Becoming a first time parent doesn’t mean you have to give up your love for travel. It just means you have to make adjustments. In fact, there’s a joy in being able to share your love for it with your child. Even very young infants can be completely comfortable while joining you on city strolls, nature walks and airport layovers. So how do you take your baby along with you without needing an extra pair of hands? By getting yourself the best baby carrier for travel.
Proponents of the attachment parenting philosophy have always loved babywearing to help create a strong parent-child bond. It is the practice of carrying your baby against your body using a soft or structured accessory while keeping your hands free. Babywearing helps parents bond with their infant and babies in turn benefit from the comfort and assurance of human contact.
Not only is a baby carrier great for day to day use, it’s almost an essential travel accessory for parents of babies and toddlers. The best baby carrier for traveling will allow you to juggle your bags at the airport or train station, calm your infant down in a plane and even enjoy new sights at your destination.
These are the requirements for travel that you should specifically look out for beyond the ones that are necessary for day to day use:
Best Hardside Luggage with a Front Pocket
Table of Contents
- 1 Best Hardside Luggage with a Front Pocket
- 2 What are the Different Types of Baby Carriers and What are the Best Travel Baby Carriers?
- 3 Best Baby Carrier for a Plus Size Mom
- 4 Best Baby Carrier for Tall Parents
- 5 Baby Carrier for a Petite Mum
- 6 Best Baby Carrier for Hot Weather
- 7 Best Baby Carrier for the Beach
- 8 Best Baby Carrier for Back Pain
- 9 Best Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding
- 10 FAQs
What are the Different Types of Baby Carriers and What are the Best Travel Baby Carriers?
There are basically 5 different types of baby carriers and they all have their advantages and disadvantages so a lot comes down to the individual wearer, age of child and style of travel.
This type of carrier is the simplest kind you can get and extremely packable in a diaper bag or carry on. It’s one long piece of fabric that you wrap around your shoulders, chest and waist and securely tie the ends while creating a pouch seat for your baby to rest in. It’s a comfy and snug way to wear your baby and there are a few different ways to wrap and tie the wrap around.
There are no rings or buckles to dig into you, so you can wear it standing up or sitting down. They are generally made of natural and breathable woven fabrics, like cotton, linen or wool and some are even stretchy, like knit jersey. You can get one in a neutral color or a stylish print.
It is very versatile, as you can adjust it to fit your body type, but it’s best to be worn on your front or hip with the baby inward facing. You and your partner can take turns with it as well.
It is a great carrier for very young babies, as their legs can bend naturally inside the pouch that’s formed. With some tying adjustments, you can continue using it as the baby grows with its thighs supported while its legs are left free. However, it is designed so that the baby is held very close to you, so as he or she gets older it will probably feel a bit too constricting.
Because a wrap is more fabric tied around you, it may feel too warm in hot weather, especially for small women because you’ll need to wrap more around you in order to prevent the ends dragging on the ground. In this case, choose a wrap that’s made of woven gauzy cotton or one that’s not too long.
This type of carrier is the most complicated to wear in the beginning, as it takes practice to get the method right and adjust it properly. However, once you’ve used it enough, it won’t take much time at all to wear your baby.
Boba Wrap Baby Carrier – Original Stretchy Infant Sling
If you want the most comfortable and lightweight carrier option with infinite ways to adjust it to you or your partner, then the original Boba Wrap Baby Carrier is the one for you. Made from 95% soft natural cotton and 5% spandex, it is super stretchy but very strong, so it won’t sag as your baby grows from newborn to 35 lbs. It is 5.5 yards long.
It’s a one-size-fits-all wrap that parents of all sizes can use at home or while traveling and you can adjust the fit to whatever feels most comfortable. You’ll also receive tying instructions that are simple to follow and you’ll be an expert at it in no time.
Your baby can be worn in the front or at your hip but must be inward facing.
This wrap is machine washable and dries fast.
Best baby carrier for airplane travel: Airplanes can be a bit cold so your own body warmth would be most comforting to a young baby. Wearing this baby carrier on a plane will keep your little one nice and warm and cozy and you can breastfeed easily in your seat without needing to adjust anything first.
When going through airport security, you won’t be asked to remove it or the baby. Instead you just allow a hand swab to be taken. Therefore, you can even tie this wrap at home, make it to the airport and onto the plane all while having your hands free to handle luggage and your travel documents.
Baby K’tan Print Baby Wrap Carrier
If you like the idea of a wrap but don’t want to deal with tying it or handling extra fabric, then get the Baby K’tan Print Baby Wrap Carrier. This wrap comes in various sizes to fit you, from sizes XXS to XL (match it to your pre-pregnancy dress size or the father’s jacket size), so you can just slip it on and start using it as soon as you get it. There’s no extra fabric to wrap around you to make you sweaty.
The patented double loop design ensures your baby’s safety and you can wear it like a sling for a newborn or while breastfeeding, or keep your baby upright with the wrap itself supporting its head. The jersey knit is 100% natural cotton fabric that’s slightly stretchy, lightweight, machine washable and dryer friendly. It packs very easily too!
It is designed for babies from newborns to 35 lbs. It comes with a matching carrying bag that converts into a sash that you need to tie around your waist for proper support while carrying your baby in certain positions.
It is great to use while wearing your baby through airport security as there is no metal ring or buckle on it.
Because this is not an adjustable wrap, unless your partner is about the same size and build as you, you won’t be able to share it.
Similar to a wrap but easier and faster to put on once you get the hang of it, a ring sling is also a long piece of fabric but has two large rings attached near one end it. You wear it over one shoulder and across your front to form a pouch for your baby in front of your opposite hip. To secure the wrap, the free end of the fabric threads through one ring and tied around the other ring. Tuck the ends in to prevent them from dragging or getting caught in something.
Unlike some wrap carriers, an over the shoulder baby holder is not stretchy and is made of cotton or linen. You can also find a few in luxury bamboo fabric that make great gifts for soon-to-be moms who love to travel.
Ring slings are very easy to wear and adjust so that you can carry your baby in the most comfortable way – from your front to the side at your hip. Your partner can easily take over from you without wasting time tying it and can adjust the fit to his frame too.
This is a very good carrier for babies under 6 months and makes it easy to take a break sightseeing and stopping to breastfeed by providing support and a bit of privacy by untucking the free ends to act as a shield. Since you don’t wrap fabric around you, it’s better than a wrap for hot weather and doesn’t feel constricting at all.
The disadvantage of this type of carrier is that it’s not designed for wearing your baby for extra long periods of time, as it is worn over only one shoulder. If you feel the strain in that shoulder, you can switch and adjust it to wear over the other shoulder. However, for more than a couple hours of walking with a heavier baby, this is not the most ergonomic option.
Hip Baby Wrap Ring Sling Baby Carrier
The Hip Baby Wrap Ring Sling Baby Carrier is the most popular of this type of carrier and for good reason. Parents of any size can carry babies from 8 to 35 lbs in weight in the sleeping or upright position and in front or by the hip. The design also allows for easy nursing. Fans say that it is very comfortable to use even for walking at least two hours at a stretch.
The first thing to do is check out instructions or videos to see how to wear your baby in different ways but once you know how, it is very easy to quickly wear and adjust the sling. The large rings are made of strong aluminium and the fabric is made of 100% organic cotton that is individually handwoven with eco-friendly non- toxic dyes. It does not stretch and is strong and sturdy and great for hot summers. It may feel stiff in the beginning but will get softer after a few washes. This sling is 78″ long.
You can throw the sling in the machine to wash and just a few minutes in the dryer is enough.
Nalakai Luxury Ring Sling Baby Carrier
If you want a really soft alternative, the Nalakai Luxury Ring Sling Baby Carrier is the one for you. It’s made of all natural bamboo and linen so it’s the best woven wrap for hot weather. It is extra long at 85 inches, so it’s a good baby carrier for plus size parents and the leftover tail can be used for privacy when nursing or tucked in when not needed.
The soft fabric easily glides through the premium un-welded aluminum rings when you want to adjust it. The ringless end of the sling has a good sized pocket where you can store a snack or baby napkins for easy reach.
Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) or Buckle Carrier
The most popular type of carrier is the soft structured carrier. It can be used to wear your baby in front of you or on your back and comes with padded shoulder straps and a waistband that you fasten with the help of buckles. They’re very easy to put on and take off.
It provides the baby with a seat in a pouch that supports the hips and thighs as the legs are held free outside on either side of your torso. This seat should be nice and wide to keep the knees well apart and at right angles so that the legs don’t dangle straight down but are spread out. This helps to promote healthy hip development and prevent hip dysplasia.
SSCs evenly distribute baby’s weight evenly across your body and all straps are usually easily adjustable for fit and well padded, so many parents say they’re the best baby carriers for traveling. Some are even designed to be used by adults with a range of body types.
Traditionally, SSCs are best for babies more than 4-5 months of age and once they have head control but you can purchase a separate baby insert for the early months and remove it once your baby has head control. However, newer models are being designed to start from newborns without the need for a separate insert. If you’re traveling with a newborn we suggest that you pick one of these because an insert in the carrier can make it a bit bulky and hot for the baby.
Many SSCs can be worn on the front or back and used for rear facing as well as front facing carry so your child can enjoy some of the sights more easily!
LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Six-Position 360° Ergonomic Baby and Child Carrier
The LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Six-Position Baby Carrier is probably the most versatile soft-structured carrier so it’s no wonder it’s so popular. It also won an award for most comfortable carrier as it is probably the best front facing baby carrier.
You can use it for a newborn without a need for a baby insert and you can continue from there right up to when your toddler reaches 45 lbs. You can wear your baby in 6 positions- the fetal ‘M’, inward facing on the front, outward facing on the front, inward facing with a wider hip seat for an older toddler, on one hip, and front facing on your back.
You can take this carrier with you to any destination. The exterior is made of 100% cotton and the inner lining is 3D mesh. In colder weather the front panel is zipped up to make a snug cocoon. In hot weather, you unzip this panel and roll it up underneath and out of the way. The inner mesh lining helps with air circulation. While it’s great for travel, if you want to use it at home, some customers have said that you can’t put your baby in wearing only a diaper as this mesh is rough on the babies skin if in direct contact. For those times, you can solve the problem by using a pillowcase as a lining before wearing your baby. Or you can instead choose the LÍLLÉbaby Complete Organi-Touch instead, as the lining is made of 100% organic cotton sateen. However, this one does not have the zip away panel for air flow.
The side panels can be adjusted as your baby grows to ensure that the seat can be widened for proper hip and thigh support. A top foldable panel creates a good headrest for newborns and when your older baby is sleeping and needs head support. When your baby is older or awake, the panel can be folded down. There’s a zippered pocket for convenient storage.
The shoulder straps are nicely padded and the waist belt is soft and comes with lumbar support to prevent backaches even during long walks and hiking. The multiple ways to adjust the straps and belt means that both tall and petite and thin and plus sized parents can use it. The waist belt goes up to 52″ but if you need more than that, you can buy the extender as an extra. The adjustments on the shoulder straps also allow you to breastfeed.
It is recommended to use the back carry option only once the baby is at least 6 months old. The best way to wear it like this is to start in the front carry position with your baby inside and then swivel it to the back.
Ergobaby Omni 360 All Carry Positions Baby Carrier with Cool Air Mesh
The Ergobaby Omni 360 is very similar to the Lillebaby Complete except there’s no fabric panel for the body and you have a soft breathable mesh panel instead that’s ideal for summer.
You can wear your baby in every position possible, including newborn front carry, inward-facing front carry, forward-facing front carry, side hip carry and forward-facing back carry. There’s a slider adjustment that allows you to quickly switch baby to face in or out on the fly and you can easily do it one handed.
It works for babies from 7 lbs to 45 lbs and there’s no need for an insert for newborns, as there are adjustable panels at the bottom of the seat to raise your baby higher when very young. There’s a neck support pillow for this stage as well. The UPF50 hood to protect from sun, wind and prying eyes when nursing is especially helpful.
This carrier is great for those with back pain, as it comes with a padded lumbar support waist belt and extra padded shoulder straps that you can wear in 2 ways – straight like a backpack or crossed for a tighter fit. Petite women with narrow shoulders will find this option best. The waist belt can be worn high or low to maximize comfort and extends upto 55″. However, some petite women with short torsos have said that the carrier is too tall for them, while most dads find this one perfect.
There’s also a detachable zippered pouch for your phone, keys, wallet and even a diaper. This pouch can be attached on the lower front panel, the waist belt or any other wearable point on the carrier.
Boba Baby Carrier Classic 4Gs
For a more streamlined SSC option look at the Boba Baby Carrier Classic 4Gs. It only supports 3 carry positions – the newborn frog position, front and inward facing, and back carry front facing, but babies from 7 to 45 lbs can be worn in it and is a more budget friendly option than the Lillebaby Complete.
This 100% cotton canvas carrier comes with some useful design extras, like a detachable infant insert in two configurations if you feel like the carrier on its own is too roomy to hold a very small baby. This can be used for up to 15 lbs and does not make the carrier too hot for baby in summer. There is also a detachable hood for head support and it doubles up as a sun shade.
There are two pockets to carry some necessary things that you might need within easy access. One is a zippered pocket on the waist belt and the other is a zippered hood pocket. There’s a purse strap holder to keep your handbag or diaper bag firmly around your shoulder.
Parents of a range of sizes and heights can wear this carrier as you have lots of adjustability options. It is designed to comfortably fit parents from 5’0″ to 6’3″ in height and 25″ to 58″ in the waist. If that’s not enough, you also get free extender waist and chest straps! The shoulder straps can be adjusted between 20″ and 40″. There’s a unique quick release buckle for easy breastfeeding.
As you can see, the simple streamlined design with few frills for multiple carry positions makes it a great choice for summer travel. You can just throw it in the machine if it needs a wash.
Baby Tula Explore Baby Carrier
Another very versatile SSC is the Baby Tula Explore Baby Carrier. It is designed for babies from 7 to 45 lbs without the need for an insert for newborns. The standard Tula doesn’t allow for forward facing in the front carry position, but this one does. Wear your baby in the inward facing froggy newborn position, the inward-facing front carry, the forward-facing front carry and the front-facing back carry position. Switching from inward to outward facing and vice versa is quite easy and can be done one-handed.
The body panel can be adjusted to 3 different widths to keep a sturdy but comfortable hold on your baby as he grows from newborn to toddler. The entire carrier is made from 100% cotton.
There’s an adjustable padded neck support and pillow for babies who don’t yet have head control and padded leg openings for added comfort if you wear your baby for long periods of time. There’s also a removable hood for sun and wind protection and can serve as a privacy shield while nursing. The padded waist band holds a zippered pocket.
The waistband is adjustable from size 27″ to 57″ (the most among all the SSCs here) and the dual padded shoulder straps are very easy to adjust while wearing your baby. They can be adjusted for length from both the top as well as bottom and people of two different heights can swap wearing it easily. However, there are reports from very petite moms saying that the shoulder straps are set a bit too wide for them even when the chest strap is tightened all the way.
LÍLLÉbaby CarryOn Airflow 3-in-1 Ergonomic Toddler & Child Carrier
If you’re not traveling with a newborn and only looking for the best toddler carrier up to 60 pounds, the LÍLLÉbaby CarryOn Airflow 3-in-1 Ergonomic Toddler Carrier is what you want.
When taking long walks or hikes, many growing toddlers like to use their own legs a lot but can get tired fast. Instead of being stuck with a stroller that you use only part of the time, a toddler carrier like the Lillebaby CarryOn can step in when needed.
It is designed for babies between 20 lbs and 60 lbs, as the torso is wider and taller than the above carriers. It comes with adjustable side panels to make seat just the right size for your toddler. You can carry him in one of three ways – front carry, side hip carry or back carry.
This pick for best toddler carrier for travel is machine washable and made of 3D mesh to allow for good air circulation to keep your kid cool even in the heat. The padded shoulder straps are two-way adjustable and can be worn crossed at the back when you carry your toddler in the front. The waist belt comes with lumbar support. For plus size moms and dads, the waist belt by itself is 54″ long and the extender can add an additional 9 inches if needed.
There is adjustable neck support for comfortable naps and a detachable or tuckable hood for wind and sun protection. There are two storage pockets available too.
Meh Dai or Mei Tai Carrier
A Meh Dai is very similar to an SSC, but instead of buckled straps, you have tie straps and it gives you the feel of a wrap without the excess fabric. Before SSCs were invented, Mei Tais were the traditional form of baby carrier.
This type of carrier is more adjustable for different adult body types as you can tie the straps after adjusting their lengths to suit you. You do have to learn how to tie them properly for the most ergonomic carry, but it’s not as difficult to do as wraps, as the pouch part of the carrier doesn’t need to be made by wrapping.
Meh Dais are commonly found in beautiful colors and prints and they can be used for a long time as your baby grows. Pick one with shoulder padding if you’re going to use it for traveling.
Infantino Sash Wrap and Tie Baby Carrier
While an SSC is probably the most convenient type of travel baby carrier, some parents may not find all the buckles and bulky straps very comfortable for long days out and a wrap can feel too constricting. The Infantino Sash Wrap and Tie Baby Carrier is designed as an in between alternative.
The carrier is made of 100% cotton, while the detachable sun and wind hood is made of 80% polyester and 20% cotton. Everything is machine washable. You can carry children between 8 and 36 pounds on your front while facing inwards, on your back while facing forwards, and on your hip facing inwards.
You tie this carrier to you and around the baby using the wide straps. The extra wide ones for the shoulders are well padded and the method of tying even provides lumbar support. You can even position the waistband higher on your torso to position your baby correctly depending on her size and head control or if you need to breastfeed. The ties are quite long so as to accommodate plus size and tall parents, but petite parents just need to do a second wrap around and it’ll fit just as well. This is a great carrier when switching between short and tall parents traveling together.
There are instructions to help you master the various methods of wearing this carrier and they’re easy enough to do by yourself except when wearing it on your back. For this method you will need someone to help you wear your baby while you tie the carrier.
There is no storage pocket on this carrier.
Backpack Carrier or Framed Carrier
This is a carrier with a rigid frame and made only for carrying your baby on your back via well padded and adjustable shoulder straps, waist strap and even chest strap for the most comfortable and ergonomic experience. It is best for toddlers over 6 months old who have complete head control and can sit independently.
It’s the best type of back carrier for an older child for nature walks and hiking, as carrying an older toddler on your front for long periods of time without a sturdy frame puts more strain on your back. Even an SSC worn on the back can start to feel too warm after a short time of uphill walking and hiking. A framed carrier gives your baby more wriggle room and the ability to see around him better. Many come with a canopy for shade and they’re pretty comfortable for the toddler in hot weather.
Unless you plan to do a some hiking or long walks, we don’t recommend traveling with this type of carrier, as they’re heavier than all the others and not too compact for transporting along with the rest of your luggage. This is also more popular with dads or tall and strong moms, as you have to wear your baby in addition to the carrier and may give you a sore back or shoulders after a while.
Most backpack baby carriers come with convenient pockets for storing things like wipes, water bottle or juice box, etc. When you need to take a small break or just set the carrier down, there will be a fold out stand to use.
ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Backpack Hiking Child Carrier
Weighing just 5.5 lbs on its own, the ClevrPlus Cross Country Baby Backpack Carrier is very sturdy and comfortable for both adult to wear and baby to sit in for some short hikes. It is highly rated for occasional short hikes use and is good for medium to large built men and women. This is our pick for best budget back carrier for a toddler. If you’re planning on using a child backpack carrier frequently and for long hikes, then pick a more expensive one from our recommendation below as those are built for long distance hikers.
It can be used for children between 9 and 48 months or a maximum of 33 lbs, as the seat is adjustable to fit your child’s height. Your child is positioned nice and high in this one, which allows him to enjoy his surroundings as you go.
The rain and sun canopy helps keep your child protected from all weather conditions but can be either detached or folded out of the way when not needed. There are safety belts and foot stirrups to secure your baby in an ergonomic and comfortable position even when he falls asleep. There’s even a soft washable drool pad for your baby to rest their face on.
The adjustable shoulder straps and hip belt are well padded while keeping you cool at the same time. Including the straps, the maximum waist belt strap size is 50″. There is no need to carry another bag for your hike, as there are enough large storage compartments to hold everything you and your child will need for those few hours. Pack a baby changing pad, diapers, 2 water bottles, change of clothes, your keys, snacks and more.
The metal frame is foldable and lies flat for storage as well as for checking along with the rest of your luggage. When you’re in the middle of your hike and want to stop for a break or picnic by a lake, this carrier has a kickstand that you expand to set it down on the ground or on a table.
Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier Backpack
For longer hikes, consider a child backpack carrier that has a few more design elements geared towards comfort for the person wearing it. These will cost more but will pay off in the long term for avid nature walkers and hikers. The Thule Sapling Elite Child Carrier Backpack is one such option. It is made of a mix of Cordura Nylon and 420D Nylon.
It has a fully adjustable back panel and hip belt to create a perfect fit to the contours of your back. There are load stabilizer straps that you can adjust on the go to pull the backpack closer to you for carrying comfort, just like many good travel backpacks. This helps to fine tune your center of gravity. When you need to swap carrying duties, transition between parents is quick and easy with simple fit adjustments.
There are great storage options on this carrier – mesh pockets, a hydration reservoir sleeve, a large zippered compartment for storing clothes, water, diapers, rain gear, etc., and a removable daypack that attaches via two large buckles on top and two smaller ones on the bottom. The hip belt features two quick access pockets for toys and snacks within easy reach.
The comfy child seat is height adjustable and provides inner thigh support, while the foot stirrups provide a resting place for the feet when needed. You can deploy the sunshade for your child when it’s needed but it’s not the most sturdy so it’s best not to try to fiddle with it too much during a hike. You can place your child in the carrier either from the top or from the side. In fact, the “side door” lets your child get in and out by himself if he’s old enough.
Your child must be able to sit upright without assistance and weigh a minimum of 16 lbs. The total weight capacity including your child and gear is 48 lbs.
The two leg kickstand on the rear is great for setting the pack down anytime during your hike and let your child stay inside. It is independent from any storage area so you can close it at any time.
Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier
The best baby backpack carrier with lots of storage is the Osprey Poco Plus Child Carrier.
The sunshade is easy to deploy and detach and provides UPF50 sun protection. The cushy child seat features an easy to use child harness and removable and adjustable foot stirrups so your child will remain stable and won’t throw you off balance. There’s a removable and washable drool pad too. The kickstand is not the easiest to open and close but it is stable for setting the carrier down even with your child in it.
The hipbelt is easily adjusted to fit on the fly. Parents of differing heights can adjust the torso for a range of up to 6″. The AirSpeed suspension distributes the weight evenly off your back and shoulders and more onto your hips, which enhances carrying comfort and ventilation.
There’s plenty of storage on this carrier. You get several mesh pockets, zippered hipbelt pockets, a large front panel compartment, a lower zippered compartment and an external hydration sleeve that can hold a 1.5L reservoir.
Your child should be a minimum weight of 16 lbs for use, while the maximum weight including child and gear is 48.5 lbs. Note that the back rest of the carrier is not very tall so bigger children may only get lower head support and may not find it comfortable enough to take a nap.
Deuter Kid Comfort Pro – Child Carrier Backpack
This is a slightly less expensive option but very well designed for comfort for both the adult and the baby. The Deuter Kid Comfort is great for medium to tall build parents going on long hikes. It is slightly lighter than the Thule Sapling Elite and Osprey Poco Plus and is probably the best child carrier backpack out there.
It is designed for 15-21″ torsos that you can precisely adjust for using the VariSlide system. This makes swapping the carrier between mom and dad fast and simple. For further customization, the load adjustment straps with silky smooth gliding buckles provide the final adjustment.
The energy efficient Variflex hipbelt ergonomic load distribution system is also easily adjustable and removes stress from the back and shoulders. The flexible spring steel frame provides stable tension and allows the child carrier to fit securely while leaving the wearer’s back fully ventilated through the Aircomfort Sensic Vario mesh back system and padded perforated shoulder straps.
Your child can enter and exit the carrier on his own through the step-in side access. The easy to use harness system with color coded buckles is easy to use. The seat is height-adjustable and so are the foot rests. The integrated head rest is nice and tall and the pillowy chin pad wraps around for complete support of your child’s head. The chin wrap is machine washable too! The foldable sun hood that goes into a zippered pocket on top.
For storage you get large external stretch pockets, a zippered bottom compartment, 2 zippered hipbelt pockets and an integrated key holder. It is also hydration compatible for a 3L bladder. Since the Deuter Kid Comfort does not come with as much storage, if you need to take lots of things with you on a hike, this may not be the best option unless you’re traveling with a partner for that.
Best Baby Carrier for a Plus Size Mom
You shouldn’t have to settle with an uncomfortable fit if you’re a plus size mom or dad. These days there are excellent baby carriers made to adjust comfortably to all body types and ensure that both you and your baby are comfortable and safe at all times while traveling.
Ring slings are universally popular among plus size parents so our two ring sling recommendations should be considered.
Best baby wrap for plus size moms:
Best soft structured carriers for traveling plus size parents:
Framed backpack child carriers are designed to be swapped between parents to share the child carrying load with adjustable hip belts, so any of our above picks are fine.
Best Baby Carrier for Tall Parents
When looking for the best baby carrier for dad or anyone that’s pretty tall, the rule of having your babies head just where you can kiss the top of it can be hard to follow with some carriers. If you wear your baby too low, that’s a recipe for a backache.
However, the following SSCs and backpack carriers either have ways to adjust the waist belt so as to carry your baby higher up or have inbuilt inserts to lift baby up a bit. We also pick the only wrap that’s sized for specific body types and doesn’t need fiddling to put it on – something that dads will appreciate more!
Best baby wrap for dads:
Best SSCs for tall parents:
Best backpack baby carrier for dads:
Baby Carrier for a Petite Mum
Petite women can feel uncomfortable wearing structured carriers because they dig into you when sitting down or the body of the carrier may feel too tall. Breastfeeding becomes impossible in this case. Sometimes even smaller carriers can be too bulky if there’s too much padding in the wrong places.
Many petite moms love ring slings because they’re easy to wear on a short torso, especially for breastfeeding. Therefore, both our picks for ring slings are good. Baby wraps are good if you don’t mind wrapping the free ends around you an extra time to prevent them from dragging behind you. However, this is not comfortable in hot weather. There is one wrap, however, that doesn’t have this issue and is actually sized for various body types.
Best baby wrap carrier for short moms:
Best short structured carrier for short mothers:
Best backpack carrier for short parents:
Best Baby Carrier for Hot Weather
Our picks for best baby carrier for summer are not bulky and do a better job than most in providing ventilation to your baby and yourself. Because wraps are tied around you and keep your baby close to you at all times, those are not recommended in really hot weather. A ring sling is always a better choice. SSCs that have inbuilt mesh panels on the body are better than solid fabric ones.
Best SSCs for hot weather:
Best backpack carrier for summer:
Best Baby Carrier for the Beach
Traveling with a baby can get tiring so it’s a good idea to build a break into your itinerary if possible. If it’s summer, a day at the beach or even your hotel pool is perfect. None of the usual baby carriers are suitable for getting wet while wearing your baby, but if the right one that’s made for the beach will allow your baby to enjoy the water as well. Once you’re done, a beach carrier will dry really fast in the breeze.
Vlokup Baby Water Ring Sling Carrier
The Vlokup Baby Water Ring Sling Carrier is made of 100% polyester jersey mesh, so it’s super light in the water and dries in a flash out of it. It is a ring sling type of carrier with aluminum metal rings that you can adjust for optimum high carry. It can carry babies between 8 and 30 lbs.
This sling folds up into its own built in packing pocket so that it’s compact enough to throw into a beach bag or diaper bag. It is Machine washable.
Best Baby Carrier for Back Pain
An SSCs with lumbar support in the waist band is the best baby carrier for a bad back. It you’re going to be wearing your baby for hours at a time, this feature is a must have. A backpack child carrier is also a good option if you’re going to hike a lot and need to carry essentials like change of clothes for baby, food, water, etc. in the carrier. These are designed to be carried ergonomically on your back and have various features that reduce the overall strain.
Best SSC baby carrier with back support:
Best baby carrier for hiking:
Best Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding
While many wrap manufacturers claim that you can breastfeed your baby while wearing her in the wrap, the reality is that the wrap hugs the baby too close to you to do so comfortably. Even if you stop and loosen it up to nurse, you have to readjust it back to the original fit to continue on. Not the best thing when you’re on the go and in public. That’s why an SSC or ring sling is a much better carrier for breastfeeding. An SSC can be adjusted quickly just by pulling on a buckle to loosen and then tighten it back up when done. A ring sling is great for carrying your baby in the natural sideways position for breastfeeding and the free ends of the sling can be used as a shield for privacy.
Best SSCs for nursing:
Stroller Vs Baby Carrier for Travel
When it comes to traveling with your baby there is no one size fits all in the carrier vs. stroller debate. First time parents, in particular, may find this decision harder than most. Ideally, having both can make your trip easy for both you and your child. However, it’s not always practical, particularly if you have to take luggage restrictions under consideration. If you have to choose either a stroller or a baby carrier you have to think about certain considerations before making a choice. So let’s go through those considerations to help you decide which one to choose for traveling.
Very young babies need more physical contact with parents, especially in new environs. The security that you provide by holding your baby close to you will him him happy and calm most of the time. That’s why at least until the age of 6 months we suggest exclusively using a carrier for traveling. You will also be aware of your child’s needs at all times even if you become engrossed in something while sightseeing. Very young babies are also light enough to carry for long periods in a carrier.
After about 6 months, some babies start getting a bit restless in a carrier for very long periods of time but it very much depends on the individual child. Take him out for long outings in a carrier before your trip to see if it’ll work. Sometimes it’s the type of carrier that makes a difference. Older babies and toddlers tend to prefer SSCs and backpack carriers instead of the more restrictive wraps and slings.
This is another case of needing to test out a carrier or stroller for long periods before deciding on whether one or the other is better for travel. Since it’s likely that you’ll need to be on the move even when it’s nap time for baby, she should be able to fall asleep and stay asleep wherever you are. Young babies usually feel calm enough to sleep quickly when carried by parents. Some babies like a slightly reclining stroller more. Maybe feeling a cool breeze in the stroller helps put him to sleep faster. Figure out the best one by taking baby on a day long outing close to home.
If you’re visiting a big city with great public transportation and tough driving you should research the transportation system beforehand to see if a stroller is easy to get on and off. We always prefer a carrier for big cities. Underground train systems don’t always have elevators and a stroller becomes a hindrance when you have to use flights of stairs or even escalators. Cobblestones in Europe are also difficult to navigate a stroller in, while a carrier is really convenient.
On the other hand, if you prefer a frame-type backpack carrier for long periods on your feet, these are quite bulky for public transportation. If you must choose this over a SSC or baby wrap/sling then try to move about during non-peak times when the trains and buses are less crowded. Once you board, try not to move around too much or you’ll most likely cause a small accident!
There are times when a stroller in a city makes sense and that’s inside museums or theme parks. These will have smooth floors and walkways and a stroller will save your back for hours of standing in line or moving slowly along. Keep in mind that many of these types of attractions do rent out strollers so make a plan of what you want to visit and check the official websites of each before you travel. If you can rent a stroller just for these visits, then bringing just a carrier with you for the rest of your trip may make more sense.
If you’re planning on doing any kind of nature strolls or hiking then the answer is obviously a carrier.
Even if your child is very comfortable for an hour or so in a carrier at home, it doesn’t mean it will be the same at a hot destination. Because wearing your baby means close physical contact, both of you will be transferring body heat to each other. This will make both of you feel hotter than normal in hot weather, especially after you’ve been on the move for a while. If you’re going to be walking for just a short period at a time, a carrier made for hot weather is perfectly fine. Otherwise, a stroller with a sun canopy is a good idea.
In cold weather, the extra body heat that comes from using a carrier can be quite welcome, but if it’s frigid weather a stroller is better so that you can cover your child with a blanket as well.
If your child still nurses, a carrier is great because you can feed almost anywhere by just using a cover for privacy. An older child who has started on solid foods and snacks will prefer sitting in a stroller, especially if it has a fold out tray to place a plate or cup of food on.
If you’re going to be driving to your destination and mostly driving around in your car after you get there, you’ll anyway need a car seat. In this case, the best solution is to get a stroller that has a detachable car seat. It won’t take up extra boot space and it’s easy to switch between car and strolling without waking up a sleeping child.
If you’re flying you have to take the airport navigation and the time spent on the plane into consideration. For traveling with baby, a baby carrier is great for leaving your hands free to handle your luggage and travel documents. Security agents also let you wear your baby in the carrier while going through security as long as there is no metal part in it. This eliminates using a ring sling with a metal ring but almost all other wraps and SSCs are good. If you have a long walk to your gate and you can’t wear your baby that long, many large airports have strollers that you can borrow.
For on the plane you’ll have to check a stroller, so if you don’t choose a carrier, you’ll need to either also bring an FAA-approved car seat to use in a separate plane seat for your baby or you’ll have to keep your baby on your lap throughout the flight. If it’s a long flight your arms will thank you if you wear your baby instead!
Wearing a Baby Carrier on a Plane
A baby carrier is great for the airport since it leaves your hands free to carry other bags as well and TSA security can be a breeze if you use the right carrier. But can you wear a baby carrier on an airplane? If your child is under two years old you can take her as a lap child without paying for a second seat even though the FAA recommends that you bring an FAA-approved car seat and strap her into a separate seat that you buy. Contact your airline to see if you can get a discounted child seat.
Whether you travel with a car seat or not, having at least the option of a baby carrier for airplane use at certain times can make a huge difference to plane travel in terms of comfort for the baby. It’s a lot easier to go to the bathroom with the diaper bag for a change too!
However, it is against regulations to wear your baby in a carrier during take off and landing and you will be asked to remove her and either secure her in the car seat or hold her on your lap.
When can a Baby be Front Facing in a Carrier?
In most cases an inward facing carrier would be most useful in terms of getting maximum use out of it. It is nice to be able to see the face for cues at a young age. However, at around 4-6 months when your baby is able to hold her head up without support, she’ll want to be able to look around and be more aware of her surroundings. At this stage it is more comfortable to carry the baby in a forward facing position for at least short periods of time when she’s most active. Once they’re older they can easily just turn their heads around enough while facing inwards to take in their surroundings on their own.
However, you should not allow your baby to fall asleep while forward facing, as even if she does have head control when awake, her head will slump forward and could cause her airway to block. That’s why when you’re carrying your baby facing forwards, always be alert to her wakefulness.
How Long Can You Use a Baby Carrier While Traveling?
Pay attention to your baby’s signals and as long as you and your baby are happy and comfortable, using a baby carrier for long periods is fine.
However, taking a break from the carrier is especially important if you’re traveling in hot weather as you don’t want the baby’s body temperature to rise dangerously. Switch between the carrier and a stroller or just take a short break where you can sit down and remove your baby from the carrier for a while. This works well for city breaks. For hiking, a more open and lightweight backpack-style carrier is better for older babies. If you want to hike with young babies, try to keep the hikes short and take plenty of breaks with baby out of the carrier.
How to Travel with a Baby Hiking Backpack
If you’re flying with a frame baby carrier backpack it will be too big to take as a carry on item and won’t fit in the overhead bin. You then have two options – you can either check it as part of your checked baggage allowance or gate check it like you would a stroller or any other baby item. In the first case many airlines give you a clear plastic trash bag to protect it from getting dirty. You can also do this for gate checking if you want but it’s not as necessary.
If you’re using long distance trains or buses there’s usually a space for all large checked-sized suitcases to be stored that’ll be the best for a frame backpack carrier too.
Whether you’re traveling by plane, bus or train, you should ensure that the hood and all straps and buckles are fastened and tucked properly away to prevent anything from ripping off.