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Carriers 101: How to Pick the Perfect One For You

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Front or back facing? Are they hot? Itchy? Uncomfortable? Will they make my back ache? Do I even need one? These are the things we wonder when faced with a contraption to strap your small human to your body. An entirely foreign concept, until you started baby shopping.

The biggest reason behind the rise of the carrier is that it’s a great way to keep your hands free whilst enjoying close contact with your child. ‘Baby wearing’ as it is often known, can keep your baby calm, settled and comfortable whilst facilitating the bond between baby and parent. And, you can actually get stuff while you wear them.

In case anyone asks, or gives you the “we never had that in my day,” baby carriers are not a modern phenomenon, they date back to the Egyptian period in 3100 B.C.E when cotton pickers made slings out of dress fabric to hold their babies while they worked. They were wide in the middle and narrower at the ends, the same as they are today. History lesson complete.

With so many carriers on the modern market, all offering similar features, it’s understandably a crowded and overwhelming space for new parents. Don’t worry, being The Memo, we’ve done the culling for you and only stock six really good ones. Here we’ll guide you to which of the six is for you.

Will I use a carrier?

Like a pram, a carrier is a way of safely getting out and about with your baby with slightly less amount of physical freedom.. They are a better choice than a pram when you need to be more nimble ( a lot more compact than a stroller) or want to keep your baby closer. They are particularly useful if you:

  • Are a frequent traveller (especially solo parenting or have other children.)
  • Enjoy getting outside in terrain where a stroller’s wheels may struggle.
  • Run errands and don’t want to always take the pram in tight spaces, e.g. busy supermarkets.
  • Have a baby that likes contact naps but you want to get chores done around the house while they sleep on you.

They are also very handy for unsettled babies or those going through a particularly clingy moment whether through sickness or other where they don’t want to be put down, because let’s be frank - sometimes we just have to get sh*t done.

How to wear:

There is some variety in design across brands. They all offer 2, some even 3 or 4 ways to wear, but these are the most common:

  • Front Carry Inwards Facing

What: this is where your baby’s body is facing inwards towards you.

When: this is a position you can always come back to, but especially recommended for the first few months.

Great for: establishing a bond between carer and baby, keeping in warmth, reducing excessive external stimulation

  • Front Carry Outwards Facing

What: this is when your baby’s back is against your chest and their head is facing outwards.

When: around 5 months old or when they have good head and neck control.

Great for: external stimulation and engaging with the big wide world.

  • Back Carry

What: this is where the baby carrier is worn like a backpack with your baby’s chest pressed against your back, with their head able to rotate and face out either side.

When: 10+ months. Note that as you do not have the same degree of supervision when they are on your back, you may want to wait until they are close to one year old before trying this position.

Great for: giving your back and shoulders a break when it becomes too heavy to carry on the front or hip. It also is ideal for external stimulation and allowing your baby to engage and connect with their surroundings.

  • Hip Carry

What: a one shouldered carry where your baby is positioned facing inwards or outwards in the carrier on your hip.

When: safe from 6 months+

Great for: providing increased airflow for both caregiver and baby when the weather's hot.

Now, let's go into some considerations to find the best carrier to align with your family, your needs and your lifestyle. Below are some questions to ask yourself:

1. How long do you intend to wear your baby?

It’s definitely worth having a think about product longevity. Carriers have different weight and size restrictions, meaning some are great for carrying up to 20kg (the approximate weight of a 4 year old child) and others are designed for the first year only.

If you are leaning towards first year only, something to keep your baby snug, secure and close by to establish that close bond, the Baby Bjorn Mini 3D in Jersey is perfect. It is specifically designed for a baby aged from newborn until one, comes in an ultra soft Jersey fabric blend and is compact and lightweight, being the lightest on the market weighing just 227 grams, less than your morning coffee!

If product value and usage is on your radar, look no further than the Ergobaby Omnibreeze. This is for the hardcore baby wearer. Designed to accommodate your child from newborn until they are four years old (approximately 20kg) across 4 ergonomic positions, to avoid the ouch. That is approximately 1460 days of usage, talk about cost per wear!

Baby Carrier Mini 3D Jersey - Light Grey

2. Where will you use it?

Product usage is a big deal. How and where do you intend to use it? Whilst they are all designed to do essentially the same thing - carry your baby, there are certain features that make one carrier a smarter choice over another depending on your desired use!

Running errands/short walks

If you won't be using your carrier for lengthy periods of time, more so to strap on and run a few errands hands free (oh the feeling) or a quick stroll around the block, the Ergobaby Aerloom Carrier is your go to. Not only is it made from a patentedformknit fabric for the highest level of stretch, comfort and breathability for you and your baby, but it has a generous rear zipped pocket, perfect for keys, wallet or your phone and keeping things out of your hands. It also has a lumbar support waist belt and padded shoulder straps for comfort every stride, without the bulk.

Hikes/day outings

The Ergobaby Omnibreeze is the winner here. Perfect for those with an outdoors lifestyle or for day outings to keep your back and your baby intact for those lengthy wears. Complete with extra cushioned and crossable shoulder straps for a comfortable custom fit, as well as a lumbar support waist belt, it makes long baby wearing days a breeze, literally. It also has plenty of storage, with side pockets and a detachable pouch all within easy reach.

House Wearing & Travel

Baby got style and substance! The Portier Limitless carrier is ideal for baby wearing around the house and all things travel. Don’t underestimate the functionality of this stylish carrier, it’s designed with all the clever features in mind for durability and comfort, with 3 ergonomic positions, suited from newborn up until toddler. Made from natural fabrics, it's flexible but without the bulk, so it’ll never get in the way. It also comes with a handy carry case to protect when not in use.

Aerloom Carrier - Sand

3. Comfort is Key

Not just for your baby, but you too! All carriers have ergonomic features in place to ensure correct posture and positioning for you and your child at all times. This can be anything from materials, to cushioning, to airflow. However, the Baby Bjorn Harmony Carrier is the real MVP here, nailing comfort across all fronts. Complete with a pressure relieving waistband, padded back support, shoulder straps, two height positions that can be easily adjusted with buttons and it has even been declared ‘Hip healthy’ by the international hip Dysplasia Institute. For your baby, the supersoft mesh fabric offers maximum breathability and airflow, whilst the soft jersey on the interior gently hugs them. As they grow, you can easily adjust the length, leg position and seat area as well as offering head support in three easily adjustable positions, for optimal comfort and ergonomic support.

Baby Carrier Harmony - Navy 3D Mesh

4. Baby wearing configurations

Do you want fuss-free simplicity or the option to carry your baby wear here, there and everywhere?

As previously mentioned, front facing inwards (baby facing inward to your chest) is the recommended position to carry your baby from newborn onwards, and it is only when they get strength in their neck and are able to hold their head up should they transitioned to front rear facing (baby outwards to the world.) All carriers we stock give you at least those two options, with the majority offering three (with the addition of back wearing.) That may be plenty of options for you, as we find lots of carers have a favourite that they gravitate to the majority of the time. However, for those wanting to go one step further - enter the world of hip wearing and meet the Ergobaby Omni Breeze. It offers the most configurations for maximum versatility for the carer, including, front, rear, back and hip.

Omni Breeze Baby Carrier - Graphite Grey

5. Aesthetics

Some say that your carrier is an extension of your style. I mean, they aren’t wrong given it is worn over the top of your outfits, so why not make it sleek and an extension of you? We love the Portier Limitless Carrier for all things fashion and functionality. With 8 gorgeous fabrics derived from 100% natural fibres to select from, you might be mistaken for choosing a bag or coat then a baby carrier! From denim to herringbone and houndstooth and every gender neutral tone in between - there is something to suit every taste and outfit!

The Limitless Carrier - Natural Herringbone

6. Ease of Use

There is nothing worse than getting hot, flustered and tangled up in endless straps, wrangling your baby into the carrier, remembering we are often doing it solo and one handed, or worse, trusting a family member or guardian to wear correctly and safely.

Having a carrier that is easy and fuss free to put on and adjust is an absolute must. Whilst most carriers have video and written instructions on how to put on, configure and take off, there are two that we feel take the cake in terms of simplicity. The Portier Limitless Carrier has a simplistic design making it easy to manoeuvre and pop on solo without any fussy trimmings. The Ergobaby Omni Breezer has easy switch sliders, essentially a one handed slider adjustment that allows you to quickly switch your baby to face inward or outwards.

The Limitless Carrier - Neutral Houndstooth

7. Safety

We should first preface that all carriers are safe as long as you are wearing them correctly and follow the directions for use. They would not be able to be sold in Australia otherwise. However, whilst they all undergo rigorous extensive testing, there are no set Australian baby carrier safety standards. For added precaution, Baby Bjorn carriers strictly comply with both the American and European Safety Standards and Portier follows the American only.

Regardless of what carrier you choose, we always recommend following the T.I.C.K.S rule of safe babywearing:

TIGHT: the carrier/sling should be tight with the baby positioned high and upright with head support at all times. Loose fabric will cause your baby to slump and can restrict breathing.

IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES: You should be able to see your child’s face at all times by simply looking down. Ensure their face, nose and mouth remain uncovered by the carrier and/or the wearers body.

CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS: Your baby should be close enough to the wearer’s chin so that they can easily kiss the top of their head.

KEEP CHIN OFF THE CHEST: Ensure the baby’s chin is up and away from their body. Baby’s body should not be curled or slumped (c-position) so that the baby's chin is forced into their chest as this may restrict breathing. Babies can be in distress without making noise or movement.

SUPPORTED BACK: Your baby’s back should be in a natural position with their tummy and chest against you. When bending over, support your baby with one hand behind their back and bend at your knees, not your waist to protect your own back.

Have we streamlined your options any further? We only stock the best of the best baby carriers in Australia so you know that you’re always getting top quality gear no matter which one you choose. If you need a bit more help, view our summary table below or download here.


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