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If you're in a hurry and just want to find out what the best baby carrier for dad is, I'd recommend the LÍLLÉbaby Complete Baby Carrier.
Modern parenting is all about equality. Why should mom get to have all the fun, after all? While it used to be that most baby gear was designed with a woman in mind, these days, we’re starting to see more and more companies putting out products made for both moms and dads.
Nowadays it’s easy to find baby carriers that are designed to fit a man’s body, including specialty models for taller or bulkier parents. The only problem is, with an influx of new products to choose from, finding the right baby carrier for dad can be overwhelming.
Here, I go over what to look for in a quality carrier and discuss some of the best models available on the market.
Here are the carriers I will be reviewing:
Why Buy A Baby Carrier?
Babies can be heavier than they look. It’s important to remember that you’ll be carrying your newborn for the first few years of its life, and as such, it’s a good idea to think about investing in a quality carrier.
A baby carrier can make travel easier, safer, and more comfortable for both parents and their children. They’re also easier to set up and transport than strollers.
Baby carriers aren’t just about convenience, though. A good carrier can help to prevent the lower back pain and slipped discs that many parents experience thanks to lugging around a growing toddler. Instead of carrying the baby around the stomach area, carriers are designed to place your child higher up on the chest and close to the spine for optimal support.
Keeping your child close to your body is also great for early bonding. Physical contact from caregivers is an important part of healthy development for young children. Carriers offer a great way for dads to spend time with their newborns while still staying active, freeing up their hands to do other things as they transport their toddler.
Different Types of Baby Carriers
When it comes to baby carriers, there's a fairly wide variety of options from which to choose. You can go for safe and simple or look for more high-tech solutions designed to offer the very best in terms of support and comfort. Carriers tend to fall into five main categories.
An increasingly popular style in recent years, wrapping is the most basic and perhaps the oldest form of baby carrying. The practice has its roots in ancient nomadic cultures, and to this day, baby wearing is still the most popular way of transporting babies around. The design consists of a single piece of fabric wrapped around the torso to hold your baby securely in place.
Slings are also made of a single type of fabric, though instead of wrapping around both shoulders, a sling rests over just one. While people traditionally make slings from a single long piece of material, pouch slings are a simplified version made using a ring fabric.
The Mei Tai originated in ancient China, but although it’s been around for centuries, it’s only fairly recently that the design has gained popularity on a global scale. A square or rectangular piece of fabric is attached to four straps that wrap around the shoulders and waist.
Perhaps the best part about the Mei Tai is that it’s highly versatile, functioning as a front, hip, or back carrier as needed.
This style of carrier offers more support than slings and wraps while still being lightweight and easy to use. They most often have adjustable, buckled straps for a comfortable and secure fit. They’re also usually made of a thicker material that provides better protection against the elements.
Carriers with a solid frame build offer the most support, making them ideal for larger babies and older toddlers. They help to keep more of your child’s weight off your back and tend to last longer with heavy use.
What to Look for in a Baby Carrier
No matter what type of carrier you’re looking for, there are a couple of things that you should keep in mind when making your final choice.
First and foremost, it’s important that you look for a carrier that will be comfortable for both you and your baby. You want to find one that will not only fit your frame but also keep weight off your hips and lower back. It’s also a good idea to look for a design that meets the International Hip Dysplasia Institute’s guidelines for providing support for your baby’s legs and hips.
You should look for a carrier that’s not only comfortable for you and your child but also one that’s built to last. You’ll be carrying your child frequently for the first two to three years of their life, so it’s important to look for a model that’s able to withstand the test of time. It’s also a good idea to look for a carrier that can handle some abuse from little hands.
The best materials to look for in a baby carrier are those that are tough yet lightweight. Cotton and cotton blends are a popular choice, as the fabric is soft and breathable. Cotton is best for indoor use, however, as it offers little in the way of insulation or protection. For carriers that you plan on using outdoors, you may want to look for a slightly thicker material such as wool or cashmere.
While it’s not the most important consideration, many dads are wary of carriers with a feminine design to them. Luckily, nowadays most carriers come in a variety of colors and patterns to suit any style, including masculine black and grey tones.
It’s no secret that kids grow fast. By just age two, most toddlers will have quadrupled their birth weight. For this reason, it’s a good idea as a new parent to look for gear that’s adjustable. That way, you won’t have to keep replacing your baby carrier with a larger model.
You may also want to look into options that have adjustable shoulder and waist straps as well to fit your own changing body.
Ease of Use
Wrestling a fussy child into a complicated carrier can be a challenge even for the most experienced parents. Instead of opting for a model that boasts all of the extra bells and whistles, you may find it better to look at simple, user-friendly designs instead.
My Top Baby Carrier Picks For Dad
There are countless baby carriers on the market designed for dads, and not all are created equal.
Here, I’ve laid out my five favorite picks for baby carriers that work for men. While every dad is different, these designs are made to fit the male frame. I believe every option on the list is a great choice, but I also think that there’s one clear winner that stands out from the rest.
Not only is this baby carrier stylish, with a tailored design and almost two dozen color choices, but it’s also comfortable. Its ergonomic design offers support for both you and your baby, with lumbar support and padded straps.
The carrier's seat features adjustable side panels, which widen or narrow as needed so that you can keep your baby's hips at a safe and comfortable angle. You can carry your child in six positions, allowing you to continue using the carrier well into toddlerhood.
As far as I can see, the only real flaw in the LÍLLÉbaby Complete Baby Carrier is the mesh material used to line the inside. While it helps to regulate temperature, it’s a little bit scratchy, especially for babies with sensitive skin.
This ergonomically designed carrier is designed to scale up effortlessly as your baby grows, fitting children ranging from newborns to three years old. Better yet, it fits infants straight from birth without any sort of booster or insert.
The Carrier One allows you to carry your baby in four different positions, including forward-facing, rear-facing, on the back, and a special setup for newborns. Extra-thick shoulder strap padding and a stability belt offer a customizable fit.
The carrier is also comfortable for your baby, with an extra-wide 12-inch seat that's earned it acknowledgment as a hip-healthy baby carrier by International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
The biggest drawback of this carrier is that, while it’s suitable for larger men, it may not fit smaller frames quite as securely. The shoulder strap is not adjustable, making the carrier sit too low on petite individuals.
The versatile design of the Ergobaby Omni 360 all-in-one carrier makes it a great choice for both indoor and outdoor use. Water repellent polyester helps to keep your baby dry in nasty weather, while a cotton liner gently keeps out the cold. A built-in hood with UPF 50+ protection keeps your child’s delicate head safe from the sun.
The Omni 360 is designed to be highly adjustable, fitting children ranging from newborns to four years old, or up to 45 pounds. It can also be adjusted to fit your body, with a lumbar support waist belt that adjusts between 26” and 52", and padded shoulder straps that range from 28” to 46" long.
While the adjustable straps are a nice feature, unfortunately, the design of the carrier isn't exactly user-friendly. It can be tough to make changes and may require the help of a partner.
The Mission Critical is a tactical baby carrier that’s designed specifically for men. It has a relatively simple build that makes it easy to get your child into and out of the carrier without a fuss. A removable, washable liner also makes cleaning easy.
A multi-pocket interior offers plenty of storage for all of the essentials that both you and your baby might need during a day out. The design also boasts fully customizable modular attachments for even more storage and a built-in sun shield for UV protection.
The only issue that dads seem to have with the Mission Critical carrier is the lack of support it offers for both parent and child. While the design is durable and versatile, it can lead to pain around the waist and lower back for parents and may cause hip discomfort in infants and toddlers.
This wrap is made to appeal to parents on the go, with a design revolving around an active lifestyle. A patented double-loop design makes the carrier easy to use simply by slipping it on and off. The Baby K'tan is also sized much like regular clothing, making it easy for dads to select the correct model for their body type.
The Baby K’tan is made of 100% polyester sports performance mesh, which is breathable, offers temperature control, and quickly wicks away moisture. This makes it ideal for parents with an active lifestyle who are concerned about their baby overheating during outings.
While this wrap's design centers around ease-of-use, it doesn't seem to consider support as much as other models. The stretchy material of the Baby K'tan doesn't hold infants and small toddlers as securely as more structured carriers.
As a dad, it’s just as important that you spend time bonding with your baby as your partner. Baby carriers offer a great way to get in some physical contact with your child without tying up your hands.
Better yet, it’s getting easier and easier to find carriers that are designed with the male body in mind. In my opinion, the LÍLLÉbaby Complete Baby Carrier is the best baby carrier for dads thanks to its versatility, durability, and overall quality.