In my two years of being a mum, I’ve owned 8 baby carriers. Oh, and a hippychick hipseat as well. It’s difficult to get around in Singapore with a stroller on the bus and my kids are not happy to sit in one for more than 15 minutes anyway. So a carrier is a really useful item to have here. Even when I have the stroller with me, I usually bring the carrier in case both decide to nap at the same time. So when I’m out, I’m usually wearing a carrier of some sort. What I’ve come to find is that each persons situation is different and so there is no one best carrier. The one best suited to you depends on your body shape and size, the features that you require, the age of your baby, how your baby likes to be carried etc etc. I didn’t do any research or know about how many different carriers were available until M was around 5 months old. I think, like a lot of mums, I was only really aware of the BabyBjorn and wraps. So in anticipation of M’s birth I bought:
Close baby carrier (aka Caboo) [website]
I picked this carrier because it looked really comfortable for newborns and because it seemed easy to put on. And it did deliver on those two points. The material is really nice and soft and you just put it over your head and tighten the straps. But I was never really comfortable with it. I wasn’t sure if I was wearing it too tight, or not tight enough and I was a bit worried about baby being too hot. I also wasn’t a fan of all the fabric hanging down from the rings. So I bought:
Infantino Swift [website]
I got this as a cheap alternative to a BabyBjorn which I find quite expensive in Singapore. I didn’t want to spend too much as i didn’t know if baby would like it or not. I think this cost me around $60 from one of those fairs at EXPO. It was okay with baby facing inwards but uncomfortable with baby facing out (yes, I know now that it’s not recommended, but at the time, I had seen so many BabyBjorns around that I was unaware of alternatives or of any problems with carrying babies this way). And then I met a mum that was carrying her baby in an Ergo. Her baby was asleep and looked so comfortable in there. She told me how easy it was for her baby to fall asleep in the carrier (and naps were something that we were having problems with) so I went home and did some research and found out about some great brands of carrier that hold baby in a better position than the Infantino Swift. After lots of research I decided upon:
Beco Butterfly 2 (discontinued)
One of my favourites. Very comfortable for both me and M. We used this from 5 to 15 months old. I decided upon this carrier for the ease of back carry and nice designs. There is also no need to buy an infant insert as one is included (I never got to try this as M was too big at 5 months old). However, I never really used the back carry as M enjoyed being carried on my front and would always sleep this way. The only downsides to this carrier are that there are no pockets, and also, I don’t like the internal harness between me and baby. If you plan on nursing the baby while wearing the carrier, the harness makes things a bit tricky. And if you take the baby out to nurse, you have to shove the harness to the side or take the carrier off which is a bit inconvenient. I did end up selling this carrier as I wanted something that might be a bit more suitable for newborns, with baby due soon. So that led me to:
One of the reasons for picking the Manduca were it’s great reviews. So many people swear by this carrier. Upon first look, the designs were a bit plain and didn’t really get me excited. But I liked the idea of the zip to change the length for a growing baby. I also liked the option of crossing the straps for a more comfortable carry. And no insert is required for small babies. However this carrier was just not comfortable for me to wear. I’m not sure if it was because I was so used to the Beco or if it was because of my pregnant belly but i just couldn’t get on with it. M was also squirming around and didn’t seem to be comfortable. I found the material too thick for this weather and it was rougher than the Beco Butterfly 2. So after just 2 weeks (with baby due any minute) I decided to sell and buy:
Boba 3G (now replaced by the Boba 4G) [website]
This is a great carrier and my carrier of choice at the moment. I love the patterns. And the material is nice and comfortable too. M loves being carried both on my front and back and will still take a nap in this carrier. Baby Z is less enthusiastic and prefers to only be in a carrier when very sleepy. I don’t think that’s any reflection of the carrier though, it’s just her preference. It has some great little features like snaps on the shoulder straps to hold your handbag in place (very useful when I’m holding my toddler’s hand on one side and holding a shopping bag on the other). There is also a pocket on the waistbelt that I can slip my EZ Link card and access card into. One unique feature is removable footrests for toddlers. I haven’t tried these out though and M is perfectly happy without them. So you might be wondering why I didn’t just stop here with this carrier. Well, when baby Z was a newborn, she hated to be carried in the froggy position with her legs tucked inside the carrier. But with a toddler to get around with, I really needed my hands free when out. So that started me on a quest for a carrier where legs could be out from an early age.
Boba Air [website]
This is a lightweight carrier that folds up into its own bag. This appealed to me because 1) I didn’t want to spend too much money on another carrier when I planned to use the Boba 3G as my full-time carrier in a few months time, 2) I had seen a video which mentioned how their young child was able to be carried with their legs out and 3) I could bring this carrier out with me when I wasn’t sure if I would be needing one or not. The idea of this carrier is great but unfortunately I found the straps uncomfortable if wearing for longer than 15 minutes. And while baby Z could be carried in it at 3 or 4 months, I’m not sure how comfortable it was for her as her legs were spread pretty far apart and she sometimes ended up with lines on them from the base of the carrier. M seemed okay with it but obviously, the Boba 3G is more comfortable for both her and me. One of the only other carriers that lets you carry with legs out from an early age is:
Beco Gemini [website]
A good choice for young babies as the base can be narrowed to accomodate their small size. It also has a headrest rather than hood so can be more supportive. I found that wearing the straps crossed over was really comfortable for me. And baby Z seemed quite comfortable in it at 4 months. But one thing that annoyed me was the safety buckles because you cant open them one handed. I would rather be holding the baby with one hand when undoing the buckle than using both to undo it and trying to somehow support the baby with my arm, or leaning in a funny position. Also, when I was wearing the straps cross body and opened them to take baby out, they would drag along the floor. So I’d end up having to snap them together backpack style to avoid this. So really, my complaints about this carrier are more about my comfort than the baby’s. A friend who has the Gemini also commented that it’s not supportive enough for toddlers as their legs aren’t spread wide enough. I sold this carrier once baby Z was big enough for the 3G.
Pupsik Pouch [website]
My newest addition. I bought this because baby M is just not a big fan of being carried on my front facing towards me. I suspect that she would actually enjoy facing out in a BabyBjorn. But for the sake of her hips and my back, I dont wan’t to go down that route. So the Pupsik allows me to carry her on my hip and she is free to look around. It’s not as restrictive as a soft structured carrier though which suits her.
***Hippychick Hipseat [website]
I got this just before M started walking, when I was pregnant with Z. However I rarely used it. If there was a chance of a nap, I’d take out a “proper” carrier. So it was only used for short walks. And M was never really comfortable sitting on it so I gave up fairly quickly.
So there we have it. Congratulations if you managed to make it this far! I hope that someone finds this useful as there’s so much information about all the different types of carriers that it’s quite overwhelming. I’m happy with my Boba 3G and Pupsik pouch combo but I’d still like to try out a few more carriers such as the Ergo (can’t believe I’ve never tried one of the most popular carriers!), Pognae, Piccolo and I-Angel. But really, I cant justify buying any more.
Here is a great link, comparing some of the carriers. But the most important thing to do is to try them yourself. I bought these carriers without trying them on first and sometimes I got lucky, other times not so much.
Where to buy: Mothercare, Isetan Shaw (I *think* that this branch had a Boba 3G to try on), baby fairs @ EXPO, Baby Slings & Carriers (online and a physical store), Agape Babies, Cerulean Blue. I’ve also seen carriers on the Singapore Motherhood forum (bulk purchase section).