Many buckled baby carriers offer two configurations for parents comfort - rucksack (H shape) or crossed (X shape) and which is more comfortable really depends on you. Shape of your shoulders and how the straps sit across your back will all affect which you find more comfortable. Which is why I hugely recommend trying both (and you can read more about both and the differences here).
However, most manuals and most videos only show the H shape so parents often don't know how to do the cross. Or try it and its not quite right and they are not sure if they've got it quite right. So here is how to cross the straps and how to get is comfortable;
The trick is to pull the straps down first. Often parents try to catch the strap at the top near their shoulder then move it around and under their arm. Instead I recommend catching the strap low down, near your lower back or bottom and then pulling the strap straight down toward your bottom and then come across your back to plug the strap in. This can seem harder at first, but as you can see in the video it gives a much wider sweep that gives you so much more support and spreads the weight evenly across your whole back. And I am promise it gets so much easier once you've done it a few times. And if you are ever struggling to find the strap behind you try gently swinging and that strap will swing into your hand, or lean slightly forward and again this will bring the strap into your hand.
If, however, you do find it hard and instead catch the strap near the top and the cross ends up high and near your neck. Or if the straps ride up after a while... fear not its a very easy fix!
Simply loosen your straps slightly then using one hand at your shoulder and the other under your other arm, wiggle the strap wider and down (respectively) as shown then retighten as needed and voila a nice wide supportive cross!
No. The short answer, is no. It's simply not a safe position for your baby to sleep in.
Carrying outwards facing has hugely grown in popularity over the last few years, but somehow this important piece of safety information has gotten lost.
So often parents simply don't realise that carriers can not safely support their baby outwards facing if their baby is asleep. Or they think - "well it can't be that bad. I've seen other babies asleep outwards facing...". And I do understand the attraction, babies around 4-6 months start really fighting sleep and will often really fight going into a carrier inwards facing, particularly when they are overtired and overstimulated and they'll shout and cry because they are tired. But placing them outward facing immediately silences their shouts. But it's hard for them to sleep in this position as it's really simulating and so that tired, overstimulated baby will become more tired and more overstimulated and that short term win quickly builds into a bigger problem for later.
Or they do actually fall asleep, and they lose tone, their head lolls and the carrier can't support them while outward facing. Because, unlike human hands, fabric doesn't know the difference between supporting their head and putting too much pressure on their windpipe.
So while outward facing can be a super fun position for a curious baby while they are wide wide awake, I really wish more parents knew it isn't a suitable position for a tired baby and that it can be an actively dangerous position for sleep. If your baby is tired, or falls asleep please turn them inward. Yes they may well yell at you for a bit, but get walking, get swaying, get moving and I promise they'll settle down and you and them will have the comfort of knowing they are in a supported, safe position for their nap.
And if you are struggling to get them to sleep and they are fighting being inwards - try a hip carry. Hip carries can be the best of both worlds - view out, space for baby to turn away if simulation gets too much and their head and neck is supported from behind making this a safe position for sleep.
This is a question I get a lot! As two of the best known and most recommended brands on the market I am often asked what are the differences between Ergobaby and Tula and which is better. The first thing to acknowledge is that they are both owned by the same parent company so there are actually more similarities between these two brands than differences - when compared with other brands on the market. But between these two there are 3 main differences that may make one of these more suitable for you personally than the other.
Watch me compare and contrast these in detail in the video or scroll down for the same information in written blog form.
So as I mentioned these two brands are actually very similar to one another. They are both at the relatively bulky, well padded end of the spectrum. So if you are looking for a supportive carrier with a lot of padding then either may well fit the bill for you. Conversely if you are looking for something lightweight and unbulky or something very cool then I wouldn't suggest either of these carriers.
Because they are owned by the same parent company, each of their models has a respective counterpart with the other brand. For example in the video I compare and contrast the Ergobaby Omni Breeze and the Tula Explore. The Omni and the Explore are equivalents to each other and do pretty much all the same things and work for the same ages and stage babies. These are the models that offer outward facing as well as inwards and back carry. Likewise the Ergobaby Adapt and the Tula Free to Grow are counterparts and both offer adjustable height and width panels but don't allow outward facing. And finally the Ergobaby Original and the Tula Standard are both their respective fixed panel models. And across each of these counterparts the carriers adjust in similar ways - i.e. the Tula Explore and the Omni Breeze and Dream have the same shaped seat for outward facing and adjust in a very similar way its just the Tula has buttons while the Omni's have sliders. Both methods give the same outcome. Likewise the width of the carrier adjusts to allow babies from around 2 months of age through to 2 years of age, on the Ergo this is via 3 velcro settings, on the Tula is its via 3 popper settings. And the size of those 3 settings is the same so give a really similar fit and degree of flexibility for baby.
But there are differences and really these come down to 3 main differences:
The shoulder straps - For the Ergobaby the buckle is positioned at the panel. This means the Ergobaby can be worn rucksack style or with the straps crossed over parents back. H or X. This also means that tightening that strap requires you to pull the strap backwards which can feel tough on the wrists. By contrast the Tula doesn't have a buckle at all. Instead it has a ladderlock and this is situated on the padded part of the shoulder strap. This means it can only be worn rucksack style - H - across parents back, but it also means that the straps tighten by pulling forwards. Which can feel like a much easier motion to do.. However, then loosening can become an issue because the ladderlock buckle is usually situated behind you or near your armpit and can be difficult for some parents to reach. So there are definite pros and cons to each strap type and different parent back shapes and sizes will find one more comfortable than the other, and likewise find one easier to use than the other.
The waistband - Both have relatively firm, well padded waistbands but the shape of the waistband is quite different. The Tula band is straight and wider for longer. By contrast the Ergobaby waistband is more curving and a lot shorter but the Ergobaby has a lumbar support. Which one is best will really depend on your body shape and how that band sits on your waist. Tula is one that often works really well for plus sized parents because the padding is longer and the band wider. But others will find this band too wide, or depending on the shape of your hips and where the band sits relative to your hip bones some people find the Tula rubs and that the curving shape of the Ergobaby offers a better fit. Very petite people often find both bands simply too wide (and find something like the KahuBaby gives them a much better fit) - but this is really really personal and my best advice is whatever your body shape try both and see what fits you best. Many parents love the lumbar pad on the Ergobaby so it is worth saying that if you do find the Tula band more comfortable otherwise Tula do make a lumbar pad that they sell separately (this pad also works on other brand carriers too so if you find another carrier that you find more comfortable than either but think a lumbar pad would help, the Tula pad can be great investment.
the feel of the panel - The Ergobaby panel is more structured in feel. There is more "boning" and structure and shape to the panel. The Tula panel is also shaped and has a similar "bucket" shaping but this shaping is done all through seat darting rather than via boning or reinforced sections. The result is the Tula panel feels alot softer and moulds around baby more. They both give a really lovely shape and a really comfortable seat for baby. So once again it's about personal preference - some people prefer that feeling of structure while others prefer the softer feel against baby.
Getting your baby onto your back for the first time with a woven wrap can be quite daunting! And part of that is there is simply so many methods for this. I have spent years not making videos on back carrying for precisely this reason - there are so many different methods and it is really personal! Different methods make sense to different people - there is no this one method is better.
But for those who want to learn on line, or at least give it ago... I have finally made a video. This video shows just one method for getting baby onto your back - the hip scoot method. The main pros of this method is that you get the wrap spread out over baby and baby nicely sat in the carrier with the legs supported in a wide squat before you bring them to your back. This can be really helpful if you struggle to "make a seat" on your back, or if you are worried about baby wiggling as you bring them round as we tighten the fabric so they feel securely held before you bring baby to your back. However, as I've said there are other methods! So if you try this and it doesn't work for you or feels a faff please don't be disheartened - get in touch, there will be other methods that do work.
I mainly chose this method in particular because it is one I have had a few clients prefer recently and I promised those clients I would make it as a reminder for them. It can be really hard to learn new carries from videos. It is hard to describe in a video how something should feel. And a video can't watch you and notice which part is tripping you up and suggest alternatives or explain that part in a different way as I would during a consultation. Instead videos work much better as a reminder or memory jog. So I share this mainly for those who I have already taught back carrries, but also as inpiration for anyone trying to learn online.
Hopefully it is helpful!
The wrap shown in this video is a size 6, which is a base sized (long) wrap for me. You'll notice I have lots of length left over at the end. A standard tied at the front Rucksack carry can be done with a base -2 (mid-length) wrap, which would be a size 4 for me. You can find more on wrap sizing here. And if you'd like to borrow a wrap to give this ago you can find wraps of many different lengths to hire here. Because this wrap is so long, I also show a knotless variation of tying - known as "tied Tibetan" (absolutely no idea why it is called this!) as a method of using up extra length and also making the shoulders of the wrap feel more comfortable.
There are so so many ways to breast or chestfeed in a woven wrap. And how to do it will greatly depend on;
how long your wrap is
how you feel most comfortable feeding, i.e cross body/cross cradle, rugby ball, or more upright?
How you and your baby fit together! Length of both of your respective torsos, where your nipples line up relative to this. If your nipples point to the left, right, straight forward... different on both sides (which is totally normal btw)
How much support you need and where you most need that support
As such, feeding in any wrap or sling will look different on everyone - because it is hugely personal.
All of which means it is really hard to make a video or write a blog on how to do it because its different for everyone. Instead this is something I usually work with clients one to one to make suggestions and/or give them ideas and the confidence to experiement with at home and find what works for them.
But I have made 1 video (below), of just one method! Using a long woven wrap, starting from Front Wrap Cross carry here is how to move to a cross body, cross cradle feeding position. I made this video as a reminder for a client who tried a few different techniques and this is the one that worked for her. And I share it as inspiration for others, just in case it helps you. But if it doesn't, or you try it and it doesn't feel right, or you prefer a different position or your wrap isn't long enough.... please don't be disheartened! There are so many other methods! Instead, get in touch and I can work with you (online or in person) to help you find what does work best for you!
I was really excited to try this carrier. From the images on their website it looks just the Artipoppe but at nearly half the price, potentially a more wallet friendly alternative? I am so glad I got a chance to try it before taking the plunge and purchasing one.
On its own merits, it is NOT worth the £165 price tag. There are so many carriers around this cost or less that are better made than this carrier, that deliver more flexibility and fit more adults, more different sized bodies than this carrier. This carrier feels cheaply made and doesn't feel like it would last long before it started to fall apart.
You can see exactly what I mean in my full video review and full demo and run through of this carrier here;
And there are more photos at the bottom of this blog too.
When compared the Beauden the Label to the Artipoppe (which really does feel well made), there is just no comparision. I am starting to have a new found respect for the Artipoppe! While 2x the price ... its much more than 2x better made. Fabric feels stronger, build quality is far far far better. And while I still maintain the Artipoppe is overpriced for what it is (more on that here), the Beauden sling actually offers far worse value for money.
The Joie Savvy carrier is an internal harness style baby carrier retailing around £105 but you can often find deals around £60-£80. The lovely Tracey from the Lady with the Slings, kindly sent me the Joie to review after seeing my review of the Nuna Cudl.
The first thing to say about the Joie Savvy carrier is it does look a lot like the Nuna Cudl, but it a good chunk lighter, softer, is easier to use and will fit more body shapes too. Plus its so much cheaper! The Cudl retails at £160 and (as you can read here), I absolutely hated the Cudl and really wouldn't recommend anyone buys it when there are so many much better options at the same price range. So definitely compared to this carrier the Joie comes out in a favourable light...
BUT, when you judge it on its own merit - the fit for baby when inward facing on the Joie carrier isn't amazing. In particular, I couldn't get the top part of the carrier tight enough and so I'd be really worried about the risk of a real baby slumping inside and being at risk for suffocation.
See what I mean in my video review here (and then read on for more about this carrier below):
It is a real shame as there are some real pros to this carrier, but unfortunately this is often the downside of carriers with an internal harness. While easier to pop baby into, its often harder to adjust for a really great positioning. The result is baby's weight pulls away from their caregiver, putting more strain on the caregiver's back and creates space baby can slump into and can be particularly dangerous for younger babies (under 4-5 months). Post 5 months when baby has more upper torso control and maintain their own airway it is less of an issue safety wise, although the issue with more strain on the caregivers back will only get worse as baby gets heavier.
The real pro of the Joie Savvy carrier is its outward facing position. It has a really great bucket seat and gives a really wonderful outward facing position. The position is really similar to that seen on the Ergobaby Omni Breeze and the Tula Explore. Making the Joie Savvy potentially a great choice for carrying outwards. BUT, as most parents find they only really use outward facing between 5 and 10 months - does the Joie represent good value for money? As a carrier that works best only between 5 and 10 months and only really does one positon well ... £105 seems a bit steep. When you compare it to the Ergobaby Omni Breeze or the Tula Explore that both work brilliantly (and safely) from 6-8 weeks and will last all the way to around 2 years of age. Plus offer a closer fit that will protect your back as baby grows. While they are more expensive, the fact they last alot longer and give more options mean that they offer better value in the long term.
If you are looking for a more budget friendly option then really worth considering the Beco Gemini which again will last longer than the Joie, offers a safer positioning for younger babies and a closer more comfortable fit for parent too and can be found on Amazon for around £80.
Hope that helps! If you have any questions about this carrier or any other please do get in touch and ask!
A lovely mum contacted me via facebook asking what I thought of the Nuna Cudl. She had one but wasn't sure she could get it to work so very kindly sent it to me to review.
Made by well known pushchair manufacturer's Nuna, the Cudl is absolutely massive!!! It promises an all singing all dancing newborn to toddler, 3.5kg to 16kg, carrier that offers 3 carrying positions - inwards, outwards and back carry. Realistically, however, most people will find it won't last them anywhere near that long. It's massive, it's bulky, it's not easy to get a comfortable fit with, and realistically most babies won't fit it until around more like 6-8 weeks and then the max width of the seat means they'll likely grow out of with in a year.
It does offer all those positions but switching between them is a faff and harder than when you compare to other carriers that retail for a similar price.
The Tula Explore (find my review here, rent it here), the Ergobaby Omni Breeze (find my review here, rent it here) and the Beco Gemini (find my review here, rent it here) are all more flexible than this carrier, all fit a wider range of parents shapes and sizes, are more comfortable, fit babies for longer, and are easier to switch between positions as baby grows and matures. Combined with the fact the manual is really confusing and makes some really quite dodgy recommendations at some points... I really can't see myself ever recommending anyone purchase this carrier. Particularly not when you consider price - this carrier retails at £150. The Tula Explore at £155, the Ergobaby Breeze £175 and the Beco Gemini at just £80. You get far better value for your money with any of these carriers over the Cudl, as they all last longer and give so much more flexibility of fit and use.
Watch my full review and demo of the Nuna Cudl here
If you do have one and need some help getting it as comfortable and well adjusted as possible, please get in touch. I'd love to help. Or if you are researching it please do check out my alternative suggestions above and feel free to reach out if you have any questions.
As 2022 draws to a close, I am honestly wondering where the year has gone. This year has definitely gone by in a flash, and I can't quite believe it's already time to start talking about 2023!
But it is, and I have new dates for both Kingston and Old Malden Children's Centres.
It was back in February this year that I first started offering a session at Old Malden, and it has very quickly taken off. Sessions have been filling up regularly since April, and both the October and November sessions were over capacity. So for 2023 the session will be 90 minutes instead of 60 minutes to allow me to accommodate upto 10 families (instead of just 6 or 7). Kingston will continue as 2 seperate 60 minutes sessions each accommodating up to 7 families. Meaning we offer upto 24 families free sling support each month.
The eagle eyed among you will have noticed there isn't a session at Barnes at the moment. This is something I am hoping will come back, but sadly this session was not well attended during the first half of last year. Most sessions had only 2-3 families booked in and frequent no shows meant that more than once I ran a session for no one to attend. As I donate my time to run these sessions, it just simply isn't sustainable to keep offering a session where there is not sufficient demand. Particularly when sessions in other areas are well attended. It is a shame, because this venue was very well attended in the past, but right now there isn't the demand. If this changes and interest in running a session picks up, I will of course restart running sessions here. So if you are interested please let me know!
Likewise, if you'd like Sling Clinic to come to a new area please do get in touch to ask! If you have a local children's centre please do put in a good word for me! I am always open to offering more Clinics in new areas if there is demand to support it.
For those needing more in depth help, private consultations in my home, clients homes or online are back from the 3rd of Jan. These are the perfect way to explore a number of options and really delve deep into how to use them and become completely confident using whatever you choose.
Once you have found the right option for you theSheen Slings webshop is here for you! Carrying an increasing range of slings, carriers and accessories – all purchases come with the added bonus of me! I care much less about what you buy and much more about whether you can use it and that it adds value to your life … so all carrier and sling purchases come with a free 20 minute online video fitting appointment that you can book at any time if you are at all unsure. And all my clients are always welcome to send me a photo to double check fit and/or ask any questions, at any time. I want to ensure you love carrying and all the products in the shop are carefully curated based on what I know works for a wide range of parents and babies. They are all things I have seen work time and time again for families of all shapes, sizes and needs. Most are also things I have either used personally myself or wish had been available at the time for me to use personally!
For those who would rather hire, or would like to hire to try before they buy - hiring has got even easier! I have finally started upgrading my hire system... and during 2023 I will be retiring my low tech Google Form linked to spreadsheet and instead offering the ability to hire directly from my website. This will mean you can see photos and descriptions of every carrier in the library, check availability, reserve and pay online. In fact the new system is live right now and you can see it here. Although, at the time of writing, only 15 of 116 hire carriers have been loaded so far. But loading the rest is my number 1 admin priority for 2023!! And in the meantime the other 101 carriers will still be hirable via the Google form (and are all listed here) so please do still get in touch to hire if you don't see what you want to hire on the new system just yet!
Ever wondered what that bit of elastic near the buckle on your baby carrier is for? Designed as a safety feature in the extremely unlikely event that the buckle spontaneously undoes (or the more likely event that a parent absentmindedly undoes the waist strap before the shoulder straps), these elastic loops act to "catch the buckle".
But only if you thread them correctly. Most parents assume simply threading the buckle through the loop is enough, but actually the full "catch" effect relies on you then pulling the extra webbing back over the top of the elastic loop. As shown here:
Thus the elastic is able to securely "catch" the buckle if it comes undone because the webbing coming in and out of the buckle is trapped under and over this elastic respectively. Meaning that if you accidently undo the buckle absentmindedly or if it failed or undid spontenously the buckle would be caught and you'd have plenty of time to resecure the carrier or take your baby out as needed.
Did you know this? If you didn't please don't feel silly I would say 90% of parents don't! I didn't until I was shown either! Did you find this helpful? If so please do let me know below!
(PS - sometimes parents don't like to use the safety buckle as they find it hard to untangle the strap when taking the carrier off. But there is a trick to this - watch to the end of the video to see it! You simply fold the buckle back under the elastic to quickly release the strap without needing to do loads of untreading.