If your baby is part of the 9.8% of babies born prematurely, this post will give you all the info you need to pick the best baby carrier for your pre-term baby. As I put together this research, I learned a ton on premature birth including the statistics that 380,000 babies are born on or before the 37th week of pregnancy. Given the high number of pre-term babies, companies have moved to satisfy the needs of parents looking for more safer and more comfortable carriers.
Preemies require a lot of special needs as they are susceptible to more health compared to those born close to or in their due date. They need to be taken care of in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). So, that also means that their baby carriers are unlike those of other newborns.
About the Best Carriers for Preemies
Baby wearing is now a common practice among parents and caregivers of full-term babies. Preemies can be admitted in the NICU for some time, maybe weeks or months, under strict rules and routines. And while baby wearing isn’t in the list of doctor’s routines, parents of preemies can as well enjoy the fun in it. The average weight of newborn babies is 7.5 pounds(3.5 Kgs), although the normal range could be 5.5 pounds (2.5 Kgs) to 10 pounds(4.5 kgs). Carriers for preemies are those suitable to carrying light babies – below 5.5 pounds, usually pre-term babies’ weights.
But parents have to choose the right carrier type for preemies between the woven wrap, ring-sling, soft-structured, and mei-tai. The choice also depends on the parent and the size & weight of the kid. If they are preemie twins, then you will need a strong infant carrier.
How the Best Baby Carrier can help Preemies
Just like in full-term infants, baby carriers are beneficial to preemies in numerous ways:
- First off, a baby carrier acts like an external womb that promotes bonding during this stressful period.
- Preemies need skin-to-skin contact with their moms where a baby carrier provides both snugness and safety.
- Preemies are very sleepy and a baby carrier keeps them close to their moms for both warmth and comfort.
- The scent of a mom’s skin and heartbeat gives the preemie a calming effect thus promoting growth. It also reduces crying.
- Preemies tend to feed more and a baby carrier helps moms to breastfeed their infants more for weight gain and growth.
What is the Right Time to Carry Preemie Baby?
This is a common but rather tricky question that most people, especially mothers will ask after having a baby prematurely. A preemie’s development occurs in the same order as it would have while in the mother’s womb. So, mostly this depends on how early your baby was born, between 26 weeks and 37 weeks.
We recommend that you consult the health care provider who is in charge of your preemie. But the infant must at least be breastfeeding, be 4+ lbs., or breathe and add weight gradually. The preemie must also maintain warmth without the support of an incubator.
9 Best Carriers for Preemies in 2021:
- #1. Baby Wrap Ergo Carrier Sling by Sleepy Wrap
- #2. The BabyBjorn Mini
- #3. Baby K’tan Original Baby Carrier
- #4. Boba Baby Wrap Carrier (Editor’s Choice)
- #5. Moby Classic Baby Wrap
- #6. Baby Wrap Ergo Carrier Sling by CuddleBug
- #7. LILLEbaby Complete All Seasons
- #8.Ergobaby Baby Carrier, Omni 360
- #9. SleepBelt Hands Free Skin-to-Skin Infant Support System
Reviews of the Best Infant Carriers for Preemies
Considering all the factors mentioned above, we have come up with a review of the best 9 infant carriers for preemies. The featured baby carriers are safe for your premature baby, but always remember to consider all the provided precautions.
The Baby Wrap Ergo Carrier by Sleepy Wrap is our #1 pick in this list of best carriers for preemies or even a micro preemie with low weight, as low as 5 pounds. It comes with the precise elasticity level that matches a parent or care giver’s body without the need to readjust it constantly. The baby carrier keeps the preemie close to the mom’s heartbeat for a comfy and calming effect to your infant.
Made of 95% cotton and 5% Spandex French Terry mix, the Sleepy Wrap might be shorter in length, compared to others, but it fits any body size. Parents can tie the wrap knots in three positions depending on the size of their slack, including the front, side, or the back.
This wrap creates a custom, ergonomic fit for your preemie, with an X-seating shape that adjusts to the infant’s growth. It is lightweight, offers convenient breastfeeding experience, and can fit your diaper bag comfortably.
- Convenient breastfeeding
- Ergonomic design
- Comfy, secure, and hands-free
- Machine washable
- Uncomfortable for petite moms. You can check out carriers I picked and reviewed for petite moms.
BabyBjorn Mini, our second-best baby carrier for preemies, is a small, user-friendly infant carrier that comes with a few adjustable buckles. The carrier is made from three different materials, including 3D mesh, 3D Jersey, and Cotton, for comfort and breathability.
The preemie carrier comes with a robust, adjustable head support for the infant’s neck and head. You can keep your baby close at all times, and the carrier has been tested as safe for the infant’s legs, hips, and back. The carrier hugs the baby gently in a C-shape which is healthy for the spine.
The infant carrier can be used until the baby hits 12 months or 24 lbs.
- Machine washable
- Perfect for preemies
- Strong and safe material
- Hips-, legs-, and back-healthy
- High price tag
Baby K’tan is our fourth-best baby carrier with loads of benefits for Kangaroo Care with preemies. This award-winning infant carrier is made of 100% cotton, and does not require buckling, wrapping, or fussing with snaps.
With this infant carrier, moms can discreetly nurse their preemies with a skin-to-skin bond, and on the go. Baby K’tan Original baby carriers are exclusively designed to fit the size of a parent or caregiver, and not the child. As such, it keeps your preemie snug and secure with its dual-loop design to offer more comfort. The carrier gives parents a hands-free experience.
The carrier comes with instructions to help you use it appropriately. You can also refer to the video below on how to use Baby K’tan with a newborn or preemie:
- Safe and secure
- Offers complete comfort
- Easy to wear and remove
- No extra fabric
- Not adjustable
Check out how Baby K’tan compared with Baby Wrap:
#4. Boba Baby Wrap Carrier (Editor’s Choice)
Boba Baby Wrap Carrier is our Editor’s Choice infant carrier for preemies! This calming and meditative carrier is a straightforward choice gender neutral style. Made of 95% cotton, it allows easy airflow, is durable, and easy to take care of.
The carrier also constitutes 5% Spandex that allows for stretching capabilities, wrapping your preemie close and tight to your body. When you wrap your infant, you create an ideal ergonomic seat that holds the preemie in the precise posture for hip-healthy development.
The infant carrier comes with straightforward instructions on how to tie the wrap for your infant’s safety and easy breastfeeding. The preemie can feel your heartbeat and the warmth as well. You can also check out these carriers most ideal for breastfeeding.
- Grows with the infant
- Soft and breathable
- Easy breastfeeding
- Gender neutral design
- Safe and secure
- Slightly steep tying learning curve
You can also check out a seperate post, I have compared Boba Wrap vs Moby vs Solly wrap.
Moby Classic Baby Wrap by Moby is our fifth-best baby carrier for preemies. The carrier offers an infant’s skin-to-skin contact with the mom for both warmth and comfort. Made of 100% cotton, this baby carrier supports adequate breathable experience to your preemie, and it is both durable and soft on the infant’s skin.
The infant carrier encourages preemie-parent or caregiver bonding, allowing the baby to feel the parent’s heartbeat, thus reducing stress and discomfort. Since preemies tend to breastfeed often, Moby Classic Baby Wrap allows the mom to nurse discreetly while facing her.
The infant carrier also comes with user-friendly instructions on Kangaroo Hold baby carrier position. It is also hands-free for the parent’s comfort while carrying and nursing.
- Easy breastfeeding
- Hands-free experience
- Secures the preemie snuggly
- Wrapping instructions
- Adjustable to different body sizes and shapes
- Lengthy – can be lugged
- Can cause more sweating
CuddleBug’s Baby Wrap Ergo Carrier Sling is our sixth-best infant carrier for preemies in our review. Available in nine different colors, the carrier is a premium blend of Cotton and Spandex (French Terry), making it both durable and stretchy.
The infant carrier’s cotton fabric makes breathing for your preemie hassle-free, and offers maximum comfort. Its wraps can also be tied as a nursing sling or traditional nursing cover, which is important as your infant breastfeeds often.
The carrier offers a hands-free infant carrying experience, with your baby secure and snug, reducing crying and letting them sleep more. It also offers more mom-infant bonding with more eye-contact and cuddling.
Check this tying video!
- Easy breastfeeding
- Comfortable for parents and infants
- Hands-free carrying experience
- Excellent material
- Lengthy to be dragged on the floor
LILLEbaby complete all seasons is our seventh-best baby carrier for preemies in our review. Like the name suggests, the carrier is appropriate for carrying your infant through the four seasons. What makes it a decent choice for preemies is its adjustability, where you can tune it to narrow settings that fit your newborn preemie.
The infant carrier comes ready for use, and includes a padded, adjustable head support that secures the infant’s neck and head. It is also made from 3D mesh breathable and comfortable material, an important consideration for your preemie.
Parents get lumbar support with the baby carrier, and it is recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as hip-healthy.
- Machine washable
- Comfy and secure
- All seasons
- Lumbar support for stability and pressure relief
- Excellent material
- High price tag
#8.Ergobaby Baby Carrier, Omni 360
Ergo Baby Omni 360 by Ergobaby is our eighth-best baby carrier for preemies on the list. The carrier includes Cool Air Mesh that allows for breathability to keep your infant cool. A perfect fit for all parents, this infant carrier offers an M-shape seating position for your preemie’s comfort.
While preemies might not be that weighty, the infant carriers include a lumbar support waist-belt with double adjusters for the parent’s comfort. It also comes with a removable storage pouch to keep your infant’s necessities, plus a baby hood for privacy and sun protection.
The baby carrier allows for a hip-healthy carrying design for preemies, and can be used when nursing, which is crucial to preemies.
- Recommended by pediatricians
- Baby hood for sun protection and privacy
- Hip-healthy design for preemies
- Comfy for both mom and infant
- A noisy waistband when removing
#9. SleepBelt Hands Free Skin-to-Skin Infant Support System
Sleep Belt is our ninth-best baby carrier for preemies in the review. Preemies sleep better with skin-to-skin contact with parents and when swaddled, which are both offered by Sleep Belt. The Yale New Haven Health clinically demonstrated Sleep Belt to be breastfeeding-friendly for preemies.
The infant carrier holds the preemie snug and secure, preventing falling and offering more comfort which are both essential. Typically, this infant carrier belts the preemie to the mom, which encourages rest and comfort. You can nurse your baby in three positions, including Football hold, Tummy-to-Tummy hold, and Cradle hold.
Available in three colors, Sleep Belt is used in NICU in hospitals with preemies, full-term babies, and C-sections. It is easy to wear and is unisex and adjustable.
- Exclusive breastfeeding rates
- Comfy for the baby and parents
- Snug and secure
- Promotes exclusive bonding
- Slightly expensive
That’s it guys! Our nine best baby carriers for preemies. Remember, preemies require special care and baby carriers come in handy to help you achieve this. Check out the requirements and please, learn to wrap it before you wrap it!
Best Front Carrier for Preemies
The best front carrier for preemies is our editor’s choice – the Boba Baby Wrap Carrier. While it has a steep learning curve, the carrier is lengthy enough to snugly secure your premature baby. It is also gender neutral, not forgetting soft and breathable.
Babywearing Your Preemie in the NICU, A Beginner’s Guide
Things to Consider when you Carry Preemie Baby
As mentioned above, preemies are more delicate to handle than full-term infants. As such, carrying them should not be done instantly! You must first observe the infant’s abilities and limits.
Many factors come into play, so observe these things when you carry a preemie:
- Practice how to wrap up an infant before actually doing it (using a doll, for instance) so you can be sure of what you are doing. The last thing you want is to cause harm to your baby.
- Is your baby strong enough to be in a baby carrier? Check the preemie’s physical stability.
- Wrap the infant up snugly, but make sure they are comfortable.
- Nursing a premature baby is very demanding for parents. So, you need to wear patience and confidence as a virtual to be the best parent.
- Baby slings are the best choice for preemies. Yet, they can raise breathing problems due to keeping the preemie in a C-shape. Also, make sure you can see the kid’s nose and mouth all the time to avoid suffocation.
I am Ashley Davis, a mom of three kids and the editor here at 10BabyGear. I have been a parent since 2011 and have been doing full-time consulting as a baby sleep expert since 2019. When I am not researching or testing the next baby gear hitting the market, you’ll find me teaching my toddlers a trick or two – especially over the last few months with the lockdown. I hope you’ll find my guides and reviews helpful as you make your next purchase decision. If you have any questions, you can reach me at email@example.com.