Soft-Structured Baby Carriers: The Yay to the Nay
After I tested what feels like every baby wrap, sling, and mei-tai in existence, I moved onto soft structured baby carriers. Since it’s winter, I found myself using the baby wraps and slings inside the house and using the soft-structured baby carriers when I ventured outside.
With soft-structured baby carriers, it’s important not to skimp on price. You and your baby both need to be comfortable. The right baby carrier shouldn’t feel like any added pressure on your shoulders or back. You should be able to carry your baby for as long as he/she will let you.
Also, it’s important to note that I am dealing with a newborn so although all of the carriers I reviewed can be used in multiple positions, my only experience was front-carry and facing in. For infant carrying, with all of the carriers, you bend your babies legs and keep them inside the carrier as opposed to hanging out on either side.
The Beco Gemini comes in a multitude of different patterns or plain styles, is machine washable and its streamlined design makes it look more sporty than the other carriers. You can wear your child on the front (facing in or out), on the back and on the side. There is also a headrest which can be worn up or snapped down. It has safety buckles which prevent accidental opening and a width alternating base that allows for you to carry your baby from 7-35 pounds.
I had a few problems with the Beco Gemini. Although the buckles are designed for safety, I found them very hard to get on and off. You have to press three buttons at one time to release the buckle. Add that to the fact that the buckle is fastened in the back and I found myself getting frustrated. All the carriers are hard to get on by yourself, and this one even more so.
The LilleBaby carrier boosts an ergonomic design with a multitude of positions— front, back, and side with facing in and facing out options. They claim that their design supports proper baby leg positioning to aid in development of the hips, spine and pelvis. My version is 100% organic cotton and machine washable. There is adjustable neck and torso support with a taller body giving your baby added support. It also has lumbar support which prevents the waist of the carrier from sliding or cutting into your body.
It also has a head support which can be worn up or down but the LilleBaby Complete baby carrier effectively hides the hardware when it’s not in use as opposed to the Beco Gemini which lets it all hang out at all times. Another great feature is the removable sleeping hood which comes in handy to protect your baby from the sun and wind or to give him/her a little privacy and added head support if they fall asleep.
I really like the LilleBaby Complete Baby Carrier and found myself using it way more often than the Beco Gemini. The buckle is on the side and doesn’t have the extra safety button, so it’s easier to get off and on. Personally, I don’t find the extra safety feature on the Beco necessary. I liked all the little details that made the carrier more comfortable like the pad behind the buckle across your back and the hidden hardware under soft detailing. I also like the premium feel of the fabric and the more relaxed overall look of the carrier.
($105 to $115)
The Ergo baby carrier was what I used with my first child and I loved it. The one major drawback is that it is not suitable for an infant on it’s own and you must purchase an additional infant insert. The style is similar to the LilleBaby— it has a relaxed shape but does not look and feel quite as premium. It has extra padding, a wide waist band, is made of durable cotton canvas and distributes the weight perfectly. It can also be worn front, back or hip carry, facing in
or out (update: babies in the Ergo should never be worn facing out. Thank you, reader Allison). It features the sleeping hood and is machine washable.
The only other difference is that it does not have the head support option. But I still fully recommend the Ergo carrier, as so far I do not find myself using the head support option that often on the other two. I also recommend the Ergo for one major feature that I have no idea why it isn’t standard on all baby carriers. A front pocket. That pocket enables me to leave the house for a walk with only my keys, a credit card and a pacifier without having to worry about a bag.
I definitely recommend getting some type of baby carrier— I actually prefer to use them over a stroller. Especially now since my oldest can walk on her own. In my opinion, the LilleBaby is the best quality carrier but the Ergo has that dang pocket. Your call.