Well, no. Not technically, but it sure makes my life easier! Some carriers are better for long periods of time, and terrible for 'popping' baby in and out. Some carriers are great for newborns, but are terrible for toddlers. Some are perfect for most of the year, but give you heatstroke in the summer. I choose my carrier depending on the outing, the size of the child/ren I plan on carrying, and the weather. I may use a SSC in the morning, a mei tai in the afternoon, and a ring sling in the evening.
Here is my list of carriers and the outings/age of the child appropriate for them. (Click to view larger)
- Amauti Coat: Strictly for very cold weather. Newborns to toddlers. May stress your back after awhile if you aren't used to it.
- Frame Backpack: Hiking or all day trip. Older babies and toddlers. Any time of year if baby is dressed appropriately.
- Soft Unstructured/Asian Style: There are several kinds, but my experience so far has only been with MTs, so I am sticking with that. Podaegis and Onbuhimos are similar though.
- Mei Tai: All year round, will need a cover in colder weather. Infants-toddlers. Great for running errands, going to park, etc. Depending on padding, can be used all day, but I prefer shorter jaunts
- Soft Structured:
- Ergonomic: I use this when I have a decent walk ahead of me. Once baby's in, I leave them there for a decent amount of time. Can be used in place of a frame backpack. Unless it has a mesh panel, it is no good for hot weather. Older babies and toddlers
- Pouch: 6mo+ is best IMHO. Short jaunts or frequent ups and downs. All year round except exceptionally hot weather
- Ring: newborns - toddlers. Short jaunts or anytime with a newborn. Most of the year, may need a mesh or linen one for summer
- Stretchy: newborns and young babies only (no matter what they claim the weight limit is), not for warm or hot weather. Can carry comfortably for hours.
- Woven: Newborns - preschool. Comfortable for long periods of time. Depending on weave and fabric, may not be comfortable in very hot weather
For more information on the types of baby carriers, see my post Types of Baby Carriers