Whenever I speak to expectant dads I always make sure that I share with them the importance of getting a baby carrier. In my mind there aren’t many things as essential as a baby carrier. As a dad, I had to be slightly more creative with how I bonded with Ted. I couldn’t breastfeed and I didn’t carry him for 9 months so instead, I carved out time with him that was special to us. A baby carrier was pivotal to this time!
I used to take Ted out in the carrier every single day, even if it was just round the block. Rather than push him through town in the pushchair, I used a carrier. Baby carriers can really help with bonding.
Not only this, but they are also far easier to travel with. You can use them at home so you can still get bits and bobs done in the house and they even allow you (dads) to go to the toilet and still hold the baby.
It’s a given that baby carriers are a crucial bit of kit to get when you have a baby. The difficulty is when people ask which baby carrier they should get! The answer is that it depends. There are lot’s of factors to consider:
3. Size of your baby?
So to help you on your quest to get this vital tool, here are my top tips and some guidance.
When will you be using the carrier and what for?
This is really important to consider. If you’re nipping into town to run a few quick errands or walking to the park then something like the Phil And Teds Escape carrier is a bit excessive. You want something that is lightweight and easily transportable so you can chuck in the boot and it’s quick to ‘load.’ The BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier WE and Stokke MyCarrier just about fall into this category. But my favourite to hit all of these criteria is the Boba Air. It folds up into a tiny pouch and is exceptionally easily to use when you’re on your own. The downside of this carrier is that it doesn’t offer much comfort or support for the person carrying. It’s thin structure means that you can’t wear it for great lengths of time, however.
This is where the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier WE and MyCarrier come into their own though. Whilst they are made from sturdier material with padded straps, they are still portable and easy to load with one person and so they can be worn for longer periods of time. I wear either of these for those middle distance walks and lengths of time. Anything over 30 minutes but less than 90 minutes and the MyCarrier and BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier WE are on the money.
For those who enjoy a country hike over the hills and far away or even a day out in London, the Phil and Ted’s Escape is brilliant. It is basically like a Bergen with all the relevant support straps in the right places. The metal frame supports the carrier, thus making it very secure for longer periods. There’s also a fair amount of storage so you can take snacks, drinks, nappies, wipes and any other baby essentials.
Your budget is going to really dictate your choice of baby carrier. Obviously you have to work within your means but as I said earlier, this is a product that I believe is so important, it’s worth budgeting for.
Now you’ve checked out those 5 carriers, we’ve found you a whole selection of baby carriers to choose the right one for you. You’ll find their prices and where you can buy them at the best price.[table “” not found /]
Budget is a major player when choosing the best baby carrier but this is the place to invest a little. Your back and your baby will thank you for it.
3. Size of your baby
This is really about slings VS baby carriers. Slings are far more ergonomic and wrap, tightly, around your baby’s body making them feel secure and ‘cuddled.’ This is ideal for newborns and young babies who are unable to support their head. The Boba Wrap has received plenty of great reviews and certainly seems to be a major player in the ‘sling/wrap’ market. It’s worth checking it out here.
The BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier WE and MyCarrier both pride themselves on ‘growing’ with the baby. In my opinion I think the MyCarrier has a greater longevity having just changed to the back carry adapter for Ted, who is 14 months old.
The Close Caboo Dx is a good mix between the 2. It has a sling core that is soft and supports the babies head when young but also has an outer shell to add support, allowing it to last a little longer.
It’s also important to find out exactly how babies should be carried. If your baby doesn’t fit well in the carrier, then it could hinder their physical development. I see so many babies being carried incorrectly. You can find out more about carrying positions here.
Comfort for both the baby and the person carrying is important. You’ve seen the best carrying positions in the link above, but it can also be damaging for the ‘carrier’s’ physicality’s too. If the straps are uneven, not tight enough, too tight or the carrier is in the wrong position, your posture can take a battering.
The carriers with more padding and support straps will obviously give greater support to posture. Phil And Teds Escape and BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier WE are both pretty good on this front but the Stokke MyCarrier comes with an added spine support which I noticed make a significant difference. Forcing my spine to keep straight made carrying more comfortable and I was able to carry for longer.
As you can see from the infographic we linked to earlier, we’ve also tested out the Bushbaby Cocoon previously. This carrier makes positioning the baby in and out of the carrier easier with the pod. One thing that we have learnt from trying out a number of different carriers is that it really does depend on you, your purpose and your baby. I’d also like to mention a brand new carrier set to hit the market soon. It’s called the JACS Baby Carrier and has been designed specifically with dads in mind. It mimics the army style webbing but with the addition of a child! If you’re a dad, this could be the first place to start your hunt for the ultimate baby carrier.
It’s worth testing one out if you can but if not, check out the return policy before committing. It’s worth getting right.
If you have a great baby carrier, we’d love to hear what it is and why you love it. If you’d like to ask any questions about the carriers I have tried then please do get in touch through he contact page. We also have a Facebook group of over 1600 dad’s who are more than happy to share their thoughts and their choices of baby carrier. You can join us here.