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The Best Carriers for Baby’s First Year

The Best Carriers for Baby’s First Year

Baby wearing is a major lifesaver, especially when it comes to subsequent children! There are many options in the carrier/wrap/sling department and it can easily be daunting or overwhelming to pick out the perfect one for you, your baby, and your family’s lifestyle. In this article, I’ll be breaking down the best carriers by AGE for a baby’s first year of life.

Now, I’m certainly not writing this with the intention of telling you that you need to buy all six of these carriers for baby’s first year--that’s a bit ridiculous. Rather, I’d like to inform you of what carriers work best for what age. So say for instance, your baby is six months old and you don’t yet have a carrier and you’re looking into buying one. You likely won't be needing a carrier with a newborn option and to get the most bang for your buck, it’d be a good idea to get the most use out of baby wearing by buying a carrier that can reach higher weight capacities.

Newborns

Happy Baby Wrap

This is the quintessential newborn carrier. It definitely takes some trial and error to get the hang of the tying, but once that’s mastered it’s smooth sailing from there. The Happy Baby Wrap’s newborn carry option is perfect for brand new babes with no head support whatsoever, because they are tucked up on your chest with the light material holding their head in place. There is plenty of distribution throughout the wearer’s body, making these nice for recovering mamas who need two hands. This is also a great newborn option because it is more of a casual wear – not so much hiking in the mountains friendly. And let's be honest, the chances of a newborn going on a strenuous hike are pretty low!

Happy Baby Wrap-Sunshine
Happy Baby Wrap - Sunshine

1-3 Months

Sakura Bloom Basic Ring Sling

I hesitated whether or not to swap this one with the Happy Baby Wrap above, but it mostly came down to head support. Around one month of age, babies finally start to show some strength in their head and neck muscles, which makes the secret head support feature on the Sakura Bloom Sling the perfect carrier for this time in life. If you're not sure what "secret" feature I'm talking about, take a look at this video here.  It can definitely be used for newborns as well, but that extra month will help with the peace of mind that baby is super duper comfortable, being able to slightly hold his head up on his own. The sling also takes a minute to get used to – with a self-assembled knot through the ring being kind of tricky to get just right. But it’s another great option for itty bitty babes wanting to be snuggled close to their mamas!

Sakura Bloom Basic Ring Sling - Flax with Gold Rings
Sakura Bloom Basic Ring Sling - Flax with Gold Rings

3-5 Months

Happy Baby Carrier

This is a happy-medium option. It’s not just a simple cloth like above, but it’s in no way bulky or largely structured like some of the carriers below. In fact, it’s designed to be able to easily fold down compactly enough to fit into a diaper bag. These Happy Baby Carriers have two carry options. Typically around 4 months of age is when a baby can switch from the front parent facing option to the back parent facing option! This gives parents even more freedom with two hands, and makes it more of an adventure for the little ones.

Happy Baby Carrier
Happy Baby Carrier - Olive

5-8 Months

Ergobaby Original Baby Carrier

The average weight at six months of age is around 16 or 17 pounds. The weight capacity for Ergobaby’s Original Baby Carrier is a whopping 45 pounds! So this will definitely last you a long time. This particular carrier is not newborn friendly without an adapter, which is why I didn’t put sooner on this list. There is a newborn insert for it though, so don’t worry! This Original Carrier has three carry options! A front, a back, and a hip wearing option, all parent facing.

Ergobaby Original Collection Baby Carrier - Starry Sky
Ergobaby Original Collection Baby Carrier - Starry Sky

8-10 Months

Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier

The Omni 360’s name basically speaks for itself. It has FOUR carry options! As babies get older they tend to get a bit pickier and definitely more curious about the world around them. The option to have a child facing out and away from the wearer definitely comes in handy at this point. It is recommend that a baby is strong enough to hold up his/her own head and weighs at least 14 pounds to face out, typically this puts a baby at about 5 months old. This carrier used to have a 33-pound weight limit, but has since been tested and approved for 45 pounds!

Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier - Black
Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier - Black

10-12 Months

Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh Carrier

You can probably guess that this is incredibly similar to the Omni 360, but made with different material. I put this carrier on here in the last few months of the first year because even though the average baby at age one is between 18-26 pounds, they are still the heaviest they’ve ever been! So the heavier they are (despite the fantastic weight distribution), the more likely you are to get sweaty and warm, which in return makes the one being worn hot and sweaty as well! So the mesh Cool Air option is nice for ventilation and hopefully keeping both parties at a more comfortable temperature.

Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh Carrier - Pearl Grey
Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh Carrier - Pearl Grey

And just like that your child is ONE! Please keep in mind that all of these breakdowns don’t include everything there is to know about each individual carrier. Even the smallest weight capacity (the Happy Baby Wrap) can typically accommodate a baby until their first birthday, so don’t take my words out of context! Another thing I left out were some pretty sweet features included, like sunshades and pockets, so keep up your research and I’m confident you’ll end up finding the perfect carrier for you and your babe!

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