What Baby Carrier Do You Prefer?

Updated on July 14, 2010
L.L. asks from Molalla, OR
24 answers

I am trying to find the right baby carrier for my 6 month old baby girl. My friend has both the ergo and the freehand mei tai. I tried the mei tai and loved it but she likes the ergo better. I have also heard the Baby Hawk is a great one. I almost bought a sling so that I could have my baby on my hip but I felt that there was not enough support though the hip is nice because you have more use of your hands. What do you prefer? The ergo, babyhawk or a side sling? Give me all the pros and cons. I am not looking for a wrap or anything bulky. Thanks!

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answers from Philadelphia on

I love my Catbird Baby Piccolo. It's a backpack style sling with buckles. I believe the new models have an option for front-carry as well... The straps are SO supportive. :)
Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

The ergo and mei tai or babyhawk can both be used for a hip carry so I would get one of those over a sling at this age. Ergo and babyhawk are comparably bulky so that won't matter so much. Then it's just down to fit and asthetics. Which one fits you better? Get that one. If they fit the same, which one do you like the look of better. Is someone else going to be using the carrier too? Have them try it on and see if it fits them well. A friend of mine has a babyhawk "oh snap" and it's now on my wish list. I have two ergo's (traditional and sport) and two mei tai's but the "oh snap" is kinda the best of both worlds.

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answers from Eugene on

Yes to all! :) If I had to pick 1, i'd go for the mei tai (I have a babyhawk). But I have many carriers and prefer each at different stages/situations. If you like the Ergo, I'd strongly strongly recommend the Mama By Design Calyx. Same idea, but you can actually strap baby into first (which makes it sooo much easier with older infants/young toddlers), the straps are contoured for a better fit, and I find the strap placement to be more comfortable (the sides go to the back bottom of the carrier rather than the sides of it, which meant it didn't hit my sides like the Ergo).
As for the sling, it's great to have when baby is learning to walk and wants to go between walking and being carried alot. It's quick to get them in and out and isn't a pain to keep on you when they aren't in it (the non-adjustable ones, anyway, like hotsling or peanut shell). It's not the best for long carries since the weight isn't evenly distributed.
The mei tai is very comfy, and I like that it's minimal. Easy to roll up and keep with me, the Ergo types are more bulky.
Another good one, that is inbetween those 2, is the Ten Toes Click. It's like the mei tai but with buckles, not as much padding as the Ergo. I liked it for the back carry, for the front carry it's best for those with a smaller build--the straps were set a bit too narrow for me.
You should look up a babywearing group, there's some North West something. It's a great way to try different types, and get help with correct fit. IME, almost everytime some hasn't liked a carrier it's because they weren't using it correctly. And different brands of slings are made differently, too (how a ring is attached, how deep the pocket is, etc). Mei tais have differing strap setting/padding/length.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Diego on

It is entirely up to you and your body. I LOVE my Ergo, but my husband, who is 6'3" can't wear it. I also love my Cat Bird Baby mei tai and that fits my husband better (I am 5'7" and 135 lbs). I also have a handmade mei tai that is lighter material with no sleeping hood that is great for summer.

Just decide what features you want. The ergo has a zippered compartment which I like b/c I throw my debit card and license and keys in it and I can be gone all day, whereas my mei tai doesnt.

I hike in my ergo or mai tai, but in my ring sling I preferred shorter trips b/c I didn't feel I was as comfortable in it.

You can also do a hip carry (it's a bit confusing at first) with the Ergo. I own an ergo, a ring sling, and two different types of mei tais. They are like potato chips, can't have just one.

See if there is a babywearing group in your area. We have one in San Diego that meets regularly and you can borrow slings and carriers to try out....you might have one in your area.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Honestly, when my daughter was 6 months old, most of the carriers were fairly comfy so I used what I had available. Fast forward a year, my almost 18 month old still loves to ride in the carrier and is not a stroller fan (I'm ok with that because strollers are a pain when you are not living on the ground floor). Now, it really matters. I have chronic back problems that have been ongoing since I was a teen. If you had asked me if I would still be using a carrier at this stage during the early months, I would have laughed - no way! Then I discovered the ergo - and it is just plain amazing. If distributes the baby's weight great for mom, even when they get pretty big and bounce when they are excited :) It also puts them in a comfortable position too. My friend has a mei tai and a child 6 months older than mine. She has not used it since he was about 9 months old - as he got bigger the straps were cutting into her and it became uncomfortable for her. I have used it with my daughter and she does not seem to feel secure in it now that she is bigger, and after about 5 minutes I am done (as opposed to the hours I carry her in the ergo).

I also have a pocket style sling and a traditional ring sling. I loved them when my daughter was little, but they ripped my back up around 10-11 months. I also loved using the hip carry position with my slings. I still have them and I will pull them out in January for number two.

I have never heard of the baby hawk, but I can say to avoid traditional front carriers - they really strain your back and they hang baby from the crotch, no fun for any one!!

So I guess my point is that as your baby grows, your preferences will change. I think the ergo has the longest useful life, and therefore is nice because you are not having to change anything as they child ages (and you can front/hip/back carry with it). I will use slings with my new baby because I loved them for the little stages and I already have them and I don't want to by the infant insert for the ergo when I have perfectly useful slings around. The mei tai seems like such a short term use carrier that it was not for me.

There is nothing wrong with having more than one carrier, and it is really smart to try before you buy. Basically, go with what works best for you and yours!

Good luck!!



answers from Dallas on

I personally really enjoyed using the Baby Bjorn. I loved having my son rest against my chest in the forward-facing position when he was really small (plus it kept people from touching his face or coughing near his face! lol) And he REALLY loved being able to face out and see the world from our vantage point as he got a bit bigger. Very comfortable for me until he got to be about 18 lbs.



answers from Los Angeles on

My first child preferred the Ergo but would always wiggle out of a sling. My second prefers an old-fashioned ring sling and would probably like the mei tei and moby wrap as well. I didn't like the Baby Bjorn--it hurt my back. I thing it's best to try it out before purchasing, if you have the opportunity.



answers from Washington DC on

If she's sitting up well now she may be ready for a back-carrier. I love the Chicco hiking backpack baby carrier. I coached two seasons of soccer with my son on my back in that thing. He adores it! I also lug him all over the Smithsonian and the Metro throughout D.C. in it. Look into it. If she's not ready for it yet, she will be soon! :)



answers from Anchorage on

I love my ergo and the fact that I have a choice in how I wear it, front, hip, or on my back. Sort of a 3 in 1 option!



answers from Denver on

I have an ergo. I love it. You can use it in 3 positions. Just for grins I put it on my back and loaded my 38lbs 2 year old (at the weight threshold) into it- It was like carrying nothing. My 10 month old likes it too!! =D



answers from Los Angeles on

I agree with "yes to all" and "it's entirely up to your body." It really is a personal decision because my favorite baby carrier may not be yours.

I used to love my Maya Wrap Sling. I learned to love it because that was all I had. It's easy to get my children snug and tight in them. The trick to making it comfortable is to fan (distribute it evenly) out the fabric over your back and shoulder.

Con is that kid is always right in front of you (to your side) whereas on the Ergo she is behind you and your front is totally free.
Con - has a learning curve. Best if you have someone to teach you, but once you get it, it's awesome.

Pro quick on and off.
Pro you can nurse in total privacy
Pro the thing serves as a giant stroller shade
Pro no bulk
Pro you have full control over the fabric and can adjust how tight you want it. My kids never wanted to wriggle out of it. They loved being held and cuddled. My daughter would carry it to me when she wanted up.

I never got to use the Ergo (would buy one if I had another baby) and I had another Mei Tai without thick straps like the Baby Hawk, so I didn't care for it. The Baby Hawk looks way better WITH thick straps.

If I had another baby, I'd use my Maya Wrap Sling, OTSBH & an Ergo. The Ergo just looks like the best MT to me, so why bother with the others in my opinion?

This is a very padded (bulky) sling (all slings - baby is carried in front when they are little, then hip when they get bigger). It was good for when my toddler started to get heavy and I wanted more padding on my shoulder. LOVED the comfort. I would use the OTSBH too. I used to have a big collection of slings. Love these new baby carriers.

When we were out and about, I carried my daughter in the sling. When we were home, I set her down on the floor for important floor time. They need to stretch, roll, reach, crawl, all of that for their vestibular development.

This is a great set of DVDs (eye opening) on the importance of giving your baby tummy time when they are home. Being held in arms is very important too, which makes these new baby carriers awesome.


Article - Foundation for Learning is Laid in Infancy

Article - Brain Dance for Babies



answers from Atlanta on

Ergo - great for your back.



answers from Minneapolis on

I used a Nojo sling with both my kids from infancy to age 2. It is easy to stuff in a bag, I can use it to nurse in, spread it on the floor for them to play on, or put it over them as a blanket when they're in a car seat. It also machine washes very well (big plus as my son pretty much lived in it). It is versatile allowing me to have the kids (when they're older) face in or out depending on whether they're wanting to snuggle or watch what is going on. Oh, and I've also used it to carry my wallet, phone, or other things when I'm out shopping. The only con I can think of is that my daughter likes to move around a lot, so I've had to be creative with positioning her so she can move but won't fall out. Also, I haven't used any other baby carriers more than once or twice, so I can't really compare (my husband went through three with our son before deciding the problem was that he didn't like wearing the baby--ha ha).



answers from Seattle on

For my first child, I had a pouch sling
(from slinglings.com) and loved it. I carried him in there until he was nearly 2 (and close to 30 lbs). The sling did keep me from having full use of one arm, but that was ok. It was comfy, easy on my back, didn't take up and space, and was easy to wash. I had several that I kept in the car, at home, etc.

For my second child, the sling was great at the very beginning. He nestled down inside and slept thru every outing. Once he got wiggly, the sling had to retire. With two kids, I needed two hands. Everybody I knew had Ergos, so I got one. Loved it and used it constantly until the baby was over a year. At that point he would struggle to get out of it because he wanted to run around. Now, I use a hiking backpack if we're going far. It's not nearly as portable as the sling or the Ergo, but it's more comfy for the little guy.

Bottom line- a lot depends on your situation, your child's temperament, and your child's age and mobility. What works now might not work 6 months from now. My last bit of advice would be to be consistent with using a carrier. Baby might not like it at first but will get accustomed to being in it. Once you get there, use it often so that the baby stays accustomed to it.



answers from Portland on

Ergo! I have neck and shoulder issues so I was very concerned about buying something that would not stress those parts of my body. Also we were adopting from Vietnam and I was going to go from never carrying a baby to carrying a 1 year old. I carried my daughter all over Vietnam for 2 weeks and never had any issues. I highly recommend the Ergo carrier - well worth the expense.



answers from Richland on

Be prepared to receive every answer out there! It really is about preference for you and more importantly, your little one.

Mine did not like to be carried in cradle hold so all the slings were out. Also, there has been some concern with the cradle carriers not supporting the babies correctly and putting them in a position where their air supply can be cut off if the chin is forced into the chest.

So, for upright carriers, I did some research of my own on comfort, durability, length of use and functionality of upright carriers.

Buckles and loops are harder to set-up and adjust, but do not slide and seem to give better support than the Mei Tai wraps. Also, the buckle and click carriers will have to be adjusted if multiple users (mom, dad, grandma, daycare) need to use the carrier, so that's a disadvantage. The wraps allow you to adjust while putting it on. Some Mei Tais do not have good newborn head support and you'll have to supplement with a towel...seems a bit dangerous to me to put something in your carrier with your baby. The BabyHawk Mei Tai has good head support.

Also important, is how you will be using it. They are made of different fabrics, some wash more easily and some are lighter fabric. You'll want something that breathes well if you have a warm baby or live in a warm climate and will be outdoors a lot with it.

Then, there is also positioning. The Mei Tai's allow front, back and sometimes side holds, but always facing you. This is a downside if your little one goes through a "facing out" phase as you shouldn't really use the MeiTai to face out. Carriers like the Baby Bjorn allow you to have them facing both directions, but not on the back.

So, just think about how you'll be using it and what your baby likes...and how long you'll want to use it. Some carriers are done once baby is 20 pounds or so, and some can be used into toddlerhood...like the Mei Tais.

I, personally, chose to purchase two. I have the BabyHawk Mei Tai and the Baby Bjorn. I like them both for different reasons and different scenarios, but I'm also out over $200 for both.

Good luck!!!



answers from Portland on

We have used a Baby Bjorn, hotsling and Ergo for our 2 kids. The ergo is by far the most comfortable for me and baby and I love that I can still haul either of my kids in it (they are almost 3 and 15 months). I didn't use it much as a front carrier because we didn't get it until my youngest was 6+ months and by then she had been used to facing out with the baby bjorn. I do prefer the hotsling for a hip carry - it is much more convenient and less bulky. I love that I can just throw it in my purse or coat pocket when we are running quick errands. The only downside of the ergo is the bulkiness - but that is the same with any of the larger carriers.



answers from Cincinnati on

I HIGHLY recommend this website: http://www.frogmama.com/

I LOVE my Beco Butterfly for a couple of reasons. First of all, it has a sort of sling inside the carrier which makes loading the baby on your back (when you get to the point where you're back-carrying) SO much easier than carriers like the Ergo and Mei Tai - at least for me. My son is pretty squirmy, and I was always terrified I was going to drop him when I was trying to get him into the carrier on my back. With the Beco, he is already in the carrier before I put it on my back - so much easier. I have also heard this is true with the Calyx, but I've never used one. They're both still soft carriers, not backbacks, which makes them lighter and cooler, in my opinion.

I live in an area where I was able to find the Baby Hawk Mei Tai (I personally hated it - it hurt my shoulders - but my son was already a year old when I tried it) and the Ergo. At the time, I couldn't find any other really nice carriers to try. I liked the Ergo but it didn't fit my husband well, and I really wanted to try a couple of other carriers, like the Baby Hawk Oh Snap and the Beco Butterfly. The website I recommended above is great because she has an AWESOME try-out and return policy! You can buy gently-used carriers from her, as well, and she will also answer any questions you have about various carriers. I tried several carriers, found one I loved, and returned the others. It was a great experience, and I love my Beco completely. Good luck.



answers from Portland on

Oh the Ergo is VERY worth the price. WEe were even thinking of writing to thank them.



answers from Medford on

After three children (and many baby carriers!) my favorite is the Ergo. It's a little spendy but totally worth it. It's great for newborn through toddler. I actually just used it to give my 4-year-old a piggyback ride and it was great! I also like the non-adjustable type of sling for hip carry when they get big enough. It's so handy to pop over your head and put them in. If you're crafty you can make your own for about $10. There are lots of patterns online. Have fun!



answers from Portland on

The heavier the child gets, the more you'll want the ergo. I had 5 or 6 different types of carriers with my first child and eventually weeded down to the ergo. With my 2nd baby, I would try one of the other carrier types and give up and go back to the ergo. I don't think the ergo is great with infants, but by 6 months, its really all you need, imo. They are expensive, but worth every penny. I have worn mine daily for almost 3 years now- I only wish they had more patterns- mine is just black!



answers from Seattle on

Did anyone respond about Baby Bjorn causing hip problems in children that used them for a while? My friend's midwife tells people not to use them. A simple old fashioned sling doesn't split the baby's legs apart and is safer for baby's hip development. I don't know for sure. Haven't read this anywhere else yet!



answers from Boston on

I like the sling better when they are smaller but it started to hurt my back as my youngest got older. I love the ergo. He is 3 years old and I still can comfortably wear him on my back.



answers from Seattle on

i have the ergo sport - not as bulky as the regular one - and I love it...my daughter is starting to outgrow it (probably because she likes her freedom and I haven't used it in a while), but she did great in it until she turned a year old. It has a side option, which is nice...

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