Soft structured carriers are usually designed with older babies in mind, though some can be adapted for newborns by using extra padding or adjusting the straps. They’re not quite as snuggly as wraps, but they’re faster to put on. Most importantly, carriers with padded straps and waistbands give more support when you’re carrying an older (and heavier) baby.
Two important considerations for all soft structured carriers: 1) Look for a carrier where you can wear the baby high up so you can kiss the top of their head. 2) A wide or adjustable seat helps distribute the baby’s weight and keeps their hips healthy as they grow.
With carriers, though, there are always tradeoffs. No carrier has it all. These are the three main features that parents have to decide about: it can be used from birth without an insert, high weight limit so you can carry a toddler, and forward-facing option for curious babies who want to peer out.
What carrier suits the weather?
Wraps can be a little warm and constricting in hot weather, especially if they’re made of thick fabric. A ring sling in a breathable fabric might be your best option for hot summer months. For carriers, some brands have mesh or cool air options that can also be great for hot months or if you tend to run warm even in the winter.
Will you need to stuff the carrier into a diaper bag?
Wraps are long lengths of fabric that tend to fold small to slip into your diaper bag, while soft structure carriers tend to be too bulky to smoosh into a diaper bag. If you’re on the move a lot, a wrap might be a great option until you upgrade to a soft structured carrier or straight to a stroller.