If you’ve decided to “wear” your baby, chances are you’ve scoured the internet searching for the right option that’ll leave your hands free while carrying your little one. The problem? An overwhelming number of options.
Dozens of companies advertise canvas material, woven material, buckles, lumbar support, ring slings, and infant inserts. Needless to say, it can be a bit dizzying, especially for someone like myself who just wants convenience and comfort.
By no means am I one of the mothers that can artistically tie a beautiful woven wrap around herself and her baby as if performing a graceful dance. Instead, my craft level is “zero” and I want three main things:
- Baby’s safety
- The comfort of the mom and baby
- Convenience (i.e. Buckles instead of having to tie knots)
While I haven’t tried all or even most of the many, many options on the market, I do own two of the biggest brand name baby carriers available: the Tula Baby Carrier (List Price: $149) and the LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons (List Price: $140). I’ve had several friends in my mom circle ask me which I preferred and I thought I would review the two I do have in hopes of helping parents before they go and spend a ton on a carrier.
NOTE: I am in no way affiliated with either company. Both carriers were purchased for full price.
I was fortunate enough to receive the Tula Baby Carrier from a family member at my baby shower. My first reaction was excitement over how colorful and stylish the carrier was. My second reaction was a bit of shock and disappointment when I learned I would need to buy a $40 infant insert to allow babies between 7-15 pounds to be carried in it safely. This brings the cost up to $189 if I wanted to use it for my newborn baby.
The LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons, on the other hand, has an adjustable seat, allowing you to make the seat more narrow to accommodate those tiny baby hips and body. It looks a little more utilitarian than my Tula, but it also has more features.
This particular carrier has a canvas panel that I can zip down, revealing mesh material underneath so that the baby can get extra airflow on hot summer days. This has been a huge bonus for my family since we love to go on long summer hikes.
The LÍLLÉbaby All Seasons also has a removable lumbar support panel on the waist belt for momma that I’ve utilized. It’s been great since pregnancy did a lovely number on my back.
All things considered, both carriers have been huge blessings.
I did get the Tula infant insert and started wearing my son in it when he was around 10 pounds. He loved the very comfortable insert and being snuggled into the carrier itself. He would fall asleep almost instantly, leaving my hands free for hiking, grocery shopping, or even house cleaning.
There was a time period where he was too big for the insert and not quite big enough to go without it. I couldn’t get his hips to sit in the “M position” which is said to be the safest position for baby. (Again, I’m not one of those crafty moms who can magically figure out creative ways to use the carriers. Instead, I rely heavily on written instructions!)
During that time, I bought the LÍLLÉbaby All Seasons for the adjustable seat. He was easy to position in the LÍLLÉbaby. Since then, I have switched back and forth.
My son seems to have a slight preference for the Tula. He is less fussy in it and still naps out of comfort when I wear him. (He’s 8 months.) The LÍLLÉbaby All Seasons; however, offers so many bonus features like the extra airflow that make hot climates more bearable.
In my opinion, both are great options. Both are easy to adjust to my body. Both are easy to get baby in and out. It just takes two buckles to get the baby in either. If you’re considering these two or another similar buckle carrier, your decision should depend on your lifestyle and where and how long you will be using the carrier.
While I’ve only tried and reviewed two of the dozens and dozens of options easily accessible to parents and caregivers out there, just know that there are carriers to fit every budget. Some of the other carriers require more work to get familiar with.
Whichever carrier you choose, make sure to carefully read the safety instructions which are so, so important!
Let me know which carriers are your favorite and why!
Sandra Osborne is an award winning reporter/Anchor, formerly with News 13 in Orlando. The new mom is currently freelancing at KPIX in San Francisco. You can follow her on Triter @SandraOsborneTV