I really wanted to like this carrier.
There are several lovely features to like about it… sleek simple design that appeals to men and women equally and looks great on a mannequin; magnetic chest strap which makes this strap much easier to do up and to release than chest straps on other similar carriers; and of course best of all the wonderful “cuddle pocket” – allows you to slip your hands into a soft jersey lined pocket and stroke your baby’s back.
But ultimately, I couldn’t overcome the fact that it’s pretty uncomfortable on me. It sits all wrong on my shoulders. No amount of adjusting and optimising can seem to fix this. It is worth saying that I am always a bit loathed to state a carrier is uncomfortable because it really depends on individual fit. Clearly this carrier fits me badly, but it should be comfortable for those people for whom it fits well. And my comfort is completely irrelevant to you the reader, who probably has a totally different body shape to me. In fact, this is the reason I have held off reviewing this carrier for the past year. I wanted to see how it worked on other people. However, a year down the line I am yet to find anyone at all whom it fits well. It’s been tried on a fair few times by men and women of various frame sizes, but alas no one so far has found it comfortable. I am still hopeful – it went through product testing etc so there must be at least a few people who found it comfortable.
But for myself and those who have tried it here, the issue seems to lie with the shoulder straps. They have quite heavily padded, and curved and just don’t seem to lie flat over the shoulders of those who’ve tried it. The consequence of this is rather than distributing the weight evenly across the wearer’s back, the weight is focused onto a few small pinpoint areas where the straps are actually making contact. Overtime this results in discomfort and achyness. You also can’t cross the straps over the back. Often when I see a carrier not sitting well on someone’s back in the standard H or rucksack style configuration, I suggest we try crossing the straps as this often gives the wearer a much better weight distribution and thus is more comfortable. However, unfortunately the straps on the Juno have not been designed to cross over (the buckles are attached the strap and not the body of the carrier making it very hard to do up if you do attempt to cross the straps, plus as the straps are curved they would curve the wrong way to cross).
I personally also found the waist a little uncomfortable. While the padded part is fine, the cotton strap has a tendency to twist and dig as I walk. These cotton straps – instead of more commonly used webbing straps – do have the advantage of giving the carrier a really sleek and simple look. But, with all the twisting and digging I can see why most buckle carrier manufacturer’s instead choose webbing. And I guess that really is the issue I have with this carrier – it’s style over substance. It looks amazing but more attention seems to have be paid to how it looks rather than how it wears.
It’s a shame, because as I said at the start this carrier has some really lovely features. It also offers 4 different carrying positions; 1) a front parent facing carry, 2) a front forward facing position, 3) hip carry and 4) a back carry, and is designed to go from newborn all the way to late toddlerhood. To facilitate these different carrying positions it has 2 seat modes – a narrow seat for forward facing and a wider seat for the inward, hip and back positions. The seat adjusts via poppers within the waistband and its really simple to convert between modes.
Despite having the narrow seat the Juno comes with an Infant insert and suggests that this insert must be used until baby fits the wider seat. I am not sure why, as when I tried with my daughter at 8 weeks old I found I got a better fit for her by putting her directly in the narrow seat rather than using the insert. The insert is very warm and a bit of a faff to use! But possibly the most alarming thing about the Juno is that, because the feedback from testers was that this carrier is very warm to use with the insert, Mountain Buggy sell a cold pack designed to slot into the carrier. Seriously… they advertise that this thing can reduce your babies temperature in the carrier by upto 8 degrees!!!! Dropping your babies temperature by 8 degrees – who honestly thinks that’s a good idea? Sounds like a sure fire recipe for hypothermia if you ask me. Surely the answer is not to use a hot insert rather than adding a freezer pack to the mix??
All in all, sadly the Mountain Buggy Juno is a disappointing carrier. It has some good ideas but falls short of actually working well for the parents and babies I have seen try it. If you are thinking of buying this carrier I’d urge you to try it and a few other brands on first and check to see how well it fits you.