When you buy a carrier, you want a great value. If you are looking to buy a single carrier, you will want one that is versatile and can carry your child in many different positions. Most of us here at Carry Me Away prefer to have a few different carriers and use different ones for different holding positions – like strollers, it’s hard to have just one baby carrier! But we understand the desire for minimalism and for getting one carrier that can do all the major holding positions, that is, one baby sling that can act as a front carrier, a baby backpack carrier AND a hip carrier.
We strongly suspect that once you make babywearing a part of your life, you will find yourself with at least two carriers (click here for our article on how to choose the Perfect Pair for you!), we completely understand the hope that you’ll be able to buy just one!
So, if you’re looking for one do-it-all baby carrier, here are our recommendations.
Woven wraps are hands down the most versatile baby carrier around. They can be used from birth through toddlerhood (and beyond) and can be tied in any position. Wraps can be used for upright carriers, nursing carries, high back carrier, infant back carries, forward facing carriers and more. They are also numerous ways to tie them within each type of carry so that you can find one that is comfortable. And speaking of versatile, the Wrapsody Stretch Hybrid ranks right up there with woven wraps for a versatile baby carrier – it combines stretch and strength and can be used for any carry out there.
Mei Tais are our second choice if you are looking for a very versatile baby carrier. Mei tais offer a lot of flexibility because they also tie on, so that the mei tai fabric can be tied in a number of different ways. Mei tais can do front carries, back carries and forward-facing carries with ease. Mei tais can also do hip carries, although we prefer the wide shoulder of the Ball Baby Mei Tai over other mei tais for the hip carry.
While many Buckle Carriers promote themselves as versatile baby carriers, they simply are not as comfortable in a wide variety of positions as mei tais and wraps. That being said, buckle carriers are by far the most popular carriers out there and many of them are indeed quite versatile. If you are looking for flexibility in positioning and prefer a buckle carrier, our top choices are the Pikkolo Carrier, the Ergobaby 360 Carrier, and the Beco Gemini Carrier. All three are wonderfully comfortable in the front carry, back carry and forward-facing front carry. We give the Pikkolo the edge for hip carries, as the memory foam padding makes the strap conform more closely to your shoulder.