Finding legitimate baby products in the age of social media promotion is hard: more and more companies create fake reviews, buy fake social media followers, and pay influencers to promote their products on the down-low. Every time I see a baby product that I love on Instagram, I stop and ask myself, “I wonder if these moms REALLY love that? Or if someone is paying them to love it?” It’s tough to find honest and legitimate reviews.
So, what I can tell you guys, is that every single list I create on this blog is an unsponsored opinion, and when you see a paid advertisement on my Instagram page, it’s because I legitimately use the product and heavily vetted the company to see if they were worth the promotion. Hundreds and hundreds of companies reach out annually, and I pick maybe a dozen to work with–that should show the legitimacy of my ads, and more importantly, the honesty that goes into all of my posts, paid or unpaid.
With that said, I own A LOT of baby carriers, some of which were recently gifted from companies and some of which have lasted four babies over the last seven years. My Instagram page shows about a dozen different carriers that I’ve used over the last few years, and I get a lot of messages asking if I could only choose ONE, which one would it be. So, after trying what feels like every carrier on the market, I’ve decided to break it down on which ones are my HONEST favorites:
ALL AROUND FAVORITE: Boppy Carrier
If I had to pick only ONE carrier to wear my baby in, it’s going to be the Boppy Carrier. It’s comfortable, it’s soft, it’s incredibly easy to tie, and it has a built-in head support piece that was a life saver when I used it with newborn Leif. I use this carrier more than ANY other carrier, and it will always be my go-to. If I had to describe the “style”–I’d say it’s a Mei Tai mixed with a Moby, if that makes sense. It has the structure and support of the Mei Tai, but it has the stretchiness of the Moby WITHOUT the complicated tying (which makes it a fast solution in the parking lot of stores!). The shoulders are built-in, and the waist has a clip–so it really is a fool-proof tie. My husband HATES most of our carriers because they’re complicated to tie, but I see him using this one a lot when he’s home. You can wear your baby with legs-in, legs-out, front facing, or rear facing. Luna is 28 pounds now, and I can still wear her in it without feeling like I’m too weighed down or drowning in back pain.
FAVORITE RING SLING: Maya Wrap
This one was tough because, let’s be real, ring slings are pretty much just a strip of fabric attached to some metal rings…so most of the major brands are all incredibly similar and it’s hard to pick between them (PLEASE DON’T SEND ME HATE MAIL FOR SAYING THAT!). But the biggest difference in some of the major ring-slings are going to be the quality of the cloth and the length of the fabric cut. I use a WildBird (love the patterns) and a Hope & Plum (super soft, stone washed fabric!), and you can’t go wrong with either brand. But what sets the Maya Wrap apart from the other slings on the market is: the pocket AND the padded shoulder. Luna lived in this thing while I was pregnant with Leif, because being able to hip carry her was a lifesaver when my giant baby belly was sticking out front. I don’t particularly love wearing brand new babies in ring slings compared to the more structured carriers with head support, but once they get better head control, slings are my first choice for carriers because of their convenience, hip carry option, and being able to breastfeed while babywearing. Added bonus that you look super fabulous when you wear one, too.
FAVORITE FOR LONG DISTANCE WEARING: Tula Explore Carrier
We do a lot of outdoor activities, and if I use a sling or wrap, my back hurts like crazy. I splurged on a Tula, and it’s a miracle worker for days where you plan on wearing your baby for several hours at a time (like trips to Target 😂). It’s also extremely versatile and allows you to front face, rear face, wear baby on your back, legs out, legs in, EVERYTHING; so the price is actually super worth it because you can use this same carrier for many, many years. The shoulders clip together in the back, and the belt clips around your waist; so baby is incredibly secure on you, which is another confidence booster when you’re wearing baby for long periods of time. It was a huge toss-up to not pick this one as my all-around favorite, but it’s pricier and also a tad bit bulkier than the Boppy and doesn’t fold up into my purse. But because of that extra bulk, it provides more secure structure and more versatility. So, it really depends on which factors are important for you. If you struggle with lower back pain from babywearing, this one should be your top choice.
FAVORITE CARRIER ON A BUDGET: Infantino Swift
When Lennox was born, we were definitely not in the financial situation that we are in today, and the thought of spending $100 on a baby carrier was OUTRAGEOUS to me. After searching forever for an affordable babywearing option, I got the Infantino Swift in 2011 for $19, and y’all…I still use this same carrier today. Not kidding–Tom is literally walking around the house with Leif in this carrier right now (check out that throwback picture of him wearing Lela!!). Will your back hurt if you wear them in it for too long? Yes. Is it trendy on Instagram? No. Will you feel like that guy wearing the baby in The Hangover? Yes. But 100% worth it. This carrier is the best $19 purchase I ever made in my life, and if you’re brand new to babywearing and feel overwhelmed by all of the ties and buckles on the other types of carriers, this one is going to be your best choice. Totally foolproof tying, front-facing and rear-facing options, and by far, the most economic choice. Added bonus: my husband wears our babies more because he doesn’t feel overwhelmed by this one!
MOST CONVENIENT CARRIER: Lalabu Soothe Shirt
When Leif was a newborn, I wore my Lalabu shirts every single day–your shirt is the baby carrier…how mindblowingly awesome is that?!? They are incredibly convenient, great to layer under a sweater when you leave the house, you don’t have to worry about ever leaving without a carrier, and it was literally the only carrier that Leif wouldn’t cry in–I think it made him feel like he was still in the womb, to be honest. I have worn mine through two different airports, and that was the most amazing thing in the world to not be given a hard time about clips and straps on my baby carrier through security. It did great on my flights, too: he stayed in it the entire time, and people barely noticed he was there. If you do go for this option, SIZE UP. I’m a Size 2 and extremely flat chested, so I ordered a small and instantly regretted that I didn’t get a medium…because mine is skin tight…like, I literally have to slither in and out of it…SKIN TIGHT. Leify just finally outgrew his, so we got three solid months of extremely easy babywearing out of it, and that’s totally worth it to me. But, full-disclosure, I bought both of mine secondhand off of eBay for half of the price; so if you’re on a budget, definitely look for secondhand choices for this one!