Mama Junior | The top 5 best baby carriers

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Zuckerberg's favorite baby carrier is among the best 5 of 2017


Max Chan was out at the Mardi Gras with her parents while riding in an Ergobaby Carrier

By Damaris Travieso
Baby Carrier/Car Seat Expert

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, while on a "personal challenge" to visit every state in the United States by road, stopped in New Orleans where they checked out the Mardi Gras parades from a downtown grandstand.

Their daughter Maxima Chan, too, was there to witness the grand event, while perched in a Grey Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier .

Made of a 100% cotton canvas shell and 100% cotton poplin lining, this version of the Ergobaby Carrier is structured as a bucket seat to support the baby in a comfortable seated position.

Further, the carrier seat is designed with buttons for an adjustable width that grows with your baby to ensure comfort and ideal hip positioning in all positions.

I took the Ergobaby 360 Baby Carrier for a test and these are some of the other things we liked about it:

1. Structured Bucket Seat
Keeps baby comfortably seated, with knees even to or above hips and the baby's spine in a curved "C" position. Button adjustments allow parents to adapt the seat width to the baby's size and position.

2. Wide Waistband
The waistband can be worn high or low on the waist depending on preference and has an adjustble velcro fasting for adjusting its fit. We found the band to provide extra support for the lower back.

3. Extendable Back Panel
Can be rolled down for front-outward, or upwards for the inward facing positions to provide extra head, neck and back support for the baby.

4. Padded Shoulder Straps
Helps evenly distribute baby's weight in combination with the wide waistband to maximize parent comfort.

5. Sleeping Hood
This is probably the most attractive feature of this carrier as it provides support for baby's head while sleeping, protection from sun and added privacy while nursing.

The Ergobaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier can be used for carrying babies upto 36 months old (up to 33lbs/15kg). An infant insert is sold separately for babies weighing 7-12lbs/ 3.2-5.5kg.

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The only thing I found off-putting with this carrier was the price, which may not be within the spending power of the average new mother.

Luckily, there are plenty of alternative brands out there, whose cost is a fraction of the price of the Ergobaby, but still offer great and comfortable carrying power. I tested a couple and these are the top four I would recommend.

1. Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier

infantino Carrier

I found the design both functional and attractive. This carrier comes with a removable canopy hood that keeps baby well covered, especially in chilly weather.

The carrier’s adjustable shoulder straps and wide waist belt allow for a comfortable fit when carrying the baby at the front and in backpack position.

The removable hood is another great feature of this carrier as it allows you to shield the baby from the sun and wind-a really great feature. Unfortunately, the hood in this carrier was designed for small babies and would most likely not be uncomfortable for older or bigger babies.

The Infantino Cuddle Up carrier is advertised to securely carry infants from 12-45lbs/5.4-20.4kgs. I only tested it with a 28lbs (13kgs) baby and I loved the comfort. The waist-strap is a good feature as it allows even out the weight, reducing the strain on the back.

The fabric used for the main body is soft and strong. However, it is quite bulky and would never fit in a regular diaper bag if you have to carry other things as well.

Nursing mothers would, particularly, find this carrier ideal for breastfeeding as it provides great room for the baby to lay the head on the side as it suckles.

Infantino Carrier
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You need to know that the Infantino Cuddle Up Ergonomic Hoodie Carrier only works for the inward facing position, and, therefore, does not provide for the diversity that the Ergobaby has. However, for the basic and regular transportation of the baby, this carrier works just fine.

2. Fresh Shine Baby Carrier

Fresh Shine Baby Carrier

First things first, I loved the Fresh Shine Baby Carrier because of its varied carry positions-Front Carrying-face out, Front Carrying-face in and Backpack.

This is one of the carriers in this category that allows for the backpack carrying position and it works great. Its design allows for great weight distribution between the shoulders and the hips.

The shell is 100% cotton and the lining 100% cotton mesh, making this carrier breathable. Besides, there is an ingenious zippered pocket at the front, which opens up to create an airflow panel that keeps the baby cool on hot days. I loved the wide lumbar belt too, as it helped balance the baby’s weight well.

Fresh Shine Baby Carrier
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This is one inexpensive carrier that I am sure can easily compete with the pricier Ergobaby, in terms of functionality.

3. Mother Nest Baby Carrier

Mother Nest Baby Carrier

This is one of the few baby carriers that I am certain even men would gladly wear. It looks more like a bullet proof vest and has a sturdiness that most of the other carriers I tested don’t have.

Further, the carrier is filled with PE board, which greatly helps support the baby's back. The Mother Nest Baby Carrier supports three carrying positions: 1- Inward front facing, 2- Outward front facing, 3-On the back.

Because of its sturdiness, getting a baby into the carrier is as easy as letting them slide in and putting on the fasteners. This makes the carrier an ideal option for when you are alone.

I also loved the fact that the straps on this carrier have anti-slip grips to protect the straps coming loose of the buckles.

The construction and type of material used on this carrier makes it well-breathable and does not get as hot as clothe carriers. This, of course, can be a disadvantage in cold weather, because you will need to cover the carrier with a shawl for safety.

The Mother Nest Baby Carrier has been certified by SGS ASTM F2236-14 and meets both European and United States safety standards.

Mother Nest  Baby Carrier
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Best of the best: I cannot insist enough how much I loved this carrier. It is a really superior piece and probably one of the most underrated baby carriers in the market based on its ridiculously low price.

4. MixMart Soft Baby Carrier

Mixmart Baby Carrier

This soft, but sturdy, baby carrier is one of the easiest to wear. Just hang it like a back pack and snap on the waist fastener and you are good to go. Can be used in three different positions: Front-facing in, Front-facing out, Back carrying. It has sturdy well-padded straps, which are comfortably wide at the shoulders reducing the strain on the shoulder blades.

The extra padding around the baby’s neck and where the legs protrude makes this carrier really comfortable for the baby. The reinforced back and detachable head brace ensure that the baby is well supported and protected from injury. Further, this carrier comes with a removable bib that traps any drool for later washing.

Mixmart  Baby Carrier
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What to look out for when buying a baby carrier

Straps - The straps should be adjustable and long enough to fit the biggest person who will use the carrier. Most carriers are available in regular and extra large sizes for tall and/or plus-size users. Good carriers have well padded straps, which are wide at the shoulders. Wider straps help distribute the weight well around and reducing any strain at the shoulders.

Head rest - Your baby will at one time or other sleep in the baby carrier and to keep their necks well stabilized, it is important to go for a carrier that has a padded head rest. Some carrier designs come with detachable hoods for covering your baby’s head in chilly conditions. However, this is not a standard feature in most carriers and you will probably pay more for one that has this add-on.

Fasteners - Carriers support the full baby’s weight and it is of primary importance that they hold on strongly. Clasping fasteners should link tightly and should only come apart when the user applies the necessary motions to break them apart. Superior baby carriers have double fasteners, with the second set action as a security feature in case the first ones come off.

Leg holes -For front- facing baby carriers, ensure that the area where the baby’s thighs will seat have extra padding to avoid constriction of the blood vessels around this area. When you position the baby on the seat facing in front, they should not strain between the thighs, as this can be uncomfortable or even injure them.

Air circulation -Most carriers create a shell between you and the baby. And while the tightness is important for your baby to remain warm, in hot conditions you need to find a way of ensuring that the air circulates well through the carrier. You should ensure that the carrier you buy is made of breathable materials like cotton and if it isn’t it should have air circulation pockets built within it.

Inserts - Most carriers comfortably carry babies weighing 12-45lbs/5.4-20.4kgs. But they can still be used for smaller kids using inserts, sold separately, to reduce the depth the carrier. If you plan to use the carrier from birth, look for a carrier that comes with inserts.

Positions - Some structured baby carriers allow you to carry your baby facing in, forward and some can be carried as a backpack. Nowadays, more and more companies are creating carriers that combine all these positions. Although you will more often than not carry your baby facing in, it is desirable to have a carrier that can allow you position them to face in front whenever need arises.

Ease of use - The carrier you choose should both be functional and practical. Ensure that the one you buy is easy to wear and remove, especially when you do not have some around to help you get it on and off. Most of the structured baby carriers come with fasteners at the back and waist, and you need to confirm that you will be comfortable when closing and undoing the fasteners.

Cleaning and maintenance - Like every other product used with babies, hygiene is of paramount importance. Great baby carriers are machine washable, although most manufacturers recommend spot cleaning. Still it is necessary to give the carrier a full wash every so often.


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