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How to choose between Soft Baby Carriers and Baby Hiking Carriers

How to choose between Soft Baby Carriers and Baby Hiking Carriers

March 13, 2018

Baby carriers are essential for the mum on the go, making it easier to carry your little bub while still having the use of both hands. There is a wide range of baby carriers on the market. Most fall into three primary categories: baby wraps, soft structured carriers and baby hiking carriers (framed). Here's a look at the differences between the three and the pros and cons of each.

Baby Wraps

The most affordable baby carriers are baby wraps. You can choose between a stretchy wrap and sturdy woven wraps. They come in several sizes and can be used from newborns all the way to preschoolers. For many parents, the wraps are the least practical type of baby carriers. You need to deal with a five or more metres long fabric, and it requires a lot of practice. Soft structured carriers are much more convenient.

We would not recommend using baby wraps for older babies. Toddlers love to hop in and out quite often which means, that you need to wrap them again.

Soft Structured Carriers

Soft structured carriers, also known as soft baby carriers, are excellent when your baby is small because they keep bub close to your heart. These carriers are lightweight, easy to store and pack, and affordable. You'll have a wide selection of colours and materials to suit your taste and preferences. Today's modern soft carriers even allow you to carry your little one in many carrying positions - front facing inwards and front facing outwards position (which we don't recommend), hip carry and the back carry position.

Unfortunately, these carriers become less and less effective as bub grows. This is because the strain on your back and shoulders increases. It can also be difficult to get your little one into position, particularly if you are trying to carry your baby on your back. Finally, in hot weather, both you and your little one will get sweaty as the body heat passes back and forth between the two of you. Soft carriers also don't support feet, which is not a problem when a baby is small, but toddlers can easily get pins and needles.

Three stages of babywearing - transition from soft to framed carriers

Baby Hiking Carriers

Baby hiking carriers, like the Panda Carrier, are famous for distribution of bub’s weight. Panda Carrier utilises the same mechanical unloading design as a hiking backpack to reduce strain on your shoulders and spine.

Baby hiking carriers are more comfortable than any soft baby carriers when your toddler gets older. The big benefit is storage space. Panda Carrier has 7 pockets, 15 litres of storage, and support for a hydration bladder. It is more than enough for a day trip.

Bub sits in a separate cockpit, away from your body, helping you both stay comfortable and cool on hot days. Thanks to adjustable seat height, your child has much better view than from soft carriers – she can see over your shoulders.

The Panda Carrier also stands up on its own so you can take it off when your little one falls asleep in the carrier. Thanks to stirrups, your precious can also engage legs.

The main drawback of hiking carriers to soft carriers is that they are typically more expensive than the soft varieties. They also tend to be much larger, and since they are framed, more challenging to store. You won't find the diversity of colour and pattern selections with these structured carriers either. Finally, they can't be used until bub has good head control and can sit with support, making them unsuitable for new babies.

Choosing the Right Style of Carrier for You

Much of this decision will come down to personal taste and preference. If you don't think you'll use the carrier often, as you mostly stay close to a car or your home, you'll likely do just fine with a soft baby carrier. However, if you are constantly on the go, especially if you enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, a baby hiking carrier will be well worth the extra investment. Not only that, but most dads prefer the hiking carriers as they are more like hiking backpacks and feel less feminine than soft carriers.

Panda Child Carriers are perfect for our Australian climate and even include a sunshade to protect bub from harmful UV rays. We offer several colours for you to choose from, as well as a variety of accessories to expand your carrier's functionality. Shop for Panda Carriers today so you can take your little one with you wherever you go.




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