Dad’s do things differently to moms. That’s why we exist. Some Mars to counterpoint the Venus!
For us, baby stuff has to be practical, well designed, functional and for some… look good… not be pink… you get the idea!
In this roundup, we’ve got you covered. Most (but not all) carriers could easily be used by mom or dad so If you just want the best carrier, that’s here. But if you want something that makes a little more of a dad statement, that’s here too 🙂
Our Dad Carrier Picks
- Ergobaby 360 – “One of the best carriers out there with a color combo for everyone – Moonstone anyone?”
- Baby Tula – “Navy battle dress for dads carrying babies”
- Lalbabu Dad Shirt – “A cool novel idea for carrying little one, as easy as it gets”
- KidsEmbrace DC Comics – “Something for the batmen among us”
Other guides you might like:
What does a dad want in a carrier?
No pink. Did I mention that already?
Nor flowers really… spotty colorful designs… no. Guys don’t usually wear that stuff! Give us something that looks like it was designed by the Swiss or the Army, or the Swiss Army.
If we want to make a statement, normally it’s a fun one, and it’s for the kids.
So superheroes, comedy and in some circumstances, product advertising. These things work for us.
Mostly though, we’re fine with what works for mom, so long as it isn’t pink. Sorry, I digress…
Generally, you’re bigger than mom, due to all that testosterone floating about in your bloodstream. So size matters.
All good carriers will fit a wide variety of body shapes from slender to plus size men. If you have extremely broad shoulders however some carriers aren’t going to fit as comfortably as others.
How tall you are shouldn’t matter. It’s about how the carrier fits your shoulders and waist.
Good adjustment is a key factor. Does it have to fit both of you?
You often hear about men putting their back out. We certainly suffer vocally from back problems!
It might surprise you to know however that women actually suffer more (as this study shows). This might well have something to do with the changes to the body due to pregnancy.
It’s certainly something you need to factor into any decision.
A good thick waistband will help to distribute baby weight through the hips. This takes it off the lower back.
Practicality – Easy in and easy out
How you actually get your child into a carrier and out again is important. You don’t want to be manhandling them too much.
Carriers that allow you to load them up first and then shoulder them afterward are great. If you can take them out easily without taking them. Also great.
As a guy though, you’ll learn the technique to get your little one in and out with the minimum of fuss pretty quickly.
Safety and Hip Dysplasia
You’ll probably want to be a little more active in your carrier than mom. Whilst not too active, certainly not before the baby can hold their head up.
Hip Dysplasia is something to be aware of. Sitting without enough support around the thighs with legs too close together for extended periods of time is bad for your child. It can lead to hip problems in later life. Here’s a good guide to correct seated hip positions that includes pictures. Some products are ‘Approved Hip Safe’, look for that.
Carrying Positions for Dads
Much the same as moms to be honest. With the exception of the hip carry and needing a position to breastfeed, dad carriers will allow you one or more of the following positions:
Front facing in
For the first few months of life, babies don’t require a lot of visual stimulation. They can’t support their own head for extended periods of time. This position is normally used for infants anywhere from 2-4 weeks upwards.
Once your child can hold their head up and look around they’re going to want more stimulation which is when you turn them around and move to…
Front (or hip) facing out
In this position, kids can get all the external stimulation they need and still feel a closeness to you.
The only downside? It’s not great for children who want to get some sleep and unless they’ve got a good ‘off switch’ will do nothing but stimulate them.
You also, don’t get to see what’s going on with their little faces!!
On your back facing in (backpack)
With a larger and heavier child, it makes sense to move them onto your back. You can naturally carry more weight there, for longer periods with more comfort. A child can also feel comforted in the closeness of their parent and even get a little sleep by using your back as a pillow.
Great for long walks when they need to get some sleep.
Where’s my Man-Bag?
Don’t carry one? Lots of us don’t…. Yet… But I’m sure it’s coming!
Somewhere to put your stuff is always useful. Especially if your carrier waistband restricts access to your pockets. They sometimes do.
Dad Carrier Reviews
This is just plain one of the best carriers available. It’s won awards for being so and is very popular. Any good search for a baby carrier will turn up the Ergobaby.
In the ‘dad style’ department it does come in a wide variety of colors, 18 at last check. Moonstone, plain black. Not camo, but, something for nearly everyone.
This carrier allows hip friendly seating in 4 positions. It’s easy to get your child in and out safely.
If there’s anything you could find fault with it’s the thick velcro waistband. It provides good support for you and your back. The thick waistband distributes weight around your hips and supports your lumbar area well. That velcro waistband feels snug and secure. The main downside is that it’s loud to unfasten and isn’t easy to adjust with the baby in the carrier.
If you live in a warm climate, there’s a Cool Air version of the carrier that does away with the velcro and has a buckle waistband instead. This version also has a mesh panel in the front to allow more air through onto baby to keep them cool.
The shoulder straps are well padded and comfortable. Those straps aren’t permanently secured at the back. You fix them together once they are on your shoulders using a buckle behind your neck. That could prove hard to reach for anyone with reduced shoulder mobility.
Suitable for: Infants from 7 lbs (with insert) or 12 lbs to 45 lbs
Carry Positions: Front in, Front out, Hip, Back
Waistband: Fits up to 55” waist.
- Privacy, sun / rain hood tucked into a pocket at the front (so there’s a pocket you can use for keys/wallet)
- Easy and safe forward baby in out position.
- Loads of color choices. Something for everyone.
- Machine washable.
- Certified hip friendly
- Needs insert for infant.
- Clasp for the shoulder straps will be awkward to reach for anyone with restricted shoulder mobility.
- Loud velcro strap (check out the Cool Air version to avoid that strap)
Baby Tula – Fleet (Navy Camo)
Here’s a well-respected carrier that allows several positions and comes in a Navy Camo print (amongst others). Something that won’t look generic and certainly not girly. In fact, it looks like it would go well with a Navy dress uniform.
The Tula carrier isn’t officially certified as safe by the hip dysplasia institute, but the seating position of the carrier does conform to their best practices. Legs wide, knees high and support along the thigh. An M shape.
The OEKO-TEX certification standard is there to show you nothing harmful, illegal, banned or on any watchlist has been used in making it. Or in the factory making it.
Be aware that the shoulder straps on this are not permanently secured together. When used in the front facing position you have to fix them together with a buckle behind your neck. Most people won’t struggle with this. But if you have any sort of shoulder injury or reduced joint mobility, this might not work for you.
Suitable for: 7 to 15 lbs with insert, up to 45 lbs.
Positions: Front inward facing, Back carry.
Waistband: Fits up to 57” waist.
- OEKO-TEX certified fabric
- Storage pocket
- Removable Hood
- Wide range age weight range usage
- Requires an insert for newborns and small children (sold separately)
- No front outward facing position
- Behind neck fastener, not ideal if you have a shoulder injury
Lalbabu Dad Shirt
Here’s a simple solution to the problem of carrying a small child. A shirt from Lalbabu that has a pouch in the front that you can pop your little one into, Kangaroo style.
There’s no structure to this pouch so the baby just assumes whatever position becomes comfortable. Curled up, but usually squatting facing you, which coincidentally is a hip safe position so long as their legs are wide.
This isn’t a carrier that’s designed for long-term use. It’s a quick on, easy in, job done style of carrier. Perfect for guys!
There aren’t restraining straps for the child so you won’t be jumping around wearing this, or going hiking. Because they’re in a pouch, it feels natural to still hold them with at least one hand ‘most’ of the time. But you still essentially have the use of both hands when you need them.
There is a way to make a head support for the child using a drawstring at the front.
Take a look at this video from the makers. It shows the dad shirt in the second half. After the mom version has been discussed.
Suitable for: Newborn up to 15 lbs
Carry Positions: Front inwards facing
Fits up to 44” waist, 49” chest
- About as easy to use as any carrier could possibly be
- Looks good
- Head support
- Not certified hip safe
- Single position carry
- Only upto 15 lbs
KidsEmbrace DC Comics Batman
If you or your children are into superheroes. Specifically Batman, this might be worth a look.
It’s black and has a Batman logo on the front and a hood for the child with bat ears.
There are 3 carry positions, but unfortunately, no forward facing out.
The fabric construction of this contains a lot of mesh around the child which is going to help to keep things nice and cool. In the middle section of the waistband, you can find a nice large zipper pocket that’s ideal for storing a phone.
Avengers and Marvel comics fans…. Unfortunately you need to keep looking.
Suitable for: 7.7 lbs (newborn) upto 26.4 lbs
Carry Positions: Front in, Front hip, Back
Waistband: Maximum size 48”
- Batman logo
- Hood with bat ears
- Multi position carrier
- Large waistband storage pocket
- Not certified hip friendly