THE RIGHT BABY CARRIER FOR HEALTHY HIPS

 
Picking the right baby carrier can be really overwhelming. There are so many options out there, they can be complicated to use, and some of them are so expensive!
 
Even as a physical therapist, I know I was overwhelmed by all of the options available with my daughter. Not to mention, I was concerned about using a baby carrier while healing from a c-section. I was also worried about picking the right baby carrier once my daughter was diagnosed with hip dysplagia.
 
Well I hope that I can take some of the worry and chaos out of your process of picking the right baby carrier by sharing my own experience. I can also put my physical therapist stamp of approval on all of the carriers I mention below!
 
This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Please see my full disclosure for further information. 
 
 
 

BABY CARRIER CONSIDERATIONS

1. Hip Health
One major concern when using baby carriers is whether or not the carrier will support your baby’s hips in a healthy position. Infants have very malleable joints and their hips are still developing after birth.
 
You will want to make sure that the carrier you choose is supporting not only the pelvis but also a good portion of your baby’s thighs. This thigh support should keep your baby’s lower body in an ideal “frog leg” or “M” position that will support normal hip development.
 
A carrier that allows your baby’s legs to hang straight down should be avoided. Especially if you plan to baby wear and use carriers for several hours out of the day, this leg position is very detrimental to hip development.
 
For more information on healthy hip development and infant hip dysplasia, please check out this post!
Everything You Need to Know about Infant Hip Dysplasia 
 
2. Comfort and Support 
Whatever carrier you do choose, you will want to make sure it is comfortable and supportive. If it is not comfortable, you won’t use it, and if it is not supportive, you run the risk of injury.
 
As women, our bodies go through so many changes with pregnancy and postpartum. One of them being core weakness from decreased activity, connective tissue changes from hormonal shifts, diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles), injury during childbirth, and/or cesarean section.
 
You could potentially injure your shoulders, back or pelvis if using an unsupportive baby carrier when also experiencing core weakness. If you experience any soreness in these areas after using a baby carrier, you may want to re-assess the supportiveness of the carrier.
 
In some cases, you may be able to adjust the carrier for better support. Often using a carrier that keeps your baby secured closely to your body with provide increased support.
 
Preventing injury and discomfort is also much easier when using a carrier that disperses your baby’s weight through different areas of YOUR core. For example, a carrier that transfers some of baby’s weight through your shoulders and some weight through your lower back, will minimize the amount of strain put on one area.
 
Be especially careful if you are recovering from a c-section. Make sure you have been cleared by your doctor to use a baby carrier and/or baby wear, before you do so.
 
3. Is it Easy to Put On and Take Off? 
As a mom of an infant or toddler, you are busy! It already feels like an miracle to get out the door, so lets not make it any more challenging with the baby carrier selection!
 
It can be a little bit of a learning curve to get the baby carrier application down pat, but otherwise it should be easy and efficient to get a baby carrier on and off. If you are home alone with your baby, also make sure you can get it on and off without help!
 
4. Is it Age-Appropriate? 
Make sure that the carrier you select is safe and appropriate for the age and weight of your baby. A lot of carriers have weight limits, and this is not only for your baby’s safety but also for your safety.
 
You will also want to make sure you pick a carrier that offers the proper amount of support to your baby, based on his age. Young infants without head control will need a carrier that is inward facing and has head support.
 
5. Versatility 
It can be painful to shell out a couple hundred bucks for a baby carrier, but if the carrier will last a long time and can be worn in several different ways, it might be worth it. If you want to buy one baby carrier that can be used for infancy through toddlerhood, you will want to pick a carrier that can be adapted to you and your baby over time.
 
Also, if you plan to baby wear at all, it may be beneficial to have a carrier that can be worn in different ways, depending on the activity. For example, it is nice to have the option of carrying an older infant/toddler on your back when cooking at the stove or out in the garden.

RECOMMENDED CARRIERS

So now, with all of these considerations in mind, here are my favorite baby carriers! I recommended these carriers both as a mom and as a physical therapist.

1. My favorite Newborn Carrier: 

Wrap Carrier All-in-1 Stretchy Baby Wraps 

 
I used this carrier for my daughter when she was a newborn (~1-4 months).
Pros of this Carrier: 
Supportive for baby
As long as it is worn correctly, this carrier holds your baby in that ideal frog leg position. It is also great for newborns with little to no head control.
Supportive and comfortable for mom
I was definitely weak from my c-section and diastasis recti. This carrier held my newborn daughter close to my body and dispersed her weight evenly throughout my shoulders and back with wide, comfortable sections of fabric.
Affordability
On amazon, this carrier is about 25 dollars, which can feel much more manageable than some of these 100-200 dollar baby carriers.
You can wear it all day
With a young infant, I put this carrier on first thing in the morning and wore it all day. Once it was on, I could transition my daughter in and out of it as needed and I could also easily access the snap of my nursing tank to feed her either in or out of the carrier.
Cons of this Carrier:
Ease of application
This carrier definitely took a few attempts to learn the right technique and to get it tight enough. I did however become quite efficient at putting this baby carrier on, over time.
Not enough support for older baby
I got a lot of use out of this carrier early on, but I personally did not find that this carrier was supportive enough for me or my daughter once she was an older infant. That said, the carrier is technically made for babies up to 35 pounds.

 

2. My Favorite Older Infant Carrier

BABYBJORN Baby Carrier

I used this carrier for my daughter when she was an older infant (~4-12 months).
 
Pros of this Carrier:
Ease of application
This carrier is SOOO easy to put on and take off. If my daughter would fall asleep on a walk while facing out, I could easily turn her around to face in, and lift up the head support in less than a minute.
Healthy hip support
Healthy hip support is a non-negotiable for me, and this was especially important given my daughter’s hip dysplagia.
Supportive and comfortable for mom
Until my daughter got older (and heavier) I could wear this carrier for an hour plus without any back or shoulder discomfort. It is also streamline enough to keep you and baby from getting too hot on summer days.
Cons of this Carrier:
Affordability
Brand new on amazon, this carrier is over 100 dollars, which can feel like a lot on top of all the other 5 million baby things a new mom needs. I will say though, that for me, it was worth the price with how much I used it.
Not supportive enough for newborn
I personally did not find this carrier provided enough head support with my newborn. It did prevent her head from whipping backwards, but her head still flopped to the side when I moved around. Even though I did not like this carrier for my newborn, it is technique designed for 0-12 months of age.
 

 

3. My Favorite Toddler Carrier 

LÍLLÉbaby Baby Carrier

 

 
This is the carrier I use for my toddler daughter (~12 months-present).
Pros of this Carrier: 
Versatility
This carrier can be worn 6 different ways and is for babies and children up to 45 pounds!
Support and comfort for mom
This is by far the most supportive and comfortable carrier I have ever worn, especially as my daughter grows and gets heavier. It nicely disperses the weight through the shoulders, mid-back and lower back. The straps do not dig in and it has a built-in lumbar support feature.
Healthy hip support
Again, I would recommend to only ever use baby carriers that provide healthy hip support.
Cons of this Carrier: 
Ease of Application
Even though I love this carrier and use it often, I still find it difficult to put on. Maybe it is my lack of shoulder flexibility, but I have the hardest time getting the mid-back strap connected.
That said, I do not really put on/take off this carrier many times a day since I mostly use it for long walks or hikes with my toddler daughter. I let her walk on her own when we go out in the yard or on shorter walks around the block.
Affordability
This carrier is close to 100 dollars in price. Again, I continue to use this carrier enough that it is totally worth it to me, but 100 dollars is still a good chuck of change. 
Breathability
There is a definite trade off with the heavy duty nature and supportive features of this carrier. This carrier is HOT. During the cooler months of the year, this carrier is perfectly fine, but I won’t be caught dead wearing it in 80 plus degree weather!
All in all, I love all of these baby carriers and stand by them as a mom and as a physical therapist. In my opinion, each carrier definitely has its own strengths and weaknesses!
I gave you my two cents, but definitely assess your own needs and values when deciding what baby carrier is right for you and your baby. Also, don’t be surprised if those needs and values change as you go, and as your baby grows!
Related Posts:
Everything You Need to Know about Infant Hip Dysplasia 
8 Ways to Prevent Neck and Back Pain from Breastfeeding 
10 Tummy Time Ideas for Babies that HATE Tummy Time

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