I. love. baby wearing. I would wear a baby on a plane, I would wear a baby on a train. In a house and with a mouse. You get the point. Baby wearing is one of my all-time favorite things about having babies. It’s great for hands-free bonding and snuggles wherever you go. Unfortunately, choosing the right carrier for you isn’t always as easy as grabbing the first one you see. Price is always a factor, of course. But there are also things like comfort (for you and baby), fabric, extra features and how you’ll be using the carrier. Sometimes a lot of carriers, even ones from the same brand, seem similar, making it hard to decide which one to get. I want to talk about two carriers in particular, in hopes I can help you make that decision: the Lillebaby Airflow and the Lillebaby Embossed LUXE carriers.
(I was given these carriers for free, but all words and opinions in the post are completely my own)
Let’s first start with how they’re similar.
- Ability to be used from birth (7 lbs and up) without any kind of insert
- Fall under the 6-in-1 Complete category from Lillebaby, which means they can be worn six different ways (fetal, infant, face out, toddler, hip and back)
- Includes a hood, two pockets, lumbar support and neck support
- Extendable torso so you can adjust the carrier as your baby grows
- Two way straps
All great features that I really love about the Lillebaby. I know that I’m not really discussing the Lillebaby All Seasons in this post, but I do want to point out that both the Airflow and the Embossed have a much larger pocket than the All Seasons. This is one of my favorite features and therefore both of these carriers get more use than our Lillebaby All Seasons carrier.
Okay, so now lets talk about the differences.
Round 1: Cost
The Embossed carrier costs $170 while the Airflow goes for $125-135, depending on your color/print choice. So this one’s pretty easy. If you’re looking at cost alone, the Airflow is definitely the way to go.
Round 2: First Impression
Both of these carriers arrived to me at the same time. This was helpful, because I could compare my first impressions of each carrier at the same time. The Lillebaby Airflow was exactly what I expected. The website describes it as having “breathable 3D mesh” and that’s exactly what it is. I could easily see and touch the mesh material, which was a little softer than I had expected. When I first saw this carrier, I knew it would be as breathable as advertised. I didn’t even have to try it on to know this – you can tell by just looking at it.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect with the Embossed carrier. And if I’m being totally honest, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t like it. Good thing I was wrong. The embroidered design is what I liked the least about the carrier when looking at it on the website. But seeing it in person, I realized just how pretty it really is! I really liked the contrast of the suedecloth and microcloth, which really gives the carrier a little more character. The Embossed carrier had me a little giddy. Like I said, I didn’t feel drawn to it on the website over the other carriers Lillebaby has, so this was a pleasant surprise. If you opt for the LUXE version of the Embossed carrier, you’ll also really like the addition of gold or silver hardware and accents. This really helps the carrier stand out from all the rest, in my opinion.
Round 3: Fabric
As I’ve already mentioned, the Airflow carrier is made out of a 3D breathable mesh. The waistband and straps are made of cotton, which is what you’d typically find on a carrier. So the only mesh parts are on the baby-carrying parts. I find the mesh to be pretty soft. I have heard some other people say that they felt like the mesh was a little harsh when rubbing on their baby’s skin. However, this carrier traipsed all over Northern Michigan and the East Coast with us in some pretty warm weather and we didn’t have that issue with Caleb at all.
The Lillebaby Embossed carrier is quite different than any other carrier I’ve ever owned. They call it luxurious and that’s definitely the truth. The lining, which is what goes against the baby, is made from a suedecloth. This is so super soft. I can’t decide if I love this side or the silky-soft microcloth side the best. Both sides feel so smooth. The waistband and straps are made of the same microcloth fabric, so this carrier feels so buttery and luxurious from top to bottom.
Round 4: Breathability
I was originally eying the Airflow because of how much we travel throughout the year and our desire to do more hiking now that Liam is a little older. While I do love baby wearing, especially for travel, it can be difficult in the summer months. We try to visit my family in New York City at least once a year. In the summer (and even this past fall when we went), the heat and humidity get pretty gross. Baby wearing can get pretty uncomfortable for both the wearer and the baby. So I’m always looking for ways to cool us down and improve air circulation.
Since the Airflow is made out of that mesh material, it offers so much in terms of breathability. We’ve use this carrier for lots of outdoor activities like hiking and to the beach. I also opted to bring it along on our trip to NYC in October. We had hoped for a cool fall week in the city for our trip, but it ended up being in the mid-80s and humid. Through all of the adventures we’ve been on with this carrier, I actually have noticed a difference compared to other carriers we’ve used in the past. Don’t get me wrong – if it’s hot out, you’ll still be hot. But this carrier doesn’t trap the body heat as much and is better at preventing overheating.
I also want to point out that the hood for this carrier is also made of the mesh material. And it’s less layers than the body of the carrier. I have mixed feelings about the hood. On the plus side, the mesh material helps keep Caleb cooler when he’s napping and helps keep the air moving while using it. But I also feel like the mesh doesn’t do as good at blocking out the light as compared to the hood on the Embossed carrier.
Speaking of the Embossed carrier, I didn’t expect this carrier to be as breathable as the Airflow. I mean, how can you beat a carrier made with mesh? But this one has been great too! I’ve even worn it for a baby wearing fitness class and Caleb stayed nice and cool the entire time. (I say Caleb, because I certainly broke a sweat during the class). It also surprised me at how great it was as a hiking carrier. The fact that there’s no padding in the body of the carrier definitely helps with breathability. Not to mention that it makes this carrier just as lightweight as the Airflow. In comparing the two, the Embossed is not quite as breathable as the Airflow, but still much cooler than other carriers.
Round 5: Versatility + Travel
When it comes to versatility, I really think that any time is a great time to wear your baby. But some carriers fit the bill a little better than others. As you know, our family travels quite a bit throughout the year. Our destination and how we’re traveling always determines how many and which carriers I pack with us.
The Airflow is definitely a much sportier look. And because of that, I feel more comfortable playing a little harder in it. This is the carrier we chose to take with us on our NYC trip. I wanted something I could toss around, wear on the subway and have no qualms about any big city dirt and grime it might pick up along the way.
Similarly, I think this carrier lends itself quite nicely to more outdoor activities. I also wore this carrier when we walked the Mackinac Bridge over Labor Day. Which, if you don’t know, is a 5 mile haul. It was a little chilly in the morning, but it eventually warmed up enough for me to start peeling off some layers. There was also a light rain during part of the walk. What I’m saying is that the Airflow handled it all. The cooler temps with layers of clothing, the warm sun and even some rain. Because the Airflow feels so sporty, I didn’t give it a second thought to getting it wet (or even sweaty).
The Embossed carrier feels sporty too, but in a much more upscale way. I’ve used this carrier hiking and for a few workouts too. But because of its more luxurious look and feel, I do find myself thinking about how to avoid getting it dirty. Especially when it comes to sweating. I don’t lightly glow – I pretty much get drenched in sweat, especially outdoor in hotter weather. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t use the Embossed carrier for more active things (again, I have), I just don’t know if I can be as carefree about using it as I am with the Airflow. I also want to point out that my Embossed carrier is in the pewter color. If I owned this carrier in, say, black, I’m not sure if I’d have a different opinion about it.
What I really like about the Embossed carrier is that its more sophisticated look means it’s better suited for more occasions. It’s breathable and comfortable enough to wear when you’re doing something super active, but it’s pretty enough that you can wear it to a nice dinner out or a special event. The Airflow has more of a casual feel, so I don’t think I’d be as inclined to take it with me to a wedding, especially if I had the choice between the two.
So have you guessed yet which carrier I prefer?
Really, I’m a big supporter of owning more than one carrier. I use both of these regularly and believe there can be room for multiple carriers in your life. But I also get that some people only want to own a single carrier for cost and simplicity’s sake. (Jamie wishes I was one of those people). If you forced me to choose, between the Airflow and the Embossed, while it would be a difficult decision, I would choose the Embossed carrier. I think the luxurious feel wins me over more than the sportiness of the Airflow. But goodness, that was a hard decision. I’m glad I don’t have to make it in real life.
Do you own one or both of these carriers? Which one would you choose?