Shopping for a baby carrier can get overwhelming. There are so many different carriers available it is difficult to make a purchase feeling confident you’ve selected the “best baby carrier”. Guess what? The only best baby carrier is the one that works best for you!
Now you are thinking, “But how do I know which one is best for me?”
Babywearing educators love to help you answer this question. If you plan to attend a babywearing meeting or work with a babywearing educator in person, online, or over the phone you may be asked some questions to help them make informed recommendations.
An educator might need answers to the following questions:
Do you have experience using any type of carrier?
What is your child’s age and size?
How much would you like to spend?
What activities would you like to do using the carrier?
Will the carrier be shared with other caregivers?
Is there a particular carrier you are interested in?
An educator can use this information to make suggestions about a few carriers that likely meet your criteria. So now you have an idea of what type of carrier might work best for you. You may even have received recommendations for certain brands or models. Using a lending library or visiting a local shop that allows you to try on carriers before you buy is the next step. Trying on a carrier before you buy can really help you decide if it is an ideal choice.
Babywearing is a life-affirming activity that can be done by caregivers of any shape or size. Carrier fit is not determined by your clothing size, height, or weight. Babywearing reaches beyond labels like petite, misses, plus, apple, pear, regular, big, small, or tall.
Great carrier fit is about the way your carried child interacts with your body; the relationship between both of your physical proportions like torso height, shoulder width, chest measurement and your personal preferences.
Baby carriers are becoming more and more size-inclusive thanks to feedback from users letting companies know what they need. Carriers come in a variety of sizes and there are fantastic options for wearers of any size and children of any size.
Below, I offer I brief description of how different types of carriers are sized.
Woven wraps are varying lengths of sturdy, woven fabric. The base size system helps us all understand that a particular carry can be accomplished with several different woven wrap sizes depending on child’s size, wrap thickness, taper depth, and preference for tails. Your base size is typically determined by the length required to complete a Front Wrap Cross Carry.
Meh Dai/Bei Dah carriers are often a rectangular panel with one set of shorter straps for tying around the caregiver’s waist and one set of longer straps that go over the shoulders. Strap length and width varies as does the panel length and width. Strap length is sometimes listed as standard or plus size and panel size often listed in actual measurements or sometimes as baby, standard, toddler, preschool. Keep in mind, strap and panel measurements vary between manufacturers. Varying tying styles possible with this carrier make it more size inclusive as well.
Soft Structured Carriers
Soft structured carriers can feature padded waist belts and shoulder straps, varying in lengths and widths, with a rectangular panel of various dimensions to hold baby. Manufacturers produce soft structured carriers with so many different dimensions the chances are good you can find one or several to fit you and your child’s body. BWI of Colorado Springs maintains an SSC Comparison Chart of carrier measurements. This resource helps determine what carriers might be a better choice for caregivers and children of any particular size.
Pouch slings are a tube of fabric sized to each caregiver. Pouch sling sizing varies from small, medium, large to a numeric scale, or actual measurements. Another great option for caregivers and children of many sizes.
I hope this information can make purchasing your first or next carrier a pleasurable experience. I further hope it will help educators and guide lending library purchases so caregivers and children of any size attending babywearing meetings have carriers available to try on.