Tag Archives: newborn

Gift Guide for Babies, Toddlers, and Preschoolers

Gift Guide for Babies, Toddlers, & Preschoolers

Note: Check out the latest (2016) version of this gift guide here!

Looking for the perfect holiday or birthday gift for your little one, a grandchild, or a family friend?  Here are our curated lists of age-appropriate gifts that are proven hits.

If you’re planning on buying a toy, see also our Buying Guide: Baby Toys & Books for info on buying safe/non-toxic toys.

0-6 months

6-12 months

1 year olds

2 year olds

3-4 year olds

All ages

  • Clothing: For a classic holiday gift, how about some snuggly jammies?  Our top picks are the organic sleepers and two-pieces from Hanna Andersson — they’re  fantastic quality and last forever!  The rest of the year, nice pieces from top brands like Baby Gap, Mini Boden, Tea Collection, etc. are always Mom favorites.
  • Looking for something handmade? Check out our top picks for baby goodies on Etsy
  • Experiential gifts: Trip to a local farm or zoo; hike at a local trail or park; a train or bus adventure; or an afternoon of art, cooking, or some other creative activity with gift giver (see also our Pinterest board for great baby & kid activity ideas)
  • Free and fun: Don’t forget the big cardboard boxes and discarded wrapping paper that all those presents come in!

Any other favorite gift ideas for little ones? Let us know in the comments!

Note: All featured products and brands are editorially selected by our editors; we do not accept compensation in exchange for coverage.  This post does contain affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small proportion of any purchases you make after clicking on them (at no cost to you); thanks for your support!  See our full Editorial Policy & Affiliate Disclosure here.

Cloth Diapering a Newborn

What you need to know about cloth diapering a newborn | TotScoop blog

With our first baby we didn’t start using cloth diapers until around three or four months, so I was excited to have the opportunity to start cloth diapering from birth with our secondborn.

This post won’t provide a general how-to or other info on cloth diapering more broadly.  There’s plenty on that elsewhere around the internet.  In fact, we’ve already got our very own cloth diapering guide and picks for the best cloth diapers right here on the blog.  Instead, we’ll focus this post on cloth diapering a newborn.

The basics of cloth diapering a newborn

OK, so here’s what you need to know about cloth diapering a newborn:

  • Newborns go through a LOT of diapers.  At least 10-12 per day.  So, depending how often you plan to do laundry, you’ll probably need ~24-36 diapers (if you plan to do full-time cloth).
  • Newborns are very small people (surprise!).  Although some cloth diaper manufacturers would have you believe that their “one-size (OS)” cloth diapers fit from birth, the reality is that, even if they do fit without terrible gaping at the waist and legs, they will probably be incredibly bulky (not to mention look ridiculous) on your newborn.  If you’re already committed to cloth, we recommend that you invest in at least some newborn-size diapers (or, if you think you’re likely to have a larger baby, perhaps size 1/small diapers).
  • Newborns poop.  Yep, a lot.  In fact, they often poop often at every diaper change.  And it’s messy: runny, explosive…you get the idea.  Containment (involving some sort of elastic) is absolutely key — unless you want to be dealing with blowouts left and right.
  • But believe it or not, their poop isn’t that bad!   EBF poop in particular rinses right out of cloth diapers (like yogurt), and hardly even smells (no, really).  So although many cloth newbies are grossed out by the idea of handling poop (and putting it into their washing machine), you’ll soon see that it really isn’t that bad.
  • The early days may be a bit different.  Many people choose not to cloth diaper for the first few days because meconium.  You absolutely can if you like, just expect you may get some stains that may not come out as easily.  (I admit that myself was lazy and just opted to use disposables for the first 3-4 days, during my own recovery.)  Also, until your baby’s umbilical cord falls off (usually around 1-2 weeks), diapers with umbilical cord snap-downs are helpful.  I reached for diapers with snap-downs for the first two weeks.

Which cloth diapers are best for newborns?

Your basic options for cloth diapering newborns are pretty much the same as for older babies.  See our basic overview of cloth diaper types (fitteds, prefolds, AIOs, AI2, pockets, etc.).  Now, here are some thoughts on using each with respect to newborns in particular:

  • Fitteds with PUL/wool/fleece covers: These offer excellent absorbency — sometimes more than many newborns need.  Trimmer fitteds are great, though, as the elasticized waist and legs provides excellent containment of newborn poop.
  • Prefolds with PUL/wool/fleece covers: An excellent, super affordable option for newborns.  I’m personally not a big fan of prefolds for older babies (whose mobility can cause them to shift and wreak havoc), but I found myself pleasantly surprised at how well they worked with my newborn.   The “jelly roll”-fold-plus-Snappi combo provided pretty darn good containment of newborn poop.   They washed up well (retained far fewer stains than my fitteds, which have more nooks and crannies), and were dirt cheap to boot.
  • AI2s (all-in-two): I loved the convenience of being able to reuse the cover and just swap out the insert — this made this style a great option for on-the-go (since you have to carry around less in your diaper bag).  With explosive newborn poop the cover often doesn’t last that long, but even with an extra cover or two the overall system is still less bulky to carry around.  Some of the AI2 systems are also very trim fitting — great for under clothing.
  • AIOs (all-in-one): Not my favorite option, due primarily to the high cost, especially for a newborn stash that will only be used for a few months.  However, as a one-piece diaper they’re definitely the easiest to use, so could be a great option for cloth newbies as well as Dads, grandparents, daycare, etc.
  • Pockets: Similar to AIOs, but require a tad more work to stuff and unstuff.
  • Hybrids: Similar to fitteds, but thanks to the water-resistant fleece layer, can be worn without a cover around the house and so can be even more convenient.

I mostly prefer to use wool covers with cloth (as I prefer all-natural fibers and need greater breathability for my babe’s sensitive skin), so we mostly used NB-size fitteds here.  However, I also bought a few prefolds, PUL covers, and AI2s to test out (especially for on-the-go, since it can be a hassle to carry around multiple backup wool covers).  Basically, I bought all the highest-rated newborn diapers out there (all the ones I’ve been coveting since researching our Best Cloth Diapers guide), so I could test them all out in person 🙂

So here are the cloth diapers we tried out with our newborn, and my assessment of each:

Green Mountain Diaper organic NB workhorse fitteds

These were the fitteds that we ended up reaching for most during the daytime.  They are absorbent yet fairly trim, fit well, and contain newborn poop explosions well — I don’t think we ever had a leak.  They are also shockingly cheap (especially given that they are organic), at $5.50 each in the newborn size.  The resale value on these is also amazingly high (you can often sell them used for almost the full purchase price), so you really can’t go wrong with these.

GMD's newborn size organic workhorse fitted (left) is just starting to get outgrown (rise-wise) by our now 10-pound, two-month-old baby (right).
GMD’s newborn size organic workhorse fitted (left) is just starting to get outgrown (rise-wise) by our now 10-pound, eight-week-old baby (right).

Kissaluvs organic cotton/hemp NB fitteds

These are a top-rated newborn diaper, so I amassed a pretty big stockpile of them before birth; unfortunately, they ended up not working that well for us.  They are super absorbent, and I love that they are all-natural fibers.  However, IMO the snap configuration is poorly designed: the umbilical snap-down is awkward, the bottom row of snaps was too low for us rise-wise after the first week or so (~7 lbs.), and the top row of snaps remains too high & loose for us even now at eight weeks and ~10 pounds.   Maybe these will fit better around 12-15 pounds, but at that point we should be fitting into many OS / size 1 diapers already.  Also, the cotton/hemp material does not wash well at all (they quickly become very rough); perhaps the cotton fleece (10% polyester) material would fare better.  Anyway, I was bummed that I didn’t love these more.  Perhaps they work better on other babies.

kissaluvs_snapped down
The Kissaluvs NB hemp/organic cotton fitted, rated from 5-15 lbs., shown here using umbilical snap-down and lower set of rise snaps. We found ourselves needing more rise after about 7-8 lbs.
The Kissaluvs NB hemp/organic cotton fitted, rated from 5-15 lbs., shown here using the higher set of rise snaps.
The Kissaluvs NB hemp/organic cotton fitted, shown here using the higher set of rise snaps. It’s still a bit too loose (even at the tightest snap setting) to be reliable on my smallish 10-pound, eight-week-old.

GMD/Cloth-eez organic NB prefolds

The gold standard in NB prefolds is absorbent, organic, and perfectly sized for newborn covers.  They fit perfectly in both our Blueberry Mini Coveralls and our Thirsties Duo Size 1 Wraps.  I was a big fan of these and recommend them highly to anyone who is looking for newborn prefolds.

GMD's NB prefold is shown fastened with a Snappi on a 10-pound, eight-week-old baby (left), and tri-folded into a Blueberry Mini Coveralls PUL cover (right).
GMD’s NB prefold is shown fastened with a Snappi on a 10-pound, eight-week-old baby (left), and tri-folded into a Blueberry Mini Coveralls PUL cover (right).

Best Bottom AI2 system (OS cover + small inserts)

This is IMO the best, easiest AI2 system for newborns.  The OS cover fit our newborn great on the smallest setting, and the size small hemp/organic inserts are absorbent, trim, easy to wash, and fit the snapped down cover perfectly.  The cover is very effective at containing newborn poop explosions, however, because the inserts don’t have elastic around the legs, you should expect you’ll probably have to swap out the cover fairly frequently.  Still, this is my favorite system for outside the house; you just need to carry around one extra cover and a few inserts.

best bottom
The Best Bottom OS shell (left) with snap-in hemp/organic cotton insert (right).
Best Bottom's OS cover (in adorable hedgehog print) on a 10-pound, eight-week-old baby, on the smallest rise setting.
Best Bottom’s OS cover (in adorable hedgehog print) on a 10-pound, eight-week-old baby, on the smallest rise setting.

Blueberry Mini Coveralls

Blueberry’s Mini Coveralls are my favorite standalone PUL covers for newborns.  They fit well over both fitteds and prefolds; the snap-down rise offers great adjustability; and the leg gussets provide excellent leak protection.  Also, the prints are also absolutely adorable!  If I were just going to recommend one newborn PUL cover to a friend about to have a baby, this would be it!

Blueberry Mini Coveralls (left), rated for 6-18 lbs, fit a GMD newborn workhorse fitted perfectly (right).
Blueberry Mini Coveralls (left), rated for 6-18 lbs, accommodates a GMD newborn workhorse fitted perfectly (right).

Thirsties Duo size 1 covers

This very popular PUL cover also performed very well.  Its leg gussets contained newborn poop well, and it is trim fitting so it works well even with unpinned prefolds. I wasn’t a huge fan of the (very tall) wing shape, so I ended up reaching more for the Blueberry Mini Coveralls, but these are also a very solid choice.

The Thirsties Duo size 1 wrap cover, rated for 6-18 lbs., is shown at right on a 10-pound, eight-week-old baby (on the middle rise setting).
The Thirsties Duo size 1 wrap cover, rated for 6-18 lbs., is shown at right on a 10-pound, eight-week-old baby (on the middle rise setting).

Wool covers (Loveybums, Disana, etc.)

Wool is the way to go if you prefer all-natural fibers on your baby and/or need a more breathable cloth diapering solution.  Wrap-style covers are hands-down my favorite for the first month or so, when it’s more challenging to get pull-on covers on a tiny, squirmy baby.  My favorite wool wraps are from Loveybums, Babee GreensOrganic Caboose, and Imse Vimse.  Later, when baby starts feeling slightly less breakable, I also loved pull-on covers like those from Disana, Lanacare, Sloomb, and Wild Coconut Wear.

Wrap-style wool covers are easiest to use with newborns. Loveybums (left) and Babee Greens (right) make two of our favorites.
Wrap-style wool covers are easiest to use with newborns. Loveybums (left) and Babee Greens (right) make two of our favorites.

 

Well, that’s about it.  I’ve loved using cloth for the first couple of months, and would definitely do it again.  If you have the inclination — rest assured that you can do it!  All the best and congratulations on your new little one! 🙂


 

Note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small proportion of any purchases you make after clicking on them (at no cost to you); thanks for your support!  See our full Editorial Policy & Affiliate Disclosure here.

Essentials for the First Month with a Newborn

Essentials for the first month with a newborn baby | TotScoop

We’ve just emerged from the first month with our secondborn — whew!  Here are some reflections on the essentials for surviving the first month with a newborn.  (Hint: ix-nay on the drawers full of adorable outfits, baby shoes, the peepee teepee, and the stacks of baby blankets you’ve been ogling on Etsy.)

First, some context. Most newborns spend most if not all of their time sleeping, eating, pooping, or getting cleaned up after one of those activities — so most true essentials will make at least one of those easier.  You’ll also need some basic clothing, and a few gear items to enable you to get out of the house together.  In addition, it’s worth splurging on a few things that will make life easier so you can survive it all with a smile on your face.  Beyond that, everything else is pretty much superfluous.

1. Portable sleeper

Babies spend most of their first month sleeping, so you’ll want to have somewhere your baby can sleep during the day in your primary living space where you can keep an eye on her.  It could be a bassinet, infant seat, “newborn lounger,” swing, or playard (but you definitely don’t need all of those things!).  Many moms absolutely swear by the Rock n Play.  This time around we’ve been using the Lotus Bassinet (below) from Guava Family; I love the breathable mesh sides and the modern look, and most importantly our little one sleeps great in it.

Lotus bassinet

2. Practical clothing

You’ll need 2-3 days’ worth of clothing (taking into account multiple changes per day due to spit up, blowouts, etc.) to get you between laundry days.  Keep it practical!  Those adorable newborn outfits or footies with a zillion snaps might look cute on the hanger, but we can guarantee you’re never going to reach for them (especially when you’re sleep deprived).  In summer, bodysuits/tops are really all you need; side snaps (like those on the adorable owl bodysuit from Zutano below) are great for easy on/off (imagine tugging a vomit- or poop-soaked onesie over your floppy newborn’s head), and built-in foldover mitts are an added bonus.  The basic white Gerber side-snap tees with foldover mitts are fantastic for the first week or two, before the umbilical cord falls off.  For full-length sleepwear or footies, look for zippers vs. snaps or buttons.

Zutano owls bodysuit

3. A few high-quality, generously sized blankets / swaddles

Most first-time moms (including me with my first baby) go way overboard on blankets.  I’m still not even sure to this day what a receiving blanket is for (despite having bought at least a half dozen of them)!  You really only need a handful of high-quality blankets or swaddles; you’ll never reach for the crappy ones anyway.  In moderate to warm weather, two or three light- to midweight swaddles and one midweight blanket (for cooler mornings or on-the-go) are plenty.  If you’re the type of person who is able to master complicated handshakes or sailor knots, you might choose the classic and versatile lightweight muslin swaddles from aden+anais or SwaddleDesigns (which can double as nursing covers, car seat covers, etc.).  If you prefer something more convenient, check out the velcro SwaddleMe wraps or the Miracle Blanket.  If you have a baby who likes to sleep with her arms up, I recommend the Swaddle Up (pictured below), which our little one loves.  For classic swaddles and blankets, don’t bother buying anything smaller than 44×44″ — it’ll be outgrown way too quickly and you’ll be wishing you hadn’t wasted your money.

Swaddle Up

4. Breastfeeding essentials

If you’re breastfeeding, take the time to set up a super comfy nursing station to make those hours and hours ahead as pleasant as possible.  You’re probably already familiar with the basics: a comfortable chair, a footstool, and a breastfeeding pillow.  Then don’t forget a side table to keep everything within easy reach: for example, burp cloths, nursing pads, drinks and snacks, entertainment (e.g., iPad, light reading), etc.  I personally couldn’t survive without my Dutailier glider (uninspiring looking but crazy comfortable), my Brest Friend and Blessed Nest (pictured below) pillows, aden+anais Burpy Bibs (perfect not only for burping, but also as a nursing pillow liner), or Bamboobies nursing pads (for my overactive letdown).  It’s also worth it to invest in a slew of high-quality nursing bras/tanks/tops (my favorite bra — which I wear day and night — is from Majamas).

Blessed Nest nesting pillow

5. Newborn-ready changing station

You’ll probably be visiting your changing station at least a dozen times per day in the beginning, so you might as well get it set up just right.  In addition to the obvious (e.g. changing table/surface and pad), don’t forget ample changing pad liners (our favorites are simple and cheap cloth diaper prefolds) to catch the frequent and explosive accidents that are inevitable with newborns.  For sensitive newborn skin, give scented, chemical-laden wipes a miss; instead use Water Wipes (shown below) or just dry wipes with water.  Also, consider having a few different sizes of diapers on hand; also, don’t overinvest in any one brand or size until after you see what actually fits.  (We had a huge case of Bambo newborn diapers ready to go, only to find that they were way too big for our little one.  FWIW, we found that Pampers Swaddlers, Earth’s Best, and Honest Co. diapers fit much smaller than Bambo and Naty in the same “newborn” size.)

Water Wipes

6. Newborn-friendly baby carrier

You’re going to be doing a lot of rocking and cuddling during those tender first few weeks; give your arms an occasional rest by investing in a newborn-friendly baby carrier.  Alas, the most popular infant baby carriers (e.g., Ergo) are not suitable for the newborn stage, so you’ll probably need to get something else for the early months.  My favorites are wraps (either woven or stretchy, e.g. the Moby or Boba Wrap) and infant-friendly SSCs (like the Beco Gemini, shown below, and the Boba 4G).  (For more on the best baby carriers for the newborn stage and beyond, see our baby carrier guide.)

Beco Gemini

7. On-the-go essentials

With our firstborn, we were housebound for almost an entire month.  With our secondborn, we managed to get out of the house at least once a day right after we got home from the hospital.  The difference?  Knowing exactly what we needed to make it happen: a lightweight infant car seat (which can be easily popped in and out of the car), a car seat-compatible stroller (ideally a lightweight car seat frame like the Chicco Keyfit Caddy or Graco Snugrider Elite), a convenient diaper bag and mini-changing kit, etc.   One of my favorite little luxuries is a car seat canopy to protect baby from sun, wind, and curious strangers; check out this adorable new release from Bebe au Lait (pictured below).

Bebe au Lait car seat cover

8. Boredom busters

You’re about to spend hours upon hours doing laps around your living room and/or chained to a nursing chair.  Trust us, if you don’t already have it, get Netflix.   Or an iPad.  Or, scrounge up some light reading (note, however, that this is not the time to tackle War and Peace).

Orange is the New Black

9. Whatever will make your life easier

Whether it’s ordering tons of take-out, booking some extra help from your house cleaner, or subscribing to Google Shopping Express — whatever it takes to get some of those hours in the day back is worth the cost.  Do it!

Google Shopping Express
Your new best friend. Photo credit: Google

10. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, mama!

Last, don’t forget to take care of yourself!  A happy and healthy mama makes for a happy baby.  Whether it’s postpartum essentials, goodies to keep breastfeeding parts happy, or just some chocolate to perk you up :), sustaining yourself is important too.  Don’t skimp on whatever it takes to make sure you can enjoy those precious first few weeks!

Our Favorite Baby & Kids’ Clothing Brands

Meet our seven favorite baby & kids clothing brands for stylish, high-quality pieces at non-astronomical prices!  (Note: This is NOT a sponsored post.  We just call ’em like we see ’em!)

Baby Gap

baby gap

Baby Gap will hardly be a new discovery for most shoppers, thanks to its ubiquitous retail presence, but it’s such an important cornerstone of the American baby clothing market that we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it.  It churns out a wide range of good quality, well designed staples that consistently deliver.  Look to Baby Gap for everything from layette basics and toddler activewear to sleepwear and special occasion outfits.  They regularly have sales of 30-40%, so be patient with that itchy trigger finger.

Baby/Mini Boden

Mini Boden

This British import creates high-quality clothing with indubitable style. It is sold at select retailers (e.g. Nordstrom) and can also be purchased directly from the Boden website. We particularly love their print/applique graphic tees, baby jeans (so easy to pull up and down), and adorable sweaters.  We regularly salivate over their collections, and always make sure to load up at their regular sales.  (If you’re new to Boden, also don’t miss their women’s collection!)

Hanna Andersson

Hanna Andersson

This Swedish brand is synonymous with unbeatable quality.  Their clothing is engineered for performance and comfort and washes extremely well; pieces often still look practically new when outgrown, and are often handed down through multiple children.  Over 60% of Hanna’s products are Oeko-Tex
Standard 100 certified, meaning they are free of any hazardous substances.  Hannas are also backed by an unconditioned guarantee, and can be returned at any time.  Hanna makes our absolute favorite sleepers/pajamas and training pants/underwear, and is also a great choice for layette items and playwear.

Zutano

zutano

Zutano, one of our favorite brands for newborns through toddlers, offers cute basics and prints.  Their basics (e.g. tops and pants/leggings), hats, and booties are favorites for newborns and infants.  Note that sizing runs small.

H&M Baby/Kids

H&M

For fast fashion for the tiny set, look no further than H&M.  Swedish brand H&M offers a nice range of clothing — including basics, some organic cotton choices, and on trend pieces — for newborns through big kids.  And all at very reasonable prices!  We scoop up their 100% organic cotton basics (like bodysuits and leggings) by the armful!  If you don’t live near one of their retail locations, you can also shop their website.

Zara Mini/Kids

zara

Spain-based Zara Mini/Kids offers a different twist on fast fashion, producing a more classic feeling collection (mostly solids, in a more muted set of colors) at great prices.  They also offer a selection of organic cotton pieces at impressively low everyday prices.  If you don’t live near a Zara retail store, you can also shop online (free shipping over $50).

J. Crew Baby/Kids

jcrew

We adore J. Crew’s in-house Baby & Kids collections, which sport signature J. Crew style, as well as their curated selection of third-party brands (e.g. aden+anais, Nature Baby, Petit Bateau, Baby Oeuf).  (The cashmere pieces aren’t the most practical we’ve ever seen, but most everything else is both adorable and machine washable.) Kids styles (2+) are available in selected J. Crew stores; Baby styles aren’t available in most stores, but shipping is free on all online Baby orders.

WEAR ALL THE BABIES!!!
(An introduction to babywearing)

An introduction to babywearing from TotScoop. Includes babywearing basics, top carrier picks, and online resources for buying carriers and learning more about babywearing.

In honor of International Babywearing Week (Oct. 5-12, 2014), today on the blog we’re featuring some babywearing basics, our top carrier picks, and the top online resources for buying baby carriers and learning more about babywearing. 🙂  We are passionate babywearers, so whether you’re an experienced babywearer or just babywearing curious, our goal is to help you discover at least one new thing to help you to wear your little one just that much more comfortably or for just that much longer. <3

Why babywear?

For those who are not yet sold on babywearing, the answer is, in a nutshell: because it’s awesome!  Your baby will love it, because it will enable him or her to stay closer to you.  Studies show that babies who are carried cry less and are healthier than babies who aren’t.  And you’ll love it too, because your arms won’t fall off, and you’ll be able to keep your hands free for other things — so you can actually GET. STUFF. DONE.

Not yet convinced?  Check out these articles on the benefits of babywearing from Babywearing International, Dr. Sears, and La Leche League International.

What type of baby carrier is right for me?

There are a ton of options available, so selecting your first carrier can be a bit daunting.  Here is an overview of some of the main types of carriers from Babywearing International (BWI), to help get you oriented to the basic lingo.

In general, the best type of carrier for you will depend on both your baby’s age and your personal preferences.

For newborns (birth to 4-6 months or so), your basic options are a wrap (either stretchy or woven), a sling or pouch, or a newborn-friendly soft carrier (e.g. mei tai or Soft Structured Carrier/buckle carrier).  Newborn-friendly soft carriers include both infant-sized carriers (which are sized for smaller babies) and one-size carriers that can easily adjust to accommodate smaller babies well (for example, the base might cinch or snap in, or an integrated infant insert might be included).

For the baby stage (approximately 6 to 18 months), your best options are woven wraps (stretchy wraps will no longer be supportive enough) or a standard-size soft carrier.

For the toddler stage (approximately 18+ months), woven wraps and toddler-size soft carriers are your best bet (the latter will have a wider base and higher back to better support your child as compared to a standard-size carrier).

In general, if you want something that’s easy to learn to use and/or want to be able to pop baby in and out frequently, a soft carrier is probably a better option for you than a wrap.  Wraps are infinitely adjustable, but have a much steeper learning curve and can be challenging to put on in places like parking lots.  Also, if you have shoulder or back problems, avoid one-shouldered carriers (such as ring slings/pouches).

Our top picks for baby carriers

We’ve spent hours upon hours researching and testing out baby carriers for our upcoming baby carrier buying guide.  It hasn’t been published yet, but we’re happy to be able to share with you here a sneak peek of our absolute favorites.

Top newborn carriers (birth to 4-6 mo.)

Boba Wrap

The Boba Wrap ($38 at Amazon) is a favorite for newborns.  It’s similar to the popular Moby, but features a more stretchy, airy fabric (due to its 5% spandex content) which bounces back and is more forgiving to tie (though you need to be extra sure it is tied securely).  It’s also more reasonably priced, and less toasty than the Moby in hot weather.

boba wrap

Sakura Bloom ring sling

Ring slings are some of the easiest carriers to get in and out of.  Sakura Bloom ring slings are stunning — they’re definitely pricey ($88-198), but they’re gorgeous and incredibly luxe.  Both linen (sturdier) and dupioni silk (lighter weight) versions are available, and in both single (lighter) and double layers (more supportive).  If you’re looking for something cheaper and easier to care for, also check out the Maya Wrap Baby Sling ($80 at Amazon).

sakurabloom_black

Beco Gemini

Sized smaller than most Soft Structured Carriers, the Beco Gemini ($130 at Amazon) is a fantastic option for the first 10 to 12 months.  It accommodates a newborn with no insert, has an adjustable crotch width, and features a substantial padded headrest that provides excellent head and neck support.  The Gemini is more versatile than most carriers, allowing four different positions: front-facing-in, back, hip, and front-facing-out.  The only thing about the Gemini we don’t like is the safety buckles, which sadly are a two-handed operation for most people.

beco_gemini

Boba 4G

The Boba 4G, described below, is a standard-size Soft Structured Carrier that also elegantly adjusts to fit newborns well.

Top standard (6 to 18 mo.) and toddler-size carriers (18+ mo.)

Tula Ergonomic Baby Carrier

Tula carriers don’t yet have mainstream distribution (you won’t find them on Amazon or at Target), but they are extremely popular in the babywearing world — and for good reason.  They are extremely comfortable for most wearers, and their quality and craftsmanship are undeniable.  The standard-size Tula ($149) fits babies from 15 lbs.; it can also be used from birth with infant insert (sold separately, $40).  The toddler-size Tula ($169) is designed for use from 18+ months (or 32″ tall and 25 lbs.).

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Boba 4G

The redesigned Boba 4G ($128 at Amazon) is a great choice that elegantly accommodates newborns through toddlers.  It includes an integrated, two-position infant insert that allows you to wear smaller babies legs-in (one setting is for newborns 7-10 lbs., the other for infants 10-15 lbs.).  After 15 lbs., you remove the insert and wear baby legs out.  Toddlers are also made fairly comfortable in the Boba 4G, despite the fact that the carrier body is not huge, through use of the Boba’s unique stirrups.

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Top woven wraps (all ages)

Woven wraps come in so many different materials, patterns, and lengths that it simply doesn’t make sense for us to recommend individual products.  So instead we’ll focus on introducing you to just a couple of our favorite wrap brands.  (It’s a slippery slope — once you get into wrapping, you’ll discover lots more wrap brands that are also great!)

Didymos

Didymos is the gold standard of German-style wraps.  Their wraps are somewhat expensive ($130+ for a standard size 5), but are high quality and supportive and have high resale value.  Didymos wraps are available many different designs, including their classic “Indio” geometric pattern as well as various stripes and jacquards.  They also release gorgeous Limited Edition models.  You can’t go wrong with a Didy!

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Girasol

Girasol is a German company that produces wraps woven in Guatemala using the traditional weaving methods of the Mayan Indians. Girasol wraps feature stunningly beautiful designs (e.g. rainbow stripes in gorgeous tones), are thin-to-medium in thickness, are reasonably priced, and require no break-in period — making them a great choice for beginners.

wovenwraps.com baby carriers woven wraps for traditional baby wearing

Best places to buy baby carriers

Buying new

As always, for convenience, and also often price, our favorite online retailer for baby stuff is Amazon.com.

If you want a wider selection and/or a more personal touch, you may find it worthwhile to visit a specialty baby carrier retailer. Their owners are very knowledgeable; many offer free consultations to help you find the best baby carrier for your needs. Some of our favorites include PAXbaby, Marsupial Mamas, Granola Babies, Heavenly Hold, QuirkyBaby, Wovenwraps.com, and Wrap Your Baby.

Some more narrowly distributed brands may be easiest to buy directly from the manufacturer for the broadest selection (e.g., Tula).

If you’re interested in testing out a carrier (or several) before you buy, PAXbaby, Granola Babies, Heavenly Hold, QuirkyBaby, and Tula all offer carrier rental programs.

Buying used

Here are some of the top destinations online for buying, selling, and trading used baby carriers:

TheBabyWearer (TBW) FSOT board (registration required… 30 posts required before you can sell anything)

Facebook B/S/T groups (you must join each one individually…many also have a sister feedback thread that you must join before you can sell anything)

eBay.com

Your local Craigslist board (as always, be wary of authenticity and deals too good to be true)

Where can I learn more about babywearing?

Check out these helpful resources to learn more:


Did we miss anything?  Let us know in the comments.

Hope you got at least one new piece of information to convince you to try something new!  Happy babywearing! 🙂

Note: All featured products and brands are editorially selected by our editors; we do not accept compensation in exchange for coverage.  This post does contain affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small proportion of any purchases you make after clicking on them (at no cost to you); thanks for your support!  See our full Editorial Policy & Affiliate Disclosure here.