urban pacifier – best baby carriers

Like many people when I was pregnant and registering for baby gifts, without hesitation I registered for a Baby Bjorn. To me it was the benchmark in baby carriers because I really didn’t know any better and I had never heard about any other brands as much as I did about the Baby Bjorn, it was a household name.

When my son was a newborn I loved my Bjorn, it was easy to put on and take off, and I looked forward to the day I could face my son forward so he could look out on walks and start to experience his surroundings on our walks…that was a pipe dream. Sadly for me, and many of my mom friends the Baby Bjorn does not take the caregivers back into account (we even purchased the model with extra back support – and it doesn’t help). Once your baby is over 15 pounds, more than 30 minutes in the Bjorn is brutal, and literally backbreaking.


(This is the model I have – image is from the Bjorn Website)

While I still use the Bjorn from time to time for short walks  – I have since purchased another baby carrier that takes my back and my sons hip position into account, I purchased the ErgoBaby, it was life altering – we can walk for miles (my furthest so far is 8 miles) without any back pain, and the pocket and hood are an added bonus that I didn’t even know I wanted/needed.  While the Ergo is right for me, I have since explored the front strap-on baby carrier selection for a friend and thought it is worth sharing.

This is what I learned…there are three major types of soft baby carriers: front strap-on models, hip carriers, and slings or wraps. Most soft baby carriers specify a minimum and maximum weight limit. You’ll probably find that your baby will be too heavy to carry comfortably before he reaches the upper limit. I am going to focus on front strap-on models with the hip carry option.

Strap-on and hip carriers

Strap-on carriers are designed for babies weighing from 7 or 8 pounds up to 25 to 32 pounds, depending on the brand.

Hip carriers, unless they have a headrest, are generally designed for babies who can hold their head up unassisted, weigh at least 15 pounds, or are at least 4 to 5 months old. The upper weight limit tends to be higher than front strap-on carriers’ (35 to 40 pounds) depending on the brand.

Carriers range in price, it is important to think about how much you’ll use it before you buy one. That will help you determine what to spend. A low-priced version may be fine if you plan to use the front or hip carrier or sling only occasionally. If you foresee long jaunts with your baby or expect to be using your carrier a lot around the house, consider a higher-end model, which may give you more support and be more comfortable.

Here are my top picks for baby carriers that are good for both the parents’ backs and your babies’ backs and hips.

Best Overall carriers (it’s a tie between the Ergo and Beco)


Beco Gemini –This carrier has the proper ergonomics to prevent stress on your back due to the way it distributes the weight of your baby. I would have considered this for myself because of the 5 positions it offers, including front facing out, if I didn’t already own the Bjorn that has a facing out option.

 Specs: (From the manufacturers website)

  • 4 in 1 baby carrier
  • Newborn to toddler (7-35 lbs./3.5 – 16 kg)
  • Front carry (facing in and facing out), back carry, and hip carry
  • Great for nursing
  • Direct contact intuitive baby carrier
  • High quality tested materials
  • Machine washable
  • Instruction manual included
  • Designed in California. Responsibly made in China.
  • Body 13″ wide x 18.5″ tall with head rest up, 14″ tall with headrest folded
  • Shoulder straps 23″ (can be adjusted up to 22″ LONGER for a total of 45″)
  • Waist belt 28″(size 0) can be adjusted up to 57″
  • Weight capacity of the carrier: 7-35 lbs. (3.5-16kg)
  • Weight of the carrier: 1.5 lbs.


ErgoBaby Performance collection

I use this carrier all of the time and have been extremely happy with it. My husband, who is in school to be a physical therapist, agrees with me that this is so much better for your back than then Bjorn. We have used the carrier in all 3 positions and have found it easy and comfortable to wear. Any of the Ergo carriers are great, I am featuring the Performance carrier because it is the one I have (and the breathable material is my favorite option…babies are little heaters)

(From the Ergo website): For the active parent looking to take their baby along for the fun, the Ergobaby Performance Collection Carrier features moisture-wicking mesh lining for ultimate breathability so both baby and parent stay cooler. The durable synthetic exterior makes for easy washing and quick drying.  As with all Ergobaby Carriers, it holds your baby in an ergonomic, natural sitting position.  The padded waist belt ensures baby’s weight is evenly distributed between your hips and shoulders, and the tapered, cushy padded shoulder straps provide ultimate comfort on longer treks, whether to the mall or on the trail.

Specs: (From the manufacturers website)

  • Comfortable for Parents: Baby’s weight is evenly distributed between the hips and shoulders
  • Ergonomic for Baby: Baby is cradled in a natural sitting position
  • 3 Carry Positions: Front, Back and Hip
  • Baby Weight Range: 7*-45 lb./3.2* – 20 kg (*Newborn with Infant Insert)
  • Stitching: Reinforced at all fabric intersections for extra durability
  • Shoulder Strap Length Range: 24”-44” (61cm-112cm)
  • Waistbelt Circumference Range: 29”-55” (74cm-140cm)
  • Shoulder Strap Padding: 4mm EVA with 15mm High Density PU Foam
  • Large Zippered Storage Pocket
  • Hood
  • Machine washable

Designed in the USA


Best Lightweight carrier (for travel): BobaAir

This carrier is ultra lightweight and easy to use. This is not an everyday carrier, but for the parent on the go because it folds up into a small lightweight pouch.

In addition it has the ergonomic qualities of some of the well-known brands, distributing the weight on the carriers hips not their back.

Specs: (From the manufacturers website)

BobaAir is a Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) that is intended for children between 15-45lbs.

Compact and self-storing: The BobaAir only weighs 0.7lbs and folds up into itself for easy storage. You can put it in any small bag or purse and it won’t weigh you down!

Front or Back Carry: This lightweight carrier is made with durable material so that it can be used children 15-45lbs. The BobaAir may be used on the front or back.

Nylon: The BobaAir is 100% Nylon and therefore easy to clean and extremely durable. The nylon fabric also allows you to simply stuff the carrier back into the pocket – no careful folding necessary!

Sleeping Hood and Pocket: The BobaAir includes a sleeping hood and a large pocket to store your hood in when not in use. The hood can be used to protect your little one from sun or rain, or to provide a cover when they are taking a nap.

The BobaAir design is made to fit parents of all shapes and sizes without purchasing an extension belt or accessory. All straps are fully adjustable, and elastic bands are provided so you can comfortably tuck the straps away once you have the carrier adjusted for you and your child.  

Best on a budget for an occasional user


Lillebaby – Nordic Carrier

This no frills carrier is a good choice for a parent on a budget but lacks the features that I find I use every time. (The hood and pocket) If you want these features you can purchase and add-on (this is how they keep the cost down). In my opinion it is worth paying the extra money for the Beco or Ergo carriers – with baby carriers I believe you get what you pay for.


  • 6 positions
    • Newborn to toddler (7-42 lbs.)
    • Adjustable shoulder straps and hip belt.
    • 100% cotton.
    • Adjustable seat design facilitates correct sitting positions.
    • Fixed, ergonomically formed shoulder straps with deluxe padding.
    • Generously 1/2″ hip belt padding.
    • Built-in neck support.
    • Removable safety harness.
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