Nothing brings a newly born bundle of joy closer to mom’s or dad’s warm body than a good newborn baby carrier. A baby carrier lifts your little one and elevates them so they can view the world the same way adults do.
But not all baby carriers are suitable for newborns. Here, you’ll learn what to look for when buying a newborn soft-structured carrier, wrap, or sling.
Related: How to Choose a Baby Carrier
Slings and baby wraps are “simple” products that are also light and easy to wash. But there have been a few reports about slings posing suffocation risks in certain situations. Baby wraps are somewhat safer than slings, but not as comfortable,durable, and secure as soft-structured baby carriers.
After the newborn baby carrier buying guide below, I list down 4 options that parents with newborns have found comfortable, easy-to-use, and long-lasting. Few products in this word are perfect, so where I feel the design could use some work, I’ll point that out for you.
Related: Best Baby Carriers for Massive Dads
Which is the Best Newborn and Infant Baby Carrier?
*Affiliate Links Disclosure: This website participates in the Amazon Associates program. And as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.
The Ergobaby Omni Structured Carrier works well for not only newborns but also infants and toddlers. It’s tested to safely carry babies as young as 7 pounds and as old as 45 pounds.
It may not be the most breathable choice, but it’s not the worst either. It aerates reasonably well, has great shoulder and lower back support, and feels comfortable for baby and parent.
Compared to the Original 360, the Omni is slimmer, lighter, and less bulky. Plus, it offers roomier storage and has better back support. Also, it makes it possible to carry baby facing out, something the Ergobaby 360 fails to do.
You can wear it in the crisscross fashion which helps takes some of the pressure off the back. And it’s not too expensive, and it doesn’t require you to invest in an infant insert. Nor will you have to buy a toddler-size carrier down the road.
How to Choose a Good Newborn Baby Carrier
There’s tons of baby gear to invest in, but owing to the dizzying number of options out there, picking out the best product for the money isn’t always simple.
Baby carriers (and baby strollers) are absolute must-haves unless you’re OK with staying indoors all of the time. I detailed in an earlier post how to buy a baby carrier, but this post focuses on one category of carriers: newborn carriers.
Below is a bunch of selection factors that will help you pick a baby-soft carrier that’s also comfortable, safe, and durable. Obviously, you want to choose an option that checks the majority of the boxes.
Carrier Type: Slings, Wraps, and Pack-style Carriers
You have 3 different kinds of baby carriers to pick the best newborn baby carrier from:
- Back-pack style carriers
- Baby wraps
- Ring slings
These are some of the most popular newborn carriers on the market today. They’re elaborated designed and typically features-rich alongside being super supportive, comfortable, and secure. Aside from this, soft-structured are really easy to use compared to either wraps or slings, some of which can be overwhelming to tie correctly.
Structured carriers are the priciest options for newly born babies, but if you pick something that’s both newborn and toddler-friendly, this is the only carrier you’ll ever need. They’re the bulkiest of all carrier types, but ALL carriers are extremely light and portable.
Most offer multiple carrying positions enabling you to wear baby on your hips, front (world-facing and parent-facing). Some have as many as 6 carrying modes, offering you multiple ways to haul your little one around.
If you opt to to go with a soft-structured baby carrier for the newest member of your family, that’s fine. Just make sure it’s the right size, and that it offers a decent amount of strap adjustability so that it grows with your fast-growing newborn.
These are more technical version of soft-structured baby carriers typically used for back carries. They’re designed like a backpack and many have a stiff metal frame that makes them incredibly tough, supportive, and durable.
Some pack tons of nice features some of which you and your baby can do it. These AREN’T for newborns since newborns aren’t mature enough for a back carry. And back carries is what this carrier type specializes in.
These are usually the most expensive baby carriers you can find. They seem to have been designed with the needs of the active mom or dad in mind.
If you’re planning on going out climbing mountains and walking through breathtakingly beautiful valleys with your kiddo, a backpack baby carrier is what you need.
*Ask your doctor for advice as to when you can start carrying your baby on your back.
Baby Ring Slings
Slings are and look really simple. They’re easy to make, and you sure can make one at home if you’re the handy type. In this article, I handhold you through the process of making a baby carrier at home.
This carrier type is nothing more than a straight piece of soft, supple fabric that does one thing really well: molds to baby’s and parent’s body contours supremely well.
Usually made from cotton, linen, modal, and blends consisting of either linen or cotton and silk, wool, and hemp, slings are thin and lightweight. They’re also pretty inexpensive. In fact, slings are some of the cheapest babywearing options out there.
BTW, these are called ring slings because their design features two metal rings sewn into the ends of the material.
Baby wraps come in a more elaborate design compared to ring slings. Some wraps can be really simple while others may look like a stripped down version of a full-sized soft-structured carrier. Think of baby wraps as a hybrid carrier, a cross breed between soft-structured carriers and ring slings.
Like slings, wraps are created out of really thin fabric. Some of the time, manufacturers use stretchy fabrics and the rest of the time they use woven fabrics. That is, there are stretchy baby wraps and non-stretchy wraps. Stretchy ones tend to sag over time while woven ones are somewhat more supportive.
Because their design is more detailed compared to baby slings, wraps tend to be pricier. But they’re cheaper than their soft-structured counterparts, simpler in design, and not as safe and long lasting. That said, their design inspires a much greater amount of confidence as far as safety when compared to slings.
Some of the best newborn carriers out there are baby wraps. And few newborn baby wraps touch the Baby K’Tan Original. I honestly the Baby K’Tan is the best newborn wrap for the money, but not everyone agrees in a world full of good or even better alternatives.
Is the Carrier Comfortable Enough?
It doesn’t matter how nice a carrier looks if it doesn’t provide soft comfort to your baby. Safety is the number one factor to consider, and comfort is the second most important factor.
An uncomfortable carrier discourages babywearing. You won’t want to wear it, and baby gets all fussy when you strap them in. Good newborn carriers make it possible to position baby in the most ergonomic position for safety and comfort.
Look at the carrier leg openings if purchasing a soft-structured option. Babies really like it when there’s lots of soft padding around the leg openings. Fortunately, most SSCs do a good job of padding up this area.
Other places where you need really good padding is the waist belt and shoulder straps. The most comfortable newborn carriers feature deeply cushioned and relatively wide shoulder straps. And if these straps come in a crisscross design, that takes comfort and weight distribution to an even better place.
If a carrier has been reported as not offering a hip-healthy position for babies, pass the deal up and pick something else. An ergonomically sound carrier design allows baby’s hips to spread to some extent, making the legs easily straddle your back. It also keeps baby’s knees spread apart, thighs nicely and comfortably supported, and hips safely bent.
The reason an ergonomic carrier design is such a HUGE advantage is that it fosters normal baby hip development. A proper carry also helps reduce the risk of Developmental Dyslapsia of the Hip (DDH) aka hip dysplasia according to the NHS.
Choose a Carrier That Meets Safety Standards
Safety is the MOST IMPORTANT factor when shopping for a newborn baby carrier. In some countries such as Australia, there are no clear baby carrier safety standards to govern the manufacturing process.
But if you’re from the Euro Zone, check for this European baby carrier safety standard: EN 13209-2:2005. And if you’re a US mom or dad looking for a safe carrier for a newborn baby, check for US version of the European Standard, the ASTM F2236-08.
This standard is part of CPSC’s Frame Child Carrier safety standard. If located in the US, you can safely assume that the carrier you’re looking at in-store is safety certified.
In Germany, look for the TÜV symbol, a a mark of quality that indicates that disinterested experts haven’t found any safety concerns relating to the product. It may be a voluntary standard, but it’s a globally recognized one.
Some brands prioritize safety to the extent that they get their goods certified to the JPMA safety standard. The JPMA Safety Standard is also a voluntary standard managed by independent third parties.
Get a Versatile Baby Carrier
A few years ago, it was common for parents to get a newborn carrier for use from month 0 to month 6-12. Pretty much all SSCs required using an adapter when carrying newborns. And you needed to upgrade to a toddler-size soft-structured carrier when the baby outgrew the newborn/infant carrier size.
These days, however, it’s becoming less and less necessary to buy a newborn-ONLY baby carrier. Instead, many parents opt to pick an SSC that their baby can use right from birth all the way to toddlerhood.
Newborn Baby Carrier FAQs
1.What Type of Carrier is Best for Newborns?
The best type of carrier for a newborn is a wrap carrier such as the Baby K’Tan Original or a soft-structured carrier such as the Ergobaby Omni 360 All-Positions. Some parents use ring slings, and that’s OK as long as the sling is tied up securely and safely.
2.Are Baby Carriers Good for Newborns
Many experts believe that baby carriers aren’t a good idea for toting newborns around. The reasoning behind this is that newborns and babies under 4 months old haven’t developed into a stage where their torso is firm enough, nor can they keep their head up while in the carrier. Suffocation risk is greater when babywearing a newborn than when transporting a toddler.
3.How Long Should a Newborn be in a Carrier?
While there’s no universally agreed duration that a newborn can be in a carrier, it shouldn’t be longer than 2 hours. For the most part, babywearing for 15-20 minutes should suffice. However, babies are different and don’t develop in the same way. Some babies want to be in the carrier all the time while others don’t need much carrier time to be happy.
How Long to Use a Baby Carrier?
Each option has a manufacturer-stated age/weight limit for their carriers. For newborn carriers this weight limit hovers between 16 pounds to 35 pounds. Some baby wraps have a much lower weight, as low as 7 pounds, but most wraps and slings may not be safe for older, heavier babies (over 25 pounds). Some soft-structured carriers work for 20-pound babies all the way to when they hit 50 pounds, which is the highest weight limit for the majority of options.
Experts say to stop wearing baby if it begins to feel like they’re too heavy/grown for it. Also stop babywearing if the child exceeds the stated weight limit. Additionally, if it becomes uncomfortable or unsafe to carry baby in a wrap or SSC, it’s time to hand your baby the independence they seek and need.
Price and Brand
Ergobaby, Moby Wrap, Baby K’Tan, Babyjorn, Infantino, LILLEbaby, Tula Baby, and Osprey are a bunch of brands parents really love. The best price for a newborn carrier is what you can afford, of course. That said, good slings cost around $50-60 and good wraps around $50-100. As for good structured carriers, they cost from $100 to well over $200.
4 Best Newborn Baby Carriers
1. Ergobaby Omni 360: Best Overall
Parents who owned and used the Ergobaby Adapt and the Original Ergobaby 360 know how amazing these baby carriers were. They were super comfortable and allowed moms and dads to wear baby in multiple positions. They could wear baby on the back, hip-carry them, or tote them around in a parent-facing position. That’s really good news.
But here’s even better news! The Ergobaby Omni is even better than these two amazing carriers. Not only is it more breathable thanks to it boasting more mesh than its predecessors, but it’s also superior in other subtle ways. And I’m going to tell you about those little but amazing differences between the Ergobaby Omni and the Adapt and its sibling the Original 360.
One subtle upgrade that the Ergobaby Omni offers is the buckles being on the front of the carrier instead of where they should to be on the 360. Well, this might not sound like an earth-shattering difference, but it’s a difference you need to understand.
Because the buckles are on the front of the carrier, you’re able to do something you couldn’t do with either the Adapt or the Original 360. You’re able to cross each of the back straps over the other to create better lower back support. If that’s NICE, tell me what is mom!
Admittedly, crisscrossing the back straps might look all dorky on petite moms, but what about the look on bigger gals and guys? It’s good, and the baby support is even better.
But this isn’t the only difference. The Omni comes in a skinnier, less bulky design. However, that’s not to say you won’t notice any bulkiness when wearing this — you will, but not as much. Also, the Omni offers a little roomier storage for stuff like keys, phone, and credit card versus the minimal storage on the sun shade.
Also, the Omni breathes better, but if anyone ever says it’s the most breathable baby carrier in the world, slap them extremely hard and tell them I said to do that! Because they’d be lying to you and that’s plain unfair and unacceptable.
Another difference is that while you couldn’t carry baby front-facing, you can do this exact thing with the Omni. This might not sound like much of an upgrade, but if you’re an inquisitive toddler who wants to see every passing sight, it suddenly becomes a HUGE improvement.
And the most important upgrade? The Omni provides noticeably better lower back support than either the Adapt or the 360. If you have a bad back, you’d be better off with the omni.
Plus, you don’t need an infant insert to carry an infant or newborn in the 360, but you needed an insert to make the 360 newborn-friendly. It’s good for 7-pound preemies, newborns, and infants and also good for toddlers up to 45 pounds.
Whether you’re a petite or a gigantic dad, you can use the Omni without difficulty due to the tons of adjustment opportunities it offers. And the bad? It’s over $100, but given the upgrades and overall carrier quality, it doesn’t feel like a rip-off.
Getting the Omni on can be diffucult, but loosening the chest straps before one buckles shoulder straps solves the problem.
- Newborn-friendly: No insert needed to carry newborns
- Better lower back support compared to earlier versions
- A better breather compared to many others
- Adjustable straps make it a one-size fits most option
- Roomier storage than the 360
- Good head support and removable sun shade
Can be challenging to put on, but loosening the chest straps before buckling shoulder straps helps
2. Ergobaby Embrace Cozy Newborn Baby Wrap: Best Newborn Wrap
The Ergobaby Embrace is another good bet for transporting newborns and infants. Unlike most carriers with a really high upper limit (usually 45 pounds), the Embrace’s upper limit is 26.5 pounds. It works best for 7 pound tots and older ones up to 25 pounds. If you’re looking for a carrier you’ll be able to use all the way via toddlerhood, this isn’t it.
One beautiful aspect about this baby wrap is that it provides neck and head support for newborns and infants. This isn’t something all baby wraps do. Try the Moby Wrap or Boba Wrap and you won’t need me to point out the difference!
It works petite moms in case you’re wondering. It’s one of my recommendations for the best petite mom baby carriers. Plus it’s easier to nurse baby in compared to other Ergobaby carriers. Simply sit down, hold baby with one hand, loosen straps, nurse baby, and tighten straps after breastfeeding.
This baby wrap doesn’t have as many buckles and clips to mess with. It’s really easy to wear, and you don’t need assistance getting baby in or buckling them up. Once you work the strap that secures the carrier around the middle of the back as well as the wide padded waistband, you’re done.
It’s a sleek design that’s practical enough for strapping baby in and out at parking lots. I’s something a busy city mom or dad would really love due to how easy-to-use it is.
The carrier is fashioned out of three materials namely polyester (79%), rayon (17%), and spandex (4%). Polyester cuts down fabric weight and incorporates durability into the construction and speeds up the drying process.
Rayon introduces baby-grade suppleness and softness into the mix while spandex makes the resulting fabric reasonably stretchy. In the end, you get a soft, durable, stretchy fabric, just the perfect choice for a baby carrier.
But many who’ve owned this carrier noted that pilling happens sooner one might expect. But it’s the name of polyester, cotton, and rayon to pill at some point. Also, some say this isn’t as durable as they’d hoped. And that it’s not the kind of carrier that stays in great condition until someone who’d needs it shows up.
I love that the Embrace stretches and molds around baby’s body like a dream. But this blessing soon becomes a curse as time passes. Over time, the carrier starts sagging and becomes somewhat less supportive and doesn’t keep baby as close to mom’s/dad’s body as it did initially. If stretching and sagging too much worries you, I suggest that you choose the polyester/rayon option since it doesn’t stretch as much.
- Decent neck support for newborns versus other wraps
- Designed for newborns, infants, and babies
- Super comfy because it stretches and boasts decent padding
- Easy to get on and off and allows for nursing baby
- Works great for petite moms
- No excess fabric to deal with
- Doesn’t work for toddlers and heavier babies
3.BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini, 3D Mesh: Best for Summer Babies
If you’re expecting a newborn in the coming summer, consider the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini 3D Mesh Carrier. Since it’s constructed from entirely mesh, it’s one of the most breathable baby carriers you’ll ever encounter.
I’ll say this again just in case it didn’t sink in good: this baby carrier is SUPER breathable. It’s the perfect choice for babywearing moms and dads living in warm and humid climates. And yes, it’s suitable for petite moms and bigger mamas as well due to its adjustability.
I’ve worn carriers that promised to keep baby and parent cool during hot-weather walks, and all I got was sweat and disappointment. But the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini 3D Mesh literally changed how I and my baby experienced the warmer seasons.
Instead of becoming couch potatoes and binge-watching Netflix when summertime show up, my LO and I could now get out the door and enjoy the sun like everyone else. We could walk about theme parks and do grocery runs without the blazing sun roasting us alive. Just because we chose this highly aerated carrier instead of others.
Another great thing about this option is that its designer is lighter and sleeker than many others out there. The slimmer design encourages baby to snuggle and stay closer to momma for better bonding. Besides that, the thing folds down to a compact package that stores really easily.
It’s made from ultra-soft material that’s also machine-washable and dries really quickly. When you get baby in, all they want to do is snooze so you can attend to the million little things that need your attention around the house. What’s more, this carrier has good head and neck support for newborns.
If you’re tired of bulky carriers that are best suited for hiking rather than everyday babywearing, give this 3D Mesh carrier a chance. It’s easier to use than most since there are minimal adjustment points to deal with.
Is there any downside to choosing the BABYBJÖRN Baby Carrier Mini 3D Mesh Carrier? Oh, yes. It’s meant for newborns and infants from 7 pounds until month 12. It’s definitely not what to pick if you want something that’ll stay useful through toddlerhood.
- A super comfy newborn and infant carrier
- Extremely breathable and great for summer walks
- A slim design that keeps baby and caregiver closer for better bonding
- Packs and stores neatly
- Machine washable and dries incredibly fast
- Allows for baby-facing-out front carries
- Adequate neck support for toddlers
- Adjusts nicely to fit different size parents
- Not any use for babies older than 1 year
4. Baby K’tan Original Baby Wrap Carrier: A Sized Newborn Wrap
Nothing keeps baby and mom closer than a wrap-style carrier. It promotes skin-to-skin contact that fosters bonding. And you can breastfeed in this carrier without strangers noticing you’re doing it. But be careful so that baby’s face won’t press against you causing suffocation.
K’Tan says parents can use this from 7 pounds up to 35 pounds. But believe me, this thing doesn’t work very well for older, heavier kids. It’s most suitable for newborns and infants up to like 15 pounds. You’ll have to buy a sturdier carrier for your toddler.
The Baby K’Tan Baby Carrier, unlike most wrap-type carriers, is a sized carrier. You need to get your size right or you’ll end up with a size that’s too tight for you and baby or something that’s too loose as to be unsafe. Good thing is that the size chart from K’Tan is pretty accurate.
It’s really easy to use since there’s no bulky buckles and straps to deal with. But it gets even better — there’s no complicated tying techniques to master or safety-compromising slippages.
Here are the available sizes: XX-Small, X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, and X-Large. If you know your dress size (who doesn’t), calculating the correct size Baby K’Tan Wrap for you and baby is easy.
What if you’re between sizes? What if you sometimes are size 4 US women and other times size 6? I suggest that you size down and not up. I say to size down because this baby wrap stretches quite a bit. The more you wear baby in this carrier, the roomier it gets.
It’s made from cotton, which is why it’s pretty soft. It’s also machine washable which saves you time. Be sure to put this carrier into a wash bag or pillowcase before you feed it to the washer. You don’t want straps and other parts like that to catch on any rotating parts inside the machine.
Did I hear you ask why this wrap has so much give when it’s 100% cotton and cotton isn’t all that stretchy? It’s because it’s a knitted and not woven baby carrier. Generally, knitted textiles stretch more than woven ones, plus they’re more breathable.
Which brings me to the next point: is the K’Tan a good choice for warm-weather babywearing? Well, not quite. Look, cotton breathes well, but it also traps in lots of heat and isn’t known for wicking away moisture/sweat. You want to really layer down when using this in warm weather.
Not surprisingly, the Baby K’Tan Baby Wrap can get really warm especially when worn in warm, humid weather. But it’s a great choice for cool-weather baby wearing.
A size might feel too tight initially, but after a few uses, you’ll notice that the fit gets better and more comfortable.
The size you see in the pic above is Small. It fits dress sizes 6-8 US Women and chest size 37-38. Choose size 6 if you’re sometimes size 6 and size 8 other times.
- Made from a really soft cotton fabric
- Breathable but not loads
- A knitted carrier that stretches to improve fit
- Promotes parent-baby bonding
- Good for breastfeeding moms
- Breathable but not the best bet
- Easy to wear: no buckles, straps, or complex trying techniques to learn
- Fits well provided you size it right
- A good option for petite moms (and dads)
- Great for cool-weather babywearing
- Can get really warm when used in warm, humid weather
- Neck and head support not great
- Some babies hate wraps and slings
- Not great for heavier kids
Best Newborn-friendly Baby Carrier: Who Won the Contest?
When looking for a newborn-friendly baby carrier, pay attention to how well/poorly each option supports young, weak necks. One reason ring slings aren’t a great choice is that they don’t offer any kind of head support. The same goes for most wrap-style carriers, but some options such as the Ergobaby Embrace Baby Wrap are an exception.
In my experience, and after pouring hours of research into this post, I can say that the best baby carriers for newborns and infants are usually the soft-structured type. Small wonder the majority of my recommendations are SSCs. The Ergobaby Omni came out on top and I explained why above.