selecting a lighter shade like grey or blush. Your future mama-self will thank you!
Bonus Tip: Shop Second Hand
Like so many other baby items, wraps and carriers can boast some seriously hefty price tags.
But if you think about it, baby items can be ideal for purchasing second hand because they endure such little wear and tear. Babies develop quickly, growing out of toys, clothes, and other accessories (sometimes before they’ve even had a chance to use them).
So after visiting a store to try on and explore your baby wearing options, consider looking for a gently-used version of your favorite on Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp.
When shopping second hand, I look for washable, gently used items from smoke-free homes. Sometimes sellers will even include a note that they never got around to using the item. In those cases, you can essentially pick-up a brand new item for 50% off retail.
A Worthwhile Endeavor
Growing comfortable with wearing your baby can take some time and practice, but it is such a rewarding endeavor!
I believe there’s a perfect carrier out there for each of us, and I hope these strategies help someone find that ideal fit.
Are you a fellow baby wearing enthusiast? Head to the comments to share your most delightful recommendations (Or skips)!