- Comfort first.
Every parent and every baby are different, so make sure the baby carrier is a good fit for your unique size and body type. The baby carrier should adjust to the length of your body and feel comfortable on your shoulders. Your baby should be snugly supported but not squeezed too tightly.
- Wash and wear.
If you use a baby carrier for any period of time, it's going to get dirty. High-quality fabrics should withstand several washings without any fraying, shrinking or performance problems. Make sure the baby carrier is double-stitched and reinforced wherever the straps meet the body.
- Strength matters.
You should feel confident the baby carrier can support the weight of your baby. Check buckles or latches to ensure they close firmly and feel snug and secure. Make sure you review the baby carrier's maximum weight, so you choose one that is right for your baby.
- Keep it simple.
A baby carrier that's confusing or difficult to put on or remove isn't going to get a lot of use. Try it out in the store. Does it feel intuitive to you? Can you easily get your baby into and out of the baby carrier without any help?
- How's your back?
Baby carriers put weight on your back and shoulders. Make sure the baby carrier you choose feels comfortable to you. Are there padded straps to ease pressure on your shoulders? Do you feel like you need back support? Are the straps adjustable, so they'll neither cut into your shoulders nor slip off?
Make sure the leg holes feel roomy enough to keep circulation flowing through your baby's limbs and to avoid compressing soft, developing hip joints. On the other hand, a baby carrier's leg holes should offer enough security to keep your baby safe.
- Heads up.
For the first few months of a baby's life, adequate head support is crucial. You'll want to be sure to choose a baby carrier with enough coverage. When neck muscles and head control are strong and steady, around 6 months of age, then head support should be removable or fold down easily.
- Coming or going?
Which way would you like your baby to face? Front-facing styles, backpack styles and side carriers all have different benefits. Try out a couple of positions and see what feels good to you. Some baby carriers can be configured to a number of positions, but they are often more complicated than one- or two-position baby carriers.