Whether you want to go out for a walk without your pushchair or simply need your hands free for other activities while you cuddle your little one at home, a baby carrier or sling is sure to become a much-loved addition to your baby kit. Just ask Princess Eugenie, who loved wearing hers to carry baby August.
The choice between a baby carrier and a sling is down to both personal preference and how you intend on using it; a sling can be used from birth and can be a great comfort for your baby, as hearing your heartbeat and feeling the warmth from your body is the closest thing to being back in the womb.
Meanwhile, baby carriers tend to be more structured, with safety restraints and buckles to keep your baby in place. Here are just a few of the top buys whatever your preference and budget…
Best baby carriers
Nuna CUDL baby carrier
Nuna CUDL carrier, £150, John Lewis
The Nuna CUDL has won over parents thanks to its comfortable and easy-to-use design featuring magnetic buckles that keep your baby secure, four carry positions – all of which provide optimal support as your child grows – and an integrated infant booster for use with babies younger than four months.
Ergobaby Omni 360 mesh baby carrier
Ergobaby Omni 360 mesh baby carrier, £164.90, John Lewis & Partners
This all-in-one baby carrier promises to grow with your baby from a newborn up to four years, with four carry positions, breathable 3D air mesh fabric to keep your baby cool, and a tuck-away hood to protect your little one's head from the sun.
Offering extra comfort for the wearer, the baby carrier has a lumbar support waistbelt and extra-cushioned shoulder straps, and with a ten-year guarantee, you'll have peace of mind knowing it is worth the investment.
Best baby carrier backpacks
The MiniMeis G4 Shoulder Carrier
The MiniMeis G4 Shoulder Carrier, £179.99/$169, MiniMeis
Created by three Norwegian dads who wanted to inspire parents to take their children on outdoor adventures, the MiniMeis G4 Shoulder Carrier has become the must-have for parents who love to explore the great outdoors with their brood - and A-lister Hilary Duff is a big fan, too.
Suitable for children aged 6 months to five years old, they're strapped in with a nine-point seat belt and the design leaves the wearer free to move around. Very handy! The child sits on a specially designed seat, with a supportive backrest to help them sit up straight.
Best baby carrier brands
BabyBjörn Carrier Harmony with Bib
Harmony Carrier with Bib, £212, BabyBjörn
This new multi-functional baby carrier will take you and your child through from birth through to three years. Made from cool mesh to keep you and your baby cooler, the flexible head support is easy to adjust and the baby carrier itself provides your little one with ergonomic support for their legs and hips. Plus, it has a bib to catch any drool too.
For the parent, it's been designed with them in mind too, with padded shoulder straps, pressure-relieving back support and a flexible waist belt. One of our favourite features is that it's machine-washable - so you can keep it clean and fresh for longer!
Artipoppe Zeitgeist baby carrier
Zeitgeist baby carrier, £310, Artipoppe
A favourite of celebrities including Rachel Riley, Millie Mackintosh and Myleene Klass, the Artipoppe Zeitgeist baby carrier is a must for fashion-conscious mums and is available in an array of prints – from snakeskin to leopard print.
Style aside, the baby carrier boasts padded shoulder straps and waistband, as well as comfortable leg padding for your baby, who can be carried both on your front and back in multiple ergonomic positions.
Best baby slings
Ergobaby Aura wrap
Ergobaby Aura wrap, £49.90, John Lewis
Previously named a Which? Best Buy, the Ergobaby Aura wrap is made from an easy-to-tie stretchy material that you'll soon be able to fasten quickly and securely and is also lightweight and soft on your baby's skin.
The wrap will support your baby in an ergonomic M-shaped leg position up to 25lbs, and also features a built-in carrying pouch for easy storage on the go. Factor that in with the £50 price tag and it's little surprise it's so popular.
Infantino Flip 4-in-1 convertible baby carrier
Infantino Flip 4-in-1 convertible baby carrier, £30, Amazon
With features including a narrow seat for newborns, a wide seat for older babies, and a back carry wide seat for older babies and toddler babies, we would expect this Infantino car seat to cost much more than £30. It holds babies from eight to 32lbs and has 4.5-star reviews on Amazon, including one which read: "Easy to work out how to put on, to adjust to your new parent body, and comfy for your little one".
Fornessi baby carrier
Fornessi baby carrier, £29.95, Fornessi
This wrap carrier is not only lightweight and breathable for your baby's comfort, but it has wide shoulder straps that spread the weight of your baby and make carrying more comfortable for you, too. This clever baby carrier is supportive enough for going out and about but is also a perfect choice for keeping your baby close to you as you move around the house from newborn up to one year.
Chicco Boppy Comfyfit Carrier
Chicco Boppy Comfyfit Carrier, £50, Boots
It may look like a sling, but the Chicco Boppy Comfyfit has the extra-security features of a baby carrier, including a buckle-fastened waist belt, comfortable wide shoulder straps and multiple carrying positions. Suitable from birth to three years, this affordable and practical baby carrier is a must-have.
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