The best baby carriers and toddler carriers, 2023 guide
If there is one product that’s really a lifesaver during those first months (or years!) of motherhood, it will definitely be a baby carrier or baby wrap. For me it for sure was and is a lifesaver. I carried my little girl in a baby wrap during her first six months on this planet to sooth her and to feel her close to me whilst doing other things that needed to be done and at the age of 3 we still carry her in a toddler carrier while traveling the world. And with a noisy toddler and a baby at home I still use my carriers and wraps everyday.
Go directly to the summary of my Artipoppe Zeitgeist baby carrier here or read to my full article here.
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If you’re looking for a baby wrap, a ring sling, mei tai or a baby carrier/toddler carrier then you’re at the right place to start! I’ve done a LOT of research and do have a lot of experience with different wraps and carriers to share so I’ll hope that this page will give you some really good information and that you too can make the right decision as to which carrier to buy for you and your little baby. Because carrying your baby or older kid can be SO nice and helpful during the different stages of motherhood. It has definitly been a life saver dor me, I’ve even been able to spend some time in my kitchen baking stuff while carrying my sleeping baby.
You can read more about the benefits of baby wearing here.
Best baby carrier 2023 – also best front facing baby carrier
Years ago when baby carrying was kind of new (well at least in the Western world) and upcoming you could carry your kid front facing with most carriers. Later on it became known that in most cases this actually isn’t a good and ergonomic position for your baby to be in. And carried this way for a long time babies can receive too many sensations.
Nowadays Tula and Ergobaby have both designed fully ergonomic and baby friendly front facing carriers. Read more about the best forward facing baby carriers 2023 here.
Baby Tula Explore carrier
This machine washable ergonomic baby carrier is really everything you can wish for in a carrier. Read more about the best carrying positions for your little one on the website of the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
Can’t choose between the Lillebaby Complete carrier and the Tula Explore? Read my full comparison here.
Also looking for a co sleeper so your baby can be close to you at night too? Check my best co sleepers that attach to bed review.
Best carrier for back issues
Lillebaby Complete or Lillebaby Complete Airflow
This lovely carrier comes with great lumbar support. Putting the carrier on is really easy. I like the fact that the Lillebaby carrier can be used with straight straps AND with the straps crossed. It’s a very personal thing but for me crossed straps are not ideal. It makes it a bit harder to put the carrier on and off and whenever I sit down I tend to feels the straps all the time. But I have to say there are many people who prefer crosses back straps above straight ones so it’s up to you what you choose and prefer and it’s only great that with this carrier you can actually choose It is also easy to adjust the carrier so that my husband could wear our son. To me it’s very important that a carrier can be adjusted very well and very easy so that your kid is being optimally supported and not only you but also someone else can carry easily.
Best front facing carrier – runner up (also: best hip carrier!)
Ergobaby Omni 360
This nice looking guy is very popular and there’s no wonder why. This carrier not only gives you the possibility to carry your child on your belly and your back, but this is also a front facing carrier AND a hip carrier. So with this carrier you can choose between four (!) positions to carry your little one.
- carry your kid in 4 possible positions, amongst one is facing forward position.
- even has a hip carry possibility, which makes this Ergo carrier different from most other carriers
- carry your child from newborn up to 1,5 years/2 years old, NO infant insert needed!
- made out of breathing mesh, which makes this carrier ideal in summer or on vacation
- You can choose to wear the shoulder belts straight or crossed over your back
- comes with a UPF 50+ tuck away baby hood which protects your baby from wind and sun
You can find more great front facing carriers here.
The best toddler baby carrier
Because those little toddler legs can get tired too 😉
When it comes to toddlers and carrying they need other things than a little newborn baby. Older kids are heavier off course, and are also a LITTLE bit more agile. They want to have more freedom and the possibility to look around. It is also very important to make sure that the weight of your child is well balanced in the carrier. These are all things to keep in mind when looking for a toddler carrier.
The best toddler carrier is a toddler back carrier. This way you can carry the weight easily and your toddler can look around.
Tula Toddler carrier
- these beautiful soft structured carriers carry your kid from 25 up to 60 pounds. Compared to the Tula Free to Grow carrier which carries up to 45 pounds this toddler back carrier gives even more room to grow!
- it can be used as a front carrier as well as a back carrier
- the legs of your toddler are being fully supported through the padded fabric under the knees
- the carrier is made of twill cotton which is an extremely durable material but is also breathable and lets air in which makes it a perfect carrier even on warmer days
I personally love the Tula toddler carrier as my 3 year old daughter still wants to be uppy from time to time and I can carry her with me so easily. Even a few weeks pregnant on holiday in Sri Lanka it was super comfortable for me to carry her on my back. Would definitely recommend 🙂
Is your kid growing out of the toddler carrier? Take a look at my pre school carriers post!
Most fashionable carrier
Artipoppe Zeitgeist carrier
As a Dutchy myself I’m proud of this beautiful Dutch brand that is super popular not only in The Netherlands but world wide. That’s to say; many celebrities out there are carrying their kid in an Artipoppe wrap or an Artipoppe Zeitgeist carrier. And that’s relatable because these wraps and carriers are made of such beautiful fabric and I just can’t get over some of these designs and prints. Artipoppe Zeitgeist carriers are made of silk, linen, vegan cotton and even more options. You can go for mixed fabric ones or buy a 100% cotton carrier. It’s all up to you. The downside is that these Zeitgeist carriers start at 370,- euro’s (and you pay the same amount in dollars). And yes, that’s a lot of money.
You can read my full article about the Zeitgeist carriers here.
So.. Why would you want one -or not?
First, there are three different kind of Zeitgeist carriers. The Classic ones -which I think at this point you can only buy preloved- that will carry your child from 6 months up to 2 years old. Then there is the Zeitgeist Baby carrier, which carries your little one from birth up to 2 years old (3.2 kilograms (7 lbs) – 20 kilograms (44 lbs)).These carriers are sold through the Artipoppe site and are highly adjustable so that even your newborn baby will fit in it. Last but not least Artipoppe sells Zeitgeist Toddler carriers, which are designed to carry your toddler from 1 up to 3.5 years old.
- the Artipoppe Zeitgeist carriers provide a front carry and a back carry option and are fully ergonomic – they are deemed ‘hip healthy’ by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
- the waistband, legs and shoulder straps are padded. They are soft structured baby carriers yet very sturdy.
- you wear this carrier with the shoulder straps crossed at your back
- you can now also wear your little one faced forward with the help of the so called facing out insert
- you don’t need an infant insert
What I love about the Artipoppe carrier
Well, the main reason is an obvious one: they are beautiful, no doubt ’bout that. It’s really hard to choose from alllll the pretty designs. I guess the Artipoppe Zeitgeist Baby Leopard original is by far the most popular one, and although I LOVE this one I went for the Baby Snake Moon because well, I LOVE this one too and pretty much changed my mind every day untill I finally hit that ‘BUY’ button 😉
Besides the obvious ‘they look pretty awesome’ reason to buy an Artipoppe Zeitgeist carrier there are other reasons. BUT to be quite honest, those reasons don’t really stand out as the facts above can tell. Yes, this carrier has padded and cushy straps and is comfortable for me and for my baby. But so are other carriers. Yes, it’s cool that it provides a front carry (facing inwards) and a back carry option but then again so do others – the Tula Explore baby carrier and Ergobaby 360 Omni even provide 3 or 4 carry options (being besides the front and back carry options also a front facing carry option and a hip carry option).
The other thing I love about this carrier is the neck cushion which you can fold in different ways to fit your baby (just like the Lillebaby Complete airflow carrier). When your baby is younger than 8 weeks old you can fold down the cushion inwards to give neck support. When your baby is older than 8 weeks old you can fold down the cushion on the outside or put it up for extra neck support. This is a pro compared to the baby Tula Free to Grow -which I think compares best to the Artipoppe baby carrier- as the Tula baby carrier’s height can be adapted but it doesn’t have a cushion like this.
Since summer ’22 Artipoppe made it possible to wear your baby facing outwards. I’m not a big fan of carrying your little one facing out but it’s a good thing they made it possible for anyone who does like this carrying option. They made a so called facing out insert, which you can fasten inside the carrier. The insert narrows the body panel and is said to support your childs chest. The downside is that you have to buy this option seperately. I don’t have any experience carrying my little one facing out in the Artipoppe so I can’t say whether this a good option and hip healthy, so please make sure it is yourself.
What I don’t like about the Zeitgeist carrier
For me the downside of the Artipoppe carrier -except for the price- are the crossed straps on the back. It makes it slightly more difficult to put this carrier on and off. Also when you sit down on a chair (which happens from time to time you know ;)) those crossed straps between your back and the stool are not comfortable.
Another thing is the amount of options when it comes to carry positions. There are other carriers with a lot more options for far less money. Then again I don’t think you buy an Artipoppe carrier because of all the options.
Besides the Artipoppe baby carrier I do also have a Zeitgeist Standard carrier in velvet gold. Because, well, who DOESN’T want a velvet golden carrier?! Jokes aside this carrier is great too and carried my kid when he became 6 months and older. Although I just love the velvet gold it’s a lot of money for just another carrier in which you can carry your kid in 2 positions, that has soft structured padded shoulder straps and waist belt and carries from 6 months up to 2 years.
Artipoppe controversy: Why is Artipoppe so expensive?
The prices (with one carrier being 3900 dollar) are very high. Why is that? I think it is because of different things. Some carriers or wraps are made of silk or other blends that are more expencive than for example cotton. But that doesn’t explain why the cheapest (and not made of special fabric) carrier starts at 350,- euro’s. An other reason can be that the carriers and wraps are made ‘with respect to the environment’ and ‘cherishes nature, people and animals’. I THINK this means that they pay people fair and that they look after the environment by choosing fair products etc. But I also think that there is something about very expensive things.. Buying them gives people a sense of wealth maybe, and belonging to a certain group of people or something, or a sense of uniqueness. It would be a fun experiment to see if these carriers would be as popular if they were sold for a 100 bucks 🙂 untill then you could search for an artipoppe dupe like these wraps with very cool and beautiful prints. What also causes some controversy is that the carriers are the same price in dollars and euro’s, most carriers are 370,- euro but they are also 370 dollar. Which means that if you buy from USA they are cheaper since 370 euro is more than 370 in dollars. They also recently made the statement that ‘breast is best’, which caused controvery on Instagram.
Are Artipoppe carriers worth it?
The Artipoppe Zeitgeist carriers are good carriers, they are safe and comfortable for you and your little one. They are great for the eyes and not so much for your purse 😉 but they are one of a kind, a must have if you go for the most fashionable carrier. BUT if you’re looking for a very good carrier that has all the options like carry positions, adjustment of height and width etc then there are other options that are in no way inferior to the Artipoppe Zeitgeist carrier. Well, except for the design maybe 😉 but your purse will love these options and your baby too. If you’re looking for an Artipoppe carrier dupe, ByKay sells some pretty velvet carriers or leopard print carrier.
If you just want a good carrier that looks awesome and you don’t mind the price: this Artipoppe carrier is great for you!
Are you a petite mom? Make sure to read our best baby carriers for petite moms review article here.
Best carrier 2022
Tula Free to Grow carrier
- With this carrier you can start to carry your little newborn baby and you can even carry your kid untill the age of 2! All with the same carrier. That’s pretty cool.
- No baby insert or other accessories needed, not even while carrying your newborn. So no extra costs and things you can loose.
- Adapt this carrier completely to your own wishes and those of your baby’s. You can easily change the width, height and the sitting for a lot of comfort for you as well for your little one.
- High quality fabric, ease of use for years and not too expensive: definitely so much value for money!
- So many cool, pretty and funky designs to choose from.
With such a high level of wearing comfort and so much value for money this Tula baby without infant insert is a real gem. Because of the fact you can carry your kid from newborn up to 2 years old (just like the Tula Explore and the Boba X carrier) it’s no expensive carrier.
Best carrier with crossed shoulder straps
Boba X carrier
This one is very new and looks a lot like the Tula FTG (or the other way around ;)) and is definitely one of the best carriers 2019. This carrier however does have a few things that are different compared to the Tula Free to Grow -which to me is the best carrier of 2019-.
So, to start with, what are the best things about the new Boba carrier?
- you can use this carrier from newborn up till your kid is a toddler (about 2 years old)
- no need to carry even your tiny newborn in an infant insert and no need to buy extra accessoiries.
- completely adjustable to your wishes and preferences, you can change the width, the height and it also has adjustable shoulder straps so it will always fit you as well as your little one and to offer great lumbar support
- a lot of nice and colorful designs to choose from.
That being said: up till this point the Boba X carrier does not differ much from the Tula carrier Free to Grow. There are some small differences though, let’s see what these are.
Boba X vs Tula Free to Grow: the differences
- the Boba X carrier comes with shoulder straps which you can cross if you’d like
- when it comes to the price there is a small difference
- the new Boba carrier has a shoulder-belt which makes it possible to cling a shoulder bag onto it.
Last but definitely not least 😉 Boba has super cute doll carriers available to twin with your (oldest) mini!
best woven baby wrap carrier
As a Dutchy myself I’m proud of this beautiful Dutch brand that is super popular not only in The Netherlands but world wide. That’s to say; many celebrities out there are carrying their kid in an Artipoppe wrap or an Artipoppe carrier. And that’s relatable because these wraps are made of such beautiful fabric and I just can’t get over some of these designs and prints. Artipoppe wraps are made of silk, linen, vegan cotton and even more options. You can go for mixed fabric ones or buy a 100% cotton wrap. It’s all up to you! The downside is that some of those wraps are really expensive, but that’s because the fabric is so special and they are all limited editions.
When my daughter was a little baby I used to carry her in a wrap I bought before she was even born. Back then I didn’t know if I would be a fan of carrying my baby so I only bought one wrap. Little did I know! I carried my daughter every single day in the wrap and after about six months I continued carrying her in a carrier -to be honest at the age of three (which she is now) I still carry her sometimes in a toddler wrap. Long story short: with a second baby on the way and my love for carrying and wraps I decided to give myself permission to buy one of these beautiful Artipoppe wraps. I went for a wrap made of 100% percent cotton which is super comfortable for our little summer baby. Mama happy, baby happy 🙂
Read more about baby wearing and its benefits here on the La Leche League website
A carrier or a stroller?
Both can come in very handy in different situations. I would recommend having both options, depending on your baby and the situation. If I have to choose though I would prefer a carrier. A carrier gives you more freedom especcialy while traveling. But also during those daily life obstacles a carrier is a great and hands free way to have your baby with you at all times.
Carriers, slings, mei tais.. What’s the difference?
I think you’ve seen a lot of different carriers already, not to mention the different types that are available. What for example is a mei tai and what’s the difference abetween a ring sling and a regular sling?
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