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Top 10 Baby Carriers

There's a reason native cultures around the world strap their babies on their backs (and fronts) to get around: It's just plain practical. New moms are notoriously busy – and occasionally, you're going to need your hands free. (Plus, “baby-wearing” can be great for baby's development and bonding. You both win.)

There are a ton of options when it comes to toting a baby: Ring-slings, wraps, pouches, soft carriers, structured carriers...and who knows what they'll come up with next. Here, I've pulled together today's top players. As you look through for the best way to schlep your spawn, consider what factors are most important to you. Do you need to be able to share your carrier with others, or is it more important for it to fit you to a tee? Do you plan to breastfeed on the go? Do you need it to be more compact, or more supportive? Other things to think about: ease of use, comfort, ergonomics, versatility and

Maya Wrap
As an easy-to-grab, easy-to-use sling for quick trips, the Maya Wrap is dang near perfect. The lightly padded shoulder keeps things comfy, baby can ride in several different positions, and the “tail” pulls double-duty as a nursing cover. Plus, since it's a ring sling, it's a simple carrier to share with your partner or another caregiver. (A medium seems to fit most folks.) *$65.95, Peppermint

Video clip: How to wear a Maya wrap


Ergo Baby Carrier**
Everything about the Ergo is made for comfort. The straps make sure baby's weight is distributed to your hips and shoulders (instead of your back), and it's specifically engineered to make sure baby sits pretty — with correct positioning of the hips and spine. Unlike many carriers that have baby supported by a piece of fabric under the crotch when upright, the Ergo ensures a more proper seated position. Is it the most stylish option out there? No. But it might be the most comfy. From $94 - 110, Ergo

Video clip: How to wear an ERGO carrier

Didymo Sling
Didymos wraps don't come cheap, but the gorgeous fabrics are irresistible. These German wraps are woven with a diagonal stretch to keep baby secure (but not bouncy), and several of them are weaved with natural or “color grown” fabrics, meaning they aren't dyed and can be washed on super-hot temps without bleeding. The cotton is all organic, and dyed fabrics are all nontoxic. There are over 50 patterns you can choose from. Plus, the company offers tons of great tips for ways to wear them, and I love that there's six different sizing options, with pointers on the best ways to wear each length. $141 - 159 TheSlingStation


GypsyMama Bali Breeze Wrap**
Ideal for hot climates (and for moms who like to dress up), the gorgeous Bali Baby Breeze wraps are made of 100 percent cotton gauze, hand-dyed (nontoxic, of course), and batiked in Bali, Indonesia. You won't find many other options out there that are so compact, lightweight...and did we mention beautiful? $75.50, AttachedToBaby

BabyHawk Mei Tei Carrier
We think it's safe to say that many Moms lean toward the Mei Tai for its style, but this carrier doesn't slack on functionality, either. An Asian-inspired carrier, this one essentially supports baby in a big rectangle of (really cute) fabric, and you wrap and tie the shoulder and waist straps around you in a way that supports baby and fits you best. (The company’s website offers great instructions.) The tying means it always fits just right, and the color combos mean you can have a style that's all your own. From $80-95, BabyHawk

Video clip: How to wear a Mei Tai Carrier

BabyBjorn Synergy
Who DOESN'T know someone with a Baby Bjorn? There's a reason why these suckers are everywhere you look: They work. Especially good when baby is small, the Baby Bjorn offers great support for baby's head and neck, and the support can fold down later for front carries. The company worked closely with docs to be sure baby's arms and legs are positioned correctly, and the synergy version provides an awesome blend of padding, lumbar support, and breathability. Plus, the style is pretty darn slick.$160, Giggle

Video clip: How to wear a BabyBjorn


Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch**
The main problem with most pouch-style slings: You can't resize them. This fleece pouch is not only uber-comfy for baby, it's adjustable — meaning you can share it more easily with your partner and others or switch it up to fit your own changing body (if, say, a younger sibling is in the works). If your climate's too hot for fleece, check out their mesh and all-season (cotton) versions.$62, KangarooKorner

Video clip: How to wear a Kangaroo Korner pouch

Baby K'tan
Possibly the ideal blend of sling and carrier, the Baby K'tan can be worn eight different ways — all without complicated wrapping or snapping. This mom-invented contraption is lightweight and compact like a sling, but it goes over both shoulders to more evenly distribute baby's weight and has adjustable back support, more like a structured carrier. You can even carry infant twins in the Baby K'tan, and it comes with a matching baby hat. (Come on, how cute is that?) $57.75, Baby K'tan

Video clip: How to wear a Baby K'tan wrap

Moby Wrap
After a couple of practice runs to get the hang of tying it on, the Moby Wrap is king. The real difference here is that the Moby goes on in such a way that baby's weight is evenly distributed and your body catches a big break. Plus, you tie it on yourself, so you have total control over the fit. This one's perfect for simply getting your hands free to do chores (or, say, fix your hair), and it's awesome for keeping a baby or toddler secure (without killing your back) if you'll be shopping, hiking, or anywhere on your feet for a while. $39.95, EcoStyle Baby

Video clip: How to wear a Moby wrap

New Native Organic Cotton Baby Carrier
The New Native carrier is just about as simple as it gets: a cotton pouch sling that’s supported by one shoulder and the opposite hip. It isn't adjustable, but the advantage is that you can find the size that really fits you just right. (Sizes go from XS to 5XL.) You can hold baby in the front, on your side, or in the back, and there are no special ties, wraps, or buckles to figure out — just sling it on and set baby inside. Doesn't get much easier than that. $54, NewNative

Video clip: How to wear a New Native carrier

*All prices are subject to change.