My picks for the best baby carrier for breastfeeding. I considered 12 popular baby carriers across every style, and chose the 7 best.
Being a new mama is hard at the best of times. And figuring out your new mama routine takes a lot of time, work, and practice. I’m talking about practice for you, but also for your new bundle of joy. Especially when it comes to breastfeeding.
If you’re a first-time mom, it may surprise you to learn that breastfeeding is hard work. It takes a lot of practice to figure out and, frankly, babies are pretty bad at it in the beginning.
When breastfeeding at home, you have to figure out optimal positions, the best breastfeeding pillow, the comfiest spots to nurse, and a baby scale if you’re worried about intake. You also have to dial in your snacks and hydration regime. Nothing sucks more than being snackless when your baby has a marathon feed!
Breastfeeding out of the house? That requires a whole other level of figuring out. From finding a nursing cover you’re comfortable with to finding positions that work when you’re on the go, breastfeeding your hungry hippo when you’re on the move takes some getting used to.
In my own experience, I found using baby carriers for breastfeeding to actually be pretty convenient. I’ve used a few different styles of baby carriers for breastfeeding. Each of them worked pretty well at different ages and stages.
If you want to try nursing in a baby carrier, I wrote this article to help.
At the end of this post, I also share some of my tips. Hopefully it makes a carrier easy to use when you ‘re ready to give it a shot!
Best Baby Carriers For Breastfeeding: My Top Picks
Just here for the most important details? For this article, I considered 12 different baby carriers for breastfeeding. From those 12, I picked 4 Winners and 3 Runners Up.
- Best Structured Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding – Lillebaby Six-Position Carrier
- Structured Baby Carrier Runner Up – Ergo Baby Original
- Best Wrap Style Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding – Boba Baby Wrap
- Wrap Baby Carrier Runner Up – Cuddle Bug Baby Wrap Sling
- Honorable Mention (Best Wrap for Hot Weather) – Lillebaby Tie the Knot Wrap
- Best Mei Tai Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding – Infantino Sash Wrap
- Best Ring Sling for Breastfeeding – Kids ‘N Such 4-in-1 Sling
Here are the other baby carriers I considered for this article:
What is a Baby Carrier for Breastfeeding (& How Does it Differ from Other Baby Carriers)?
First, let’s get this elephant out of the way.
Pretty much all inward-facing baby carriers (baby carriers that allow baby to face mom’s body while being carried) will work for breastfeeding. That is, as long as you can get baby’s head into the right position.
In this regard, a baby carrier with the right feeding position is the only thing that technically distinguishes a baby carrier for breastfeeding from other carriers.
That said, it also needs to be comfortable enough for mom and baby that you’ll actually be willing to give it a go. And in my world, “comfortable enough” encompasses a fairly wide range of factors worth considering.
When my daughter was born, we were living in the middle of a big city with horribly un-stroller-friendly public transportation. Anytime we needed to take her on the metro, she went in the baby carrier, not the stroller. That sometimes meant carrying her for hours at a time – a tough job after my c-section.
Our needs as urban parents were pretty different than what we would’ve needed had we wanted to get outdoors with our little one, or even if we were transferring her from the car seat to the carrier for a short trip through the grocery store.
I’ve outlined 4 different styles of baby carriers below, with my thoughts on the pros and cons of each, as well as some thoughts on which type you might want to try.
Soft Structured or Buckled Carrier
This style carrier has buckles and straps, and a padded hip belt and shoulder straps. This style works at any age, but many parents (myself included) start using this style more as their baby gets older (and heavier), since they are good at distributing weight and saving your back. Most of these allow for multiple positions, so you can carry your baby on your back and hip, as well as on your front. And you can face your baby inward or outward when carrying them on front.
We started using a structured carrier when our daughter was around 5 months old. However, they will even work for squirmy, active, climb-all-over-everything 1 and 2 year olds.
This is a traditional baby sling, generally made of one long piece of fabric. The fabric is totally unstructured, allowing mamas and dadas to wrap it around shoulders, waist and body to create a cocoon-like sling for a baby.
Baby slings are super soft and comfy for baby and they provide great privacy when nursing. However, they don’t provide as much support for your back as a structured carrier, making them a good choice for young babies who don’t weigh too much yet.
Further, they can get pretty hot, so might not be as good in the summer if you’re in a particularly hot climate.
Finally, if you’re plus-sized or still have your postpartum belly, make sure you read the reviews to ensure the carrier will fit.
We mostly used the wrap carrier to carry our daughter when we were in the house to give us some hands-free time. She’d snuggle in and fall asleep while we went about our day. It was a great way to get her to settle down when she was crying or we wanted her to sleep. Because it was really hot when our daughter was young, we didn’t use this style outdoors that much.
A Mei Tai is basically a rectangle piece of fabric with ties attached to each corner.
They are super easy to use, and when compared to the sling, baby doesn’t get as hot in a Mei Tai, as there’s more air flow from the sides. With that airflow comes less privacy for nursing, however.
When nursing in a Mei Tai, I also used a nursing cover or a muslin blanket for a bit of privacy.
We used our Mei Tai when going outside with our daughter, until she was 6 months or so. My husband also really preferred it to the wrap style.
This is the only style carrier I haven’t used personally. However, they are generally thought to be a good intro to baby wearing, as they are fairly easy to adjust. Another huge benefit of ring slings is they let you get your baby into an ideal position for breastfeeding. There’s a lot to love about using a ring sling. Hot weather, however, might not be idea for this style carrier, just as with the wrap.
Coverage & Privacy
For me, this is a big one when considering which carrier is best for you. You want a baby carrier that offers some privacy – both for you, and your little one.
I know all babies are different, but the babies I know tend to get a bit distracted by the world around them, especially as they get older and more curious. The more distracted they are, the harder it is for them to focus on nursing.
And then, of course, there’s your own modesty and comfort levels with nursing in public.
While you can always use a nursing cover, it’s even more convenient if the baby carrier has some built-in privacy.
Breastfeeding is physically demanding, so you want a baby carrier that does some of the heavy lifting for you, so as not to put even more demands on your body.
6 Best Baby Carriers for Breastfeeding and Nursing
The Best Structured Carrier for Nursing
Secured with two-way, adjustable straps and a wide waist belt that provides extra lumbar support, the Lillebaby carrier is easy to throw on and can accommodate newborn babies, toddlers and all ages in between.
You can position the carrier with your baby facing you and the head support up for easy breastfeeding, or you can turn your baby facing out to keep her entertained. Additionally, you can position it slightly off the side to one hip or even on your back.
It is made of sturdy but breathable mesh and features a sleeping hood with UPF 50+ protection. It’s also machine washable for easy cleanup and comes in eight cute colors and designs.
Runner Up (Structured Carriers)
This carrier is soft and comfy, but structured and was designed to be especially effective as a back carrier for bigger babies. It isn’t too bulky or complicated, can grow with your baby and I think the front pocket is genius.
Made out of 100% cotton, the Ergo carrier can be worn either on your front, hip or back and features extra-cushioned straps that won’t dig into your shoulders.
The wide waist strap provides lumbar support and it can accommodate parents of almost any size. The waist strap adjusts from 26”- 52” and the shoulder straps adjust from 28”– 48”.
This carrier is machine washable and also comes with an attached hood for nap time or privacy during breastfeeding.
There is a large pocket on the front of this one to make accessing your phone, keys and other necessities a breeze. It is perfect for babies that weigh anywhere from 12 to 45 pounds.
The Best Wrap Carrier for Nursing
It works for moms of all shapes and sizes with five and a half yards of length. It’s not complicated to tie with simple instructions. And it puts your baby in an ideal sitting position for healthy hip development.
The material is super soft to the touch and will naturally fit the contours of your body. It is ideal for breastfeeding because it gives the right amount of support and positioning for your baby while they’re nursing.
As a bonus, it comes in 11 different stylish colors, and it is machine washable and dryer-safe.
Runner Up (Wrap Carrier)
This wrap is five yards long and stretches with use. It can be easily manipulated to position baby for hands-free breastfeeding in either a covered or non-covered way. And it promotes a healthy hip-position for baby and good posture for mom or dad.
It comes in six different colors and is machine washable. And as a bonus, a portion of each purchase goes toward the “Long Way Home” charity in Guatemala to help build sustainable schools and improve quality of life.
Honorable Mention: Best Wrap for Hot Weather
This wrap deserves an honorable mention for hot weather. So many of the baby wraps I researched make moms and babies hot and sweaty when it’s warm out. This is the only one that seems to alleviate that issue.
The Lillebaby wrap is made from one of the thinnest materials out of all the wraps you will find. It is incredibly stretchy to conform to your little one and parents have raved about how it keeps both them and baby cool even during hot summers.
The weight limit on this one is 30 pounds, making it ideal for smaller babies, and it can be wrapped many different ways just like any classic wrap. There are adjustable side panels to widen and narrow your baby’s seat for healthy hip positioning.
Best Mei Tai
Touted by parents for its comfort and ease of use, this carrier is small and lightweight with sturdy straps and offers ergonomic support for newborn babies all the way up to 35 pounds.
This wrap is the best of both worlds, with sturdy straps like a traditional structured carrier and soft, adjustable straps that act like a wrap. There are no buckles which maximizes comfort for both baby and mom.
It has extra-wide shoulder straps that are padded to avoid digging into your shoulders while toting your little one, and it can be used in three different positions.
As a bonus, it comes with a detachable hood that acts as a shade from the sun and makes nap time a breeze. The carrier itself is made out of 100% cotton and the hood is a cotton and polyester blend.
The Best Ring Sling
This carrier is over five and a half yards long and made out of breathable cotton with just enough give to keep your baby comfy yet secure.
It works great for nursing since it can be worn in various positions including an off-center position with the rings to accommodate breastfeeding for newborns.
This carrier could also double as a simple cover for nursing when your baby is bigger, and it comes in three different neutral colors.
It is made from 100% cotton and is breathable and machine-washable for comfort and convenience. The wide, plush straps are comfortable on mom or dad’s shoulders and can be worn backpack-style or crossed for extra support.
The International Hip Dysplasia Institute gave this carrier their stamp of approval, and Ergobaby runs a program that will buy back they carrier and refurbish it for resale to reduce waste.
It has a built-in hood for sun protection or breastfeeding privacy, and it will work for any sized baby up to 45 pounds. It also comes in 12 different colors and designs.
The TulaBaby is not bulky or difficult to maneuver and it is make out of 100% OEKO-TEX fabric for natural air flow.
There are two different height settings and three different width settings, so you will be able to get just the right fit for both you and your little one.
The detachable hood snaps on and offers extra head support for your sleeping baby or privacy for nursing. It promotes healthy hip and spine positions for your little one and is approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
As a bonus, it is machine-washable and comes in a variety of super-stylish and adorable designs.
This clever patented design allows you the softness and versatility of a wrap without having to learn how to tie it. It works like a wrap, but slips on like a shirt for quick and simple positioning.
Your can use the Baby K’Tan in five different positions. It has a double-loop design to provide maximum support for your back while keeping your baby in a safe ergonomic position. In fact, the National Hip Dysplasia Institute rates it as “Hip Healthy.”
This wrap is 100% cotton. The material allows some air flow and comes in six different sizes ranging from XXS to XL. It works with babies that are newborn through 35 pounds in size.
There are 17 different colors and designs to choose from so that you can coordinate your wrap with the rest of your baby gear.
The Cozitot wrap is soft and stretchy. The material is BPA, phthalate and lead free. Easy to clean in the washing machine, you can carry a baby from newborn all the way up to 35 pounds (around 2 years old).
Your little one can be held in the fetal position when they’re newborn, then grow into other more comfortable positions as they get older. It is machine washable and comes in five different colors.
Additionally, customers have raved about how cool it is, which is invaluable in a hot climate when cuddling tends to make your baby sweaty.
The weave of this cotton lends a much sturdier and less stretchy result than some of the other wraps that are available, meaning it will hold its shape around your baby for a longer time.
It comes in five different sizes, so petite moms don’t need to worry about too much excess fabric, and plus-size moms don’t have to worry about running out of length.
It can carry any baby up to 45 pounds and comes in three different colors.
Tips for Breastfeeding in a Baby Carrier
Breastfeeding in public is intimidating! Especially when you’re first getting started.
Breastfeeding in public while walking around and going about your day? Doubly so!!
Below I share my top 3 tips to get you started.
Master Breastfeeding and Baby Wearing Separately
Don’t try to breastfeed the first time you baby wear, and don’t try to baby wear the first time you breastfeed (although that second one probably won’t happen – but you get the point).
Take a breath and give yourself the time to figure out both skills before you combine them. This will result in less frustration for you and your little one.
Seriously mama – be kind to yourself!
Depending on which carrier you choose, the size of your baby, your own size and shape, and the poition your baby sits in when in the carrier, you might need to grab your boob and hold it for your baby, just as if you were breastfeeding at home.
Which brings me to my next tip
Wear Nursing Clothes
At the very least, you need a nursing top to make this happen without exposing yourself to the world. I used to layer – a nursing tank plus a long flowy top on top which would give my little one a bit of privacy. But just a nursing top with a peek-a-boob will do the trick.
Even the best baby carrier isn’t going to work if you have to expose yourself on the regular.
Final Thoughts on Finding the Best Baby Carrier for Nursing
Whether you’re heading out grocery shopping or to meet a friend for coffee, or hanging around the house and want the hands free convenience of breastfeeding in a baby carrier, figuring out how to nurse while baby wearing is a game changer!
Getting started, I recommend 3 different styles of carrier:
- A structured carrier like the Lillebaby or Ergo Original, which works from infanthood and gets even more useful as your baby gets heavier.
- A wrap style like the Boba Baby Wrap or Cuddle Bug OR a ring sling like the Kids N Such.
- A Mei Tai like the Infantino Sash Wrap.
I hope you found this article helpful – if you did, please share it!