Baby Carriers FAQ

last updated August 2005

This is the FAQ on baby carriers. Please send me a review of any carriers that you personally have used that are not adequately covered below. This is a FAQ, with input from anybody who willing to sent it in, rather than a concise one-answer-per-question comp.*-style FAQ.

Note that I am inserting affiliate links or Google ads where possible, in an attempt to defray the costs of supporting this web site. I will NOT alter the reviews, however, for example to make a linked-to item seem more appealing.

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Table of Contents

For a list of other FAQ topics available to the community, look for the FAQ File Index posted weekly to and

-Paula E. Burch

About Carriers

The Ideology of "Babywearing"

You may not have realized it (or care), but the idea of holding a baby in a carrier, instead of using a stroller, is something that some people have very strong feelings about. Babies have a strong instinctive need to be held; to those babies who just want to be held, it must seem very cruel to be parked in a stroller and expected to be quiet and out of the way. Of course, babies vary; some need to be held, and will cry and be miserable if denied the one thing they really want, while other babies will accept being put down quite happily. Studies have shown that, in general, babies who are held more cry less. Babies in families given a free baby carrier were found to be measurably happier than babies in families given free baby seats. These are averages of many babies, however, so whether they apply to your baby can only be determined by you. For more on the ideology of 'babywearing', see the works of William Sears (see the parenting books FAQ); however, let me warn you that he's definitely one of the sort who thinks that there is only one true way to parent, and so he can be rather annoying when his views disagree with your own experience. -peb

Here's an abstract (summary) from an article on the benefits of carrying your baby:

Unique Identifier 91059791 [use this to order the entire article from interlibrary loan]
Authors Anisfeld E. Casper V. Nozyce M. Cunningham N.
Title Does infant carrying promote attachment? An experimental study of the effects of increased physical contact on the development of attachment.
Source Child Development. 61(5):1617-27, 1990 Oct.
Abstract This study was designed to test the hypothesis that increased physical contact, experimentally induced, would promote greater maternal responsiveness and more secure attachment between infant and mother. Low-SES mothers of newborn infants were randomly assigned to an experimental group (n = 23) that received soft baby carriers (more physical contact) or to a control group (n = 26) that received infants seats (less contact). Using a transitional probability analysis of a play session at 3 1/2 months, it was demonstrated that mothers in the experimental group were more contingently responsive than control mothers to their infants' vocalizations. When the infants were 13 months old, the Ainsworth Strange Situation was administered. Significantly more experimental than control infants were securely attached to their mothers. We infer from these results that for low-income, inner-city mothers, there may be a causal relation between increased physical contact, achieved through early carrying in a soft baby carrier, and subsequent security of attachment between infant and mother.

If you don't like the first type of carrier you try, try another type!

Not all carriers suit all families, and experimenting to find the best carrier may end up costing some money. I think that the money my family saved on strollers more than paid for the carriers, though, and carrying our baby has helped us to stay in shape and seemed to make our baby happier--it certainly made us happier. Saving your receipts so you can return or exchange an uncomfortable carrier would be a good idea, however. -peb

Just wanted to say that, unfortunately for our wallets, different carriers work for different babies. We now use a Sara's Ride - and I'd bet that most babies over 4 or 5 mos. old do fine in these, as by then they're (the babies) usually over the infant aches, pains, or whatever that make being held in very particular ways so effective. But just as different babies "like" different holds, they also prefer different types of carriers.... Anyway, my point is that you may have to test a few types of carrier to find the one that works for your child. Perhaps you can borrow several kinds from friends before purchasing?
--Dena Rollo

Carriers for Newborns

Slings versus "snugglis"

There are two basic types of carriers for newborns: the 'Snugli' or vertical type, which works like a backpack worn backwards, on the front, and the sling, or horizonatal type. Which is better? That depends on you. With our first son, I never could get the hang of a Snugli-brand carrier, myself, and found the concept of wearing something like a backpack worn backwards to be just too painful; he screamed the whole time he was in our hand-me-down version, as well. For our family, with our first son, the sling was what made both us and our baby happy, and I credit it with saving our sanity in the first difficult weeks after he was born. I think that every expectant parent should be sure to have a sling on hand before the baby is even born! On the other hand, lots of people have been very happy with the Snugli type of carrier, and there are fortunately much better designs than those in the Snugli line for front carriers (the important item missing from the Snugli line is a waist belt to ease the shoulder strain!). It's a good idea to try both types, if you're not entirely happy with the first type you try. I've read that studies show that a horizontal position is 'the healthiest for an infant's developing organs', but I haven't seen the studies, myself, and the wording of these claims is such that I'm suspicious. I'd say you should go with the vertical position if that's what you and your baby like. -peb

Reviews of carriers for newborns

This section will contain names, prices, and descriptions of various slings and other carriers marketed for use by newborns and young infants. If you have any opinions or other info to contribute, please let me know-- send me e-mail.

Sling-type carriers for newborns

About slings in general

Caution: do not confuse the Snugli Legacy sling, which attaches a sling-like baby holder to the Snugli-type shoulder harness, with a sling that goes over one shoulder plus the neck. The Snugli sling has gotten a lot of bad press on, unlike other slings, which may say something about its design.-peb

Buy a sling type carrier!!! We had a snugli-type carrier (ours was a kangaroo), but after the 3rd or 4th month most all babies hate these because they want to look out, and not at your chest. We had something like Sarah's ride (ours was called a Baby Bear) which was ok for some times. We had a backpack, and one other carrier that is too hard to describe. We tried them all (we are firm believers in carrying ones small children, and we love going on hikes).
--Johanne Kaminski

Baby Sling Along

Baby Sling Along is a standard sort of sling that is available in a variety of fabrics, including light weight cotton and winter weight wool, as well as mesh water slings for showering or swimming. Its makers claim that it makes breastfeeding easier, too. --Paula Burch


My son (when he wasn't out crawling/walking on his own) spent infinite hours in a sling (ours is called a Kocoona- it is very deep, adjustable, washable, the weight is carried on the shoulder, not the neck, it is most comforable for both parent and child. You can put the weight on either shoulder by simply turning it inside out, and it comes with a sewn on zippered pocket for little things like tissues, keys, etc.)

My son use to love sleeping in it, going on hikes in it, being in it while we shopped, houseworked, etc. It literally seemed like we were like kangeroos (and we loved it): when he wanted out to play, he was out of it; when he wanted in the pouch, in he went and we could do what we needed. He enjoyed it until he was about 2 1/2, when he got to be a bit too heavy, and better able to be on his own two feet.

We highly recommend something like our Kocoona sling/pouch type carrier for both babies and toddlers!
--Johanne Kaminski

Over the Shoulder Baby Holder

Hello. I use what's called an "Over the Shoulder Baby Holder." It's made of cloth (I know you said you don't prefer it) and it goes over one shoulder and around the opposit waist. The baby can lie in it as if in a hammock (sp?) or sit facing towards or away from you. I and my daughter really enjoy it; so does a friend of mine who *always* has her son in it. --Pauline Homsi Vinson

Another brand name for a sling carrier is the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder. My wife, when tired of carrying the baby all day, calls it the Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder. It's especially nice for nursing on the run. After Rachel got too big to be enveloped in it, it converts easily into a seat-type carrier a la Sara's Ride [but without the waist-strap support!].

The first sling carrier she used was a cheap scarf from Woolworth's.
--Daniel Kim

The best one, in my opinion, is the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder. You can order one from the company - they are only available thru individual distributors.
--Lisa Stone

One source for the the OSBH is at

I also think the OSBH is the best sling. I have used the three biggies: NOJO, The Sling-Eeze (from Parenting Concepts) and the OSBH and there really is a difference. (Of course, if you don't try all three, you won't notice a difference ;)

For me the OSBH fits the best. I thought the Sling Eeze was too small, although, if I had lugged my toddler around in it, I am sure it would stretch out a bit. I don't like the quality of the NOJO fabric. It looked pretty trashy all the time, and I have seen folks who have these and use them extensively and their slings are rather limp-looking. The rails are flat and they don't hold a toddlers butt in the right place, thus not preventing them from falling out!

(I have had my first OSBH for two years and it still looks pretty good. Unfortunately, it wasn't 100% cotton and I didn't find it out until later, and it is pilling. The second one we have had for 7 months or so and it is 100% cotton, no pilling.)

The phone number for [one of the sources of] the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder is 1-800/637-9426 or 714/361-1089 [also see above].

New Native Baby Carrier

We've used multiple types of carriers (front snugglis, slings, sara's ride, backpacks), and I prefer the sling until the backpack is appropriate.

Anyway, I want to recommend the new sling I got for Jonathan. Previously, we used a NOJO sling which is the same basic design as the OTSBH. The new sling is called "The New Native Baby Carrier". It is basically a woven cotton sash shaped sling, but it has a "bump" built in to provide more security for the child. One thing I really like about it, is that it is very unobtrusive when empty, so when I take Jon out, I can just leave it on and still be comfortable. The NOJO and the OTSBH both are quite bulky due to the shoulder padding, the length adjustment and the padded rails. With the new one, you adjust how you carry the baby's weight by where on your shoulder you position the sling and by spreading the shoulder piece out wider or making it narrower. also, you can spread the part that goes across your back out too if you want. The sling comes in 5 sizes. They send directions for altering the sling when the baby is tiny to make it more comfortable for the baby, it basically consists of sewing two seams in the shoulder area to take the sling up about 4 inches. Then when the baby gets bigger, you just let it back down. They also include instructions for a number of different ways to wear the baby.

I suspect, if a couple was widely varying in size, that you could put in some velcro or snaps to allow the smaller person to "take up" the larger size sling to the correct size for them.

The sling is also available in 100% organic cotton, for those who want it.

The address is:

     The New Native Baby Carrier
     PO Box 247
     Davenport, CA 95017
Phone number: 1-800-646-1682
--Lauren Blau Halverson

For newborns I prefer the New Native [sling]. When the baby could sit and started to crawl I changed to the sling type with a ring. The New Native is so light that it is nearly "not there" with the baby in it and it is not in the way with the baby out. But it is not adjustable! With the baby sitting on my hip in a ring-type sling he can reach my breast and I can let the material slip a bit through the ring, and tug it tighter again. The sling is bigger though and when the baby is not in it I usually take it off. What I also like about the ring-sling types apart from all the things already mentioned is the fact that the padding around the edges are soft for the baby's legs. When there is no padding, the edges of the cloth marks the legs and this may hurt (and the baby cannot talk yet!). So I prefer both, the New Native first, later on a ring-type sling. If I were to buy new and had to choose just one of these, knowing all of this (now!) I would buy a ring-type sling and use it also for the new born baby.
--Anneloes Tijssen-Valk

We used [along with the Snugli and Sara's Ride, neither of which they liked as well]:

12-foot length of cotton jersey, serged around the edges. This was a loaner and had been bought from one of the earthy-crunchy baby catalogs. It was comfortable but very complicated to put on. It was appropriate for infants under 1 month, as they are lying down and can sleep in it. It's also very warm, because the jersey was thick and the baby is held close to the body. (This may not be a problem during the spring and autumn.) I actually made a lightweight one as a present for an early summer baby, from cotton gauze. This worked well, I am told.
--Laura Jensen

The BabySling

All-time favorite. This was a loaner from some friends who didn't like it. This is the padded sling that adjusts with a d-ring at one end. I really liked it when she was small, because it was easy to put on and she could lie down in it. (*IMPORTANT USAGE NOTE* I found that putting the baby so that she was lying at an angle to the main axis of the sling was the key to keeping her from sliding into the sling at this age.) Later on, when she could sit up, I would put her into it on my hip, and this worked in crowded airports, etc. It's a very nice cuddly carrier, and I can wear it for up to 20 minutes with a 24-pound child! I'm going to have to give it back soon because the friends who loaned it are expecting twins!
--Laura Jensen

Sling/carseat liner combination

One Step Ahead (PO Box 517, Lake Bluff IL 60044; 800/274-8440) sold us our sling with the narrow, though padded strap. (I believe they no longer carry it.) It was supposed to work as a car seat liner, making it easier to lift the baby out of the seat without waking him. We never could figure out how to fit the shoulder straps over it, and Will stayed asleep when we lifted him from his carseat anyway, without it. We loved our sling very much, and credited it with saving our sanity. However, I think that the narrow strap was a major design flaw, although my husband in looking at pictures of other slings worries that they would be too hot, with a wide strap over the shoulders. One great advantage of this sling, as opposed to many others, was that the straps were on either side of the baby, rather than at head and foot. The latter type forces the baby's back to curl up; having the straps on the sides allowed the baby to lie with a straight back. I am sure that the other sling design is quite safe for the baby, but this one just seemed more comfortable for him I did not like our Over The SHoulder BAby Holder as much, when we got it for our next baby. --Paula Burch

Baby Cuddler (US $40)

The Motherwear catalog (po box 114, Northampton MA 01061-0114; 413/586-3488) carries this sling. Shown in a great purple and black paisley print. Claims to fit newborns through toddlers.

Indi Sling (US $38.95 plus shipping.)

Indi Slings baby carriers are a "Generously sized 100% cotton sling, in a variety of attractive prints and solid colors. Wide padded shoulder with adjustable plastic ring. For free brochure or to order, call Helen at 413-256-1223(CT)." [Comes in two sizes, short and long.]
--Helen Moore [proprietor], wrote in 1996


In the Netherlands many people buy a selendang, which is originally a traditional Indonesian cloth but is also used for a rebozo style of shawl, and tie this in a knot. I think this must be somewhat in the rebozo style, only the knot is on the back.
--Anneloes Tijssen-Valk


I wanted to comment on my experience with a rebozo. It's really wonderful and I'm helpless without it! When my daughter was smaller she lived in it, mostly sitting facing outward with her head leaning near the knot on my shoulder. Now (at 22 m) she sits on my hip. I've been able to do all kinds of things (teach, work on the computer, follow my 5 yr old around, shop, do housework) for over an hour at a time (longer with breaks and shoulder switching). People from India, Africa and Mexico have told me that they do the same thing except that the baby is on the back, but I've never been able to figure out how to do this and have never needed it.

My rebozo is from The Rebozo Way (contact Barbara Wishingrad), 6063 Ethel Ave, Van Nuys CA 91401. you need to send a SASE with your correspondence. There is a nice selection of really beautiful cotton shawl-type rebozos, I think hand-woven.

Plus features: Lightweight(breathable fabric) and really beautiful-I sometimes wear it as a scarf when I don't have the baby, although she uses it as a blankie so she usually has it when we're apart. I leave the knot tied where I like it and I can put sling and baby on almost instantly. (My son had a snugli, but by the time I strapped him in he usually wanted to get out). It's comfortable, if tied right, but it sometimes takes a little adjusting to get the knot where I want it (which of course is why I avoid retying). I like the natural and non-technical appearance. Tying toys to the fringe helps when you're in that dropsy stage. Thin fabric washes and dries very quickly.

minus features: The fringe is pretty, but mine is a little bedraggled-mostly from being dragged as a blankie and from brother using it to play jumprope. If you pull on the edge of the rebozo with a heavy baby sitting in it, the fabric may split (But it's easy enough to patch. Now I'm more careful adjusting and haven't had any more trouble).
--Kathryn T. Knecht

Sewing Your Own Baby Sling

I bought a pattern for a baby sling, but haven't had time to sew it yet. In the meantime, my husband and I have been using a piece a 45" wide fabric tied with a square knot. That works reasonably well for us, but we look forward to the shoulder padding of the "real" sling, and being able to adjust it, too. (Not to mention getting rid of that knot in the middle of our backs.)

I got the pattern through the mail from:

ASA inspirations
P.O. Box 11683
Champaign, IL 61826.
[Also see Embroidery Etc., in the children's patterns section, as a source for this pattern.]
It cost $6.95 (p/h included).

I did end up sewing [the above] pattern....I wasn't 100% happy with this pattern, BTW, though I was happy to have it because otherwise I wouldn't have known how to go about making my own sling. (Since I've been sewing baby clothes, I seem to have learned a lot about making and modifying patterns myself.) One of the things I don't like about the pattern is that the padding 'rails' are only in the front, and not in the back of the sling -- if you're using the Sears' Baby Book as a guide for sling use, some of the positions involve wearing the sling 'backwards'.... which assumes that the rails are also in the back. Also, I don't have any use for a shoulder pad that attaches and removes with velcro. If I were to make it again, I'd have the shoulder padding permanently attached. Finally, if you do decide to make your own sling, make sure you get rings that are welded shut or molded into a ring -- not those that are just kind of bent into a circle. Does that make sense? I mean that there shouldn't be any opportunity for the ring to bend open on you. I bought the first rings I found at the fabric store, and now they've bent open -- we squeeze 'em back from time to time, but basically, they need to be replaced with "good rings".

--Clare Bates Congdon

These are instructions for making a "tube sling." 
Use 36" wide material. Measure the diagonal distance
from the point where your left shoulder meets the arm,
to the top of your right hip bone (on the side of your
body). Multiply this by two, and add a seam allowance
(or more if you like carrying your baby low) and sew 
it together. 
Some people have tried tying a knot too, but that can be
less comfortable. If you're creative, you could also
figure out how to use metal rings and make it
adjustable, like the store-bought kind. Remember also,
this is a YMMV thing. Try basting the seam first to see
if it's the right fit before sewing it together. Or use
a folded bedsheet pinned together to  determine how much
fabric you need before going out and buying it. 
By the way, this idea comes from a booklet called
"Outside Wombs"  by Christina Otterstrom-Cedar. She also
has instructions for making other wrap-around slings,
and diagrams and photos for how to use the slings in a
wide variety of positions. You can order the booklet by
sending $5.00 (US or Cdn) to Box 82, Eagle Bay, BC,
Canada, V0E 1T0. (I have no connection to this person,
nor do I stand to benefit from telling you about this. I
just bought the book when I saw  someone wearing a
home-made sling that looked so comfortable and un-bulky, 
with such a happy baby inside :))
--Theresa Marion (from a post)

Comfey Carrier

The 1997 address for the Comfey Carrier was: P. O. Box 2535, Lyons, CO 80540; toll free phone number: 888-865-2738; or call (303) 823-9367. [Does this still work? I suspect not. -peb]

I ended up getting the Comfey Carrier, and I found it *very* comfortable. It is more expensive than most carriers ($45, plus $3 shipping), but I feel it's well worth it. There are no buckles and nothing to adjust -- it takes a little getting used to, but it is far superior to the Snugli. The Comfey Carrier is mentioned in the Consumer Reports Guide to Baby Products. I've included more information about Comfey Carrier below, courtesy of Ashley Burns and Marilyn Walker. By the way, Betsy Sites, who designed and personally manufactures the Comfey Carrier in her home, was looking to sell her business when I ordered my Comfey Carrier back in November 1992. Contact her for details. [Bonnie Slater is the new owner. -ed.]
--Andrew Siegel

I ended up buying a Comfey Carrier because I liked the product and supporting a one-person business.
--Ashley Burns

Comfey Carrier is alive and well [in 1997]. I just bought one 3 weeks ago, and I'm not sure I would have survived without it! It is the ONLY way (OK - riding in the car works too) that my little month old will fall asleep. It is super comfortable - I wear it around the house during the day, take hime for walks, and we have even gone skiing twice. I don't think you could find anything that carries in the front that balances the weight better. BTW - we tried other carries (Snugli, etc) and found that most were hard on our backs or didn't really support him well.

Betsy Sites makes them here in Boulder.

--Marilyn Walker

"It's deceptively simple. It's made of washable cotton stretch velour, no buckles or anything to adjust. You just place the baby on it, bring part of the carrier up through her legs, tie it around her waist, then bring two long straps up over your shoulders, cross them in back or front depending on where the baby is and tie around your waist on the other side. Baby can be face in or out, front or back (4-ways) and (this is the best part) is so secure you can bend down to pick up something off the floor and s/he won't fall out. It's incredible comfortable to wear. I have a bad back and I could hike for hours with a 4-month old in this carrier.

"...having carried my first born in an overpriced, impractical Snugli, and having been loaned a Comfey Carrier for my second, I'm a bit fanatical about this product. And I *do* like the opportunity to support a cottage industry in my community."

Note: this is complicated to explain, but it also can be worn so it supports a newborn's head. Another Comfey suggestor wrote:

"My chiropractor recommends it, but I have not yet tried it."
--Ashley Burns (The parts with quote marks are from unattributed email she received)

Vertical carriers for newborns

Ultimate Baby Wrap

Ultimate Baby Wrap appears to contain yards of cotton knit material, effectively swaddling the baby against the parent's front. Many babies are calmed by swaddling as by nothing else, so this design could be very helpful. It looks hard to get on and off, though, and very warm. The design spreads the weight of the baby over a larger portion of the back than any other front carrier, which might make it less of a strain to wear, but I doubt the claims that it can be used for babies up to the age of 3 - mine wanted to be able to get up and down easily as soon as they started walking! -- peb


  1. Baby is very happy in here (mostly sleeps--if that's what you want).
  1. Jack was a big baby and outgrew this carrier in just a couple of months. To me this is the biggest negative as a sling type carrier would last you *much* longer.
  2. Rather awkward to get baby in and out of.
  3. I found it hard on my back and shoulders to carry him in here for any length of time (although that could just be me--maybe I'll be much stronger for the next baby!)
As you can see, we were fairly disappointed with our Snugli (wish we had bought a sling!).

The Snugli City Sport Soft Carrier claims that it can be used face-in, face-out, and as a backpack. I predict it will be dismissed in favor of more serious backpacks by the time the baby is old enough for that, but if it works for your newborn it's worth getting, anyway. Slings are more popular than vertical carriers for good reason, but some babies like only the vertical carriers. --peb

We originally bought a Snugli Caress front carrier, but soon found it to be uncomfortable and poorly designed, with flaws including: poorly placed velcro side panels which I found difficult to adjust and close securely; crossed shoulder straps which were fastened together where they met, resulting in the entire weight of the baby eventually ending up on the back of my neck; and cotton straps that rolled and twisted in the plastic buckles, making adjustment difficult. We sent the Snugli back to Gerry, the manufacturer, and got a refund.
--Andrew Siegel

I liked my Snugli "Legacy" (I think that's it). Instead of the thin criss-cross straps, it has an "H" shaped harness in the back. It has the child carrier section, and a sort of cover that goes over the front that you can use with or without the seat section to make a sort of sling (I never used it that way myself). I got mine at Toys R Us, but have seen them everywhere. This one was on the higher end of the price scale of the Snugli's.
--Valerie Jorge

I would skip the front carriers and wait until he can handle a pack with blanket surrounding him fo support. I have a number of hand-me-down snugli type carriers. There is one that is better than the others, but at two-months, my daughter is getting too big to allow me to do much with her in it.
--C. Topp

I returned my snugli and got a NoJo....
--Alison Suggs

this isn't going to be terribly helpful maybe, but here's our experience. We didn't like the snugly type carrier's at all. They seemed very precarious and were uncomfortable for both of us, especially if we used them for any length of time. We got a sling, which worked very well indeed, but didn't last long (its usefulness, that is, the sling is in great shape, but the baby no longer fits.)
--Jeff Peacock

As for soft carriers for infants, Dylan liked various types of Snuglis at various times in his infancy. Basically, anything that kept him next to my chest was dandy by him :-).
--Diane Lin

I *loved* my Snugli Escort baby front-pack. Even more significant, Brandon loved it. I'm sortof a weakling though, and once he hit about 16 pounds it did get kind of uncomfortable - lots of strain on the shoulders. It was really nice to be able to talk walks with him in it because in the stroller it just seemed that he was so far away from me and he is a little cuddler so it was nice to be able to hold him close so comfortably. Anyway, I do recommend it - and it is very inexpensive - about $20 - as opposed to some of the others that can run up to about $60.
--Pamela Araki

This isn't so much a specific recommendation as a caution for those who may have back problems or women who are large-breasted. (I ballooned to an astounding extent during pregnancy, becoming a G cup). The front-pack type may not be for you! Better experiment with a friend's before investing. (With me, there wasn't room for the baby out there!)
--Laura Dolson

Front carriers are absolutely wonderful. Babies love them, and they'll save Mom & Dad's sanity, especially if you've got a fussy baby who demands to be held all the time. After a while I felt like I was naked without Sarah (what the well-dressed man of the 90's is wearing: a baby). There's also evidence that lots of carrying is good for the baby's development. If they cost five times what they do, I'd still get one. Sometimes it was the only way to get Sarah to sleep. Some people swear by slings, but neither my wife nor I could find a sling that felt right. By all means, try them.

Wide, well-padded shoulder straps make for greater comfort. Make sure both parents try it on; a lot of them aren't big enough for big men (or big women, I suppose). Some front carriers supposedly open in a way which allows nursing. It didn't work for my wife; the position was invariably awkward. YMMV. (Your Mammaries May Vary.)

As for brands, we've had very good luck with Gerry. I believe that Gerry bought out the original Snugli people (kind of sad; snugli was a nice little cottage industry). [Sicne then, it appears that Evenflo bought out Gerry.]
--Reid Kneeland

Our infant carrier is a Snugli that is supposed to be useable up to age 2. It is designed for front use only, with the baby facing in. It has an inner "seat" for infants, and an outer seat for bigger kids. For an infant, the outer seat provides warmth and head support. I used this carrier a great deal with both my kids, from birth until they were about 6 months old. After that, they stopped liking it, and wanted more freedom. It took quite a bit of practice for me to (1) be able to get the straps in the right place, and hooked up, and (2) be able to get the baby in by myself. I've seen some models designed to make both these easier. From trying out some other models in the store, I concluded that the simplier strap arrangements did not spread the baby's weight around as well as the more complex ones, and I decided I was willing to learn to deal with the straps to have the comfort once it was on. Mine has straps that cross across your back, and a tie at the bottom that you tie around your waist or hips. It is extremely sturdy, and still is in outstanding shape. It has a detachable "drool bib" of flannel which is a *great* feature. It has to come all the way off to nurse the baby, which is a bit of a pain in the neck. I saw other models in which you were supposed to be able to feed the baby *in the carrier*, but I couldn't do so when I borrowed one from a friend (as a "test ride"). Others have flaps or snaps, or whatever to let you take the baby out and nurse without having to take the carrier off; that might have been nice, but I'm not sure I wouldn't have had to take the carrier off anyway to undo my shirt and bra. I have recently had my 2.75 year old daughter in it (she is about 25 pounds), so I know it really will fit an older child, but I think they would generally hate how close it holds them.
--Susanne Gilliam

We tried the Snugli but it didn't work for us. I'm 5'1", and the Snuggli felt very uncomfortable because it pretty much took up my whole torso. My husband is 6'1", and he was unable to loosen the Snuggli enough to make it fit him comfortably. You may want to mention in the faq that those who are much shorter or much taller than average try one on for awhile before purchasing.

Snugli Dual Ride

There is a Snugli brand carrier that allows the baby to face in or out. The box shows the baby being worn each way in the picture on the outside. Note that it lacks any kind of waist belt. I would advise you to forget this one and get a Sara's Ride [see below] for a baby three months or over. (You can't wear a younger baby facing outward anyway.)
--Paula Burch

The Pony Ride

Made by Tough Traveler for 'the youngest child'. Claimed to take much of the weight off of the shoulders--this would be unique among newborn carriers if true! See the web at for more of the manufacturer's info. We very much need a consumer review of this product! It looks like a much-improved version of the snuggli concept, but we have no input on how well-liked it is in use.

I tried this on at a store, but did not buy it because my baby, who was fussing when we started, fussed even more while we were trying this carrier. (Sigh.) It is quite lightweight, which is good, and includes a (non-padded) waistbelt, which is good. The cost is somewhere around $65, as I recall. This is much harder to find in stores than the major baby stuff companies' efforts--try calling a backpacking/camping goods' store, or try the Tough Traveler web site.
--Paula Burch

EvenFlo Grand Tour (US $250

I tried on an Evenflo front carrier at a store, as well. This one looks like a real winner--comfortable, simple, and cheap ($25), with a waistbelt to help ease the shoulder stain. It's easy to use--you lay it down, insert the baby, zip it up, place the shoulder harness over her head and behind your arms, then fasten the waistbelt. The waistbelt alone makes it superior to *any* of the Snugli brand carriers that this store carried, as they all lacked this essential feature. This is certainly one to consider for tiny infants, if you don't want a sling. The store I found it at was a standard baby megastore (Lil Things). Not to be worn on the back; comes in a combination of blue and green.

Chicco Smart Support Baby Carrier

The Chicco Smart Support looks like a fairly standard sort of front carrier, claiming to allow three positions, but we have no reviews of it and have no idea how it compares to others.

Tot Tender

"The baby can face forward or towards the chest and can also be placed in either position on your back. He loves it and often sits facing forward on my chest. He is also comfortable taking a nap facing my his size now this is most comfortable for me."

--quoted by Ashley Burns (original author unknown)

The carrier can carry the baby 4 ways: front facing out, front facing in, back facing out and back facing in. The back options only works after the baby can hold his/her head.

When Christine was smaller (< 6mo), I used it a lot for carrying her around, front facing in. She would often fall asleep in this position and it was very convenient for nursing. The carrier puts most of the weight in my upper/middle back. This wasn't a problem since she weight less than 20 lbs.

The one down side is it takes a little work to get the baby in and the straps in the right positions. The problem is a lot worse when Christine trys to wiggle away.

The carrier is rated up to 35 lbs. I can still carry Christine in it (Dec. 92) but she much prefers the Gerry backpack. This preference probably started showing around 7-8 months.
--Alice Wang


I returned my snugli and go a NoJo, which I liked. It has cotton straps, however. The key to absence-of-backache I think is a waist strap, just like a heavy backpack should have a waist strap. Anyway, I liked the NoJo, for what it's worth.
--Alison Suggs

{editor's note: is this different from the NoJo sling? It sounds like it.]

Heartbeat Carrier

outward & inward facing carrier sold by The Right Start Catalog, 1-800-little1

--Ashley Burns


(this one's a little different but is interesting): This carrier is a wonderful front carrier that has the baby facing you and has many wonderful features, like movable seat (to better position growing baby), neck and back reenforcements, padded shoulder straps for mom and dad, etc. It also can be used to carry the baby on your back (again facing towards you) if the baby can hold up his/her head. I never used the back carrying feature so I don't know how well it works. I found that the baby got to be too heavy to carry in this type of carrier after a few months and we switched to a frame type of back pack when our kids were old enough to hold their heads up."

--quoted by Ashley Burns

I *strongly* recommend the carrier made by Evenflo (it's grey and turquoise - maybe it's called the Adventure or something). Great support, comfortable, easy to adjust, etc. Isabel (my now 10-mos.-old) lived in this until she was big enough to use the Sara's Ride.

When Isabel was tiny, she practically lived in her carrier - but it was the *third* one we tried (sling type and open snugli just didn't do it for her). The one that did work was the Evenflo Eventyr (?- I think - the grey one with the turquoise binding) which is very enclosed and confining - has an adjustable seat inside a pouch, which zips up snugly (can go over the baby's head) and holes through which hands and feet can peek out (though Isabel preferred hers in). For her, the feeling of being tightly enclosed was crucial. At one point, it was the only way she'd nurse, and it *never* failed to calm her/ put her to sleep when she was really nuts. There are other brands of similar carriers, but if your baby likes this type, I highly recommend the Evenflo - very sturdy and comfortable, with padded shoulder straps, easily adjustable everything, good weight distribution, etc.
--Dena Rollo

BabyBjorn BabyCarrier(US $89)

Right Start catalog (1-800-little-1) carries this, and so does One Step Ahead (1-800-274-8440). It claimns to be good for from 1 week to 10 months, up to 33 pounds. The baby can face in or out, and the pouch can be unsnapped to make it easier to put a sleeping baby down. It's a Snugli-type, in shape, and very expensive.

The Baby Bjorn carrier is the best carrier I have seen for use with newborn babies that cannot hold their own head yet. With my first child, I had a snuggli and I rarely used it because of the poor head support. However the Baby Bjorn has a great head support and it wraps real close to the baby's head so it won't fall back or to the side.
--Nicki Noxon The Baby Bjorn carrier costs more than the other vertical carriers we tried, but it was worth it. I recommend this carrier.

Soft-Ride Dual Facing Carrier (US $25)

Right Start catalog (1-800-little-1) carries this. It looks like a standard Snuggli-type design. Removable bib, allows nursing.

Front and Back Carrier ( US $70)

Right Start catalog (1-800-little-1) carries this. This pack has an optional frame you can add to make what appears to be an inferior frame baby backpack. Without the frame, it looks like a Snuggli in shape, but baggier. If anyone has used this, please submit a review.

Kapoochi Baby Carrier ($40)

Right Start catalog (1-800-little-1) carries this. Baby can face in or out. It looks lighter, smaller, and cooler than many. Standard Snuggli strap arranegment, i.e., doesn't look too comfortable. If anyone has used this, please submit a review.

Baby Trekker

The Baby Trekker is a vertical carrier and best compared to Snuglis. Considering baby's back, I think it is best to carry the baby lying down at first, but the Baby Trekker does fit newborns too, and there is a position for breastfeeding. The point I was trying to make is: whereas with the Snugli-type of carriers a baby of 6 to 9 months is usually too heavy to be carried in this way, the Baby Trekker can be used well into toddlerhood in the front carrying position and even beyond in the back carrying position. Another nice thing about the Baby Trekker is that while the fit is very easy to adjust there is nothing that can slip while wearing. It also has a bag which will hold a nappy and such.
--Anneloes Tijssen-Valk

Clip 'n Go Carrier (Winter use only) US $50

One Step Ahead carriers a front carrier that is basically a snowsuit with straps. It lacks a waistbelt, but it looks pretty clever otherwise. Machine washable, works for babies up to 20 pounds (if the parent is strong enough!)

MaxiMom Twins and Triplets Baby Carrier

Even if you are not the parent of twins or triplets, don't miss seeing a picture of the MaxiMom Baby Carrier for Twins and Triplets in use. It can't be easy to carry all those babies at once, but it's certainly worth a try, considering how much baby-wearing can help with even singleton babies. The basic form of the carrier is intended for single babies, and has the distinction of not being removed from the baby when you place him or her in the car seat shopping cart, etc., and can be used as a high chair when eating away from home.

Multi-cultural Notes

The carriers discussed in this FAQ are overwhelmingly from modern "Western" (Europe, USA, Canada, Australia) culture, but many of them ultimately derive in concept from traditional designs, often from other cultures.

This section is placed between the newborn and older baby sections because most of them are used for both age groups. If anyone has a source for the African type of carriers, please send it along!

African-style back carriers

I noticed that the African-style carriers are a way of carrying the baby low on the back instead of high on the back as other back carriers (try to) do, while the cloth goes under the armpits to the front, whereas other back carriers have straps or cloth over the shoulder. I wonder whether this is uncomfortable on the breasts - unless the weight is very much on the hips of the person carrying, and perhaps when it is tied properly above the bustline. I also wondered whether a young baby is supported enough, with possible damage to the baby's back in mind [because some say that newborns need to be carried horizontally], but I have spoken to someone who used to live in Africa (Gambia and Senegal). She says that the back carrying strengthens the mother's lower back and thighs and the babies have no problems with some sort of hip-disorder for which, here, some need to be treated in hospital and that this is because the baby's legs are spread very widely both sides of his mother's back.
--Anneloes Tijssen-Valk

Amauti (Inuit child carrier)

Both my daughters, and all the children around here, have been raised in the traditional Inuit baby carrier the AMAUTI. The very ancient tradition of carrying children on your back is shared arcoss the Arctic and over the Bering sea/land bridge to cultures in Asia. I was reminded of this once while in a Toronto hospital when a nurse told me "you carry your baby just like we used to in Korea." At that time I was wearing the indoor version of the amauti - a simple cloth wrap, without the insulation, which uses the child's own weight to hold her in place.

It is hard to describe an amauti in words alone. The amauti is a cloth coat for both mother and baby sewn with a wide, wide hood and a pouch in back to carry a child from new born to about 2 1/2 years. The pouch only holds the child, it does not separate her from her mother, so the baby rides with her belly to your back, with no straps or buckles whatsoever. The hood covers both mother and child against the wind when needed. Otherwise the hood rides behind the baby and has a very decorative and jaunty cut - which tells who sewed it and from what community they came.

The child rides up at adult eye level, secure on her mother's back. In a cold - and I mean cold - climate the mother never has to worry about the baby getting cold - even at an age when the child might not complain - you share the same body warmth. The baby can stick her head up to join the world or pull down into the pouch as she chooses, in order to catch a snooze while mother continues on the go. In the coldest weather, of course, the baby wears a hat and snowsuit as well, but they are very secure at temperatures down to -40 degrees, for hours if needed.

The coats are not commercially made anywhere I know. They are sewn by traditional seamstresses from very old and complex patterns. (The shoulders and sleeves are a work of art - they are designed so that the weight of the baby is carried across the chest.) The mother is measured by eye, and then in "hands and fingers". The standard colour is white outer with wool inner, long tail at the back (very long) for style, tradition, and for sitting on. The inner is wool/duffle for warmth and the hood is trimmed with fur for protection from the wind. The tail, waist and sleeves are decorated with multiple ribbons. It is one of the only garments I know which celebrates a woman's fertility in the direct sense, not her sexuality. The breasts, waist and hips are emphasized in very general terms ,- as a mother, not as a sexual partner - again hard to explain without a photo. Female, solid, nurturing, warm - the opposite of "femme fatale". As an aside men do wear amauti too, although it is clear from the cut that they are not designed for the male figure. A man who wears an amauti will have good luck at hunting.

Manoeuvering the baby in and out does require help until you get very practised. Children are most comfortable if they start young - the pouch requires them to bend their knees - but a baby who is carried in an amauti builds a very special relationship with her mother and the outside world. She is in charge and can take in the world at her leisure, secure and warm in her own special corner. The arrival of my second child was greeted very warmly by the first, except when it came to being displaced in the amauti - at that point the jealousy had to be worked through. But like many small children now she wears her own little amauti and carries her dolls and toys around in its hood.

If you live at or beyond the snow line this may be a carrier worth considering.

I've found somewhere people can go to get an amauti. The Minnguq Sewing Group, General Delivery, Broughton Island, Northwest Territories, Canada XOA OBO tel 819 927 8885 fax 819 927 8318. This is a lady's sewing group but they do take orders. If you call, be patient as it may take a while for an English speaker to get to the telephone. The best idea would be to fax a request, no problem with English there. No they are not on e-mail. At all at all. [This info is from 1997; please let me know if you find out that this is, or is not, still available! --Paula Burch]
--Anne Crawford

Table of Contents

  • about carriers
  • carriers for newborns
  • light carriers
  • heavy-duty carriers
  • sources

    Next page: Light carriers for older babies and heavy-duty baby carrier backpacks

    also contact information and other information on Sources for the carriers described in these reviews.

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