Compare Baby Carriers – Soft Structured

Ergo soft structured baby carrier

Adding a few buckles and snaps to a Mei Tai, with some extra padding and structure, will give you a soft-pack or “buckle” baby carrier. Soft structured baby carriers include the popular Ergo Baby Carrier, a favorite for Dad, as well as the hip-carrying baby carriers that are gaining in popularity for toddlers and older babies. Just because baby is getting bigger, doesn’t mean you have to stop carrying them!

A structured baby carrier evenly distributes the weight of your baby across both shoulders and hips, making it comfortable to carry for long periods of time. Most parents find they can carry a baby, especially a heavy toddler, the longest in a structured carrier. Our best-selling Ergo Baby Carrier can be used with a baby more than 40lbs and the Beco Butterfly II can be worn with a child up to 50lbs.

Because the tiniest babies need more support for head and neck, a structured soft pack carrier is best for an older baby with head control (3 months+).

With their comfort, ease of use and mainstream appeal, it’s easy to see why soft-structured baby carriers are so popular among parents. If you do a great deal of walking or hiking with your baby, this is the baby carrier to choose.

This post is part of a series in which we give an overview of baby carrier styles, comparing the specific baby carriers available within each style. Despite the variety of baby carriers on the market today, nearly all fall into one of four basic styles.

Soft Pack Buckle Carriers


  • easy to use
  • ergonomic, so weight is evenly distributed to hips
  • very supportive
  • usually Dad’s favorite
  • high resale value


  • not usually recommended for newborns who cannot hold their heads up well (3 mo +)
  • does not fold compact for travel or in a diaper bag
  • can be more expensive due to the amount of workmanship required in their manufacturing

Soft Pack Baby Carriers Compared

BabyHawk Oh Snap Baby Carrier

BabyHawk Oh Snap Baby Carrier
Style: Soft Structure Baby Carrier
Age: 15lbs to 45lbs
Carrying Positions: Front (in or out), Back

Beco Butterfly Baby Carrier

Beco Baby Carrier, Beco Butterfly II
Style: Soft Structured Baby Carrier
Age: Suitable for newborn to 50+ lbs
Carrying Positions: Tummy to Tummy, Back Carry
Origin: Made in the USA and China

Beco Gemini Baby Carrier

Gemini Beco Baby Carrier
Style: Soft Structured Carrier
Age: Newborn to 35+ lbs
Carrying Positions: Tummy to Tummy, Back, Hip
Origin: Made in the USA and China

Ergo Baby Carrier

Ergo Baby Carrier also in Sport Style
Style: Soft-Pack Structured Baby Carrier
Age: Suitable for newborn (with infant insert) to 40lbs
Carrying Positions: Front (infant to toddler), Hip, Back (with older baby only)

Ergo Performance Baby Carrier

Ergo Performance Baby Carrier
Style: Soft-Pack Structured Baby Carrier, light and durable for activities
Age: Newborn to toddler
Carrying Positions: Back, Front, and Hip

FreeHand Baby Carrier

FreeHand Baby Carrier
Style: Soft Structured Carrier
Age: Newborn to 35lbs
Carrying Positions: Front (facing in or out), Newborn carry, Back carry

Pikkolo Baby Carrier

Pikkolo Baby Carrier
Style: Hybrid Mei Tai & Soft Structured Carrier (A Mei Tai with Buckles!)
Age: Newborn to 40 lbs
Carrying Positions: Forward Facing In or OUT, Hip & Back Carrying

Scootababy Soft Structured Baby Carrier

Scootababy Hip Baby Carrier
Style: Soft Structured Hip Carrier; a cross between a Mei Tai & a Sling
Age: From head control (approx. 5 months) to 40 lbs (toddler)
Carrying Positions: Tummy to Tummy, Hip/Side, Back (short periods)

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