Boy oh boy has the baby carrier scene evolved since the last time we reviewed the major players. Truthfully, there are more slings, wraps, and carriers than we can keep up with. Fortunately, our trusted Gear Guy, Jamie Grayson of The Baby Guy NYC, has made it his mission to know the pros and cons of every single one. “Here are five of my current favorites,” he says. “And yes, all of them are ergonomically designed to save your back some misery. Otherwise, you’d never hear about them from me.”
Boba Carrier 3G, $120-125
Made with a lightweight fabric that doesn’t retain as much body heat as other carriers, the Boba 3G is suitable from birth (7-45 pounds), offers front and back carry positions, and fits a variety of waistlines (up to 58 inches), without requiring an extension belt.
Perks: Stirrups enable your toddler to support his own weight as he grows, and the shoulder straps are contoured to avoid BoobSmash when wearing the baby on your back. There’s also a nifty built-in snap to secure shoulder bags in place.
Drawbacks: If you find one, let me know.
Bottom Line: Comfortable, easy to use, great lightweight fabric.
Deets: $120-125 at store.bobafamily.com
Stokke MyCarrier, $249.99
Suitable from 7.7 to 33 pounds, the Stokke MyCarrier features a “Parent Harness” with separate attachments for front and back positioning. Its fabrics meet Global Organic Textile Standards, which means anything your baby chews on will be chemical-free.
Perks: The MyCarrier has handy pockets on the sides to carry small items, and a really terrific back-carry feature that allows you to put your child into the carrier before you put it on.
Drawbacks: Beyond the higher price point and 33-pound weight limit, the MyCarrier looks quite daunting when you pull it out of the box—it’s really strappy. It took me a bit to figure out, but once you do it’s relatively easy to use.
Bottom Line: Great fabrics, super comfy, and definitely appeals to the stylish parent. Tricky but cool.
Deets: $249.99 at mbeans.com
Catbird Baby Mei Tai, $75-95
Featuring the standard buckle-free Mei Tai design, the Catbird Mei Tai is really just a big square with long straps that you wrap around your waist and shoulder to achieve a pouch. It’s suitable from birth to 40 pounds, and offers front, hip, and back carry positions.
Perks: It comfortably fits wearers of many different sizes, and is the most affordable of the bunch.
Drawbacks: Some parents find that buckles provide peace of mind. Also, Catbird is not carried by most major retailers, so it can be difficult to find one to try on.
Bottom Line: Comfortable, easy-to-use, affordable, and provides a multitude of carry positions for parents who like to change things up.
Deets: $75-96 at catbirdbaby.com
Britax Baby Carrier, $129-139
The Britax Baby Carrier accommodates front-carrying only (inward or outward-facing), and is suitable from 8 pounds (with an insert) to 32 pounds.
Perks: The carrier slips on over your head, eliminating the need to fumble for a rear buckle. It also comes with a drool bib and an optional seat extender for tots who need a bit more support in the leg/thigh area.
Drawbacks: The back is not adjustable, so narrow-shouldered parents might find the straps slipping off.
Bottom Line: Very comfy and easy to use. Hooray for no learning curve, but I do wish there were a way to wear it on the back.
Deets: $129-139 at buybuybaby.com
Available in cotton or nylon (great for warmer weather), the Onya is suitable from 15 to 45 pounds and accommodates both front and back carrying positions.
Perks: It conveniently converts to a portable high chair with an integrated harness that pulls out of a pouch on the front. I also like that the plastic buckles are covered with fabric.
Drawbacks: The chair harness can take a bit to figure out, so practice at home first.
Bottom Line: Comfortable, attractive, and multi-puposed.
Deets: $149 at onyababy.com