Carrying Stories – Juliet

Carrying your baby is such a personal thing – people carry for different reasons and different carriers suit different people.  Here is Juliet’s story….

20180101_132833_resized“I knew I wanted to carry my baby when I first found out I was pregnant. It seemed like a common sense thing to do; aside from the fact that we’d be able to keep going to places we enjoyed that may not be accessible with a buggy, I knew that I would want to keep her close and how this would benefit both of us. In advance of Rosa’s arrival, we bought a stretchy wrap and an Amazonas Smart Carrier. I liked the idea of the stretchy, it seemed soft and snuggly, but Rosa’s dad, Tony, was all about the buckles! When she arrived, I found that I alternated between the two. Whilst I did like the closeness the stretchy wrap provided and used this when I was staying local, the Amazonas was definitely more practical when going out and about and for longer walks.

20180607_110833_resizedRosa put on weight quickly and at around 3 months, I packed the stretchy wrap away. We carried on using the Amazonas, but as Rosa grew and her head control improved, we realised the limitations of it. Tony in particular wanted a carrier that could do a front outward carry (as well as wanting a more neutral colour than the purple, green and cream swirls of the Amazonas!). We went along to Sheen Slings library session and chatted with Madeleine about our options. We ended up borrowing 2 different slings to try – a Lillebaby and an Ergo Omni 360. Whilst we liked both, the Ergo was the winner due to the ease of use. After just a few days of having it, we put in an order for our own brand new one using a gift voucher we’d been given.

IMG_20180422_140246 (1)_resizedImmediately the Ergo became our go-to carrier. I have explored other options since getting it – I have a lovely woven wrap and a ring sling, but I don’t find either to be as easy, comfortable and supportive to use as the Ergo. Luckily, Rosa seems to love it too! We started with front inward carrying and when she was strong enough, started to use the front outward carry for periods too. As we got closer to her 1st birthday and she got heavier, we started to have a go with back carrying and recently, because I find it difficult to get her into a back carry by myself (need to practice more!) I have started doing a hip carry with it so she can see where she is going but can still snuggle in if she wants to.

20180414_111314_resizedTony and I both love carrying Rosa, I think keeping her so close has really helped us all to bond. Rosa seems to love being up at our level, seeing the world as we do and constantly interacting with us (and others who stop and talk to her, which happens a lot!), which you just can’t do in the same way when they’re in the buggy. Tony was out shopping with her recently and she had a hold of some toothpaste. He went over to the counter, she passed it to the cashier and then passed over the card to pay as well! All that interaction will benefit her language and social communication skills no end! Recently, we’ve done trips to the zoo, farm, aquarium and we regularly go out walking in forests and parks. We only ever take the carrier on these trips and always feel a sense of freedom as a result.  Rosa’s always found it easy to sleep in the carrier too and since I have learnt how to breastfeed in it, we can keep on the go whilst meeting all her needs.

20180414_112334 (1)_resizedWe’re dreading the day when Rosa outgrows the Ergo, but rest assured we will be back at the sling library to find a toddler carrier to add to our collection! There are far too many benefits to stop carrying any time soon!

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Boba X review

Adjustability and longevity – if I had to describe this carrier in just two words they would be it, because this carrier has both in spades.  Many carriers on the market advertise birth till 4, but few actually really cover that whole range.  The Boba X is probably one of the very few that really will take you from birth (or a few weeks old) until as long as you would like to carry for.

35049203_1565384343590587_484277701725650944_oSo what’s their secret?  The panel adjusts, both the height and width of the panel can be fine-tuned to fit the baby and then can be let out bit by bit as they grow to grow with them and adapt to their needs as they develop and change with time.  The panel material is also really soft and light, which means when it is cinched down on the smallest settings it’s not too bulky.  If is of course a little more bulky than when it isn’t cinched down but it’s not overly so… which allows a really form hugging fit to be achieved on littler babies (without them feeling lost in oodles of carrier) as well as still having all that growing room for the future.

In particular for infants I like that the hood, rolled up inside the carrier, can be used to support the neck and that this can be moved using the panel height adjusters to ensure it is in exactly the right position.  There is also a small lip of very light flexible fabric that then cradles the head… ensuring that the neck is well supported but baby still has freedom to move their head.  There is also lovely padding at the baby’s legs.  All in all this is a carrier that can work really well for a new baby.   Maybe not right in the first days – the first days and weeks I always think it’s very hard to beat the snuggliness of a stretchy wrap or Caboo.  But from around a month or so old, around the time you are starting to think about getting out and about more… this carrier would work perfectly.

33430673_1550005675128454_1748467291982397440_oAnd then grow with baby!  Simple velcro tabs adjust the waist band… and combined with the height adjusting buckle the panel with grow smoothly with your baby right into toddlerhood. Offering 3 carrying positions along the way – front, hip and back.  Then, and this is the real magic… it comes supplied with a pair of zip on panel extenders which convert the carrier from a standard sized carrier into a toddler/preschool sized carrier.  These extenders are nicely padded so really comfortable for the child and the zips are all hidden internally where they can’t rub. Which means the Boba X will still happily carry a 3 or even a 4 year old.  In fact you can see my son, aged 5 still just about squeezes in.  So the Boba X should last you as long as you need to carry.  And its so well made I am sure it would last through siblings… in fact I can see this being a great option for anyone with siblings that are quite close in age, because this carrier could be easily used with either.

34790196_1563244383804583_871256084751319040_oBut what about the parent?  Again the Boba X is really adjustable – you can wear the straps crossed or in ruck sack (H) style, and the chest strap is on a slider and so easily adjusted to fit a range of different shapes and sizes.  Likewise there are perfect fit adjusters allowing more petite or shorter parents to get a really snug fit, even when back carrying.  The straps are really easy to tighten thanks to the “pulley” system or dual adjust that allows the same strap to be tightened either from the panel end or from the strap end depending on which direction is easier.  This feature is really good for anyone who suffers from weak wrists or limited mobility through their arms or shoulders.

Boba have also thought about how you might carry your stuff!  There is a little zippered pocket on the waistband that is just big enough to house a phone, keys and a credit card.  And for those who can’t pack that light… there are bag clips on the shoulder straps – little flaps on poppers that allow you keep a bag strap on the padded shoulder strap allowing you to comfortably carry a bag at the same time as wearing your baby.

20180704_234811The one thing I don’t like about this carrier is how the straps cross across the parents back.  The straps are slightly curving – and as a result they work brilliantly in the rucksack/H configuration.  But this curve means that when you attempt to cross them… the curve is going the wrong way resulting in the straps sitting awkwardly on your back.  Ultimately, if I was to use this carrier I’d always choose to use it with rucksack straps and never to cross.  The thing is though, many people prefer crossed… and what I am finding is those who like crossed straps don’t find this carrier as comfortable as others where the straps don’t curve away while those who prefer rucksack style or don’t have a strong preference really love it and find it incredibly comfortable.

Another thing to be aware of is that when folded up the Boba X isn’t the smallest carrier.  If your looking for something that folds up small and fits in the change bag, something for more occasional use – this is not the carrier for you.  Instead the Boba X makes a good choice for anyone who wants to use their carrier for hours on end, and to work flexibly in lots of different situations.   Also with all this adjustability comes more bits and pieces.  The beauty of the older Boba’s (i.e the Boba 4G or the 3G) was they were very simple… just one strap to tighten or adjust.  I would get them out whenever I had a client who wanted something really easy or were confused by having too many things to adjust.  So while a big part of me rejoices at a super adjustable Boba, a very small part of me will miss the beautifully simple does less Boba’s … mainly for this subset of clients who find to many straps confusing or too much faff!

33475183_1549890681806620_2564568493345210368_oAll in all the Boba X is a hugely adjustable carrier that will last you as long as you want to.  It comes with oodles of features to ensure comfort of both parent and babe and is a really good choice for anyone looking for a very flexible carrier and one that will fit parents of different sizes and children of different sizes.  Cost is £125 and can be ordered through Sheen Slings or from Slumber Roo.

-Madeleine

Carrying Stories – Adele

Carrying your baby is such a personal thing – people carry for different reasons and different carriers suit different people.  Here is Adele’s story….

IMG_7475“I am using the sling ‘Je porte mon bébé’ basic wrap which is shorter than the original wrap. Both Oscar – my little boy – and I are loving using the sling, it is light and easy to just keep in my bag or the pushchair. We were able to use it from day 1 when we came back from the hospital as Oscar was finding it hard to settle in the evenings (still does!). He is 9 weeks old now and I use the sling almost everyday inside the house and outside. I really feel that he needs to be close to me or my husband to relax and settle, it is definitely helping his emotional development and is important bonding time for us.

 

 

IMG_7734For me the sling is simply magic and helps us for many things from digestion, temperature, unsettled baby and also sleep. I keep telling my friends how this has become an essential baby item for us.”

-Adele

Carrying Stories – Nina.

Carrying your baby is such a personal thing – people carry for different reasons and different carriers suit different people.  Here is Nina’s story….

sling“I didn’t fully appreciate and understand the benefits of baby wearing until I had my second baby in 2013.  Alexander was born 5 weeks prematurely and with a toddler running around my feet and a tiny baby who needed a lot of attention, I decided to try and use a material sling. To be honest, my motivation at the time was making my life easier, but I now know how much baby wearing benefits a baby too!  I had always seen material wraps as a bit scary (as they looked so complicated to put on) but after some research, I settled on the Moby Wrap.  After watching a few Youtube videos and a bit of practice, I had mastered it.  And from then on, my life changed. Instead of having to either hold a small baby or put him in a Moses basket and then worry about my toddler running around and knocking him over, I was able to go about my day hands-free (and worry-free!).  Alexander absolutely loved the sling and would sleep in it for hours in those early months.  As well as the convenience for me, wearing Alexander helped him to feel calm and reassured – he loved being close to his food source at all times! It was also so easy to slip it into my changing bag if I wanted to take it out with me – it doesn’t take up much room at all. I wore Alexander constantly in the Moby Wrap until he was about 6 months old.  Then I moved on to a Manduca, which held his weight a bit better at that stage.

Fast forward a few years and baby number 3 arrived in September 2017.  I dug out the Moby Wrap and did exactly the same thing with Sebastian! Being hands-free was even more important for me with this last baby as I had school runs to do, homework to manage and a lot more demands on my time.  Sebastian loved the sling too and spent his first 6 months strapped to me permanently. I loved being so close to him and was even able to go out in the evening with him sleeping on me! When he got too heavy for the Moby Wrap, I decided to treat myself to a new Ergo 360, mainly because I liked the idea of having the option of him facing forward.  Once I worked out all the settings (with a bit of help from Madeleine!) I have loved that sling too, although my absolute favourite is still the Moby Wrap.

If I could give one piece of advice to a new Mum, it would be to buy a sling and wear your baby as much as possible!”

-Nina

Carrying Stories – Fiona. An essential bit of kit when you live on the 2nd floor.

Carrying your baby is such a personal thing – people carry for different reasons and different carriers suit different people.  Here is Fiona’s story….

IMG_1937“My baby wearing journey resulted mainly from living in a flat above a city center restaurant. What had been an appropriate dwelling pre-baby was going to be tricky with a child, especially with the 39 metal steps (yes I counted them!) to the front door.  At six months pregnant I was at a NCT nearly new sale when a store holder thrust a Babybjorn at me and told me I needed it.  Around this time I also picked up a stretchy wrap from TK Maxx.  I took it out of the box and tangled it around our living room completely bemused.  Three YouTube videos later, I decided it would be like tying a karate belt and slung it on.

When baby did arrive – somewhat early and very  tiny – I took the stretchy out again and the baby disappeared into the folds.  I was dismayed.  I fished her out and tried again few weeks later. My other half looked at the stretchy with trepidation and asked me to use the Babybjorn – “it’s safer” he thought.  I preserved with the stretchy and was rewarded with a better result, but it was THICK jersey and a hot summer.  We sweltered.

Few new baby friends would visit as my flat was inaccessible so the sling was invaluable as I trekked round the borough on public transport- as nothing is more frustrating than waiting for a bus to not be able to get on due to lack of pram space. This never happens with a sling. The sling allowed me to be mobile and leave the flat.

IMG_1938By the autumn – I was still using the stretchy but my back was beginning to ache. I found an ad for Boba 3G online and spent the last of my maternity pay.  It was fantastic. We chose it as it would fit both large and smaller wearers. It also went up to 45 lbs and I wanted a sling that would last. I put baby on my back and would go shopping with ease. No more lugging the 10 kilo pram up all those stairs.  I also invested in a pouch sling when baby was eight months old – for easy ups and downs and this was especially helpful when trying to carry a buggy up tube stairs – where helpful fellow commuters were thin on the ground.

Four years later I was pregnant again.  I‘d carried my first child until she was three and a half in the Boba 3G and it came out of storage again. This time I went straight to my old stretchy but also bought a bamboo one as it was another summer baby.  He moved early into the Boba – but this time I also treated myself to a woven wrap (a huge size 7 Kokadi). It is super long and very thick.   He drowned in the folds when I tried to follow videos on YouTube.  I went to a workshop with Sheen Slings to learn to wrap and decided the front cross carry was my go to. For Christmas I received a Storchenwiege Leo and this was an easier, shorter wrap – for when I didn’t want to wrestle with Kokadi!  These woven were super snuggly over the winter, especially in combination with our babywearing coat.  Now it’s summer again I am reaching for my faithful Boba 3G again. I might even get a Boba Air for holiday. Slings are amazing at the airport. indeed I often leave the buggy at home and go on holiday with just a sling – as it saves luggage space.”

-Fiona

FAQ – How do you neatly fold up a buckle carrier?

I am often asked to share this trick! So here it is … no more unruly straps poking out of bags, nor large tangled messes that won’t even fit in the bag in the first place!!

  1. Start with the carrier laid out in front of you (on floor, sofa or on your knee)
  2. Fold the arm straps onto the top part of the carriers main panel
  3. Fold any head support and/or hood down over the arm straps
  4. Start rolling the panel down from the top down towards the waist band
  5. Close the waist band around the carrier, tightening as needed to hold

The carrier shown is the Beco Gemini, but this trick works with the vast majority of buckle carriers and not just this one.  It also works on some Meh Dai and half buckles too.

-Madeleine

Carrying Stories – Cat

Carrying your baby is such a personal thing – people carry for different reasons and different carriers suit different people.  Here is Cat’s story….

“I bought my Ergo Sport when my eldest was 6 weeks old from a mum-to-mum selling website for a grand total of £30. I don’t even know how old it is but we’ve had it four and a half years now and it’s still going strong!

What I love about it
IMG_20180216_181015Firstly I love that it was great value and great quality. It didn’t look new when we bought it but it’s still just as good after pretty heavy usage. I love that its light weight and not very bulky. It can be shoved under the buggy or in the top of the changing bag without any worry so is easy to take along just in case.

Unlike newer carriers it doesn’t do anything fancy and I love that. There are only 3 buckles which makes it really easy to adjust and both my husband and I can get a good fit. I can’t cross the straps, or forward face, but I’ve never felt that I missed out. I love that fact that it’s easy to use and easy to wear. I never feel weighed down by it.

IMG_20150110_130129I didn’t even mind using the infant insert for the newborn phase. It was winter so it kept my daughter warm and cosy, and made the transfer to bed really easy if she was asleep. You just took the insert out with her still in it and popped her straight down in bed! When my second came along I borrowed a Lifft stretchy from Sheen Slings which was much better for the newborn phase this time round as I could wear it around the house as well and was super easy when running after my four year old!

I also now have a Firespiral woven wrap which is lovely for snuggly sleeps and flexible carries (and for looking seriously beautiful) but I still find that my old ergo is the one I reach for for a quick, easy and always comfortable carry – especially now my son is big enough to go on my back. I can sling him up there in seconds and he has a great view if he wants it, or snuggles into my back if he needs a nap.

How I use it
IMG_20140517_163505I love having the option of carrying for those occasions where it just makes sense. Getting to nursery on the other side of the railway track is a lot easier if I can carry the baby over the bridge rather than walk round to the crossing with the buggy. I always use a carrier for heading into central London. I don’t think I could cope with a buggy on the underground! I love not having to fight to get the buggy on the bus. I even manage to breastfeed in my ergo once while standing up on the bus. I was pretty proud of that!

We never take a buggy on holiday. Carriers awesome in airports and on train journeys. No battling with buggies and suitcases! I’m also very lazy and hate folding up my buggy to put it in the car so carriers are pretty awesome then as well.

I’ve found that my children have tended to go through stages of preferring the carrier or the buggy. Times when they’re super clingy or a bit sick it’s great to be able to keep them close without getting tired arms. I also used my ergo a lot when my daughter started walking and did that planking toddler thing whenever we tried to put her in the buggy. Having the carrier meant that she could walk when she wanted to and come up when she got tired.”

-Cat