Once I decided on a stroller for my coming baby, I began my search for the perfect baby carrier. Still pregnant, I imagined the perfect mother-son scenario: my little Alessandro blissfully napping in the carrier while I went happily about my errands.
But during my pregnancy, I didn’t factor in things that would eventually shatter that daydream, like his high birth weight and light hip dysplasia, or my painful C-section and never-ending back pain. And it wasn’t easy to pick a carrier, considering I was pregnant with my first child and didn’t know what I was looking for. I ended up with way too many items: an Ergo carrier hand-me-down that was gifted to me, a sling and a wrap. The carrier that ended up winning my heart, though, was one I bought myself: the Beco Gemini Cool.
After researching, I selected the Beco Gemini because it had great reviews, was made of a cooling mesh suitable for a baby in summer and because the price-to-quality ratio seemed excellent. Budget-conscious moms take note: The Beco costs about $75, while many similar carriers are priced at over $100. The carrier becomes even more affordable when considering that it can be used for a newborn (without buying an additional insert) through the toddler years.
The Beco Gemini ended up benefitting my family in ways I could never have predicted. My son, Alessandro, was just on the cusp of having light hip dysplasia. His pediatrician told me I should utilize the carrier as much as possible, making sure his legs were out to improve his hip flexibility and range. I noticed that with the Beco Gemini, it was easier for Alessandro’s legs to sit and splay out, whereas the Ergo was more conducive to his legs staying inside, especially when he was tiny. The carrier also has various settings, flaps and adjustments that can help the baby get comfortable enough to sleep (with additional head support) or in the right positions to breastfeed or bottle-feed.
I also had an unexpected C-section, so I needed proper support — for weeks I could barely bend over to place my son in the crib or stroller, so the carrier was key for me. Surprisingly, it was much easier for me to put him in the carrier by lifting him up and into the carrier versus bending down to put him in the bassinet part of the stroller.
The Beco Gemini also crosses in the back for extra support, especially helpful for smaller humans who want to feel more secure using a carrier (I’m only 5 foot, 2 inches tall). In contrast, I felt like other carriers I tried on slipped off my shoulders, and I certainly didn’t want to feel insecure while using a baby carrier. Even my taller and broad-shouldered husband liked the straps, which crossed in the back for security, too.
Things were going swimmingly the first couple of months, just as I’d imagined while pregnant. Little Alessandro was as happy as could be in the Beco Gemini, and I was calm, felt secure and even stayed relatively cool while wearing it during a particularly steamy July. Four months in, everything suddenly changed. My son started crying and protesting in the carrier. After a traumatic trip to the grocery store where Alessandro screamed nonstop in the carrier, resulting in uncomfortable stares from other patrons and even a few tears from mom, I was desperate – what had happened?
I realized he was curious and wanted to face out and see the world. Luckily, the Beco Gemini allowed Alessandro to do that safely, while many other carriers don't have that option. I turned the little guy around, and his curiosity was satiated. He would happily admire passersby, giggle and gurgle at cashiers and charm pretty much anyone in his path.
Come six months, crisis No. 2 occurred. Alessandro was so heavy at 20 pounds that I was starting to get additional back pain using the carrier — and front carrying him certainly wasn’t helping my lingering postpartum ab separation. But the Beco Gemini once again blew my mind when I realized I could use it to carry the baby on my hip or back. The carrier works until the baby is 35 pounds, so I can use it until my son is around 18 months or 2 years old in whatever position we choose.
The only drawback to the carrier is that I love it so much I needed to buy two — one for myself and one for my husband, because he kept messing with my perfect strap adjustment. But since the carrier was almost half the price of comparable models, I ended up getting two without overspending.
Other comparable baby carriers to consider
If you’re looking for similar carriers that may last longer or have extra padding, consider these highly rated products.
The Ergo Baby 360 is a versatile baby carrier that can be used four different ways, best for babies between 12 and 45 pounds. Although you can use the carrier longer than the Beco Gemini (up to 45 pounds, versus up to 35 pounds), the price point is significantly higher, and to use the carrier with your newborn, you’ll have to buy the newborn insert or another newborn carrier, sling or wrap. It’s earned an average of 4.7 stars from over 1,000 reviews on the Ergo website.
This mesh baby carrier is secure enough to use from the newborn stage without an additional insert, but only until the baby is 26 pounds. The baby can face in or out, and the carrier has extra padding for comfort and security. But the price point is significantly higher, especially considering you can’t use this carrier after the baby is about 15 months old. It’s earned 4.8 average stars from 275 reviews on BabyBjorn.com.