Selecting a Soft Structured Babycarrier

20 month old Izzy in the BobaAIR

Babywearing has been around for centuries and spans across many different cultures. However there wasn’t always such a wide variety of babycarriers available. These days there are sooo many babycarriers on the market, it can be difficult for parents to select a carrier. Additionally babycarriers range significantly in price thus adding to the confusion! Parents might wonder if a higher priced carrier is actually worth the cost. They may question if they are simply paying for the “brandname” by selecting a more expensive product.

While soft structured carriers might all look alike at first glance, there is often a BIG difference in the design! The design of a carrier is a KEY feature impacting the comfort and support a babycarrier provides. You want to be sure to select a carrier that is designed to properly support both you and baby.

There are many soft structured carriers such as the ERGObaby Carrier or the Beco Baby Carrier that effectively support baby’s hips and spine. These baby carriers also distribute baby’s weight evenly across a caregiver’s body thus offering maximum comfort for both baby and caregiver. Keep in mind that babywearing should NOT hurt your back or shoulders!! If it does, your carrier is likely either 1)  not well designed or 2) not adjusted properly.

The benefits of babywearing are plentiful which means a babycarrier is something you are likely to use on a daily basis with your baby. Therefore it really is worthwhile to invest in a high quality babycarrier! Here is some basic criteria to consider:

  1. What position is baby in when carrier is in use? (note: Baby should NOT be “dangling” from their hips). When you look at pictures of babywearing through the ages, select a carrier that emulates similar positioning. There is a reason these types of carriers have been around for centuries…they are aligned with baby’s natural position and subsequent development.
  2. Are the straps comfortable and easy to adjust?
  3. Are my back and shoulders comfortable while wearing baby, even for prolonged periods of time?
  4. Is it relatively easy to get baby in and out of carrier?

Now, I know you might be thinking, but I have to purchase a babycarrier to know the answers to the above questions! While researching available options will definitely aid in the selection process, you might feel the need/desire to actually try a carrier before committing yourself to a babycarrier. Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Borrow a carrier from a friend to experiment with before purchasing your own.
  • Check out Babywearing International for a local BWI chapter in your area. Often these groups have a lending library of babycarriers available to members. This is an awesome way to “try before you buy”!
  • See if a local baby boutique in your area might offer a babywearing 101 class where you can get lots of great info, ask questions, and even try out different carriers.
  • Buy from a store that has excellent customer service and a reasonable return/exchange policy.

Happy Babywearing All!


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4 Responses to “Selecting a Soft Structured Babycarrier”

  1. Brigitta says:

    So glad you mention that many BWing groups have a lending library- Because I already have an Ergo that I LOVE LOVE LOVE, I’ve recently borrowed a Mei Tei, currently borrowing a Didymos wrap just so I can better answer questions for others. I think our lending library has a Beco or a Boba that I want to try simply so I know the differences.

    Had an experience not long ago with a grandmother who cared for granddaughter most of each weekday- when I encountered her she was holding the sleeping baby because she had a SSC in the car but it was uncomfortable especially since she had back problems. She didn’t remember the name/style, which doesn’t really matter, but her description indicated it was a SSC that actually fastened around baby and then onto the adult/likely a “crotch dangler”.

    While I didn’t have my Ring Sling or Mei Tei in the van, I did have my ergo and fetched it to demonstrate. Just so happens sleeping baby awoke so I did quick demo of putting it on the then had grandma put it on. AMEN she practically shouted. I had tried to explain the difference in weight distribution of the Ergo and placement of baby against adult- much easier to feel the difference yourself. I think I almost didn’t get my Ergo back that day… I did get her email and sent numerous links on the ergonomics of good BWing, the chart from Babywearers about which carrier when/for whom and some other links.

    Two weeks later grandma was the proud owner of her own Ergo, had joined the local BWing Facebook group and was hoping to get to their next meeting. =)

    p.s. I wore the 4 yr old up to the week I delivered baby sister, have since worn big sister at age 6/40#, and little sister gets worn by myself, daddy, grandma, grandpa, various aunties and even a few sitters/nanny’s. I even BW while clogging for performances thanks to my Ergo!

    • Sarah says:

      So glad you were able to help a grandma find a carrier that worked for her! Great story…thanks for sharing!. 🙂
      And I love the visual of you clogging while babywearing, lol!

  2. Ashley says:

    I just wanted to note that there’s a TON of other babywearing groups besides BWI-BWI has some strict guidelines and groups (like mine) are trying to conform but can’t always become a BWI chapter (which also requires fees to try before buying). Do you have a list we could add our group to of babywearing groups around the country so your readers could easily find us?