One of my most requested baby topics–a BabyBjorn carrier review!
Today I’m reviewing the two carriers we have–the Mini and the Free. Plus, Kendall is adding her review of the BabyBjorn One Air! If you’re expecting, or looking to get a super practical gift for someone who is, I hope you find this post helpful!
(Disclaimer, this post is NOT sponsored by BabyBjorn. I did have one Instagram sponsorship with them a few months back, but this is completely unrelated. We were BabyBjorn customers before we ever worked with the brand! Just wanted to make sure that was clear!)
BabyBjorn Review: The Mini, Free, and Air Comparison
First, do you need a baby carrier?
I think there are very few things you *need* for a newborn baby. It also depends on where you live and what your lifestyle is like! For us, it turned out to be an absolute essential. Because we live in the city, in a walk-up, up a flight of stairs (with no landing or nowhere to store a stroller anywhere but inside our condo) it turns out, we NEVER use our stroller. Seriously–we haven’t used our stroller in probably 4 months. And even before that, the usage occasions were few and far between. It’s just too much of a hassle.
Even if you live in a stroller-friendly building, we find it’s just easier to navigate around the city while carrying her. You don’t have to worry about crowded or uneven sidewalks. And, you don’t have to worry about crowded restaurants (some of which don’t even allow strollers inside). Plus, June just has always been content in her carrier. We can meet friends for happy hour and wear her the entire time and she is perfectly content–whereas if we had her in the stroller. We found we’d constantly have to entertain her or pick her up/holder anyway. June just loves being part of the action, and as long as she’s in the mix and can look around/people watch, she’s a happy girl.
Another benefit of a carrier, even if you opt for a stroller vs. a carrier when you’re out and about, is that carriers allow you to hold a baby while being hands-free.
Ever since June was a newborn, we aimed for one nap in the crib per day, but she took a LOT of her other naps in her carrier. While there is nothing better than snuggling your tiny baby on the couch–life happens, and you just can’t be down for the count for that many hours in a day. If you can hold your baby and say, make your lunch, go on a walk, run an errand, go to happy hour, etc at the same time–you will feel like a whole different person! Carriers give you a lot of your independence back, but you still get the benefit of holding and snuggling your sweet baby.
Second, let’s talk about a BabyBjorn carrier vs. other carriers:
The thing that drew me into BabyBjorn specifically was the Mini carrier. (Reviewed below). It was smaller, unstructured, super soft, super portable, and perfect for a tiny baby AND brand new parents who had no clue what they were doing. I truly don’t think any other carrier can beat the mini for a brand-new baby/parent specifically. So–that was our “gateway” to baby products that got us hooked on the BabyBjorn brand specifically.
Why I chose BabyBjorn vs. Ergo:
It seems like BabyBjorn and Ergo dominate the baby carrier market (not including baby wraps, slings, etc). I have friends who have Ergos and LOVE them. If they appeal to you, by all means–I know it’s also a great carrier.
The reason I didn’t go for it was that it’s much bulkier than the BabyBjorn designs, has a lot of material, thick straps, etc–and that just wasn’t appealing to me with a newborn. Even though it’s approved for newborns, it looked like it would swallow her up–and not like something I would want to wear around all day. Additionally, it’s more complicated than the BB mini design–requires more of a learning curve. I wanted something that was intuitive and fast to get on, and easy to wear!
Plus, I think the BabyBjorn baby carrier is cuter and more in line with my personal style, as vain as that sounds. (I know so many people do not care about that in the slightest, and that’s great–but I do! Let’s call a spade a spade, aesthetics are a big factor for me.)
To me, the biggest draw to Ergo is its versatility. One carrier will take you from newborn stages through toddler stages, and you can wear their carriers front and back, with the baby facing you or facing out in the front. The carriers I own do not do that. (However, I’ll tell you why I chose them below!)
Why I chose BabyBjorn vs. Artipoppe:
First, obviously the price tag. That’s a big one! I mean, I’d be lying if I said I don’t lust after this $355 colorway–BUT–that’s a lot of money to shell out.
Second, a consideration that may or may not be a drawback for you–while it holds newborn to toddlers up to 44 pounds, the Artipoppe cannot be worn with a baby facing out. That’s a lot of money to shell out for a carrier that can only be worn facing in. (Although, it is nice that the parent can wear it front or back!)
A lot of babies (especially alert and busy babies!) like to face out so they can see the world, and that’s certainly been the case with June as she gets MAD if we try to face her inward these days unless we’re trying to get her to nap–but if she’s facing forward in the carrier, she will be calm and content for hours.
Worth mentioning though, I have friends who use and love the Artipoppe all the time, and their baby has never had a problem continuously facing inward. (Maybe it’s a “they don’t know any different so they don’t care” kind of thing!)
Why a structured carrier vs a wrap or sling?
I have also tried a Solly Wrap and a ring sling–which I liked, but in terms of versatility, ease/speed at being able to get it on, and comfort for the parent–I think a structured carrier wins in my book! But again, that’s just a personal preference! June also preferred the BabyBjorn over a Solly or a ring sling as I think it made her feel the most supported.
Many people complain that a Solly is impossible to learn to tie, and I didn’t necessarily think that was true. Once you practice a couple of times–it’s easy to get down! I used it quite a bit for her first couple weeks of life, but in the end, the BabyBjorn was just the easiest. With a ring sling, while it’s awesome for carrying an awake baby, she didn’t seem to be able to fall asleep in it as easily because I don’t think it’s as supportive for a baby’s head/neck as a structured carrier is.
Again, I know parents who feel the exact opposite–it’s such an individual preference! The other big factor was comfort–I don’t think ring slings are particularly comfortable and would strain my neck. I haven’t tried wearing June in the Solly for many months now so I can’t comment on how comfortable it is with an older baby.
One more thing: Fit consultation:
If you decide, like me, to go with BabyBjorn, I highly recommend scheduling a fit consultation! They offer these for free, and they are SO helpful! There are a lot of little adjustments you can make that make a big difference in the parent’s comfort. So, I think it’s well worth your time to do this! I think you can do it before or after your baby arrives–it’ll just help you get comfortable with it and know how to adjust everything properly. If you aren’t sure which carrier is for you, you can also schedule a carrier consultation as well! (Or go to Buybuy Baby! They are also very helpful!) No other brand I know of offers these personalized consultations, and I think it’s so helpful, especially if you’re overwhelmed and you just want someone to guide you step by step as you’re learning how to use it!
Now let’s get into our mini-review of three different BabyBjorn carriers–we’ll get into the two I own first, and then Kendall will be reviewing hers as well!
Why we love it:
This carrier was our lifeline for the first 4 months of her life (and we still use it often now!) I think this is hands down the best “first” carrier for both parents and smaller babies. It’s REALLY easy to get on–there’s virtually no learning curve. And only takes two seconds to pull on and fasten and is easy to do by yourself. It’s made of extremely soft jersey material (although it comes in other materials too, we loved the jersey!) and is very snug and stretchy, and cozy for babies.
You can face them toward you or when they get enough neck control (around 5 months old), face them out so they can see the world! It’s very minimal so it’s easy to throw on and wear around the house, and great for walks, errands, naps when you need your hands free, etc. I am not exaggerating when I say TRULY that June lived in this carrier.
The carrier itself isn’t bulky at all, and it’s really comfortable. I was most drawn to this one because I didn’t want to be wearing a super bulky carrier around the house, nor did I want anything with extra bulk or weight since she’d be her tiniest in the heat of the summer.
Additionally, the straps aren’t bulky either, making this carrier ideal for air travel (it’s comfortable enough to wear while sitting in an airplane seat!)
One more thing–it’s really portable and foldable, so it doesn’t take up much room–so it’s easy to stash in my diaper bag, pack in a suitcase, etc! You can’t say the same thing for most other carriers!
When facing forward, the top portion doesn’t always stay folded down at first and can sometimes pop up, which is annoying, but not a deal breaker. (It does get better with wear though!) Also, while it’s good for babies up to 25 pounds, it doesn’t have the lumbar strap–so that can make your shoulders/back hurt faster than a carrier with lumbar support when your baby gets bigger. It’s not designed to wear for hours at a time. (I.E. if you’re looking for something you can wear all day, hiking, etc–this isn’t really designed for that!)
Newborn up to 1 year or 25 pounds
While this isn’t the carrier your baby will wear the longest, I do deem it absolutely essential for a baby registry. It’s under $100, so very affordable as far as carriers go, and I would rank this within the top three (if not number one) baby essentials for us. The best starter baby carrier, in my opinion! I would rather have this carrier for the newborn stage and another carrier for the “next stage” over 99% of everything else on my registry. Also, just because she’s bigger doesn’t mean we don’t still use it all the time–we just use this for shorter wearing sessions (or around the house–we’ve started wearing her while we’re cooking dinner because she loves to watch us cook and it’s really helpful during that fussy hour before her dinner bottle/bedtime routine starts).
Why we love it:
This was our second BabyBjorn carrier, which we got when June got bigger/older as wearing her in the above carrier for hours at a time was taking a toll on our shoulders/backs–therefore, we wanted something with lumbar support. This carrier is GREAT and it’s designed for a more active lifestyle. And parents who are often on the go and opt to wear their baby often for longer periods.
It has boning in the back–the straps are padded and structured for extra comfort and a lot of support.
Like the mini, it’s a front-worn carrier that works both baby-facing in and out.
It’s made of their 3D mesh fabric–which is ideal for summer babies but also for winter babies because when they’re bundled it can get too hot in there, too! (Granted, I don’t think the above carrier was too hot for summer either, it’s still breathable!)
This is the carrier we use the majority of the time when we’re out and about, now that June is bigger. (She’s about 16 pounds and 7 months old as I’m writing this.) However, we’ll still use the mini for quicker errands/around the house/travel. As it’s easier/faster to put on, and it’s easy to store in my bag.
I opted for this carrier as our second carrier over the Air (below) and the Ergo. Because to me, this one was a more streamlined, minimal design. Whereas the Air looked too bulky and structured for what I was wanting. Additionally, while this one only lasts up to 15 months/26 pounds, I don’t envision myself wanting to carry June for long periods once she’s over 26 pounds because that seems VERY HEAVY. (But I could be wrong?!) Additionally, I think this carrier has the MOST back support, like I said, due to the boning.
While it’s suitable for newborns, I don’t think it provides the cozy comfort for babies that the mini does. As the material just isn’t as soft/stretchy and cocoon-y. Which is why I’ve loved having both carriers. The mini truly “hugs” the baby because it’s a stretchy material. (But is stretchy enough to still be a comfortable fit for them when they’re much older/even if they’re wearing a snowsuit/etc!)
Additionally, it’s not as fast or straightforward to get on simply because it has more straps (for more support). But that also means more adjusting, more things to buckle. And it’s not as intuitive to get on nor as fast. I’m splitting hairs here because it’s a difference of like 30 seconds. But when you have a screaming newborn and you’re a new parent, 30 seconds feels like an eternity! Because we were already used to the BabyBjorn mini, it was really easy for us to figure out. But I think as new parents we would’ve been more overwhelmed.
Because of the boning/thicker straps, it’s also not as comfortable to wear via air travel as it’s not as comfy to sit in with a seat back. (But that’s also a very minor/niche thing). Additionally, this means it’s bulkier, so not as foldable. And therefore, takes up more room and it’s not possible to stuff it into a diaper bag, not easily packable, etc.
One heads up: We had a hard time figuring out the fold of the top flap–it kept popping up but turns out we were folding it incorrectly and not folding it far enough down, so if you have that issue, just know that!
0-15 months and 7-26 pounds.
I LOVE this carrier and it is perfect for what it’s designed for! When your growing baby gets older, the back support on this one makes a HUGE difference, AND I do think this is a more versatile carrier than the mini if you are wanting to wear your baby for longer periods of time.
I also think the pros of this carrier can also be CONs depending on what you want the carrier for and your lifestyle if that makes sense. (I.E. it has more padding for comfort. But that means it’s not as easy to stuff in your bag if you’re on the go. It means it’s not as newborn friendly IMO although it will WORK for a newborn, easily, etc!)
I truly do think having both this carrier and the mini cover all of our bases–I just don’t think that ONE carrier exists that would satisfy all of our needs if that makes sense. However, if you really truly only want ONE carrier and you want a carrier that does it all up to 26 pounds–this is the carrier of the two that you would want! (Unless you want one that can also be worn on your back, through age three–then consider Kendall’s carrier below!)
Why we love it:
Kendall here! I have (and love!) the Baby Carrier One Air, which truly does it all — newborn, facing in, facing out, and back! That’s why I got it — I wanted as few baby items as possible living in a small city space. And while I have nothing else to compare it to, I highly recommend this carrier. My daughter is 14 months, and we’ve used it nearly every day since she was born.
From walking her to sleep in the newborn days to wearing her on my back this summer on hikes, it’s the ultimate versatile carrier. We are a big hiker family and used this for hikes (forward-facing and back) until she turned one. While we have a hiking pack now for longer treks, I still like using this carrier multiple times per week in Portland parks for shorter hikes. Because it allows us to go on trails and not be constrained to sidewalks. It’s also been a godsend for traveling. I’ve flown a few times with her solo and this carrier is so easy to throw on and off through airports, planes, etc. I love that it supports your baby for such a long time–until they reach 33 pounds or 3 years old!
The only gripe I have this with the carrier: I wish it came with a button/snap/hook to keep the top portion down when the baby is facing out. Sometimes it pops up in her face and it seems like something that could be fixed in the design! While I didn’t have any issues using this carrier right away with my daughter, she was born in the winter and was well-cushioned/bundled in a bunting while wearing this as a newborn so it didn’t feel too big for her. I’m not sure if it would feel too big for newborns not wearing a lot of layers! This is also the most expensive carrier of the bunch!
8-33 lb and 0-3 years
If you lead an active lifestyle and want a carrier that will last the longest time (I.E. if you plan to wear your toddler through age 3) then this is a really amazing all-purpose carrier choice!
How To Wash BabyBjorn Carrier?
Your Baby Bjorn carrier is going to need some thorough cleaning every once in a while. A clean baby carrier is key for avoiding skin irritations and infections. This is caused by bacteria, mold, and yeast that naturally build up over time. If left untreated, these things can lead to serious health problems for you and your child.
First, take out the head support and set it aside. All of the BabyBjorn carriers are machine washable. so you can put all the other parts into the washing machine. Make sure to turn on cold water and use a mild detergent (not too much). After you’ve washed your carrier, don’t forget to hang it up to dry! Wring out as much water as possible before hanging it up so that mold doesn’t grow inside of it. If you notice any moldy spots while drying, discard those pieces immediately and wash them again with bleach or vinegar.