The Izmi carrier is simply genius. It was designed by a fellow babywearing consultant and sling librarian and honestly this shows. Its wonderfully clever in its design, combining the softness, closeness and comfort of a wrap style carrier with the intuitive simplicity of a buckle carrier into one very very easy to use, lightweight soft carrier.
It is marketed as ‘birth to walking’, and is weight tested from 3.2kg (7lb) to 15kg (33lb). Quite a lot of carriers make this claim, but the Izmi is one of the very few buckle carriers that in my opinion genuinely works well from newborn. It works so well for newborns due to 4 main features.
- The width of seat can be adjusted to give an exact knee-to-knee fit. While a few carriers have an adjustable seat, the Izmi’s method for adjusting – using simple velcro tabs that stick into the waist band – is very intuitive … something that the average sleep deprived parent will find obvious. Many other carriers have 2 or 3 set seat widths and thus the carrier fits baby in jumps, while the velcro on the Izmi means it can be adjusted little by little to give an exact fit over a wide range. What impressed me most about this is just how small the seat can go. I put my daughter in it for the first time at 4 weeks old and she was in no way on the narrowest setting, I really could have used it right from day 1 with her.
- The thin and lightweight material doesn’t inundate a tiny baby. The single layer of soft light material over babies back means this buckle carrier feels more like wearing a wrap in terms of the closeness of the carry with such a tiny baby. The Izmi is made from 100% cotton and super soft to the touch.
- Its simple headrest can be poppered in a number of different ways to give support to the head and neck exactly where it is needed. I love that you can even use it to hold a rolled muslin in place to support the neck without covering the babies head. While not a problem for Rachel, Tom used to wake up and scream if anything touched his head while he was sleeping!
- For the very smallest babies there is also a bumper cushion that Velcros into the carrier and baby can be sat on to raise up within the carrier. Unlike inserts used by other carriers, babies feet can still come out of the carrier so there is no concern about pressure on tiny ankles. Not all babies need this cushion, but as it can also be used for the forward facing its a welcome addition that comes in the box at no extra cost.
The Izmi offers 4 carrying positions. As well as the parent facing front carry that can be used from newborn, it also offers a forward facing carry and a hip carry – both of which can be used once baby has great head control – and a back carry (which can be used from 6 months/when baby can sit up independently). Between these positions and the adjustable seat I can see this carrier easily lasting to about 18 months, maybe a little more depending on the size of the child.
Interestingly, the cushion can be used in conjunction with the forward facing carry. I often get parents who would like to try their little ones in a forward facing carrier only to find they are still too little – even though they are developmentally ready to forward face – their head can not clear the top of the carrier panel, or not without over stretching the baby. By using the booster cushion, babies who have great head control can face out earlier if desired. They might even be able to have their arms out. I love there are so many different options, while not everyone chooses to forward face and those that do may wish to do so at different stages… this carrier gives the parent lots of freedom to adapt the carrier to suit the needs of their individual child.
The carrier also adapts to suit the adult too. Instead of padding the shoulder straps open out to cup the shoulder. This helps really spread the weight and give a great fit to a wide range of parent body types. I have always loved the convenience of a buckle carrier but the comfort and closeness of fit of a wrap. By incorporating spreadable straps the Izmi carrier fits more like a wrap without sacrificing the convenience of buckles. Before I started running a sling library I used to think that more padding equated more comfort but I have since learnt that comfort comes from a really good fit and this wide spreadable straps simply give a really good fit. My husband and I recently took the Izmi with us to Legoland and we both happily wore our daughter for hours on end without noticing her weight at all. Its also worth stating it worked equally well for both of us, and the straps do seems to cover a wide range of sizes from the very petite to more professional rugby player type physiques! The straps can also be worn either crossed across your back or rucksack style according to individual preference. Finally, the lack of padding means this carrier is extremely lightweight and packs down small. Much smaller than any other 4 position carrier. So small in fact that it will easily fit into a nappy bag or carry on making this perfect for travel, as well as soft and light enough for use around the home.
My only complaint with this carrier is that the straps do easily get twisted. When this happens they don’t easily adjust through the buckles and this can be a bit annoying as basically there is little solution other than to faff about untwisting the straps (which can be tricky without either taking the carrier off or enlisting help). In all honesty this is only a minor niggle as with careful use and understanding how to tighten the straps (pull back in the direction the strap came from) it is more than possible to not get them twisted in the first place. It is just infuriating for the first couple of goes until you get used to it and learn to tighten correctly.
All in all, I absolutely love the Izmi. It’s one of the first carriers I reach for to carry Rachel, and one of the first I show to any parent with a young baby or any parent looking for a lightweight sling and or a sling that forward faces without the bulk (or price tag!) of other bigger name forward facing carriers. Cost is £80 and these can be purchased from Sheen Slings webshop here, or by arrangement at sling library meets, consults, workshops or doorstep collection.