Trying to find out which one is better: a baby wrap vs. baby carrier? You’re in the right place!
Odds are you Googled something like ‘baby wrap vs. baby carrier?’ or ‘should I buy a baby wrap or baby carrier?’
The simple answer is:
You Need Both
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Both the baby carriers and the wraps have different features that are important at different stages of your baby’s life.
The baby wrap is going to be best suited to your newborn (0-6 months) because it offers the most support for the baby, and the carrier will come in more useful when your little one is a little older and can hold their head up and support themselves better.
Trying to find the best carriers, wraps, and ring slings? Read my full guide here!
A lot of new baby carriers do have infant inserts so that you can use the carrier with a newborn, but I still think the wrap is better for your little munchkin, and here’s why.
Baby Wraps Are Best For Newborns And Baby Wearing
You might have read about ‘babywearing.’
This is just the idea of wearing your baby on you in a baby wrap throughout the day.
A baby wrap is a long–make that VERY long–piece of fabric that you actually wrap around your body and tie to hold the baby close to you. Like this!
There Are A Lot Of Positives Of Baby Wearing With A Baby Wrap
Baby wraps remind your baby of home. And by home, I mean the womb.
It took me a few days, and a whole team of people, to muster up the courage to try my Moby Wrap with my son.
I read all of the directions and was able to–surprisingly easily–get my son in the wrap.
When I did, I immediately felt a sense of relief from my newborn.
It was like, just for a minute, he felt like he was back at home, wrapped up close to my heartbeat, and snuggled against me.
You can get things done while your baby sleeps.
In the early days, my son would fall asleep in the wrap within minutes and snooze away all cozy and warm.
I could have some time to myself!
I could do chores, make myself some lunch, put on makeup, take the dog for a walk… Whatever I wanted.
Sometimes I would babywear and just sit on the couch and watch TV!
It was the convenience of being hands-free.
It was a win-win for both of us.
You can do skin-to-skin.
My son was born in the dead of winter, and despite keeping the house toasty, he would still always be cold.
A baby wrap is soft enough that you can wrap it on your bare skin.
I would do an hour or more of skin-to-skin after he had a bath to help him regulate his body temperature.
You can nurse on the go!
I am not a coordinated person, but I can vouch for this!
There are tons of videos on Youtube like this one by Sarah Harding Traverso that show you different ways to wear your wrap to be able to nurse on the go.
Whether you are just doing chores around the house, or are going out and about, this is a discrete way to nurse on-demand without anyone even knowing.
Baby wraps like the Moby Wrap are super soft and made of 100% cotton.
This is perfect for your skin and the skin of your newborn.
You don’t have to worry about straps digging into your skin, or scratchy nylons and polyesters irritating you.
Baby wraps can be worn in many, many, different ways.
There are so many instructional videos out there.
Most baby wrap companies have their own instructional videos to show you the different ways to wrap the baby.
But I found this video from Wrap Your Baby super-helpful for some additional wrap positions.
As the baby gets bigger and older, you can experiment with different positions more based on whether you think they want to nap, snuggle, face out, etc.
The Moby Wrap accommodates babies and toddlers from 8-33lb. That is a huge range!
I personally transitioned to a structured carrier when my son was around 18lb (more on that below), it is totally possible with different wrapping techniques to continue using the wrap all the way up to the maximum weight recommendations.
See how this momma Rachel does it here with her toddler:
Structured Baby Carriers Are Best For Older Babies and Toddlers
The difference between a structured baby carrier and a wrap is in the shape of the carrier.
Both hold your baby on your body and allow you to be hands-free, but a wrap is just one long piece of fabric, and a structured carrier looks more like a backpack for your little peanut.
The reason I switched to a baby carrier was mostly due to my son’s weight.
Once he got to 15 lb it became more and more difficult to carry him in the wrap.
Not because the wrap couldn’t support him, but because the wrap didn’t provide enough support for me.
If you’re looking for a baby carrier for a toddler, here’s my full list of the best options available for support for the parent and child.
Depending on your core and back strength, if you are planning on carrying your baby in a carrier past 15 or 20 lb, I would recommend getting a structured carrier with a lot of back support like the LÍLLÉbaby Complete All Seasons Six-Position Baby Carrier.
Notice how it has a super-wide waist support belt, and it even has a back brace that is reinforced with metal plates to provide the stability you need to carry your baby all day long.
Aside from the support, baby carriers offer a few additional features that wraps don’t.
They are usually made of more breathable material.
Once the baby gets a little older and can regulate their own body temperature, the wraps can get quite warm, especially in the summer.
A carrier made of breathable fabric gives some cooling relief to both you and the baby.
While this might sound crazy if you are not a parent yet, having just one extra pocket can be a huge life-saver with a newborn.
Whether you are carrying a spare diaper and travel wipes, or just a binky, pockets are awesome.
A lot of baby carriers on the market have rain hoods.
This is nice to protect both against the rain and to provide some sun relief on a hot day.
Note: the purpose of these hoods is for rain protection and they do not offer any UVA or UVB protection, so always put sunscreen on those adorable little faces.
You can use structured carriers longer.
Structured carriers like the LÍLLÉbaby that I have can accommodate babies up to 45 lbs. Some even more.
So, a baby wrap is mainly used in the early months of life, but a carrier can be used for years after that.
Easier to use.
I think a lot of moms are intimidated with the actual wrapping of a baby wrap and like the convenience of a structured carrier.
With a carrier, you just put it on and clip it into place.
And while I do think carriers are easy, I also thought my wrap was easy after the first few tries.
If you are really set on a wrap but are worried about the actual wrapping process, there are ‘hybrid’ style wraps that offer the best of both worlds.
So There You Have It, Ladies.
The complicated answer of baby wrap vs. baby carrier can’t be answered, because you need both for different reasons and stages of your baby’s life.
When you are creating your baby registry, make sure you register for both a baby wrap and a baby carrier.
They will both come in handy over the course of the baby’s first year, and you will not regret having both!