5 Essential Carriers for City Parents

By Gretchen Hall

Being a New Yorker, I have found that carrying my baby is so much easier than using a stroller.  I have tried out quite a few, using them on subways, treadmills, ellipticals and just plain old walking on the streets.  Here are my reviews:

JJ Cole Agility Carrier: 


Imogen was born at 6 pounds 7 ounces so she was a bit too small for most of the carriers on the market.  This was perfect for her in the beginning.  It allows the baby to stay curled up in the fetal position against your chest.  I highly recommend reading the directions before first trying it out.  I didn't and ended up shoving her in wrong and traipsing to her first pediatrician's appointment in a snow storm.  She was extremely unhappy.  The nurse kindly asked, "Does she like that carrier?" She was clearly aware that I was doing something wrong, but had the decency not to make me feel too much the fool.  Eventually I figured out the proper way and Imogen loved it! By about 9 pounds, I felt that it was time to move on to another carrier.  She seemed a little cramped in the fetal position (and always had gas when I pulled her out). It is possible to put them in different positions when the babies get a little bigger.  

The Peanut Shell Baby Sling:


I could not get the hang of this carrier.  I felt like Imogen was never supported and got lost in all the fabric.  There is a seam down the middle of it that made her placement awkward.  Maybe this is for a bigger baby, or for a smarter mom.  But I just felt like there was no safety with this.  Not a fan.

Ergo 360:


This is quite a popular carrier and quite pricey.  The benefits are you can carry your child 4 different ways.  And the child is fully supported.  But I didn't love this carrier.  The belt is velcro and extremely long, so it is doubled up on your waist.  I was wearing this in the winter and still got extremely hot.  I can't imagine what it might feel like in the middle of summer.  You also need an infant insert for babies below 12 pounds (which does not come with the Ergo, you have to purchase this separately).  Getting a screaming baby into an insert and then into the carrier is quite a challenge.  And, again, this was very hot for both Imogen and myself.  She was miserable, which made me miserable.  

Baby Bjorn:


I loved this carrier.  It is very easy to use and lightweight.  My only issue with this is there is no waist band, so if you are carrying your baby for long periods of time, your back and neck and shoulders might start aching.  The Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier One has a waist band, so I would recommend going with that. Some people have talked about hip dysplasia with the Baby Bjorn.  I did some research but am not expert.  Here is an article I found interesting regarding the matter.

Beco Gemini:


This is, by far, my favorite carrier.  It is lightweight, easy to use and a four position carrier.  I started using this when Imogen was 10 pounds, so I don't know how easy it would be if she were 7 pounds, but the company says you can use it for a newborn and you don't need an extra insert.  There are safety buttons on the buckles, so you do need two hands to unbuckle but once you try it a couple of times it gets easier.  You can make the straps straight or crossed on your back for better support (which you can't do with the Ergo).  I have walked for hours with Imogen and I sometimes forget she is attached to me.  There is great neck support for an infant and you can lower the baby so she can nurse on you, though I find this a little difficult.  I tried to do this on an airplane and we were a mess.  Nipples flying everywhere...just a complete embarrassment.  But again, I am still rather new at this.  Maybe by the second child I will get the hang of that.  Anyway, this wins my vote for best baby carrier.

None of these carriers have pockets for Mom or Dad to store keys, phone or credit cards and money.  I went to Target and purchased a travel bag like this  one.  Just sew it on the front of your carrier and you don't need a bag when you are running out of the house. 

ABOUT GRETCHEN

Gretchen Hall is an actress living in Washington Heights.  She and her husband, Freddy Arsenault, are the proud parents of Imogen Steele Arsenault, born January 2nd, 2015

Note - these reviews are independent (meaning Gretchen didn't get paid to do them) and based on the author's experiences