Babies want to be held, need to be held, demand to be held. Here are some important things to keep in mind when buying the thing that will hold your baby when you can't.

1. Safety ratings

When you're shopping for a baby carrier make sure that whatever you're buying doesn't have any outstanding recalls. You'll want to make sure that you're getting something safe for your baby. Check reviews in Consumer Reports or on Amazon.com.

2. Comfort for you

Try on the carrier before buying it. Make sure that it fits your new shape, and that it will fit you six months from now when your body has changed again. The best way to guarantee this is to find one with plenty of adjustable straps. Also consider if anyone else will be wearing the carrier. Buy the carrier that fits best the person who will be wearing it the most.

3. Comfort for baby

Make sure that you try to see how your baby fits too. Your baby will grow at what seems like an unbelievable rate, again, make sure that your carrier will fit your baby now and in 12 months.

4. Orientation

If you can, get to know your baby a little before buying the carrier. A new baby will need to face in for safety and support. As baby gets older she will want to see everything that is going on, and will want to face out. Some babies will want to be as close to mom as possible and prefer to face in when they are tired or sick regardless of age. Many carriers are universal and should allow baby to face either way at the appropriate age.

5. Don't be afraid to ask questions

There is more to learn about baby carriers than most people would ever want to know. When you go shopping for the carrier, be sure to ask any and all questions you might have. You can also ask friends for recommendations. It's always helpful to see a product in action.

New babies need to be close to you, but you have a million other things to do. The right carrier will help you spend time with your baby while you do the dishes or answer email. Keep in mind that as your baby grows, his need to be held will change. What you need from your carrier will change too.

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