For years, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has advocated for “baby-wearing,” which is exactly what it sounds like — a hands-free way to carry your baby that keeps them close and takes the pressure off your back, hips, and arms. The benefits of babywearing are plentiful: it promotes emotional and physical development, reduces crying, and allows for baby bonding, all while checking things off your to-do list.
As with all things baby-related, there are a LOT of choices out there when it comes to babywearing support. There are wraps, backpacks, slings, soft structure carriers… the list goes on and on. With dads in mind, we’re breaking down the top baby carriers for dads.
To keep things simple, it’s important to understand the four basic types of carriers:
Slings – Slings are typically made from a soft, breathable fabric that goes over one shoulder and across your torso like a sash. The design creates a pouch-like space for your baby to sit across your front. Many parents love them for their womb-like simulation and snuggle effect, and babies do, too!
Wraps – Wraps are looong pieces of fabric that are configured around your body, usually over your shoulders and around your torso, to create a carrier. Both stretchy and woven wraps are pretty versatile: they can be worn over one or both shoulders, in the front or on your back.
Structured – for parents who don’t feel as confident with fabrics, structured carriers have shoulder straps and a thick, padded waistband to fasten around the wearer. Structured carriers offer several carrying options that evenly distribute your child’s weight and support the wearer.
Hybrid Carriers – Some parents think hybrid carriers are the best of both worlds: they have the ease of a structured carrier while softly wrapping around your body with the closeness of a wrap. Hybrids tend to be easier to use and comfortable to wear, so they’re a great place to start when looking for a suitable carrier for your kid.
Different carriers work best depending on the age and weight of your child, so always read the manufacturer's instructions to make sure you’re using them correctly.
Which Type of Carrier Is Best for You?
Dad will likely be using the carrier at different times and places, so it’s ideal to look for a carrier that works at home and on the go. Consider the following when it comes to which carrier is best for dad:
- where he'll be using the carrier
- the age of your baby
- ease of use
Keep in mind, Dad should be able to use the carrier for all the things:
- at home to multitask while babywearing
- to calm a crying baby or help them sleep
- to hip carry an older baby or toddler who wants to be held
- out and about on errands
Lastly — size matters! If you’re considering a wrap or sling carrier, make sure there is enough fabric that is stretchy/adjustable so you can wear it comfortably. Some manufacturers also provide sizes for their carriers (small, medium, large, extra-large) so make sure you purchase the correct size for your body type.
Best Overall Carrier for Dads: Tushbaby Hip Carrier
Our little ones love to be held and snuggled. They like to see the world up high like we do. But carrying a baby on your hip can lead to back and shoulder problems. That’s why we recommend the Tushbaby hip carrier as our best baby carrier for Dads!
Tushbaby makes carrying your baby not just easy, but comfortable too. It’s essentially a wide-belted fanny pack with a baby seat built right into it. It Velcros, fastens around Dad’s waist (or mom’s, grandma’s, Oprah’s, you get it), and when baby sits on the seat, Tushbaby literally does the heavy lifting. This is also what makes Tushbaby one of the best baby carriers for dads with back problems.
Plus it can be used in 4 different ways: in feeding position, face to face, front-facing, and side-facing. (If your kid likes piggyback rides, that’s five different ways!)
Best for: All babies and toddlers who love to be held, and caregivers who want to carry their little ones longer and more comfortably.
Where and why to use: The great thing about Tushbaby is that it allows you to hold your baby easily anywhere you are. If your baby wants to be held while multi-tasking at home — great! It also works well for day trips when your baby will likely want to go up, down, and back up again.
Ease of Use: Tushbaby is designed to fit a 23-44 inch waist, so everyone from Dad to mom to grandma can use the same one. This multi-wearer benefit is what makes it an affordable carrier, too!
Safety and Comfort: Tushbaby has been approved by doctors for both caregiver and baby. Chiropractors give it two thumbs up because the design relieves the back and shoulder strain that usually comes with carrying a baby. And because it puts baby’s legs in the super-safe “M” position, it promotes hip health for your little one.
Best Baby Carriers for Big & Tall Dads: ErgoBaby Omni 360 Carrier
When it comes to the best baby carriers for big dads and the best baby carriers for tall dads, the ErgoBaby Omni 360 checks all the boxes of being comfortable for both baby and dad. It comes with adjustable shoulder and belt straps as well as padded lumbar support for your lower back, a waist belt, and extra padded shoulder straps. It can also be used from newborn to toddler, ensuring that you’ll get plenty of use.
Best for: Newborns to toddler, between 7-45lbs.
Design: The newborn-ready Omni 360 has all the carry positions you need, plus ultimate ventilation to keep you and baby cool — and we’re not just talking style. Omni 360 grows with baby from week 1 through toddlerhood and offers a perfect fit for all parents.
Benefits: Easy, one-handed slider adjustment allows you to quickly switch baby to face in or out. Can be used for multiple years and multiple babies. Carrier is machine washable and retains shape for long-lasting use.
Safety and Comfort: The lumbar support waist belt has double adjusters for easy tightening, ensuring maximum comfort by providing the support you need to prevent lower back pain. The carrier's padded shoulder straps allow for a crisscross option, and are great for a snug fit or for those who prefer easy buckling on the front. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute also acknowledges it as a hip-healthy product for baby.
Most Affordable Carrier for Dad: The Infantino Flip Advanced 4-in-1 Carrier
Things can get pretty expensive when buying for baby — that’s why the Infantino Advanced 4-in-1 Carrier is a parent fave. This convertible carrier offers plenty of support for baby and wearer alike, at a price point that works for families of all budgets.
Best for: Newborns to toddler, between 8-32lbs.
Design: The 4-in-1 convertible carrier with adjustable ergonomic seat with adjustable, padded shoulder straps and waist belt to shift weight to the wearer's hips for a more comfortable fit. Fits a wide range of body types and lifestyles.
Versatility: Can be worn facing in, facing out, or as a backpack. Simple, lightweight design that packs easily into a diaper bag for spontaneous adventures when out and about.
Affordable: Generally coming in at around $40 or less, this carrier is great as an “extra” carrier to have on hand when you want to wear your baby easily and comfortably.