DidyKlick Review

Didymos are best known for their wonderful woven wraps, and their new half buckle carrier – the DidyKlick – sees them marry wraps and buckles together into one perfect package.

20171124_115259I would describe the DidyKlick as a great halfway house between a woven wrap and a buckle carrier.  It combines the pros of both – the perfect fit, softness and flexibility of use of the woven wrap combined with the intuitiveness, ease of use, solid waist support and satisfying ‘click’ of a buckle carrier.  In fact it does seem almost literally like half and half of each – with the bottom half most resembling a buckle carrier and the top half behaving and feeling more like a wrap.

It has a heavily padded waistband that feels very supportive and does a great job of taking the weight off of the shoulders and onto the hips and waist.  The buckle is to one side and tightens in one direction only.  So very easy to use and very secure.  Although I have to say I personally don’t like having the buckle to one side as much as central but that’s a very personal thing! I know other people who find it easier at the side.

20171204_082552For the baby the panel adjusts in two ways.  Firstly the overall width of the seat can be adjusted via velcro attachment to the waist band.. the whole thing can be scrunched down to fit a smaller baby or pulled taut for a bigger child.  I was really impressed by just how big a size range it covers.  There are no preset ‘jumps’ its possible to get an exact knee to knee fit all the way from a tiny baby to bigger toddler.  There is also a drawstring to help make a pouch for a smaller baby.  I would say realistic age range would be a month or two all the way to at least 3 years old.  In fact I was honestly staggered to find it gave a reasonably good fit for my 4.5 year old and he certainly found it comfortable!

While the panel doesn’t adjust in height, it is possible to adjust the height by altering how you put the baby in – putting a smaller baby in deeper to shorten the panel and visa versa sitting an older child directly above the waist band to lengthen the panel.  For me this is the one thing I’d like to see altered about this carrier – the width adjustment is really amazing and covers such a range, it would be absolutely brilliant if the height adjusted to the same extent and as smoothly.  However, this really is quite a nitpicky thing, it works absolutely fine without it!

The hood, however, does adjust smoothly and attaches via loops onto the straps, with simply to use poppers to secure.  I love that the loops have been included on both sides of the straps so it’s possible to purposefully twist the straps if desired.

The straps are what really makes this carrier so comfortable and fit your body like a glove.  Made from wrap fabric they just hug your body and go where you want them too!  Like them really spread out? Or prefer them bunched up?  You choose!  You have complete flexibility to do what you like just as you would with a wrap.  As mentioned you can even purposefully twist the straps – which seems like an odd thing to do but something I often teach to parents with nosy babies as it gives babies more space to see things while still giving great support and comfort for the parent’s shoulders.  In terms of length the straps were plenty long enough to come round under babies bottom and back behind me to tie, but not so insanely long that i couldn’t tie in front with bow if I didn’t want a knot in my back (i.e. for sitting down).

 

But what’s really fab about this carrier is the flexibility of its use.  As well as covering a huge age range it offers 4 carrying positions.  Front, Hip, Back and even a Onbuhimo style carry.  Most buckle and half buckle carriers offer the front, hip and back carry positions and while front and back are usually pretty straightforward the hip position is often less comfortable or more of a faff.  This is not the case with the DidyKlick, the hip position is every bit as comfy, mainly because there are no bulky straps to get in the way – the wrap straps can be adjusted perfectly to make this position really work.  Which is great as a hip carry is a great option for a nosy baby or in our case one who wants to ‘help’ with dinner.  Additionally the instructions for this position are really good and easy to follow, making it really easy for someone new to carriers to pick up.  Likewise the back carry position is really easy and straightforward to do, and the long straps give you lots of flexibility to tie how you find comfortable or even play around with fancy tie-offs!

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But it was the Onbuhimo carry that really fascinated me.  You see an Onbuhimo is a totally different type of carrier entirely – originating from Japan, Onbuhimos are a waist bandless carrier used for wearing baby high on the back, just like a rucksack.  I have only ever tried one once before and don’t currently have one in the library currently as I see them as quite specialist…  they work best for older babies and I see them as great for people who are pregnant or for some other reason don’t want to have a waist band.  I thought about purchasing one when I was pregnant but it seemed like a waste as I would only use it for such a short time.  So what really fascinates me about the fact the DidyKlick can be converted into an Onbuhimo style carrier is that you can use the Klick as a half buckle on front, hip and back in half buckle mode as usual with baby number 1 from 1-2 months through to todderhood, and then continue to carry through-out pregnancy with baby number 2 in Onbuhimo mode before using the Klick as a half buckle all over again with baby number 2 and likewise for any more children… all the way until you no longer need to carry.  The flexibility of this carrier is just amazing!

20171127_161256Plus I really loved the Onbuhimo mode as I could get such a high back carry with my daughter that we could just chat over my shoulder.  And even without a waistband it was so comfortable, and light and easy!  To convert into an Onbuhimo style carrier, you simply remove the waistband from the panel and instead loop the long straps through the waistband pocket.  From there I simply followed this video.   I have to say the setup was a bit of a faff, as was re threading the waistband later so I probably wouldn’t want to be switching between these two modes all the time, but switching only occasionally while pregnant or for the middle of summer when you want a lighter, higher back carrier etc, I could definitely see.

All in all the DidyKlick is an absolutely fabulous carrier.  I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone looking for one carrier that will last them a long time because not only does it realistically fit from 1-2 months all the way to 3 or 4 years of age, but it also offers such flexibility of use with 4 different carrying positions that it caters beautifully for different developmental stages and phases.  Plus, like all Didymos slings, the Klick is really well made and designed to last so really can grow with your family as your family grows.  Additionally, I can see this carrier working particularly well for anyone with a history of back pain, and for families with very different sized partners – because the exact fit provided by the wrap strap shoulder ties allow for perfect weight distribution and a super comfy perfect fit every time regardless of who wore the carrier last.

 

-Madeleine

 

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Joy & Joe Organic Bamboo Stretchy wrap review

20171129_172440The Organic Bamboo Stretchy is the newest stretchy wrap from Joy and Joe.  I absolutely the softness of fabric made from bamboo viscose, and this wrap is no exception.  Made from 49% bamboo viscose, 47% organic cotton and 4% elastane, it is beautifully soft and light. Its thin without being too thin and because bamboo is a thermo-regulating material it feels light and cool enough for summer use but still kept us warm and snuggly during the very chilly week in November that Sheen Slings hosted their Maroon Tester wrap.  It also comes with a cute little matching hat to ensure your little one stays toasty warm!

As well as feeling great to the touch, this wrap is an absolute dream to wrap with.  It has lovely 2 way stretch (it stretches both length-wise and width-wise) and is very easy to ty and there is quite a wide ‘window’ or tolerance zone between tying too tightly or too loosely which makes learning how to tie much easier than other stretchy wraps with a smaller window.  Additionally it has a good level of elasticity – by which I refer to its ability to ‘ping’ back and not just stretch out and sag when you put a heavier baby in.  In fact the elasticity was enough to support Rachel, who is now almost 1, for an 40 minute nap!

Compared to other wraps on the market, the Joy and Joe Bamboo wrap is most similar to the Hana Baby wrap.  The Hana is a huge favourite here at Sheen Slings – both with me personally and with the majority of those coming to visit the sling library.  And this new Joy and Joe wrap shares many of the same qualities that makes the Hana wrap such a favourite.  In fact, they are so similar that I am not 100% certain that I could tell the Hana and the new Joy and Joe wraps apart if you were to blindfold me.  However, these two wraps do differ in two key areas – price and width.

Price wise, the Joy and Joe wrap at £38 is toward the lower end of the stretchy wrap market and a full £6 cheaper than the equivalent Hana wrap (the Organic standard length).  This for me, would make it a no brainer in choosing a favourite between the two if it weren’t for the width.  The Joy and Joe is narrow, very narrow!  At 47 cm it’s the narrowest stretchy wrap I’ve ever encountered, and a good 8cm narrower than the Hana Baby.

Stretchy wraps vary hugely in width.  Prior to testing the Joy and Joe I had seen widths anywhere from 50cm through to 72cm.  That might not seem like a big difference, but just a few cm more or less can make a huge difference to how a stretchy wrap feels and wraps.  Too wide and the stretchy wrap can feel bulky and uncomfortable on the shoulders, and it can feel like just too much fabric to deal with when wrapping.  Conversely, too narrow and it can feel less supportive and maybe less comfortable because there is less to spread out over baby – i.e. for the horizontal band to offer light head support and still cover under baby’s bum or even cover baby’s legs and toes on a cold day.  To a certain extend ideal width can be a personal preference, with some people preferring less material to deal with and others preferring more to spread out.  But having tried 20+ wraps at this point I have found widths between 54-60cm to be perfect for the vast majority in terms of still being easy to tie, not too bulky but having enough width to spread as desired.  At 47 cm in width the Joy and Joe is extremely narrow and well below my preferred window.

All in all the Joy and Joe Bamboo stretchy wrap is a super soft, gloriously easy to use wrap that combines high quality material with a budget price.  The trade off for this low price, is that it is very narrow.  Leaving you with a choice, would you rather pay extra for the extra width or happy to sacrifice a bit of width for a cheaper wrap?  As ever, the best way to make this decision is to pop to your local sling library and try one for yourself!

-Madeleine

(PS side note – if your thinking of buying this in the maroon colourway, I didn’t feel the colour of the wrap could accurately be described as maroon.  It is quite a pinky-red, in some lights appearing to be quite a bright/bold red and in more artificial lights appearing as fuscia)

 

Mezaya Baby stretchy wrap review

IMG_20171010_104111_010Modal wraps are like busses it would seem.  I’d never even heard of a Modal stretchy wrap a month ago and then a few days after receiving a tester from Fornessi, my friend Zoe from the Sling Consultancy got in contact and asked if I’d like to try the new stretchy wrap from Mezaya Baby.

What really surprised me, it just how different the Mezaya Baby wrap feels compared to the Fornessi.  Despite both being predominantly Modal they feel completely different to the touch – I would have never guessed they were made predominately from the same fibre.  While the Fornessi feels silky and cool to the touch, the Mezaya feels more like thin t-shirt or a cotton stretchy wrap – just thinner.  The two are even more different to actually wrap with!  This difference in wrap qualities seem to stem at least in part from the addition of elastane – while the Fornessi is 100% Modal, the Mezaya Baby is 93% Modal and 7% elastane.

With this whopping 7% elastane, it is probably no surprise to hear that the Mezaya wrap is the stretchiest stretchy wrap I have ever tried.  It stretches equally both horizontally and vertically across the wrap and more than 2x in either direction!  It also has fantastic elasticity – you can stretch it out a good way and then it pings back into place.  This all adds up to a stretchy wrap that is incredibly easy to tie as its extremely forgiving – there is a wide window between too loose and too tight.   Absolutely perfect for a newborn and new parents.  In fact it is so stretchy that I think it must be impossible to tie too tightly.  Much easier to get too loose!  There is simply no need to leave any space for baby at all – their weight will stretch the wrap out just far enough to hold them securely and comfortably.

20171024_100944 (1)Where I think this wrap shines is for the littlest babies.  Newborn until around 3-4 months.  I really wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to a family with a brand new baby.  But the downside to how stretchy and easy this wrap is, is that it isn’t the most supportive and as baby grows you may quickly find this wrap isn’t supporting them as well.  I really struggled to get it anywhere near tight enough with my 11 month old.  In complete fairness, most people aren’t still using a stretchy by then at all and so its probably not the fairest test for a stretchy! But, its worth noting that there are many brands that do still work for her … so, while not a fair test, it is indicitive that if your expecting a larger baby or come to stretchy wraps a little bit later the Mezaya maybe isn’t the best option in these cases.  But absolutely perfect for newborns and littler babies.

All in all the Mezaya Baby wrap is a lovely thin wrap that works beautifully for the newborn period – from birth till about 3 or 4 months.  Its a great choice for anyone expecting a summer baby as the Modal fabric is so light and thin.  Its also great for the enviromentally concious (because Modal is maded from fibres extracted from beech trees, and all solvents used in this extraction process are reused over and over with very little wastage and no disposal of potential harmful solvents).  At £56 plus postage, the Mezaya is at the higher end of the stretchy wrap and certainly on the more expensive side for a wrap that may well not last as long before baby becomes too heavy.  For more on how this wrap compares with other stretchy wraps see my full comparison article.

-Madeleine

 

Fornessi “Carry Me” stretchy wrap Review

I have been so excited to try the “Carry Me” stretchy wrap by Fornessi because its made from 100% modal.  While I have tried a great number stretchy wraps made from cotton, bamboo viscose and even one made from Tencel, I’d never even heard of Modal until a couple of weeks ago.  So I was really intrigued to learn more about it and what its like as a stretchy wrap.

IMG_20170930_132719_607It arrived in probably the most beautiful packaging I’ve ever opened, and inside was this absolutely gorgeous pink wrap.  I am not normally a pink fan but I will make an exception here – their “Piglet Pink” is absolutely beautiful and Rachel and I have had so many positive comments while wearing it out and about.  In fact in the 3 weeks its been here several clients have picked it out and asked to hire it…!  Its been a real shame to have to say, I am really sorry that one isn’t mine to hire out.  They come in a range of ultra-chic up to the minute shades, all of which are quite different to the normal blacks, greys, and dark blues that stretchy wraps most commonly come in.

Looks aside what does is it feel like?  It is very thin and very light.  It feels super soft and smooth but pretty strong considering how thin it is.  It feels cool to the touch.  That sounds a bit weird but think like a swimming costume or gymnastics leotard … cool to touch and won’t make you over warm while walking, getting on with jobs etc.  I have to say I really like this as I am very prone to over heating, especially while wearing my daughter.

IMG_20171019_110400_802How easy is it to wrap with? Like most stretchy wraps its pretty easy once you’ve got the hang of it and done it a few times. Ease of wrapping with a stretchy wrap all comes down to the stretch.  In general wraps that stretch in 2 directions (both vertically and horizontally) are much easier to get the hang of than wraps that only stretch in 1 direction (vertically only).  The Fornessi is a 2 way stretchy, however, it stretches more vertically than it does horizontally… so more like a 1.5 way!  Consequently, its a little stiffer than brands with true (equal) 2 way stretch such as the Hana Baby, Boba or JPMBB.  This is not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself but it also has very little “ping” back. A true 2 way stretchy wrap can be stretched outwards to give more space as your putting baby in and then “pings” back around baby and giving a characteristic bounce as your walk.  The Fornessi doesn’t have much elasticity, which means it is more supportive as baby grows but means the window between too tight and not tight enough is a little smaller.  And I mean only a little smaller … its still very easy to use and still a much much wider window than 1 way stretch brands (such as the Moby, Liberty, ByKay etc), and thus much much easier to use than these.  Plus the lack of ‘bounce’ compared to others is certainly something I appreciate while walking with my 9kg 10 month old! In fact considering how thin it is, I was pretty surprised by just how supportive this wrap is.  Deceptively strong!  While I would say stretchy wraps are best from birth to around 4-6 months, the Fornessi is certainly strong enough to continue used to around a year if you have a baby like Rachel who likes to take her daytime naps snuggled in!

IMG_20170930_220035_365The real selling point of this wrap, compared to others on the market is the fabric its made of.  Modal is a semi-synthetic fibre made by spinning cellulose extracted from beech trees into a fibre.  The resulting fibre is a type of rayon/viscose – an artificial silk like fibre.  Its a good choice for a stretchy wrap because like silk it is soft, thin, strong, has natural elasticity and heat regulating properties.  But better still it has serious ecological credentials… beech trees can be grown sustainably and the solvents used to extract the cellulose are used over and over and over in a closed loop system which means very little wastage and no disposal of potentially harmful solvents.  Which means this fabric has a much smaller ecological foot print compared to cotton or bamboo viscose.  Interestingly, Tencel is also produced from wood pulp via the same process, resulting in a very similar fibre that shares the same advantages.

So its not at all surprising that the wrap I’d say the Fornessi Carry Me is most similar to is one made from Tencel – the Lillebaby Tie the Knot.  When compared to cotton wraps, both are very light and thin (two of the lightest and thinnest wraps currently on the market), and very strong.  Both have this “1.5” directional stretch, but the Fornessi is more stretchy than the Lillebaby and consequently a good bit easier to tie.  And while both are soft, the Modal fabric of the Fornessi is not as slippery as the Tencel of the Lillebaby and thus is much easier to physically handle.

The one thing I don’t like about the Fornessi wrap is its width.  It is too narrow.  At 50 cm its one of the narrowest stretchy wraps I’ve ever encountered.  Added to this it rolls up at the edges which makes its functional width even narrower – you lose a cm or two at either side giving a functional width of only 46/47cm.  The advantage of a narrower wrap is there is less fabric to deal with when tying, which can make tying a little easier. But the disadvantage is there is less to spread out over baby and across the parents shoulders and backs.  I found while wearing the Fornessi, I kept unconsciously picking at the material in an absent minded attempt to spread the material out further.  Having tried wraps ranging in width from 50 to 70 cm, I find a functional width of 55-60cm to give the best of both worlds in this regard.

All in all the Fornessi Carry Wrap is a lovely thin, soft wrap that works brilliantly from newborn to 6 months and maybe even a year.  Its an great choice for anyone expecting a summer baby, anyone looking for a stretchy that may last a little longer and for the environmentally conscious.  Cost is at the higher end of the stretchy wrap market at £59, but this does include free next day delivery.  For more on how this wrap compares with other stretchy wraps see my full comparison article.

-Madeleine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love stretchy wraps and at this point have tried more brands than I can count, so was totally surprised when a client got in contact and asked for a brand I’d never heard of.  I was even more intrigued when it turned out that this wrap was made from a fabric I’d never encountered before.

^^^urgh.. bit cheesy.  see if can think of a better way to start.  or not bother with the back story.

Or lead with different fabric thing!

I love stretchy wraps and I love getting to try something new…

Made from 100% Modal, the Carry Me stretchy wrap from Fornessi

to try something new.  **the Fornessi… … 2016… made from material I have never encountered before… modal.  Eco credientals.

 

To cover

  • Enviromental credientals
  • how it feels
  • how it looks.
  • stretch and ease of use… length and width too.  **one of narrowest stretchy wraps i have ever encountered, and it rolls at the edges (as overlocked rather than hemmed)… which meansit feels even narrower.  Advantage of narrowness…… but  too narrow for my tastes… can’t spread as much.
  • realistic age range

Winter Babywearing! … the hows and whats of figuring out how to leave the house in the cold and the rain!

Autumn has definitely hit… so its not at all surprising that parents are starting to ask me about how to combine using their carrier with going out in increasingly cold and wet conditions!

When choosing how to dress baby the first thing to consider is that most carriers counts as 1 layer for your baby.  As a general rule the NHS and the NCT all recommend your baby wears one more layer than you – so its nice and easy to remember that when using a sling or carrier the extra layer is provided by the baby carrier itself.  I say ‘most’ carriers… if you have a particularly thick or warm carrier or are using a thick infant insert (such as the infant insert for an Ergo 360, Ergo Original or a Tula etc) then this maybe more like 2 layers.

IMG_20170910_191725_171The second thing to consider is where baby goes relative to your layers – under your coat or over your coat??  In general, unless you have a confidently walking toddler who will be alternating a lot between walking and being carried, it is better to have baby close to your skin and then put layers around you both.  By having baby close to your skin, you’ll intuitively know if the baby is too warm or too cold because you’ll feel it, and your body will subconsciously respond to raise or lower your skin temperature accordingly as well as consciously signalling you to adjust your own layers.  Amazing, huh?!!  Additionally, by having layers around you both, when you do come in out of the cold it is really very easy to remove layers from baby without waking them up.  Finally, by having baby close to your skin you are both able to more efficiently heat share, so efficiently in fact that you’ll most likely both need 1 less layer just from each others body heat!  I love babywearing in winter because its like walking around with your own personal hot water bottle tucked into your coat!

When putting layers around you and baby start with both you and baby in indoor clothing only.  They don’t need a big snowsuit or bulky jumpers and these will again make it harder for you to intuitively gauge their temperature and efficiently heat share with them.  Plus its harder to get a great position and fit in a sling while wearing bulky clothing.

IMG_20171003_104159_822Then protect their extremities – any parts not covered by the sling.  Think hat for their head and socks/tights/booties to keep feet and lower legs warm.  Slings can often cause trousers and leggings to ride up so its often worth thinking about tights under trousers, leg warmers or long socks to compensate. My personal favourite solution are JoJo Maman Bebe’s slipper socks simply because they stay up and stay on the feet while keeping them warm (and because I am a sucker for a rainbow!).  For the crafty among you – my mother in law also made us some amazing knee high sling socks using this pattern.  She also adapted it to include a drawstring to help keep them on after we lost the first pair she made!

Next add layers around both you and baby.  There are so many options for this! Ranging from free, low cost all the way to specialist coats.  Here are some ideas to add warmth;

  • Raid your wardrobe – knit cardigans, larger coats, maternity coats can all work well.  Raid your partners wardrobe too!
  • A sling cover – waterproof and with ties designed to easily attach to a carrier or sling, these are an easy way of keep baby warm while working with your existing coats etc.  There are a number of brands but we really love the Bundlebean which folds up small and costs ~£30.
  • A coat extender – simply works with your existing coat to add a panel for baby.   We have a ZipUsIn and I love the joy on peoples faces when they test it out and find this simple low cost thing fits with their current coat!  They cost ~£30 and there’s a handy guide on their website to ensure you buy the right one for your coat.  Even better these are also available in Boots so if your anything like me and have boots points you’ve forgotten about it might be an even cheaper option!  Alternatively, if you are feeling crafty you can knit your own coat extender using this pattern.  Or even simply tuck a blanket around the baby carrier and then pop your coat on as normal leaving it open.  Not as waterproof but certainly cheap and cheerful!
  • The most elegant but of course most expensive solution is to purchase a specialist babywearing coat.  When my march born son came along I decided against this, as I felt it was a vast expense for something that I wouldn’t use much.  I mean he was a summer baby and I’d only carry him for a few months right?  Hmmmmmm… turned out I was so wrong, I carried him regularly for 3 years and went through 3 winters.  In particular, I really struggled keeping him and I warm while carrying on my back and I hated carrying over coats as it was so bulky and uncomfortable and I always worried he was cold.  Just before Rachel was born my normal coat was in dire need of replacing and so I caved and bought myself once of these wonderful coats as I now knew that I would get the use from it.  The other reason they appealed is that most also can be used as normal coats too, so hopefully can still be used for many years to come.  These coats come in a wide range of styles to suit all tastes and bodyshapes.  Brands I would recommend include Mamalila, Wombat&Co (review here), Angelwings, Lenny Lamb, and Lileputi.  These are all brands that either myself or a close friend have used, loved and offer good quality and flexible use.  There are also a number of cheaper more budget brands such as the Verbaudet coat or the Bonprix maternity coat but be aware that these coats don’t offer back carrying functionality, so while cheaper than those listed above won’t last as long and may prove to be a false economy in the end.

While not all of these ideas are waterproof, those that aren’t can always be used in combination with an umbrella.  In fact, given the unpredictability of the British weather, I highly recommend always having a small compact umbrella in your change bag just in case.

-Madeleine

Furry Snuggles Guaranteed – the Wombat&Co Wallaby v2 Babywearing Coat Review

20170920_142458First sign of Autumn always brings a flurry of questions about keeping warm while babywearing and so I was so excited when Wombat&co kindly offered to let me try out the new version of their Wallaby coat.  Even more excited when the box arrived on my birthday!

The first thing that stood out as I unpacked the coat – was just how soft the faux fur lining is.  It is lush.  Over the two weeks I had the coat, literally everyone I encountered ended up stroking it and commenting on just how soft and luxurious it is.  Really snuggly to have around you and baby.  And the outer doesn’t disappoint either.  Waterproof, sleek and everything you’d expect of a good quality well made coat.

IMG_20170923_230640_378The second thing that stood out, was just how warm it is.  This coat is WARM!  Super snuggly and extra warm.  In all honesty, it is too warm for London in September.  I did get out a few times with it but particularly while wearing my daughter I was roasting.  However, this isn’t a criticism at all because it is still pretty darn mild in London this year… so I took the Wallaby up to Derby with us for the weekend.  Here, several degrees cooler… the Wallaby was perfect – kept me nice a cosy while standing around waiting for fireworks on a brisk hillside!  So I’d say this coat is a great choice for the coldest months, or for late Autumn to early Spring if you live somewhere a bit cooler than London and its weird micro-climate that makes it 2-3’C hotter than anywhere else in the UK.  In fact I found myself wishing I’d had this coat back when I lived in New York and winter meant walking to work in temperatures of around -10’C!

I love that this coat presents the wearer with plenty of options – the Wallaby can be worn as a normal coat (with the panel zipped out) or as a maternity or babywearing coat with the panel inserted. The panel can be inserted in either the front the back thus accommodating both front and back carries.

20170920_173940Being able to use as a normal coat is a huge draw for me as it means it will still be useful when I am no longer carrying my children and, more immediately, that I don’t need to swap coats on a day out if I set out wearing our our daughter but my husband carries her home.  Nor do I need a separate coat for the rare baby free evening.

And when wearing the Wallaby as a normal coat, you’d have no idea it was designed with babywearing it mind.  It looks clean, simple and sleek and is well designed to keep you warm and dry.  From the soft ribbing at the sleeves, to the deep fur lined hood and huge amazingly soft snuggly fur collar.  Both the hood and the collar attach via poppers so you can wear one, both or neither depending on your own personal taste and how warm or dry you need to be.  Additionally, the coat can be cinched in at the waist to give a more fitted look if desired.  I love how these features all mean that you can personalise this coat to fit in with your own style and preferences.

For the other 3 modes, you add the panel into the mix.  Its great that the same panel can be used for maternity and babywearing – you simply alter the panel to the right shape using the drawstring toggles at the top or bottom.  The advantage of having just one panel that can accommodate either a bump or a baby means that you don’t risk losing the babywearing panel while using the coat as a maternity coat and visa versa you don’t risk losing the maternity panel before your next pregnancy while wearing your current baby.  The disadvantage, however, is that you only have 1 panel.

So if you do get pregnant again and want to still use this coat while back carrying this coat – as it comes – can’t accommodate both without a second panel.  Likewise tandem carries (for twins or siblings) require a second panel.  While not on their website, Wombat&Co state that additional panels can be purchased from them by emailing them directly and these cost £20.

 

20170921_162511While front carrying my daughter, I liked how high the panel reached on her and I liked that you can close the neck of the coat with poppers if you’d like to, or even employ the huge faux fur collar to keep extra warm.  Although as it was September and still fairly mild I mainly just work the neck completely open.  But I could see how this coat would really keep us both warm and the wind and rain out in the cooler and wetter months to come.  One thing I didn’t like as much was that this coat doesn’t come with a hood for baby.  There’s a lovely big hood for the adult, but nothing for the baby.  While the panel does reach up very high, Rachel’s head still got a little wet on the one day we went out in rain.  And I seriously regretted not thinking to pack a hat for her.

I also wasn’t a huge fan of the pockets.  They are probably big enough but the main problem for me was that they fasten with a single popper.  This popper sits right over where Rachel’s feet were so I simply couldn’t do up the pockets without pressing down hard on her feet.  Without being able to do the pockets up I felt like my phone or wallet might fall out if I sat down (or be susceptible to pickpockets).  For me I’d either prefer deeper pockets so that my phone felt less likely to fall our or better still pockets of the same size but fasten with a zipper.

For back carries, I found this coat the easiest to get on and off of any I have ever tried.  They key to this is that you can undo the collar at the back of the coat … giving a very wide opening that allows you to put the coat on almost as normal without trapping babies head.  With other babywearing coats I have always found it pretty tricky to line up the head hole and the child without getting into a bit of a mess!  The Wallaby is so much easier!  And as the collar can be easily closed with poppers once the coat is on, you don’t get a cold back either.  Win.

 

20170923_115040Finally a word on the all important sizing.  I am a size 16.  Well my top half is probably a 14-16 but I usually err on the side of size 16 for coats in case I need to wear layers underneath.  They sent me a size 12 – it was a bit snug on me but by no means too snug.  I think their size 14 would be perfect for me. Based on this I would say their sizes run slightly on the bigger side.  Thus, if like me you are a bit between sizes err on the side of the smaller one.  Also if like me you allow a size up for wearing jumpers under coats…. this coat is soooooooooooo warm you’ll never need to wear a jumper under it, unless you are going to the Arctic Circle or somewhere similar, so you can feel free to size down!  Sadly though, Wombat&Co don’t currently offer these coats in a huge range of sizes – at the moment just UK size 6 through to 14.  I am told they do also offer a size 16 but this is currently sold out.  As someone who is a size 14-16, I find having to buy the biggest size available a bit disheartening, and considering that the average UK dress size is a 16 – there will be many who are simply not catered for in the current sizes offered.  I really hope this is something that Wombat&Co will look into further and offer a more realistic range of sizes in the future.

 

All in all the Wallaby is a really lovely, toasty warm coat that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone.  Currently priced at £156.90, it isn’t exactly cheap… but as this coat is well made and very flexible in its use, it should last you years and so I am sure would be worth the investment.  And men needn’t feel left out either – Wombat&Co also make a babywearing coat for men – the Bandicoot.

 

-Madeleine

New time, Dates to the end of the year and good news for anyone who’d like a consultation in their own home.

20170728_130919Starting from October, the time of our sling library drop in sessions will be changing! Rather than the afternoons we will now be running 11am-1pm.

This is because this little gentleman will be starting school next week!  Can’t quite believe it, it seems like just yesterday he was still this tiny baby!!  We will be keeping our old afternoon slot our 19th of September session (while Tom is just doing half days), and then from October onward we will move onto the new 11am-1pm time.  Hopefully, this new time will be just as popular.  As ever these are drop in sessions so if you need to leave early to be home for a nap or arrive after a morning nap please do!  And please note feeding is always welcome at these sessions!  Milk feeds of course, but also solids if needed – I realise it is the lunch time slot!! So if your baby is already on solids please do bring their lunch or a snack – they will be very welcome to eat here if need be.

 

Sling library dates to the end of the year are as follows;

  • Tuesday 19th September, 2-4pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Tuesday 26th September, 10.30-11.30 am at B4U crawl, Kew Riverside School
  • Saturday 30th September, 10am-12pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Tuesday 3rd October, 11am-1pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Tuesday 17th October, 11am-1pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Saturday 28th October, 10am-12pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Tuesday 31st October, 10.30-11.30 am at B4U crawl, Kew Riverside School
  • Tuesday 7th November, 11am-1pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Tuesday 21st November, 11am-1pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Saturday 25th November, 10am-12pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Tuesday 28th November, 10.30-11.30 am at B4U crawl, Kew Riverside School
  • Tuesday 5th December, 11am-1pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Tuesday 19th December, 11am-1pm at Madeleine’s home
  • Tuesday 9th January, 11am-1pm at Madeleine’s home

 

In other news, the area I can offer consultations in clients homes is extending!  Previously, I was extremely limited to areas I could easily get to on public transport.   Which meant there were strange gaps – like Ham and Roehampton which I just couldn’t get to.   Next week our cargo bike arrives.  While mainly for the school run, this bike will also mean I can offer consults at clients home anywhere with in a 5 mile radius of East Sheen.  This includes the vast majority of the London boroughs of Richmond, Hammersmith, Hounslow and Wandsworth as well as some of Kingston and Wimbledon/New Malden.  And I can bring as many slings as I can fit into the bikes rather capacious cargo area (certainly a lot more than I could carry on the bus!) 😀  So if you are at all interested in a consultation in your own home please do get in touch.

-Madeleine