The Messy Test Kitchen: A Comparison of popular baby wraps & carriers

Messy-Banner

And now, straight from the laboratories of … well, my messy kitchen: a highly scientific review of four best-selling contraptions for wearing your new (needy, unpredictable) baby.

Some parents are looking for a carrier to take their child hiking. Others want a hands-free way to hold a fussy baby and get dinner on the table.

Obviously everyone’s needs, priorities, and bodies are different, but here’s hoping one mom’s observations can help you make the best decision for your family.

This laboratory’s test subject was a 3-month-old male weighing 13 pounds who can hold his head up just a bit. The test wearer was a plus-size female in her early 30s, of average height, with a 3-year-old to chase.

 

Which is the best baby wrap or carrier? One mom tests 4 of the most popular!

 

Carriers and wraps were rated in six categories from a 1 (worst) to a 5 (best).

Wearer’s comfortability
Infant comfortability
Ease of use
Stability/sense of security of infant’s position
Versatility

1. THE BASIC CARRIER

Most stores with baby items sell some brand of a Basic Carrier front- or back-pack: you slip baby down through the top of the nylon and mesh carrier, its legs come down through holes in the bottom, and the straps go over your shoulders and then buckle to the carrier body. Sometimes there is a waist strap as well. Target, for example, sells several versions of the Infantino. A Baby Bjorn would probably fit into this category. The test carrier was a Snugli made by Evenflo.

Which is the best baby wrap or carrier? One mom tests 4 of the most popular!Affordability: 5
You can purchase most of these for less $30 or even less than $20.

Wearer’s comfortability: 3
You can tell you’re wearing a baby. The fabric breathes somewhat; it covers less surface area than a wrap will.

Infant comfortability: 3.5
It’s hard to know exactly how comfortable your baby is when it can’t talk. The position is slightly unnatural for the child; the newest of newborns might not be able to spread their legs wide enough for it.

Ease of use: 3
You could figure out how to use it without any instructions. However, it’s easier to top-load the baby with another adult around; getting baby out solo is arguably trickier.

Stability/sense of security of infant’s position: 3.5
A really tiny newborn might be too small for this style of carrier. Also, depending on your particular carrier, the material may not be stiff enough to adequately support a young baby’s head. Like all wraps and carriers, you also have to be careful to protect baby when you’re bending over. This type, though, didn’t loosen as I wore it, and I felt confident the baby wasn’t about to fall out.

Versatility: 4
Some versions of this style can be worn on your front or back; baby can face in or out. The carrier is adjustable to the size of the person wearing it.

 

2. ERGOBABY CARRIER

This was tested without the optional newborn insert. The ERGO Baby Carrier itself does not support an infant’s head and neck without the insert.

Which is the best baby wrap or carrier? One mom tests 4 of the most popular!Affordability: 1
Listed for $115 on Amazon, making it at least double the cost of the others in this review. More bells and whistles add to that price, including an optional newborn insert, starting at $20.

Wearer’s comfortability: 1
On a personal level, I scored this very low because the waist strap was very tight. It’s adjustable, but its max size barely buckled shut on me. For a plus-size mom, a mom still battling baby weight, or a larger husband, the ERGO Baby just might not fit.

Otherwise, I would have given it a 3. The shoulder straps have a few different options for adjusting. It felt slightly more ergonomic than The Basic, but covered more surface area, meaning it will get warmer.

Infant comfortability: 3
Again, it’s hard to know for sure how baby feels. For the standard heart-to-heart position, baby sits like it does in The Basic, except their legs need to spread a bit wider. Also, the carrier doesn’t provide any head or neck support to baby.

Ease of use: 3.5
It’s not as complicated as putting on a baby wrap, but I couldn’t tell which part was the top and which was the bottom the first time I looked at it! It made sense after a minute with the instructions. One edge over The Basic is that you can get baby in and out of it more easily on your own.

Stability/sense of security of infant’s position:3
ERGO Baby didn’t loosen as I wore it, and I felt confident the baby wasn’t about to fall out. I didn’t feel happy about the baby’s head and neck support, though. I wouldn’t use it for a young baby without that newborn insert. Even then, if an older infant fell asleep in the carrier, wouldn’t you want it to have  little head support?

Versatility: 2.5
ERGO Baby can be worn more ways than The Basic. But the lack of width in the waistband makes this not a one-size-fits-all.

3. MOBY WRAP (original)

Baby-MobyAffordability: 3
$45 on Amazon

Wearer’s Comfort: 3
For me, the
Moby Wrap was maybe a tad more ergonomic than the traditional carriers. However, the 18 feet of material that make up a Moby are all layered around you. If you were moving around a lot, or not in a climate-controlled environment, you’d get hot pretty quickly.

Infant comfortability: 3
Most of the ways that you can position baby in a Moby are somewhat more “natural” for baby than in a traditional carrier. However, all that material heating you up is also adding baby’s body heat to that equation. Again, there is limited head and neck support here. There is a newborn hold that should provide more support, but I had trouble keeping baby’s head in there.

Ease of use: 1
Hands down, the biggest issue with the Moby is how complicated it is to coordinate the 18 feet of material. You need instructions, even videos; you may need to consult them several times. Even then, many people never figure it out and give up.

Stability/sense of security of infant’s position: 3
The material does stretch a little over time, so baby’s position does loosen a bit. I didn’t feel he was going to fall out, though, because of the stretching. There is some concern about baby’s head and neck, again.

Versatility: 4
The Moby is one-size-fits-all, and can be positioned a variety of ways.

 

4. BOBA WRAP

The test wrap was a Sleepy Baby Wrap, the earlier name.

Which is the best baby wrap or carrier? One mom tests 4 of the most popular!Affordability: 4
$37.95 on Amazon. (It is Amazon’s top-selling baby carrier.)

Wearer’s comfortability: 3.5
The Boba is kind of a slightly shorter, narrower, stretchier Moby. Again: a tad more ergonomic for me than traditional carriers, but lots of material to overheat you. It might be slightly cooler than a  Moby in theory, as you fold a Moby in half and thus have a double layer of material wrapped around your busy body. A Boba doesn’t fold in half.

Infant comfortability: 3.5
Nearly identical to the Moby: Arguably a more natural position; likelihood to overheat (though slightly less than a Moby); and head and neck concerns.

Ease of use: 2
Nearly identical to the Moby: a learning curve to putting it on. I’ll give it an extra half point because it doesn’t have that double layer in there to extra-confuse things.

I’ll give it a second half point for the stretchiness. The Boba’s claim over the Moby is that it’s made of a stretchier material that holds infants more securely. Where you tie the un-stretchy Moby somewhat loosely, you tie a Boba tightly, then stretch the material and slip baby in. I do like that. It was hard to guess with the Moby just how loose to wrap it — and if you guess wrong, you have to start all over.

Stability/sense of security of infant’s position: 3.5
Like Moby: The material does keep stretching a little over time, so baby’s position does loosen slightly — not as much as Moby. Again, there is some concern about baby’s head and neck.

Versatility: 4
The Boba (like Moby) is one-size-fits-all, and can be positioned a variety of ways.

Which is the best baby wrap or carrier? One mom tests 4 of the most popular!

So which is the best baby wrap or carrier?

THE RESULTS:

The Basic: 22
Boba Wrap: 20.5
Moby Wrap: 17
ERGO Baby: 14

Obviously, to each their own. Each of the moms kind enough to lend me their carriers loves the one they have. What’s important is to consider your priorities and budget before you make a purchase. Is cost an issue? Then steer clear of the overpriced ERGObaby. If you want versatility, consider a wrap. If cheap and easy are your factors, a basic baby carrier just might be the way to go.

Check back in a few months when the test subject has grown and The Messy Test Kitchen reviews carriers and wraps for the mobile baby.

And before you go, TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE wrap or carrier, leave a comment below!

Ariel-Signature

Let’s keep in touch:

Subscribe

 

white-spacer-med-2

Reader Interactions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *