Best Baby Carriers In India
Baby wearing might be one of the best decisions you take as a new parent. Not only has researches proven that babies who are held often cry less, it is also shown that baby wearing promotes their physical development and strengthens the bond between the caregiver and the baby.
From time immemorial, mothers have been wearing babies and going about with their work. While in the earlier days, they used a Saree as their ‘carrier’; nowadays we are spoilt with different types and varieties of baby carriers. To help you choose the carrier best suitable for you, we discuss in this guide about different types of baby carriers, how to choose a baby carrier, the safety aspects and the best picks.
Types Of Baby Carriers
Soft Structured Carrier(SSC)
SSC is one of the most common types of baby carriers available in the market. It has a padded strap, which is attached to a rectangular piece of fabric with the help of buckles. It can be used by newborn up till toddler-hood. Newborns however may require neck support or inserts for better comfort or safety. The main advantage of Soft Structured Carrier are that it is fairly easy and intuitive to use and is generally preferred by dads. SSC with well-padded shoulder and waist strap helps prevent neck and back pain due to baby wearing. The main negative is that it is a bit bulky and difficult to fit in a diaper bag.
Mei Tai( Meh Dai)
Mei Tai is just like a soft structured carrier, but instead of buckles, it is secured with knots. It can be used by newborn up till toddler-hood. As there are no buckles and straps to rub against the body, the baby as well as mother is a lot more comfortable with a Mei Tai. Newborns will love having their legs snuggled up inside, while older babies and toddlers can have their legs spread outside. Being sleek, it can be carried easily inside a diaper bag too. The main problem associated with Mei Tai is that it may take a while for the parent to master the knots and sometimes the knots might get in your way when you are doing some other work.
A wrap is just long fabric that is tied in a particular way to secure the baby to the mother. The main advantages associated with baby wraps are that it is very comfortable and cuddly for the baby. Newborns especially will love wraps made of stretchable fabric as it will give them the comfortable feeling of being in the womb. You can choose from different varieties of fabrics for tying up a wrap. In fact, even a good old Saree can be used. Also, as you can wear it in different positions, you are less likely to develop neck, shoulder or back pain as a result of baby wearing. However, a wrap is not easy. You will have to spend a good deal of time learning how to tie a wrap. In fact, I always check this YouTube video and spend at least 5-15 minutes every time tie a wrap.
Slings provide the comfort of a wrap, and is much easier to wear. It is usually a single piece of fabric threaded through a ring to form a pouch that holds the baby. Babies are pretty comfortable in a sling and it makes breastfeeding easier too. However, as slings are mostly worn over a single shoulder, you may not be able to use it once your baby starts gaining weight without developing a neck or back pain.
How To Choose A Baby Carrier?
Now that you know about the different types of baby carriers, it is time to understand how to choose one. The following tips might help-
- If the dad and the mom plans to wear the baby carrier, then, opt for a Mei Tai or Soft Structured Carrier, as men generally are found not to prefer wearing slings or wraps ( of course, there are exceptions).
- If breastfeeding is a priority, then wraps and slings are a better choice. Many of the SSCs and Mei Tai aren’t discrete enough to breastfeed.
- In order to avoid back pain, always choose a carrier with heavily padded straps and sturdy fabric that distributes the weight evenly.
- Your baby won’t be happy in a carrier if it isn’t comfortable for him/her. So, ensure that the carrier is made from soft, organic fabric and doesn’t have a plastic-y feel to it. It should be easy to slip your baby in and out of a carrier. Also, your baby’s knees should be above the level of his buttocks (known as M position or frog position) when facing in.
- Baby carriers can get dirty quickly, so it helps to have a machine-washable carrier.
- Considering India’s tropical climate, choose a carrier that is made of light fabric.
Pros & Cons Of Baby Wearing
- Baby wearing fosters trust between the baby and the caretaker and also promotes their physical development.
- Babies are happier in a sling and you have the freedom to carry on with your every day work easily.
- Compared to using a stroller, it is easier to negotiate crowd and carry on with your chores wearing your baby in a carrier.
- Carrying your baby and going about with your chores and daily shopping is actually a great way to workout.
- Until you have sufficient experience baby wearing, you will have to be extra cautious about your baby’s safety in a sling.
- In hot weather, baby as well as the caretaker may not be quite comfortable with a baby carrier.
- If you have multiple babies or if you often go for shopping, baby wearing might take a toll on your neck and back.
Tips For Safe Baby Wearing
Safety is always the foremost priority when buying and using a baby gear. Here are some of the important safety notes to be taken care of while using baby carriers.
- It is not recommended to wear babies weighing less than 5.5kg without an insert.
- Babies are at a high risk of hip dysplasia or dislocation for the first few months of life. During this period, legs shouldn’t be held in extension with hip or knees be straightened and legs brought together. In a baby carrier, the baby’s thighs should be supported and legs should be spread to keep the hip stable. Take a note of the images below.
- Consult your baby’s pediatrician if he/she is younger than 4 months or was born prematurely or has respiratory problems.
- Keep checking on your baby often when in a carrier. Baby’s head and neck should be completely supported. Ensure that she is not curled with chin-to-chest or with fabrics pressed against her face. If the baby’s chin presses in to her chest, it might restrict her airway and can lead to suffocation. Slide your finger between the baby’s chin and chest frequently to check the positioning.
- Make it a practice to check the straps and buckles before every use.
- Do not cook with your baby in a front wearing carrier.
- Wear comfortable shoes and look out for uneven surfaces to ensure that you do not trip.
- Avoid baby carriers in hot climate, as the baby may not be comfortable in it.
- Be sure that you can see your baby’s face at all times. Your baby should be positioned in such a way that you can kiss her forehead when she is in the carrier.
What is the use of infant inserts?
Newbies may wonder what is the significance of using an infant insert? Well, as mentioned earlier, babies must always have their legs in M position while seated in a baby carrier. Newborns and babies less than 7 kg may not be able to sit in M position in baby carrier. So, the insert is placed inside the carrier and baby is made to sit on it. Instead of buying an infant insert, you could place a small pillow or rolled towel too.
School Of Baby Wearing gives T.I.C.K.S guideline of safe baby wearing.
Now, its time for the list of best baby carriers-
Best Baby Carriers
Anmol is considered as one of the most reputed baby carrier brands in India. Their baby carriers are colourful and made of child-friendly dyed pure cotton fabrics. Babies love this carrier as they are always seated in an “M position” thus reducing or rather eliminating the possibility of hip dislocation. As the fabric is lightweight, breathable and skin-friendly, the baby doesn’t get excessively warm. The carrier also has padded thigh cushions, which make it super comfortable for the baby. Please note, if your baby weights less than 7kg, you may have to buy an infant insert separately.
Anmol baby carriers are pretty comfortable for the parents too. Dads are also happy with it as its pretty easy to use, unlike wraps and slings. As its shoulder straps and waistband are well padded and gives ample support for your shoulders and back, you can carry your baby for 2-3 hours at a stretch or more, without much discomfort.
In order to ensure the baby’s safety, the carrier has a three-point safety waist buckle which opens only if the three points are pressed together. In addition it also has an elastic belt loop for securing the waist buckle. Anmol SSC also has a baby hood that keeps the baby away from sun and helps with discrete breastfeeding.
In addition to SSC, they also have wraps, slings and toddler carriers.
Find latest price
Anmol definitely isn’t one of the cheapest baby carriers available in the market. But if you compare apples-to-apples, it definitely is economical and worth every penny spent.
Ergo baby carriers are lightweight and comfortable for both the baby and the caregiver. The International Hip Dysplasia institute acknowledges these carriers as ‘hip healthy.’ It can be used to carry the baby in front, back and hip positions.
The heavily padded shoulder and waist strap ensures that you are pain-free while carrying your baby. It has a front pocket in which you can keep your keys or some essential toys for your baby and also has a hood to keep the baby away from the sun while napping.
Ergo’s inserts are much better in quality compared to other brands. It supports the baby’s growing body, head and neck and gives the baby a feeling of being swaddled.
Kol Kol baby carriers are mainly available in Meh Dai, ring sling and full buckle (SSC) style. Made of 100% soft cotton, Kol Kol carriers are breathable and comfortable for the mother and baby. It also ensures that the baby is seated in M position.
Though you would expect to have back pain wearing sling style carrier, with Kol Kol you don’t, as the weight is evenly distributed by spreading the fabric over the shoulder. So, you can comfortably carry your baby around for 1-2 hours in it without much back and shoulder pain. The sling is discrete enough for breastfeeding too.
In order to help first time sling users, they have a fairly good customer support system and ample tutorials and videos as well.
Colourful and comfortable, Boba carriers are suitable for babies weighing 3.5kg to 22kg. It comes with an infant insert that makes it comfortable for smaller babies weighing up to 7 kg. Thanks to the ergonomic design, the baby is seated in comfortable ‘frog’ position that supports their spine and hip development. For parents, it is fairly easy to use with dual adjustable buckles that can be pulled from both sides for correct fitting. Across various reviews we can find that Boba’s customer support team is pretty awesome and gives timely response and guidance for easy baby wearing.
One of the negative we can say is that its waist straps are not as wide and comfortable as that of Ergo. Also, unlike Anmol and Ergo carriers, Boba doesn’t have extra padded thigh cushions for the baby.
Perfect for newborns, Babybjourn baby carriers are designed in such a way that it doesn’t need an infant insert. The carrier provides firm support for the newborn’s head and neck thus helping in their overall physical development. The baby doesn’t get excessively heated up as the carrier is pretty airy. As it has side buckles, you can easily unfasten it and put the sleeping baby to crib without disturbing her sleep too.
A major downside to Babybjourn original carrier is that it doesn’t have a waist belt to support the weight. So, it might not be suitable if your baby weighs over 10 kg or if you are hoping to carry your baby for long stretches. Also, as it is a bit bulky, you may find it a tad difficult to carry it around in the diaper bag.
Made of soft stretchy fabric, this wrap-style carrier is rightly called a baby wrap without all wrapping. The instruction manual and video tutorials helps first time moms use K’tan without going through a deep learning curve.
Ideal for newborns, K’tan help babies keep their leg in frog position and provides ample neck, head and back support too. However, it doesn’t provide enough for bigger babies and toddlers and it may seem like they could fall off the carrier at any time.
Parents are comfortable wearing baby in Baby K’tan, as the weight of the baby is distributed well enough across the wide stretchable fabric. Moms will find the carrier discrete enough to nurse the baby too. Another positive is that unlike other baby carriers, it comes in different sizes to suit caretakers of different body built.
Budget Friendly Baby Carriers
Hug Me is an economical baby carrier that offers decent features that makes it fairly comfortable for both the baby and the caregiver. It is made of cotton and as the name suggests, it is ergonomically designed for the comfort of your baby. Baby can be carried facing the caretaker, facing out or even on the back. A few online reviews suggest that the shoulder and waist strap don’t give optimal back support for the caretaker. Also, unlike Anmol, its waist belt doesn’t have extra safety features too.
Infantino Flip Advanced carrier can be used for babies weighing 5.5kg to 20kg facing in, facing out and in backpack style. For smaller infants, the seat can be narrowed to help them maintain their ‘froggy’ sitting position. So, you don’t have to buy an infant insert for this carrier. Though imported, it is suitable for Indian climate as it is light, airy and made of breathable fabric.
It has a drool cover fitting to catch spills and spit outs, but it doesn’t seem to be quite functional in the ‘facing in position’, as its attached with Velcro and the baby can easily pull it out. Though the shoulder straps are padded, it isn’t thick enough for using it for long stretches, but works fine for a quick shopping or a 30-minute evening walk.
What makes Upsy Daisy baby carrier different from the rest is the hip seat that allows for a natural sitting position for the baby and also relieves pressure off the mom’s lower back. You can use it in front facing in, facing out and backpack style positions. A few online reviews suggest that hip seat would have been more comfortable if you use a soft cushion instead. Also, the fabric isn’t as breathable as the rest of the baby carriers in the list, so it may not be suitable for humid climates.