Outgrowing your stretchy wrap?
BabyBjorn carrier starting to pull on your shoulders?
Is your baby getting too big or too wiggly for your newborn carrier?
Does your nosey baby wants to turn round and see the world?
Is your back starting to hurt?
If you’re baffled by which baby carrier to move on to, fear not! My team and I have worked with over 20,000 families over the last 15 years: we really are the experts. You can scroll down now to see our recommendations for 2021’s best carriers for babies aged 3 months+. But first, some important things for you to consider.
Baby carriers are like jeans or shoes: Different ones suit different people
There’s no such thing as the ‘best’ sling or baby carrier. That’s why we stock such a huge range. It’s about a good fit (and personal preference). Ensuring your sling is fitted safely and comfortably is paramount: How well your sling is adjusted and fitted is just as important as which baby carrier you buy. That’s why we offer a FREE video fitting service with every purchase.
Get expert advice (before you panic buy Yet Another Carrier That Doesn’t Work For You on Amazon at 3am)
If you’d like personalised advice for you and your family, be sure to book a Video Consultation with our expert team, available 7 days a week (£15/30mins). We will save you time, money and physiotherapy bills! We can advise on how to fit your existing baby carrier or sling more comfortably; and recommend and demonstrate other slings that will suit your family, based on your body shape and your families needs.
Your body shape REALLY matters. A lot.
Which carrier will suit you depends far more on YOUR body shape than your baby’s. Even if you have a ‘big’ or ‘small’ for-their-age 5 month old, there’s not a vast difference as far as sling fitting is concerned. Mums, on the other hands, vary hugely. Dads are a little more straightforward as their torsos tend to be wider and flatter, with less contours. With mums, we’re choosing and fitting a carrier around your height, breasts, waist, hips etc.
My team and I can basically look you up and down and tell you which carriers are likely to suit you perfectly. If we’re not seeing you, we can you some question about your body shape instead.
We have over a hundred carriers that could work for you. But what are our top recommended carriers that GENUINELY suit the widest range of body shapes?
Want the option to carry your baby facing out?
Babies never ‘have’ to face out in a carrier, but a lot of parents like to have this as an option.
Hands down the most supportive outwards-facing baby carriers on the market are (1) the Ergobaby Omni range (the Omni 360, Omni Breeze and Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh are all very similar) and (2) the Tula Explore. Both have bucket-shaped seats that will support your baby in an ergonomic position: ie. optimal for their developing body and kinder to your back.
The Ergobaby Omni 360 has a slightly more contoured waistband and a great variety of ways to do up the shoulder straps, compared to the Tula Explore. This makes it more likely to fit you BRILLIANTLY if you’re buying online without trying it first. It’s our all-time best seller for a reason.
Tula Explore Baby Carrier
Perfect from newborn, the Tula Explore is ultra-supportive and the only Tula to offer an outward-facing carrying position.
This adjustable, ergonomic baby carrier offers fantastic support, from your baby’s first months to the toddler years.
The runners up in this category would be the Beco Gemini Cool and the BabyBjorn Carrier One Air Mesh, but (a) the world-facing position in these carriers aren’t quite as ergonomic (baby’s legs tend to dangle a little) and (b) babies outgrow them sooner (by around 12-18 months).
You can carry your baby facing out from 4 months until 10-12 months. After that point, they’ll feel super heavy as their increasing weight pulls away from you. You can then continue to carrying them facing you, often with their arms out, or on your back. You can read more about outward-facing carrying here.
The GREAT outwards facing carriers (Ergobaby Omni 360 and Tula Explore) are fine for back carrying too. But others ‘do’ back carrying better. It’s therefore worth thinking which you’re likely to do more of – outwards facing or back carrying – to help you choose your carrier. Many people will get an Omni, then later move on to a brilliant back carrier.
Want a brilliant all-rounder (and not bothered about the facing out position)?
The Manduca XT is one of the Best And Most Universal Front and Back Carriers of All Time. There. I said it. Virtually everyone who tries it LOVES it. It’s a hugely popular German brand, just not so well known in the UK. But believe me, it’s exceptionally well designed and it just fits almost every body (mums from size UK 8 to 22). Low-faff, loved by mums and dads: it’s great.
A close runner up? Check out the Lenny Lamb Upgrade Carrier (more on this below).
Manduca XT Carrier
Just when you think Manduca can’t possibly improve on near-perfection, the legendary German brand brings out their best ever baby carrier.
We are very excited to introduce the Manduca XT. All the best features of the classic Manduca Baby Carrier, but more adjustable and long-lasting.
Looking for luxury that won’t cost the earth?
Tula Baby, Integra, Boba, Didymos, Isara and many other carrier brands come in gorgeous designs and fabric. But Lenny Lamb carriers are the most luxurious, soft, supportive and beautiful ones around. The Lenny Lamb Upgrade Carrier is probably my favourite carrier for 2021.
Made in-house by the Lenny Lamb team in Poland, these really should be twice the price, they’re THAT good. We have around 30 different colours available so the tricky bit is choosing one!! We’ve tested them on mums from size 6 to size 24 and they work superbly (and on Dads too!).
They’re wonderfully supportive without being stiff or rigid. So they’re ideal if you’ve enjoyed the soft, snuggliness of your newborn wrap or sling. Like the Manduca XT, it’s another top choice for pretty much everyone – so long as you’re not bothered about having the option for outwards-facing.
Lenny Lamb LennyUpGrade Carrier
The LennyUpGrade is a super versatile, ergonomic and luxurious baby carrier. Suitable for both front and back carrying, it is easily adjusted to provide great ergonomic support to your little one at every stage of development.
LennyUpGrade carriers come in a huge range of fabric designs woven specifically for Lenny Lamb.
Keen to carry your baby or toddler on your back (as well as your front)?
Once your baby is around 6 months old, you can start carrying them on your back. Back carrying is more fun from around 12 months, once they can see over your shoulders. Most parents find a ‘high’ back carrier more comfy. But this can be a little tricky to acheive in an Ergobaby, Babybjorn or other high-street carriers, especially on petite to average size mums.
The best back carriers tend to be those with special adjusters (PFAs/Perfect Fit Adjusters, if you want to get geeky like me) that allow you to shorten the shoulder straps, giving a higher and tighter back carry. These are especially important for petite mums. Our top-rated back carriers that have these adjusters – and which you can still use on your front from 3-4 months+ – are the Manduca XT, Lenny Lamb Upgrade, Cococho, Isara The One and the Tula Free To Grow.
Tula Free-To-Grow Baby Carrier
Tula Baby Carrier’s new fully adjustable, ergonomic Free-To-Grow carrier.
This easy to use, long-lasting carrier will comfortably carry your baby from 3kg to 20kg (7lbs to 45 lbs) without an infant insert.
The hard part is choosing your favourite design!
More information on Buckled Baby Carriers.
Cococho Baby Carrier
Cococho’s baby-to-toddler carrier makes back carrying easy and comfortable.
A brilliant, lightweight alternative to more cumbersome framed back carriers, you can also use this to carry your baby or toddler on your front.
A quick word about hiking backpacks and the MiniMeis
I find that those big framed, hiking backpack or shoulder carriers that you’ll find at outdoor stores – or the MiniMeis G4 which you’ve seen all over your social media – tend not to offer the versatility, support and practicality that many families need.
Framed carriers won’t always give the most supportive comfortable fit, particularly for smaller-framed parents. And if you’re average height or shorter, the weight of the carrier itself and the high seating position for your child can make you feel off-balanced – potentially VERY off-balance with the Minimeis shoulder carrier (though it can be great fun for your baby for about 10mins!).
Yes, if you’re into *actual* hiking up *actual* mountains, this style of carrier can be great, and your baby will be perched up high with a great view. But think walking boots verses trainers – for most families, for holidays and for day to day use – and for the versatility of offering different carrying positions – our advice is to go for a less bulky and more adjustable carrier like our favourites above.
Looking for something lightweight that you can keep in your bag/under your buggy?
If you’re looking for something ultra-compact to keep under the buggy just-in-case then check out the new Tula Lite and the much-loved Integra. Less functions and adjustability, these nifty little carriers will take you from 3-4 months up until around 15-18 months.
Tula Lite Baby Carrier
Brand new from Tula: an ultra-compact foldable carrier and hip pouch in one! The carrier panel and straps pack neatly into the attached waistband pouch, perfect for your baby’s ‘on demand’ carrying stage. The pouch will still have room for all your daily essentials even when the carrier is packed away!
Made from lightweight and quick-drying ripstop fabric in three of Tula’s bestselling prints, the Tula Lite supports two ergonomic carrying positions – a parent-facing front carry, and a back carry.
Integra Baby Carrier (Size 1)
The Integra Baby Carrier is compact, lightweight and oh-so-easy to put on. Perfect for using indoors, outdoors and in all seasons, the Integra might just be your new best friend.
Want a sling for quick up-and-downs?
Ring slings are long pieces of fabric with two rings sewn into one end, making a sash-shaped sling that is worn over one shoulder. They are highly adjustable to fit newborns to toddlers. They are a particularly nice baby carrier for breastfeeding, simply by loosening the rings slightly and moving your baby into position.
As your baby’s weight is distributed asymmetrically over your body, ring slings tend to be worn for shorter periods of time compared to other carriers. We love rings slings for quick trips, breastfeeding in, wearing at home and – as they are very pretty – special occasions like weddings.
Ring Slings & Hip Carriers
Perfect for quick-up-downs, these ultra light, one shoulder carriers suit newborns and big kids!
Our ring sling collection features Didymos, Little Frog, Lenny Lamb, JPMBB/Love Radius, Neobulle and more.
Would you like the option to carry them for as long as possible?
Want a mega long-lasting carrier? Or one that you can use for your 3 month old AND your 3-and-a-half year old? Make sure you check out the Isara The One. The Manduca XT will last you until at least 3 years, too.
Isara The One
Isara’s The One carrier truly is one of a kind. All the best features of the Isara Baby and Isara Toddler carriers, in one ingenious product that really does last from newborn to school age!
Tried and tested by our own consultants with children from 2 weeks to 6 years of age, Isara The One carrier genuinely delivers support and comfort at all ages. We love it!
Tie-on carriers can be the comfiest (and not as tricky or hippy as you might expect)
Love the feel of your stretchy wrap but don’t want to spend the time or energy learning how to use a woven wrap? Get the best of both world with a tie-on or half-buckle carrier like the DidyTai Meh Dai carrier or the DidyKlick half-buckle carrier from Didymos. All the mouldable comfort of a woven wrap – without the wrapping!
Didymos DidyKlick Carrier
The Didymos DidyKlick is a semi-structured half-buckle baby carrier that combines the beauty and softness of a woven wrap, with an easy-on, supportive waistband. This baby carrier is a blissfully comfortable combination.
The Didymos DidyKlick baby carrier comes in a stunning range of fabrics and is suitable from newborn to toddler.
Didymos DidyTai Meh-Dai
The DidyTai is a tie-on, Meh-Dai style carrier for babies and toddlers. It’s a great in-between carrier for those who like the look and feel of woven wraps – but also love the convenience of soft structured carriers.
Available in a stunning range of fabrics and is suitable from baby to toddler.
Are you up for learning a new skill?
Shop our collection of beautiful, soft woven wraps to carry your baby or toddler, from much-loved brands including Didymos and Little Frog.
They offer total mouldability and wonderful support for babies and toddlers. They are highly versatile, with dozens of carrying positions to try. Most wraps require some breaking in, like a pair of jeans, so will get comfier over time.It can take some practice to learn how to tie woven wraps well and quickly. But the slightly steeper learning curve (than, say, a buckled carrier or stretchy) is well worth the effort.
Need help? Get in touch!
You can book a video consultation here. Or for a chat with my team and I, call 0345 222 9004, DM us on Instagram or firstname.lastname@example.org.
More carrying options are here:
Baby Carriers with Buckles
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