The Best Baby Carriers

Are there baby carriers that can last for months (or even years) and make it through several children?  We spent our time searching for the most flexible, and most durable products and came up with the following list.  If these seem a bit spendy, remember that you can always search for them used.  Our book, The Economical Baby Guide, has the inside scoop on finding quality secondhand gear and an index of green products for a range of budgets.

The Ergo Carrier tops our list, partly because as the name implies, it’s a comfortable carrier that helps you manage baby wearing without back pain.  Since it can carry infants from a few months old through the first few years of their life and be worn both on the front and the back, it will be worth the investment. Young babies can nurse while in the carrier and with the hood flap down, it’s very discrete. There’s also a handy zippered pocket to carry keys and baby paraphernalia.

The Scootababy Baby Carrier can tote infants from five months to three years old and will also transition from front to back with baby’s weight centered on your hip.  It’s gotten rave reviews for comfort the ease with which you can strap baby in.  The waist belt is padded with a stretchy shoulder panel that helps to support the child.

The Moby Wrap and Maya Wrap are far less expensive than the previous carriers, but will require a bit more adjustment than the other two carriers.  The Maya Wrap is a ring sling that will allow you to cinch your baby into place on your chest or hip.  It comes with a DVD to help you learn the multiple ways it can be adjusted and also has a built in pocket for keys or diapers.

Moby Wraps can accommodate tiny premies up to 35 pound children.  The thick fabric allows you to wear your child close to your body in a variety of positions on the front, side or back.  It does require you to do a bit of fabric origami, but doesn’t have a single fastener or clip.

What is your favorite baby wearing device?  For those of us who wore our babies for months and years on end, I know our product loyalty runs deep.  Of course, our children also have to be a part of our shopping decision.  Did you choose a sling or carrier that your infant refused?  Did you wait to buy until your baby arrived and could help you chose the right one?


  1. I LOVE my Maya Wrap – and so does baby (currently 11 1/2 months) I found mine at a Childrens consignment store for $7.00.

  2. I bought a Maya wrap on CL and loved it for the first few months, but then it was just too hot for me. I also got a Beco (new) and Ergo (used) — my plan was to return/resell one of them, but I kept them both and still use both of them all the time. The Beco was better with a young baby than an Ergo (never liked that insert and couldn’t figure it out without it). But I like the Ergo for easy on, easy off. I still feel more comfortable using the Beco for back carries. Also, I think the Beco is more comfortable (holds the baby closer to you) for longer periods, like a hike. I wish I had a great hip carry carrier. I carry my one-year-old on my hip with my arms A LOT.

    I think it’s great to go to the Babywearing meetings and try stuff out, or go to a store where you can try many out, but like so many things with childrearing, you really don’t know what’s going to work sometimes ahead of time, just through trial-and-error. I have bought off Craig’s List and resold on Craig’s List many carriers that didn’t work for me. If you can find a place to rent carriers, that’s a great option too.

  3. Before I answer your questions, one little comment: When reading about baby slings I prefer not to see them carried facing outwards because I always think that this makes parents who read about the subject for the first time think that this is a “normal” way of carrying babies while it is not. Yes, it is better to carry your baby wrong than not at all but still, wearing the baby right – facing the carrier – is even better.

    Now to your questions: We got a normal cloth sling (Hoppediz) before our baby was born and practised with some stuffed animals before the birth in order to get into the Origami of tying it. He was in it for the first time when he was three days old and I carried him till I got pregnant again when he was about two.

    We now also have a Manduca carrier, which is similar to the Ergo carrier, but I could not use that very much so far because of my pregnancy. I know already, however, that carrying a heavy toddler on the back is much nicer than on the front and with a Manduca I will have much less problems getting him on my back than in a normal sling.

    Since we don’t have a car I think it makes sense to have more than one carrier even though they are a bit pricy. But then again, here in Europe with all its public transport, having a sling or carrier makes a lot of sense because you can’t get everywhere with a pushchair.

  4. I heart my Ergo carrier! My one year old is so happy in it and it is so much better on my back than any of the other ones I have tried. Also it is an easy adjustment from me (very short and small) to my husband (big and tall). Soon we will start carrying Little Bee on our backs.
    Btw, really enjoying your blog!

  5. Before I got my beloved ergo I had a baby bjorn that I got from a baby shower. I also tried a sling but it was not a good quality one and my son hated it!

    When my son was around 6 months old we were going to a foriegn country and I did not want to bring the stroller or the baby bjorn so I got the Ergo. I am so happy I did. It was the best investment I made.

    It was so easy putting him in and taking him out. I would nurse and nobody knew. I even got comments from others on the trip about asking when does my baby eat bc they have not seen him eat the whole time. I told them and they thought that was great and others commented that they wished they had the ergo when they nursed.

    I wore the ergo throughout my pregnancy and then for a nb. I used the insert and it worked like a charm. My 2nd son is now 16 months old and is in the ergo whenever we go out. Sometimes when my older son is sleeping and we are out somewhere without a stroller I will put him in the ergo (he is almost 3).

    The ergo has lasted through 2 babies and looks in perfect shape to tackle more kiddos. I may get another one or even try a beco. If I have another baby I may also try the moby for the first couple of months. Honestly though you can not go wrong imo with the ergo.

  6. being the budget as it is we did not purchase any carrier – but used what we were given. that meant a low-cost sling that was at least 10 years old, and a cheap snugli front carrier. both worked just fine for us, although i’ll admit i drooled at the gorgeous wraps i saw other moms at the zoo wearing their babies in! my 3rd baby is now 6months and the sling carrier never worked for him… he just didn’t fit it right. but someone on freecycle loaned me a maclaren front carrier and we absolutely love it! we also have a backpack for when he gets older. we carried our first 2 in the backpack until they were pushing 3 years old… but the only time it was really necessary was when we went walking places that don’t allow strollers, and when one of us was left without the double stroller and needed to carry 2 kids at once!

  7. I love my Maya wrap. I am a messenger bag wearer so it made sense to me to wear the sling across my body. I was given it as a present and from day one, my daughter loved it. The video was super helpful and now at almost 2 years old, my daughter still uses it when I carry her on my hip. It’s just so much easier then holding her on my hip, which I find so many moms do all of the time. It’s only been through one kid, wearing about 10 – 15 hours a week since age 2 weeks but it looks great and it’s easy to pack.

    My husband tried a bunch of the slings and wraps because he wanted to be able to help too. He and I both tried the ergo, Beco and Maya wrap from friends. Since my husband has a bad back, he chose the carrier that gave him the most support which was the Baby Bjorn Active. I think we moms are used to carrying the weight (and my 20 month old is only 23 lbs so she’s been on the small side her whole life) due to carrying extra weight during pregnancy. I think the guys aren’t so used to it so they need extra support and cushiness, especially when you have a temperamental back! My husband and a few other dads we know, gladly carry their children in the Baby Bjorn Active for walks around the area and use a framed pack for our hikes. I know that carrying the baby out isn’t the best way but it’s the best we could do to satisfy my husband’s desire to be involved in the carrying process.

  8. I use my Ergo every day. I had a Moby Wrap with my first kid which was great but it just didn’t seem very convenient for going out, etc. The Ergo is really easy to use and supports my 23lb six-month-old much better than the Moby Wrap. The double stroller is great but I just can’t see pushing it around a store…I don’t think I would be able to go hardly anywhere without the Ergo.

  9. I use a BOPOF carrier – big ol’ piece of fabric. When I was pregnant I looked at the carrier options and I realized a wrap, such as the moby wrap, is really just a big, long piece of fabric. I couldn’t bring myself to pay those kind of prices when I could make myself one in 20 minutes.

    1. Get yourself a 5 yard piece of knit fabric – jersey cotton works great. (Fabric stores have great sales, so it really pays to sign up for their newsletter.)
    2. Cut it down the middle so now you have two skinnier, 5 yard pieces of fabric. You now have to wraps – give one to a friend or have a backup.
    3. Begin practicing baby origami. (This website shows you lots of different ways to carry a baby in a wrap, including on your front, back or hip:

    I love the simplicity and versatility of a wrap. I also love that it distributes the weight over both shoulders. I have a bad back and shoulders, so this is better for me than a sling. And since it’s just a piece of fabric, when I get done with it I’m going to repurpose it and make baby clothes from it. My one gripe is that it is difficult to get a baby on your back. With practice I’ll get better at this (I’ve only done it three times) but it is more difficult to learn than the front carries because you can’t see what you’re doing. It would also be easier to do back carries with a woven wrap. (Same process to make this except use a woven fabric and hem around the edges.)

  10. I have a Maya wrap and an Ergo. I love the Ergo because it is easy to use (I never did get the hang of the Maya wrap despite the DVD that came with it), frees up both hands (I always felt it necessary to hold my baby while in the Maya wrap), and allows for both front and back carry. One disadvantage to the Ergo is that it doesn’t pack up as small, so for trips we usually pack the Maya wrap.

  11. Angie, I think you bring up a really good point about the Moby wrap. It really is just a piece of fabric. Thank you for pointing this out because I never even thought about it. This will work great for me, too, because I can’t sew and there’s no sewing required. I guess purchasing a Moby wrap is like paying for bottled water when you can get it for free at any time.

  12. I’ve been baby wearing off and on for 6 years and have used a pouch sling (a la New Native) and a Moby style wrap. I did the same as Angie. I call it my “ghetto Moby”. It’s soo comfortable IMO. But it’s hot in the summer so I also have a pouch sling that I LOVE that I sewed from old bed sheets (yay recycling!). It’s reversible and custom made so it fits me perfectly. And it only took an hour for this intermediate seamstress (the longest part is ironing). The pouch sling hurts my shoulder after about 3 hours so if I’m hiking or something I grab the ghetto Moby.

  13. The BoBa carrier is amazing. I do love my moby wrap, but it takes a little time to put on, and in the summer heat, it was way too warm. But the BoBa carrier is easy to put on, carries my baby in an ergonomic way, and can be used up to 45 lbs. Its also designed to be put on almost completely one handed (I need two hands to attach the waist belt, but that’s it) LOVE IT!

    No strain on my shoulders or back at all…it even has foot stirrups to keep my son’s legs at the correct angle. My son is still too young, but I can’t wait to try this carrier out hiking and camping.

  14. I believe that babywearing minimized my daughter’s crying, gave me more confidence as a new mother, and helped me bond more strongly with my baby! I wore her in the Moby wrap for hours!

    For more about my thoughts on Babywearing check out

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