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Best baby carriers: the safest slings and wraps for newborn babies and toddlers

Baby carriers let you 'wear' your baby close to you. They come in different forms, from baby wraps and slings to carriers with buckles and ties. After months of research and testing, we reveal the best baby carriers to buy. 

By Laura Westerman | Last updated May 16, 2023

mother carrying baby in baby carrier Mumsnet Best

Prices and availability checked and updated by MNHQ on 17 May, 2023.

Parents have been carrying babies in slings, wraps and soft carriers, in front, back and hip positions, across cultures and centuries. And parents continue to ‘wear’ babies for reasons including comfort and bonding. Babywearing also allows parents to keep their hands completely free with their baby close by. Baby carriers are ideal alternatives to buggiespushchairs and travel systems, particularly for younger babies.

But when it comes to babywearing, the choices are endless. Your perfect fit will depend on a number of things like the age and weight of your child, your lifestyle and, of course, your purse strings. The best baby carriers generally fit each wearer differently. While a friend might gush about how simple their stretchy wrap is, you might find the same product hot, uncomfortable and difficult to use. Or you may want to consider a supportive baby carrier backpack for longer journeys in the great outdoors or for urban exploring. 

At the bottom of this page you'll find a handy buying guide packed full of information about safety features to look out for, guidance on carrying positions from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute and details about how we tested and reviewed the best baby carriers in our roundup. Or scroll on to find our pick of the best baby carriers to buy right now. 

We've also got guides to the best baby carrier backpacks, the best pushchairs, the best lightweight strollers, the best umbrella strollers, the best travel systems and the best double buggies. Or if you're heading out on two wheels, you might want to consider our roundup of the best bike seats for babies or the best bike trailers

Best baby carriers at a glance

1. Best overall baby carrier: Boba X

Boba X baby carrier

RRP: £125 | Latest deals from Amazon

Tested by parents: Boba X baby carrier review

Key specs

Suitable from: Birth to toddlers | Weight capacity: 4kg - 20kg | Carrying positions: 3 (inward-facing, hip, back)| Material: Cotton | Machine washable: Yes but not at high temperatures; spot cleaning recommended

What we love

  • Dual pull shoulder straps
  • Structured padded waistband and wide straps distribute baby's weight well
  • Can be personalised to fit a wide range of body types
  • Breastfeeding-friendly

What to know

  • Thick material can make this carrier warm to use
  • Cannot be washed at high temperatures – spot cleaning and cold washing recommended
  • No outward-facing option

What Mumsnet users say

“Just got a Boba X from the local sling library and really like it” - recommended by Mumsnet user, StompyDino

Our verdict

The Boba X is an easy-to-use soft-structured carrier with the softness of a baby wrap.

It offers great value for money as it's suitable for newborns as well as toddlers and it can be shared between wearers of different builds. It's also really comfortable to wear for long periods of time. It's highly supportive for baby and parent, which offers reassurance while you get on with your daily routine. This could well be the only carrier you'll need if you're carrying your little one into toddlerhood.

Read next: The best baby car seats to buy, as rated by Mumsnetters

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2. Best baby carrier for newborns: Boba Wrap

boba wrap

RRP: £59 | Latest deals from Amazon

Tested by parents: Boba Wrap baby carrier review

Key specs

Suitable from: Birth to two/three | Weight capacity: 3kg - 15kg | Carrying positions: 2 (x2 inward-facing)| Material: 95% cotton; 5% spandex | Machine washable: Yes 

What we love

  • Four-way stretch with a custom fit every time you wrap
  • Less fabric to deal with than other wraps on the market
  • Breastfeeding-friendly
  • Softest option for newborns and relatively cool to wear too

What to know

  • Can be tricky to tie (especially if you're a first-timer)
  • Has no special features, such as pockets
  • Limited to two front carrying positions
  • You'll likely need to buy a second carrier after six months

What Mumsnet users say

"I loved my boba wrap! My son refused to be transported in any other way so I spent pretty much all of my waking day in those early months in my boba wrap. The prints are beautiful!" - recommended by Mumsnet user, TheVeryHungryTortoise

Our verdict

The Boba Wrap is the best baby wrap for your little one's earliest months. Suitable for all shapes and sizes, while allowing you to create a custom fit, it's extremely versatile and comfortable at the same time.

While the Boba Wrap may be limited in terms of longevity, the lower price tag makes it an attractive option for parents with newborns. We love that one size fits all and that it's supremely comfy, even when carrying tiny babies. 

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3. Best multi-position baby carrier: Ergobaby All Position 360

Ergobaby All Position 360 baby carrier

RRP: £129.90 | Latest deals from Amazon

Tested by parents: Ergobaby All Position 360 review

Key specs

Suitable from: Birth to toddler | Weight capacity: 3kg - 20kg | Carrying positions: 4 (inward-facing, forward-facing, back, hip)| Material: Cotton | Machine washable: Yes 

What we love

  • Grows with your child – extends vertically and across to give a better fit
  • Uncomplicated design and easy to operate
  • Extremely supportive thanks to the waistband and shoulder straps
  • Ergonomic front outward-facing carry
  • Long front panel gives your baby excellent coverage

What to know

  • Relatively warm carrier and should be treated as a layer of clothing
  • Straps could be loose if you're petite
  • Newborn insert needed up to four months old

What Mumsnet users say

"I have the Ergobaby. Its comfortable and supportive and my baby sleeps well in it whilst I go about my day" - recommended by Mumsnet user, AuntLucy

Our verdict

The Ergobaby All Position 360 is an ergonomic baby carrier, perfect for long periods of use.

The lower half of the back panel can be made smaller to allow babies to face outward while still sitting in a supportive position – a real selling point for parents who want to use a front-facing baby carrier. This baby carrier is a true all-rounder. It offers four carrying positions, but is particularly great for back carrying, and it fits a wide range of body sizes.

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4. Best twin baby carrier: TwinGo Air

twingo air

RRP: £199.95 | Latest deals from Koala Slings

Tested by parents: TwinGo Air review

Key specs

Suitable from: Four months to toddler | Weight capacity: 3kg (if used as a single carrier) - 30kg (total weight combined)| Carrying positions: 2 (back carry for one baby; inward-facing for the other) | Material: Cotton | Machine washable: Yes (at a low temperature)

What we love

  • Weight is evenly distributed between front and back
  • Cheaper than buying two separate single carriers – and less bulky too
  • Lightweight and breathable – ideal for summertime
  • Can be used to carry two children of different ages and as two single carriers
  • Secured waist, with a safety belt between wearer and babies, and padded shoulder straps

What to know

  • Takes some time to learn how to easily put two babies into the carrier
  • Written instructions can be tricky to follow, but video instructions are available
  • Only suitable as a double carrier from four months or older (but can be used as two single carriers from two months old)

What Mumsnet users say

"I've got the Twingo carrier which I really like (mine are now 6 months). It took a couple of practice rounds to get it on by myself but now I can get both twins in it alone and I find it comfy" - recommended by Mumsnet user, tihsho

Our verdict

The TwinGo Air is a straightforward carrying solution for parents with twins, and a great alternative to a double buggy.

It's not only very supportive, which is essential when you have two babies in tow, but it can also be worn comfortably for extended periods of time.

As twin carriers go, the TwinGo Air really comes up trumps. While it may be a pricey option compared to other models on the market, it still costs less than two single carriers combined.

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5. Best baby carrier for support: Stokke MyCarrier

Stokke My Carrier main

RRP: £129 | Latest deals from Baby Planet

Tested by parents: Stokke MyCarrier review

Key specs

Suitable from: Newborn to 36 months | Weight capacity: 3.5kg - 15kg | Carrying positions: 2 (inward-facing, forward-facing, back) | Material: Cotton | Machine washable: Yes

What we love

  • Very supportive with a sturdy harness at its core and aluminium bars for back carrying
  • A dream to adjust the buckles and straps
  • Comes with a head support cover
  • Comfy to use for long periods

What to know

  • Complicated to set up before use
  • Quite bulky compared to other carriers 

What Mumsnet users say

"When I realised I liked the sling more than the pram I upgraded to a Stokke MyCarrier which I’m still using now at 21 months!" - recommended by Mumsnet user, Darkstar4855

Our verdict

The Stokke MyCarrier is brilliantly designed and is one of the most supportive baby carriers on our list. It's comfortable to wear for long periods of time and offers three different carrying positions for versatility.

It's made up of three separate parts: a harness, a front carrier and a back carrier, and there are aluminium bars that slot into the back carrier to make it feel extra sturdy when out and about. MyCarrier also offers two height positions when back carrying; one for 9-18 months and the other for 18-36 months.

We tested the carrier with both a baby and a toddler, and with the help of poppers and a strip of velcro, it was easy to switch between the two set ups. It really does make a huge difference to the overall ease of babywearing. It's on the pricey side but Stokke products hold onto their value on the resale market. As we state in our review: "we absolutely think that the Stokke MyCarrier is worth every single penny". 

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How we tested the best baby carriers

Each product was put through a series of tests by real parents to help us find the baby carriers most likely to suit parents new to ‘wearing’ their little ones.

Safety and stability: We asked each tester to comment on how secure they felt while wearing the carrier. Was it easy to follow safety guidelines? Did the baby feel well supported and comfortable? We also noted how our testers felt during and after use – did they experience any aches or pains?

Assembly: We checked that instructions were clear and detailed so that there was little room for error and checked to see whether video demonstrations were available. We looked at how easy each carrier was to use for the first time and how quickly a parent could use it without looking at the instructions. And we checked how easy each carrier was to put on and take off without help?

Day-to-day usage: Was the carrier easy to use while doing other tasks and did it allow for breastfeeding on the go? We looked for convenient features like pockets, head covers and supports. Our testers put each carrier through its paces in a range of locations and situations – could they be truly hands-free or did they feel the need to support their babies with one hand for peace of mind?

Cleanliness: Could each carrier be machine washed? Was the carrier prone to showing up dirt? Did it trail the ground when being put on or taken off?

Aesthetics: We asked our testers how they felt the products fit with their wardrobes – did they match or clash with most outfits? Were they minimalist or a feature in their own right? Would you need more than one carrier for variety?

Value for money: We asked our testers to rate how satisfied they were with each product overall. A standardised scoring system was used to help us determine whether performance (including longevity) justified the price tag.

How to buy the best baby carrier for you

Figuring out the best baby carrier to buy can be daunting, especially if more than one adult will be using it. There are a number of things to keep in mind when deciding between products.

Consider age range and weight

Each carrier, sling or wrap varies greatly when it comes to positioning and comfort, both for you and your baby.

Baby carriers can typically be used as soon as your child is born, but they must meet the minimum weight. Make sure you check the weight requirements on all products before purchasing as these can vary. Slings are typically more snug and comfortable for younger and smaller babies, while carriers with a back carrying option can accommodate more weight.

How often will you use it? 

The choice will depend on what you plan to use it for (typical scenarios include day trips, holidays, shopping in town and when moving around the house), how often you will use it, who will be using it, the age and size of your child and how long you’ll need it for.

What are the different types of baby carrier?

1. Stretchy wraps

Age: Best from newborn to around nine months, but can be used with toddlers | Weight: Up to around 35 lbs (11-15 kg)

2. Woven wraps

Age: Newborn to toddler (around three or four years of age) | Weight: Up to 22kg, although some parents can feel the strain at less than that

3. Soft-structured wraps

Age: Newborn (but you may need an insert to pad out the space depending on which carrier you use) to around four years old | Weight: Up to 24kg

4. Mei Tais

Age: Newborn (but best used from six months plus) to four years of age | Weight: Up to 20kg

5. Ring slings or sling pouches

Age range: Newborn to earlier toddlerhood (approximately three years old) | Weight: Up to 15kg

Carriers buyer's guide stretchy wrap

What are the best baby carriers to buy for twins and older children?

If you’re having twins, you'll have the choice between a wrap, soft-structured carrier and a ring sling.

You’ll of course want to consider how easy the product is to use – some parents might find that a ring sling is tricky when handling two babies, or that their chosen baby carrier just isn’t sturdy or secure enough.

You may prefer a structured tandem carrier, which will allow you to carry one baby at the front and one at the back when the twins are sitting up and therefore able to safely go into a back carry.

While there are suggested limits for different types of twin carriers, age and weight ranges will often depend on how much weight you feel you can easily carry.

Types of twin baby carriers

  • Wraps
  • Individual soft-structured carriers
  • Ring slings
  • Soft-structured tandem carriers

How much do baby carriers cost?

Stretchy wraps can be bagged for as little as £15 and some designer branded baby carriers can go for hundreds. How much you are willing to spend really does depend on how much you are going to use it, which type suits you best and what you are going to use it for.

Some parents opt for a baby carrier instead of a buggy or pushchair (at least for the first few months), bypassing the carrycot stage, and they are useful for holidays, days out and everyday home use.

If you are only going to use it for the first few months of your child’s life then a stretchy wrap or sling will be sufficient – if you’re in Scotland, The Baby Box comes with a free baby wrap – but if you're planning on using it for a number of years, the sling or carrier you choose really is worth investing in.

The higher priced soft-structured carriers are a nifty piece of kit and are easy to adapt between wearers following a few tweaks to the straps.

Beware of knock-offs when buying baby carriers as they aren’t safety tested to industry standards and likely won’t hold their resale value. Some brands are sold with certificates to prove that they’re genuine.

You will, however, be able to buy them second-hand and they're safe to use even when pre-used if you want to save a bit of money. But do check straps, buckles and other features work as intended before use.

Correct baby carrier positioning and safety

Research tells us that the most important consideration in carrying babies in slings, wraps and carriers is the position of the legs, spine and head, especially if your baby is a newborn.

It’s vital that you know how to carry your baby comfortably and safely – always opt for the most sturdy, durable and adjustable model. Adjustability is key if there is more than one adult using the baby carrier so that it can be changed to suit the wearer’s size and height.

'M' position

The carrier must allow babies to assume a ‘frog leg’ or 'M' sitting position (straddled around your body) when being carried upright, and the spine to have a natural curve. These are paramount to avoiding hip dysplasia and to ensure proper back support. The crotch piece on carriers should be wide enough so that the baby’s legs are at a 90 degree angle.

Hip dysplasia guidance on baby carriers

Head support and temperature

The headrest will need to support your baby’s head on all three sides to stop it from falling backwards or sideways, especially if your child is a newborn or too young to support their own head, and you will also need to monitor the baby’s temperature when carrying them to make sure they don’t overheat. Adding more layers on top is safer than overdressing your child.

When it comes to material, make sure you choose a product with non-toxic dyes (babies like to chew!) and breathable fabrics that won’t encourage any sort of rash on the skin.


The TICKS rule has been developed as a memorable checklist for safe babywearing:

  • Tight – you baby should be fully secure in the carrier
  • In view – their face should be visible
  • Close enough to kiss – keep your baby high enough on your chest to be able to kiss the top of their head so that you can monitor their breathing and keep them upright
  • Keep chin off the chest – so that the airways are clear and open
  • Supported back – with a natural curve

Safety for the wearer

When it comes yourself, broad straps over each shoulder will offer shoulder and back support as they will help to evenly distribute the weight of your baby.

Carrying your child on your back, especially if they are older, may also be more comfortable if you are out and about for long periods of time.

If you do have back problems or your baby has hip, head or spine concerns, consult your doctor, but you might consider going for for a buggy or travel system instead.

Above all, try different baby carriers to see which one ticks all the safety boxes, get to know your carrier before you use it and practice different carrying positions with someone else if you’re lacking confidence.

Be sure to read the instructions and safety information supplied with your purchase. You could even practice with a teddy bear in front of a mirror before trying to carry your baby in it.

It is always advisable to check the latest safety research and positioning recommendations before purchasing. You can find out what’s safe for your child at the International Hip Dysplasia Institute website and Carrying Matters.

Are forward-facing baby carriers safe?

Many popular slings and carriers allow for a forward-facing, as well as inward-facing, position, but there is some controversy around whether or not the former is safe to use.

Front-facing baby carriers allow a baby to interact with their environment, which is good for development.

However, the forward-facing position forces a baby’s spine to lay flat and their legs to dangle, leaving them in a fixed position for a lengthy period of time, which can cause discomfort or distress. They may also tire quickly due to overstimulation.

If you decide to carry your baby facing outwards, it is only recommended you do so when they are at least six months old (when they can control their head and neck) and only for short periods of time – never while they are sleeping. Make sure that their spine, neck and hips are also properly supported and remember to follow the TICKS guidelines at all times.

To achieve the best of both worlds, opt for a hip carry, parent-facing position that will hold your baby off-centre and allow them to have a better vantage point.

Sling libraries and babywearing consultants

If you are new to baby carriers, it’s definitely worth heading to your local sling library to try a variety of slings, wraps and carriers. Most libraries allow you to borrow them for a week or two, so you can really get to know what you prefer.

Libraries are run by volunteers who are passionate about helping you carry your baby comfortably and safely whether with a new carrier or one you already own. You can also use Sling Pages to find your local library or a babywearing consultant. Some consultants make home visits for a fee.

Useful resources