Honestly, I had expected to love this carrier. I love the standard soft knit Ergobaby Embrace (reveiwed here) because it is a fabulous soft, lightweight newborn option. They are really popular in my library as 4th trimester hires and I retail them too. Given that summer is here and that the Soft Air Mesh Embrace promised to be exactly the same but in cooler, lighter material… I genuinely thought that a mesh Embrace would be a total winner. So I ordered one for the sling library to try it out. Fully expecting that I would probably be putting in an order to start retailing these a few weeks later.
But I didn’t. And I won’t.
The fact is that while the only change is the material, it’s the material that really lets the soft air mesh Embrace down. Made from 92% Polyester and 8% Elastane, the mesh fabric is really very stretchy. Alot more stretchy than the 79% Polyester, 17% Rayon and 4% Elastane of the soft knit Embrace. At 4% Elastane the soft knit Embrace has a nice amount of stretchyness and give that gently molds around baby and you to give a lovely cosy, snug secure fit. While at 8% Elastane the mesh Embrace is really very stretchy and very very “bouncy” when in use. What do I mean by “bouncy” – I mean as I walk it feels like baby is bouncing.
With a brand new newborn this isn’t an issue, but as baby grows and packs on the weight this additional stretch means that baby starts to feel heavier faster. It’s steadily becomes harder and harder to feel like you can get the straps tight enough to give a supportive carry. This happened to a certain extent with the soft knit Embrace but generally somewhere around 9 months … which was approximately when baby was growing out of this carrier size wise too. So it worked well as a newborn to 9 months ish carrier. However, with the added stretch and bounciness that comes with 8% Elastane this feeling of baby becoming heavy inthe carrier and parent feeling less well supported is happening much much earlier. More like around 3 or 4 months.
It’s a real shame because otherwise this is a lovely carrier. It has all the same pros as the soft knit Embrace (reviewed in depth here), and offers all the same carrying positions (tutorials here). You can see it in action and here my video review here;
I made this video review just before it went out on hire and you can see I want to like it but I am a bit worried about the stretch. It then went out on a 3 month hire to a family with a 6 week old. A week into the hire they emailed me saying how much they loved it, how it was completely perfect and how much they appreciated having mesh. Then 3 weeks later they emailed me saying baby had grown out of it, and how it was no longer supportive. It was heartbreaking because it had created all these doubts in their minds – maybe they were too weak to carry their baby, maybe their baby was really heavy and too big. When none of these things were true! So I swapped them onto something more supportive, but before I did I got them to try the soft knit to compare with the mesh Embrace and it was so interesting. They said;
“Wow! We assumed the mesh would be so much cooler, and the knit way too hot but actually it isn’t. The knit is light and not overly hot too, but so much more supportive.I could carry on wearing him in this one but he feels too heavy in the mesh.”
And that’s it in a nutshell really – the Embrace Soft mesh offers only a tiny bit of extra coolness but alot of extra unhelpful stretchiness. The “pin-prick mesh” while nice and soft, isn’t as soft as the non mesh Embrace and is only a tiny bit cooler (as the holes aren’t very big and it still has 2-3 layers over baby).
And the soft mesh is more expensive too. Retailing at £100, but realistically only lasting 3-4 months – I don’t feel this carrier offers good value for money. If you are looking to buy a newborn carrier my recommendation is to give this one a skip. If you love the idea of the Embrace, go for the standard non mesh, or take a look at other newborn specialist carriers such as the Caboo Lite, the Izmi Baby Carrier, the DracoMom Hatchling or for something truly meshy and light the Mini Monkey Mini Sling. Or rent it instead! While I don’t think it is worth it to buy, you can rent it for the whole 4th trimester period for just £40 and save the extra £60 to spend on the next stage carrier for when baby is bigger. I have 2 in the library collection for this purpose, just get in touch to arrange.