Baby Carrier for Dad
October 21, 2011 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Recommendations for baby carriers (like baby bjorn type thing) most likely to be comfortable for a big 'n tall man.

I'm putting together our baby registry and would like to add a baby carrier for my husband. I already added the Moby wrap, but I would also like one that is more structured with straps and stuff.

He is about 6' tall and 236 lbs +/- 8 lbs; .00002% variance in secondary derivative (I don't know, that's just what he told me when I asked about how much he weighed). He usually wears a either a XLT or XXL shirt.

I've heard some brands/models work better for big and tall people. Suggestions? We are registry online with a "universal" registry so as long as it is listed/blogged about somewhere on the internet, I can add it.
posted by HMSSM to Shopping (27 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Maya Wrap is pretty adjustable and would probably work pretty well. There's no padding. so there's nothing to bunch up and get all hot and uncomfortable - it's basically just a long length of cloth with some rings in it for running back the fabric and adjustment. I'm as tall as your husband, but not as heavy, though, so HMMV.
posted by jquinby at 1:20 PM on October 21, 2011

Ergo Baby Performance! Mrs. Shmoobles has used the regular Ergo Baby for our two kids, and I can sort of use it at 6' 3" and 200lbs. The Performance model has longer straps to fit dads and would be my choice.
posted by No Shmoobles at 1:26 PM on October 21, 2011 [8 favorites]

My husband is huge. 6'4" and close to 300lbs. He preferred the kind of carrier that strapped to the front, where the baby could face in or out. All the brands were adjustable enough to fit him.

Once the kids were older he liked the backpack version that had with a frame. I was all about the cuddles and closeness with baby wearing, he was all about padded straps and pockets.
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:32 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

That had a frame*
posted by TooFewShoes at 1:32 PM on October 21, 2011

We are huge fans of the Ergo. My spouse is 6' and it works fine. I've also read that Beko carriers, which are similar to Ergos, are better for tall people.

However, he is about ~160 lbs. and based on how it fits on him, I'd be concerned that it might be too small for your husband.

And a word of advice about baby carriers -- they are incredibly personal purchases. Some babies hate some carriers, some parents hate some carriers. (Example, my kid HATED the Moby wrap.)

If you can try some on at a baby store or a friend's house before registering, at least you'll narrow down ones that you like or dislike.

tl;dr check out Bekos and Ergos, but don't commit too hard.
posted by k8t at 1:35 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seconding Ergo. Great for tall people and the straps are highly adjustable. Still works for my 2 year old as well!
posted by Go Banana at 1:35 PM on October 21, 2011

TooFewShoes is wise.
posted by k8t at 1:35 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

My husband is about your husband's height and maybe a few pounds lighter. I'm 5'3 and in the 150s. We both happily wore our Baby Bjorn Synergy with Baby (now Toddler) J until he started walking at 11 months. It's got fabulous support and is very adjustable.

I got the white one, as I figured it would be cooler for Baby J in the summer time. It's easily washable, and I've got it packed away if/for when #2 comes around.

I definitely suggest trying on a bunch in person, though, as it took us a while to find one that we both liked.
posted by sillymama at 1:52 PM on October 21, 2011

My husband is 6'4" (but thin) and likes the Baby Bjorn. I'm 5'2" and can also wear it comfortably. It adjusts quickly between the two of us.

We used a (metafilter recommended) Kelty backpack when the baby got bigger, which ALSO fit us both very comfortably, but requires more involved adjustment between the two of us.

It does help if you can try some out; I tried one type that just hit me wrong across the boobs and I could NOT adjust it out of doing that. I also thought I'd like wraps but I absolutely loathed them. I wouldn't have known that before buying if I hadn't been able to try several types out.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:18 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

The Baby Bjorn can go straight to hell! It's comfortable for no one.

I have been using the Ergo since my son was four months; he is now 18 months and 23+ lbs and it's very comfortable. Granted, I am much smaller than your husband, but the Ergo is VERY adjustable and all the straps are crazy long, so they should fit around your husband no problem (you can also roll up and tie away the excess easily). It's also very quick and easy to adjust between wearers of different sizes. If it doesn't fit you then the wrap-style carriers might be more appropriate--but I do urge you to try the Ergo first!
posted by tetralix at 2:20 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

I agree with tetralix on the bjorn's lack of comfort. The general consensus in the babywearing community is that those sorts of carrier are uncomfortable for baby as well:

We have multiple baby carriers (moby wrap, woven wrap, ergo) but the only one my husband uses is our ergo. He did use the moby when our son was younger, but only if I helped him tie it.

Other carriers to look into: Beco, BabyHawk Oh Snap!, Boba.
posted by sanitycheck at 2:39 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

I know they're popular, but I would be leery of Baby Bjorns. They hang all the weight from the parent's shoulders and then try to compensate by that weird shoulderblade thing in the middle. Even if they're comfortable now/when the baby is very little, they can't really be used for that long, because of the weight issue, but they're still pretty expensive. So I don't think they're a particularly great buy.

Ergos (or Becos, Babyhawk, etc ... there a lot of these brands. The google phrase you may find helpful is "soft structured carrier") are great. The Performance Ergos will almost certainly fit your husband, and also adjust to much smaller people. They are really comfortable for both front and back carries and really do put the baby's weight on a different place on your body so that you can carry them longer without it becoming uncomfortable. You can carry a preschooler in an Ergo if you want, so even though they're more expensive than a Bjorn-type carrier, they're a much better value IMO.

The only thing about something like an Ergo is that when the baby is brand-new, you'll need the infant insert. I haven't used it, and it looks kind of fiddly to me. (But I don't know if that's how it feels, I've only seen it on other people.) A (stretchy) wrap is something you can use from day one, but it has a little bit more of a learning curve than an Ergo.

My husband used a stretchy wrap when our kid was born, and a mei tai for a while, but as soon as we got an Ergo that's the only thing he used. I think that's at least semi-common, that Ergos are the dad carrier of choice.
posted by thehmsbeagle at 2:43 PM on October 21, 2011

My I liked the moby wrap; my husband, like those above, preferred the backpack type carrier with a frame. I also liked that once the kid turned into a toddler. We had a Kelty and it has been great.
posted by dpx.mfx at 2:46 PM on October 21, 2011

Nthing the Ergo with the longer straps. We are both huge (literal giants) and it was full of awesome!! And I bought several before I figured that out. Ergo.
posted by pearlybob at 2:59 PM on October 21, 2011

I agree with others that the ergo is worth checking out. You can buy a belt extension to help it fit around his waist. I've used an ergo, a moby, and a pouch sling, and the ergo is by far my preferred method of babywearing.
posted by Mimzy at 3:24 PM on October 21, 2011

Love the ergo; I weigh as much as your husband and I am almost as tall. I probably carry my weight differently; I have a defined waist where a man probably wouldn't. There is a belt extender that will help with the waistband, though.
posted by the young rope-rider at 3:38 PM on October 21, 2011

I go about 6'3" 260 lbs and a Baby Bjorn fits fine on me. I don't even have to max out the straps.
posted by sanka at 3:41 PM on October 21, 2011

And with the Ergo, you can skip the infant insert and wrap your kiddo in a stiff blanket, burrito style, with a bit of fabric sticking up the back at the neck and head. That infant insert is fiddly and hard to work.

Or just use a sling until the baby is holding his/her head up better. My husband really liked the peanut shell sling. Baby slept like... a baby! while he worked around the house. The trick is that you actually want a smaller, snugger sling than you think. As others have recommended, if you have a good local shop or friends with carriers that you could try on, that would be best. I had all my friends bring their favorite carriers to my baby shower and show them off. Was super informative!
posted by amanda at 4:31 PM on October 21, 2011

We used the Bjorn until kiddo was 2.5 months or so and moved onto a Mei Tai and then an Ergo. I would have moved straight to the Ergo if I had known better. BTW, I still Ergo my 35 lb. 3 year old. YES!
posted by k8t at 4:41 PM on October 21, 2011

The problem I found with the ergo was that the straps do not cross in the back. I believe the clips also lack a "locking" feature.

May I suggest the Manduca? I didn't find it to be a good fit for us, as it was a bit out of my price range but is absolutely suitable for people of all sizes, and has the features the ergo lacked. You also needn't purchase an infant insert.

I preferred the less fussy beco gemini II, but it's not so great for larger people/babies.

Ergo does have pockets and a high weight limit but if you have back/shoulder problems, I really recommend something you can cross in the back.
posted by sunshinesky at 5:15 PM on October 21, 2011

I would marry my Ergo, were woman on baby carrier marriage legal.

It's seriously adjustable and there is, as mentioned, a belt extender. There's also an insert needed (or a rolled up blanket wedged in) for newborns, but other than that it's just the one piece and very, very simple to adjust. The Moby wrap drove me bonkers with the million yards of fabric. I never felt confident enough that I'd gotten it right to actually leave the house with it.

I am not a tall man, but I would recommend the Ergo to anyone interested in babywearing. I've yet to hear anyone that I know personally say that they liked something better than the Ergo.

I believe the clips also lack a "locking" feature.

The clips on my Ergo lock just fine, if by "lock" you mean "They click in and then you have to push the thingers to get them unclicked again and you really couldn't get them undone by accident."
posted by sonika at 6:46 PM on October 21, 2011

My husband loved the Baby Hawk. He also used the Ergo on occasion, which he thinks looks more masculine. He's 6'2 and very fit. When our little one finally grew out of the Baby Hawk, we were both pretty bummed. It folds up easily to fit in the bottom of the diaper bag, works for discreet nursing and since you tie it on each time, there aren't twenty straps to shorten when someone else puts it on.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 7:04 PM on October 21, 2011

Just wanted to make it clear that there are 2 different models of Ergo carriers, the original Ergo and the Ergo Performance. The Ergo performance has a longer waist band and is better suited to the big and tall. I (the mom) am slightly taller than your husband and found both models comfortable. My 6'5" husband only liked the Ergo Performance (which we bought). I suggest buying from a place that will let you try them on.

Long term you want an Ergo. But for the first 2 to 4 months you may want a Baby Bijorn or Snugglie as they are nice for newborns but terrible after the baby reaches about 16 lbs or so.
posted by saradarlin at 7:04 PM on October 21, 2011

DH is an XLT too, and I had a collection of baby carriers with my two kids.

With kid 1, we bought into the Bjorn, and found that it was outgrown in just a few months. Then kid 1 moved into the backpack carrier that actually has a frame (Kelty KIDS, but there are lots like it). That's what he found most comfortable for both kids.

For kid 2, I got a kangaroo korner adjustable fleece pouch (kkafp), and the kid lived in it for his first 6 months. Man, I loved that carrier. I also had a whole series of babyhawks, ergos, podaegi, and a bunch of other wraps just to try them. But the kkafp was always my go-to carrier until he was walking, and even beyond. I never liked the frame/backpack carrier.
posted by wenat at 7:42 PM on October 21, 2011

Ergo. Do not get a bjorn or anything like it- they suck for several reasons (hip displasia!). My husband is 6ft, ~300lbs, and he loves ours. We have a Sport, which has slightly longer straps. They also sell extenders for the straps, if that is necessary. And if the straps crossing in the back is something that you think will be important to you, this is definitely possible with the Ergo.
posted by LyndsayMW at 9:21 PM on October 21, 2011

Just keep in mind you may have a baby that LIKES to face outwards. Ergos are very comfortable but they do not let the baby face outwards (ignore attachment parenting types who say the baby should always face inwards... they can try telling that to my kid!).

I wish I'd bought a Beco Gemini instead of the Ergo; we'd have got a lot more use out of it because it allows the baby to face outwards.
posted by 8k at 3:25 AM on October 22, 2011

I'm 5'11" and 190lbs and I found the Baby Bjorn Classic very comfortable. It is extremely adjustable.
posted by 256 at 7:27 AM on October 22, 2011

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