Before Some Boy was born, I was determined to get as many versatile products as possible. We have a tiny apartment and don't have room for toys and learning aids made for every single stage of babyhood. I hunted down brands that cater to the packed household and read up on all the 3-in-1, multi-age adaptable things I could possibly find. There's the baby seat/high chair/swing, expandable cloth diapers, a crib/playpen/room divider and the teething ring/skate shoe/football pad (okay, that doesn't actually exist…but it should).
In all this searching I learned a couple things: first of all, you can't stick a 12-pound baby into a car chair made for a 200-pound adult. They actually have laws against that. Second, there is no baby carrier (in my opinion) that can effectively go from babyhood to toddlerhood. Baby wearing, as enjoyable and bonding as it can be, is difficult and it's very important that both parent and child feel comfortable. Because our family is constantly on the go, we invested in several baby carrying products to make our lives easier. Here are our favorite baby carriers for every age, and the stage that we think they're best for.
Best for: 5-13 pounds, age 0-3 months
My mom bought me the Moby wrap when I was in the hospital, still bleary-eyed and exhausted from labor. Starting the moment we got home, the Moby wrap was one of the baby products we got the most use out of. There were days when Some Boy wanted to be held constantly and my arms would get exhausted (not to mention, I occasionally had to wash a dish or two and do some laundry). The Moby wrap gave me freedom to get stuff done while maintaining that close skin-to-skin contact that Some Boy craved. This one was my favorite to use with him as a newborn because it's extremely soft and lets him rest in the fetal position (which was most soothing to him) instead of spreading his legs apart like many other baby carriers. It can be tied different ways to accommodate a growing child, but I found that Some Boy was too squirmy to be attached to me with a wrap by about three months old.
Best for: 11-16 pounds, age 2-6 months
This baby carrier is the perfect next step after the Moby wrap, as it still provides that close comfort but also offers extra support for a growing baby. I felt comfortable wearing Some Boy in this starting when he was 11 pounds, but it began hurting my back when he got over about 15 pounds. Nate continued using it after that without issue, but I needed to move on to the ERGOBaby for more support. The ERGOBaby and BABYBJÖRN are usually seen as competing products, with the BABYBJÖRN being less expensive but not as long-lasting. I'd advise buying the BABYBJÖRN if you want to do casual carrying around the grocery store and park up to about 6 or 7 months and plan to stop carrying after that. If you're looking for a more long-term solution, invest in the ERGOBaby and use an infant insert to make it work for your lighter baby when they outgrow the Moby wrap.
Best for: 17-35 pounds, age 6 months – toddler
I love the ERGOBaby because of its incredible ergonomics. I can wear Some Boy for hours without getting tired, and it works on the front, back, or hip! The one drawback to the ERGOBaby is that the baby can only face inward, so Some Boy does occasionally get restless and struggles to turn around and see the world. I've heard that the Beco Gemini is a good solution for older babies who want to face outward, but I haven't had the chance to personally try it. We actually use the ERGOBaby Sport version instead of the classic version because it has a larger waist belt and longer straps to accommodate Nate's 6'4″ frame.
Best for: 17-40 pounds, age 6 months – 4 years
This is the carrier for people who are serious about carrying. We have the Kelty FC 3.0 Child Carrier and as the name implies, this is for people wanting to haul around their children long-term. If you're an active person and want to explore or hike without having the kid slow you down, this is the carrier for you. It comes with a sun hood, changing pad, toy loops, kickstand, storage pockets…all the bells and whistles you could possibly need. I probably wouldn't load this up for a trip to the grocery store, but this will always be my go-to solution for adventures and vacations to keep the kid and all his equipment wrangled. With the Kelty, I can remain hands-free through the airport, theme parks, trails and sightseeing destinations so we can both get the most out of our experience.
We never tried a ring sling or pouch sling for the same reason we stopped using the Moby: Some Boy is very squirmy and he needs more structure since he's pretty heavy. Another carrier we haven't tried is the Mei Tai. Other moms tell me they can be used from newborn to 35 pounds, but it doesn't look like the Mei Tai offers enough head support for Some Boy to be able to nap on the go. The Mei Tai also spreads the baby's legs apart, so it wouldn't have given him the comfort of resting in the fetal position as a newborn like the Moby wrap did. If you have experience with any of these carriers, we'd love to hear your feedback. Feel free to weigh in in the comments below!