First time I was handed a Caboo I had a bit of a "But what is it??!?" moment? Is it a stretchy? A ring sling? A carrier or what?!
Officially it is a 'Stretchy Hybrid'. This means it is like a stretchy wrap in terms of the material used and the way baby is carried once in it, but it is 'preformed' to some degree to save you having to tie it for yourself. The Caboo consists of two pieces of material that are sewn together to form a cross at the back, come round to form a cross at the front and then loop back and are fastened to the cross at the back with a pair of rings on each side. The rings allow the carrier to be adjusted and tightened accommodating a wide range of parent body types and sizes. There is then a support panel which you tie over yourself and baby once baby is in the carrier. This panel provides both head support and acts as a safety belt completing the carrier. It also has a handy pocket that doubles as a bag to tuck the whole carrier into when your not using it.
Just like a stretchy wrap, the Caboo is absolutely great for newborns and the so called 'forth trimester period'. It gives a wonderfully snuggly secure carry which I often think for the baby must feel like being swaddled to their parent. Absolutely bliss for almost any child under 3-6 months. And a sanity saver for the parents too who can make a cup of tea, go to the toilet or calm their little one while the other gets an hours sleep! However, just like a stretchy wrap, many parents find their child grows out of this carrier from 3-6 months onward. Sometimes in terms of level of support, but more often simply developmentally – as baby begins to have longer awake periods they start to prefer a carrier that lets them have their arms out and log around either from the hip or back or just turning their head from a front carry and having an unobstructed view of the world.
The main pros of the Caboo carriers over a stretchy wrap are that it simply slips over the head, and so you save the couple of moments it takes to tie a stretchy wrap. This can be a big draw for anyone who maybe has an older child and feels like they don't have the time to get a wrap right, or any one just a bit overwhelmed or put off by the idea of tying. Additionally, it doesn't drag on the ground so can be a great sling for out and about.
The cons are that because the cross is sewn in, the fit will never be quite as perfect as a wrap that is moulded to your exact body shape. More importantly as the support panel ties over the baby it means this comes over the middle of your back, so this carrier lacks the waist support the stretchy wraps are able to provide. Additionally while the rings do give the ability to adjust the carrier once on, this isn't as easy as it looks. Not meaning to put anyone off but there is a knack to it and generally its easier better to have the sling correctly adjusted before you put the baby in. Which can lead to issues if two different sized partners are using the same sling with constantly needing to adjust the sling when swapping between partners. So while the Caboo can be quicker and is conceptually easier at least, the trade off is the support and ease of use between different body sizes.
(Credit to Melissa Branzburg for taking the photos and proof reading).