Now that you have an understanding of the types of carriers available, here's Betty's tactical advice on how to choose the right one for you.
1. Imagine the type of fit you want.
Knowing the type of fit you want will help you narrow down your options. If you want a snug fit that promotes skin-to-skin contact, a wrap or ring are your best options. If you’re looking for something that feels more secure, you might want to opt for a soft-structured carrier.
2. Decide which carrying positions you want to have.
Some carriers are limited in terms of which carrying position they support. Because of that, you can easily narrow down your options once you know which carrying position you want to wear your baby.
3. Think of where you will be wearing your baby and for how long.
Will you be wearing your baby at home, outside, or both? Do you plan to wear them for a few minutes or for long periods of time? Imagining where and for how long you’ll be baby wearing helps determine how much structure and support you’ll need for the activity and length of time.
4. Determine who will be using the baby carrier.
Some carriers are size specific, so it’s important to know who will be using the carrier to ensure it fits. Other carriers, while designed as “one size fits all” are more comfortable for certain body types (i.e., a bulky soft-structured carrier may not be comfortable for a petite person). Be sure to read the reviews to know which carrier is best suited for your body type and others’ who will be using it.
5. Determine how important compactness is to you.
If you plan on traveling with your carrier or keeping it in your diaper bag, it’s especially important to choose a compact carrier that folds easily. Some soft structured carriers can be pretty bulky and difficult to fit into your diaper bag.
6. Think of the features you want.
Wrap and ring carriers are pretty straightforward and differ mostly on material. However, soft-structured carriers have several features that can differentiate one from another. Here are some of the additional features that soft-structured carriers are starting to incorporate:
- Pockets and storage
- Magnetic buckles
- Sun shades / privacy hoods
- Machine washable material
7. Be confident in your ability to put on your carrier.
Putting on your baby carrier the first few times can be pretty intimidating. Some require you to hold your baby while you’re buckling parts together. Testing out the baby carrier or watching a how-to video is key to making you feel comfortable putting it on.