New to the market the Kahu Baby is lightweight, sleek and very very cleverly designed.
There is much to love about it! It’s soft and malleable so it fits a wide range of babies and a wide range of parents and doesn’t skimp on comfort. It’s lightweight design means it won’t make you or baby overly hot and it will fold up small enough to fit in the change bag or under the buggy. Not to mention – it’s simply beautiful!! I went for the “On The Wing” print and when it turned up it took my breath away! This must be the most beautiful carrier I own, and the colours are just perfect… blues and greys that make this a wonderful combo with jeans (for those who – like me – like to match their clothes to their carrier!).
In terms of parent comfort, the barely there waistband allows for a really good fit on a very wide range of parents shapes and sizes. While the softly padded straps hug the shoulders and back to give brilliant support. These shoulder straps can be worn rucksack style or crossed according to parent preference and comfort. These shoulder straps also features split dual adjust which simply means they can be tightened forward or backward, which means you shouldn’t have to strain your wrists to get a snug fit (always a boon if you have reduced mobility in your arms or in my case, if you’ve wrecked one of your wrists!!).
For baby, the Kahu offers 4 carrying positions. 3 of the 4 work fabulously! Front facing inward (baby on your front, facing you), hip and back all work brilliantly, super comfy for parent and babe. In particular, the hip carry position works really well with this carrier because the straps are so soft and flexible. Likewise I love the back carry position as the chest strap is integrated and the dual adjust straps make tightening easy whether front or back carrying.
The position that works less well is forward facing (carrying baby on you front, facing away from you). In fairness there are very few carriers that truly offer forward facing well without compromising the other positions. The main thing is the other 3 positions aren’t compromised at all, and this is just as well as while forward facing can be fun for short bursts, it’s not a long-term position. It’s far more important for any carrier to do the front and back positions well. So this isn’t a huge criticism, but more of a warning – if you are specifically looking for a carrier that will allow you to do forward facing this maybe isn’t the carrier for you. As while it is possible, it’s very hard to get good positioning without the carrier seeming awfully tight around the babies legs. The three babies I’ve tried forward facing in the Kahu have been uncomfortable and quickly made their discomfort known. Most hilariously and dramatic was my own daughter who screamed “I stuck, I stuck, I stuck!” and pointed to where the carrier was cutting into her thighs for the 30 seconds until I took pity and released her!! I did find rolling the carrier in on itself to releive the worst of the cutting in helped a bit but she still hated it. She was as happy as anything in the other three positions (as were the other babies), it’s an issue only with the forward facing position in this carrier. It seems to stem from the way the carrier adjusts, ultimately it appears the adjustment strap isn’t quite in the right place to really change the inward facing seat into an equally comfortable outward facing seat.
In terms of age, the Kahu Baby works well from about 6-8 weeks or so through to about 2 years. In theory the Kahu Baby can be used from birth although in practise I am finding the integrated synching strap doesn’t quite go small enough for a brand new newborn. However, once baby is a few weeks old (depending on size of course, some will be earlier or later than others!) the Kahu baby works really well because the synching strap can size down the seat width, you can control the height by the depth you put baby into the carrier and then there is a lovely little strap at the top which can tighten up the top part of the carrier making it a bit snugger and providing support to baby’s neck. There is also a lovely shaped hood that can be used in a number of ways to provide more neck and head support as need. Then as baby grows the synching strap can be let out and this carrier will last really well till about 2 years ish child depending… my daughter Rachel is a relatively tall 20 months and is still fitting quite nicely.
So how does the Kahu Baby compare to other carriers on the market? It’s closest comparables are the Connecta and the Intergra. All three look and feel pretty similar, they are very lightweight with similar barely there waist bands and soft shoulder padding. In comparision to the other two the Kahu Baby has slightly wider and longer shoulder straps (although the difference isn’t huge), and like the Intergra these straps feature dual adjust (they can be tightened forwards or backwards). The hood is shaped rather than flat but fastens the same way and there is a strap to synch the very top of the carrier for a smaller baby. The biggest difference is that the Kahu Baby has both an intergrated synching strap and intergrated chest strap, while the Connecta and Intergra have a seperate strap that can be used to either synch or as a chest strap. The benefits of having these straps intergrated are as follows;
- You don’t run the risk of losing them (which does happen … about 2 or 3 go walkies from the library each year and likewise a couple of times a year past clients email me asking where they can buy replacements as they’ve lost theirs).
- The intergrated chest strap means the Kahu baby can be worn on the front with ruck sack straps or crossed straps, while the Connecta and Intergra can only be worn crossed as its much harder to attach the accessory strap around ruck straps behind your back.
- The intergrated synching strap is a bit conceptually easier and doesn’t move as your putting the carrier on.
Conversly the cons are;
- When the synching strap is tightened to the max, this pulls badly on the waist band of the carrier such that it no longer lies flat and this can be a bit diggy on the parent’s waist. This doesn’t happen with the accessory straps of the Connecta and Intergra.
- You can’t alter the height of the synching strap because its sewn in. On the Connecta/Integra I’d place this strap at a different height on a very young baby verses an 8-12 week old. Obviously this isn’t possible on the Kahu baby and this is one reason I prefer the Kahu once babies are already 8ish weeks old rather than a brand new newborn.
All in all the Kahu Baby is a lightweight, sleek, cleverly designed carrier that packs alot design into a small space. I love how easily this folds up, it’s great to slip in the change bag, under the buggy or in the car. It’s versatile, comfy and very easy to use … all winners to my mind. Cost is £95 and these can be purchased from the Sheen Slings webshop here, or by arrangement at sling library meets, consults, workshops or doorstep collection.