How to replace a broken buckle on an Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier.

The Ergobaby Omni 360 is a fabulous carrier, it’s one of the most popular carriers in both my library collection and my retail side. But if it has one flaw it is that the side safety buckles are a little frail. I’ve never seen one fail randomly in use, but they do sometimes snap when attempting to open or close the buckle. Particularly if the alignment of the safety prong isn’t right. They are also quite suspectable to breaking if they catch on anything (car door etc).

However, the good news is that it is normally very easy to get replacements. Simply message Ergobaby and they will usually post you out a free replacement right away. Over the last 3 years I have had to replace 5 of these buckles (across 4 carriers!), and each time Ergobaby have sent me a replacement within a week. But what they’ve never sent is instructions on how to do it!

So for anyone needing to replace a buckle on their Ergobaby carrier – here is how to do it, as shown while I replace the buckle on one my library collection carriers:

So how do you do it?

Well …

  1. Email Ergobaby UK for a replacement buckle. It can help to take a photo so they know which one is broken, and it can also help to confirm which colour way so they provide the right colour buckle.
  2. Remove the old broken buckle. If you have a newer Omni you may well be able to simply unthread it. It will take a fair bit of force. However, if you have an older one the buckle will be too narrow and you won’t get it off this way. Instead Ergobaby advise you smash it off with a hammer or rolling pin. So if your struggling to get if off, instead wrap the buckle in a towel to protect you from flying debris and then hit it hard with a hammer or rolling pin and throw away the resulting pieces.
  3. Replace the new buckle. Check the other strap to ensure you are threading it correctly. I can’t stress this enough. The video above is edited in the middle because I threaded it on the wrong way first time! And then swore because I had to take it off and do it again!!
  4. It will take alot of force to pull the strap through the buckle. The new buckles are wider and designed to be able to pull onto the strap without unpicking the end, but it is a tight squeeze – so you really do have to wrench it. I find it easier to pull the elastic through first and then use the elastic as leverage to pull the rest through. It worked really well on this carrier, however, I’ve had others where it has proved almost impossible. Particularly if the stitched end is a little fatter (which is the case on some colourways! I always struggle more on my Pearl Grey carriers than I do on the blue ones!)… it might just not work. In that case you have two options. One, unpick the stitched end or, two, cut the elastic tidy loop off. If you unpick the stitched end chances are you will need to pay someone with an industrial sewing machine (like a local cobbler) to resew it. If you cut the elastic then you won’t have it to tidy the straps.

If you have any questions about replacing your own buckle please do get in contact and ask!

-Madeleine

Decision Fatigue! And how I can help…

Decision Fatigue is something I learnt about recently and wanted to share with you because it is something that we all encounter everyday and understanding about it and why it happens can really help…

The phrase “decision fatigue” describes the idea that your ability to make good quality decisions – weighing up all the pros and cons – goes down the more decisions you need to make.

Making decisions takes a lot of mental energy and so it makes sense that the more decisions you need to make in a given time the more likely that your going to become fatigued and start making snap descions, impluse purchases or start to suffer decision paralysis (where you just can’t decide).

So why am I telling you this? Well as new parents you are literally having to make 100s of decisions constantly, all day, every day. When to feed the baby, when to change the baby, why is baby crying? Do they need burbing? Are they over tired? Do I have enough nappies in the change bag? Does baby need an extra jumper? Do I need an extra jumper? … I could go on, but you get the idea. ALL DAY, EVERYDAY!!

That constant mental tax makes it really hard to make good decisions about things like what what carrier to buy.

It makes it really likely you’ll feel overwhelmed with choice. It makes your more susceptable to “timed” sales offers, or to just buying whatever that celebrity or influencer was gifted. In fact, this phenomeon is the reason companies offer timed sales, offer influencers free gifts – they are using the fact that many of use will be scrolling when we are feeling burnt out and desicion fatigued and thus much more suceptable to just buying without researching or trying first as we usually would. This mental tax can also make it more likely that you experience “decision paralysis” – that feeling where you just can’t decide… and so you don’t get a carrier at all but then maybe feel guilt and worry that you’ve missed your opportunity or left it too late (you haven’t, it is literally never too late).


If this is you – I can help.

I can listen to your needs and work with you to whittle down the choices to the ones that are most likely to suit you. I can ensure you feel confident fitting and using whatever you choose and I can help you check fit for you and baby and assess suitability for you personally so you can be assured whatever you go on to purchase really does fit your needs.

I offer hires so you can try before you buy and really be sure your making a great decision. I offer discounts to anyone who has hired first too, so you won’t lose out by hiring first.

I stock a carefully curated selection of carriers that work for a really wide range of parents and needs to ensure there is choice without too much choice!


If your feeling decision fatigued trying to find the right carrier for your family please do get in touch – I really can help.

-Madeleine


Baby Bjorn Move Review

The Move is the newest carrier from Baby Bjorn, bringing their current offering up to 3 models – the Mini, the Move and the One. While the Mini is designed with just the newborn period in mind and the One is designed to last longer and offer more support, the Move is designed to plug the gap and come somewhere in between the other two. It is nowhere near as bulky as the One but offers more support than the Mini. It won’t last as long as the One, but it will last alot longer than the Mini. A best of both worlds, prehaps… or at least a comprimise between the two!

The Move replaces the older “Miracle” model. Which offered a very similar lumbar support and shape and sized panel, but was very stiff and warm and didn’t have an option for a wide comfortable seated position for baby. The Move certainly is vastly improved relative to the Miracle, much softer, more breathable and offering a more supportive and cuddly feel with a slightly more adjustable slightly wider seat.

See the Move in action, how to use it and hear my full thoughts on its main pros and cons in the video here or read on below.

Key Features and Thoughts on the Baby Bjorn Move

The Move is weight tested from 3.2 to 12 kg (7 to 26 lb). In practise I find while the lower end of this weight range is realistic the upper end is less so! The Move genuinely works fairly well with a brand new newborn. The Mini is a little smaller and can work better with really tiny newborns, but for most babies born at term – they will fit in the Move right from the start or within a week or two. The panel goes down short enough and can be squashed down width wise to accomodate most babies right from the beginning.

Most parents find this carrier works well upto around 6-8 months and then it becomes less comfortable for parent and babe. The reason being is that while the panel will continue to adjust in height, it doesn’t adjust further in width and so ultimately it just becomes less comfortable for baby as the weight of their legs is less comfortably carried. And less comfortable for parent as more of babies legs are sticking out and not stabilized against them and thus baby starts to feel heavier. Plus the design of the waistband and how it is stiffened is such that it rarely transfers as much weight onto the hips as other carriers with differently designed waistbands. So in general most parents will find they move on to something else long before baby reaches the 12 kg upper weight guide.

In terms of how the Move adjusts – it has a slider to allow you to incrementally increase the length of the panel as baby grows. There is a handy guide sewn in to help you work out where it should be based on your baby’s height in cm or inches. The slider is really stiff to move – you have to absolutely wrench the material through! Popping it on a table so they weight of the rest of the carrier is supported does help too, but it does need alot of force. This reason it is so stiff is to ensure it doesn’t move during use, so it is reassuringly stiff! And just as well you only need to move it occasionally as baby grows!

What does not adjust is the width. For a smaller baby, the material is very soft and does squash down. For a bigger baby you can pull it out and spread as needed. There are seat adjuster buckles that allow you to “shape” the seat to fit and these do help alot (as demonstrated in the video above). But there does come a point where you just can’t get the seat wide enough or shaped enough to support baby as their legs get longer. However, with a baby between 0 and 5-6 months you can usually get a good fit by first loosening the seat adjustment buckle, sliding your hands in to do a pelvic tilt, then pulling the fabric as wide as possible and retightening the seat adjustment buckle as much as needed to support. Beyond this point, then it is sadly time to move onto a new larger carrier or use a scarf to widen the seat as shown here.

You fit the parent first and then the baby slots in after.  This is a key halmark of all Baby Bjorn carriers – they all feature some kind of internal harness so that you can fit parent and baby seperately. So that you first fit the carrier to the parent and then fit the baby into the panel seperately. This is quite different to most other baby carrier brands where you strap the waistband on first then fit the panel and shoulder straps around both parent and baby together. The pro is that for very nervous parents it can feel a bit more secure while getting baby in and out. Some parents certainly find this method easier, while others find it more faffy. When it comes to “easy” there is always a healthy dose of personal preference mixed in, so always definitely worth trying before you buy. The con is the internal harness is that it is harder to use this carrier to breast or chest feed in, it is harder to shift the carrier to one side to access a boob and where the internal harness sits can also limit access or limit your ability to adjust layers etc. Some might manage it but in general this isn’t a carrier I would suggest for anyone looking for a carrier to support feeding.

In terms of fit for parent – this is a carrier that tends to fit some people better than others. The straps do all adjust to fit a wide range of sizes – but the stiffened material and the metal strut bits don’t really mould to fit individuals so definitely some people will find they get a lot better fit than others. It is definitely a carrier that is worth trying on and comparing with a few others before you buy… because most parents who try it find something else more comfortable. For those it fits just right it is perfect, but its not as many people as you might think. Plus while it does fit a wide range of sizes – it is not a carrier I would pick out for anyone who is at the far ends of the spectra – neither the super petite nor parents of a larger plus sized build. The straps do not go as small nor as large as some other carriers on the market.

The material is really lightweight, soft and breathable. It is in fact really soft and strokable – far softer than it looks in photos. Think high quality fitness wear – designed to be soft enough that it won’t rub or make you hot even while running a marathon! It’s definitely material I would be quite happy to have against newborn skin. The panel in particular is really soft and simply moulds to fit around baby. It is so different to older Baby Bjorn models where the panel was really thick and robust … this new air mesh material really does softly hug baby and support them in whatever shape they want to be in. This material continues round the parent harness too but the parts on parent have been stiffened for support. This is a shame as it doesn’t nesicary mould to fit you, and I’d like to see some of this stiffness removed and replaced with lightweight padding for a more adjustable tailored fit… but compared to the Miracle (which is the model the Move is effectively replacing) it is a huge step in the right direction from Baby Bjorn.

It offers 2 carrying positons – front inwards and front facing outwards. Both are shown in the video above. It doesn’t offer either a hip carry nor a back carry. You can read more about the pros and cons of carrying baby outwards facing here.

One of the things I really don’t like about this carrier is the manual. I feel like if you follow the manual to the letter, it will lead you astray. For example it states

“For secure closeness and control of your child, carying your newborn facing you high up on your chest. Once a bit bigger your child can be carried lower down to relieve pressure on your shoulders”

So I agree wholeheartedly with the first sentence – it is key to carry baby high and tight both so you can monitor their cues and keep them safe and for your own comfort (carrying high and tight protects your core and pelvic floor from strain). But the second part is simply not true. If you drop the waistband lower that your waist… it can’t transfer the weight onto your pelvis (as I discuss in detail here) and the consequence is you will feel more weight and more pull on you shoulders, not less!! You will also feel more strain in your core and pelvic floor. So please do adjust the waistband fit where ever gives you the best weight distribution, dropping it won’t save your shoulders!

Another example of the manual leading you astray is in the description of the parts of the baby carrier. It describes;

  • arm holes – but generally babies like their hands up by their face and not hanging down by their sides
  • head support and straps to tighten the head support – that puts pressure on the back of babies head. When parents come to me stating baby doesn’t like the carrier 9 times out of 10 just folding down this head support bit makes all the difference. No one likes pressure on the back of their head. It engages the flight or fight response and negates baby’s natural reflex to push their head back if they are experiencing low oxygen. Not to mention preventing them looking around and naturally strengthening their neck muscles. So please ignore this and fold it down (as shown in my video above).
  • Leg strap – for reducing the size of leg openings. The manual states these leg straps need to be used for babies between 3.2 and 4.5 kg (7-10 lb) to prevent baby falling out the side through the leg opening. But as long as the height is set to the smallest anyway the gap is so small already there is no way a baby over 3.2 kg could possibly fall out of this gap. The carrier would have to be extremely loose and low for this (or the height set for a much much taller baby), and even then I am not sure it is possible. So this leg strap is a bit redundant. It is also really fiddly to do up and parents often report worrying that it is cutting in but being concerned about safety if they don’t. I would love to see the manual explain that this is an option if you think the hole is big enough for baby to fall out of and otherwise not to worry overly about.

Does the Baby Bjorn Move offer good value for money?

Ultimately this is the key questions isn’t it – does the Move offer good value for money? At the time of writing, the Move retails at ~£120-£130, for a carrier that really only lasts around 6-8 months and only offers 2 carrying positions. When you compare it to something like the Beco Gemini, which is also light weight and mesh, offers 4 carrying positions and works from newborn through to 18 months but costs only £105. Or to the Kahu Baby – again lightweight, easy to use, offers 4 carrying positions and lasts to 2 years and cost £95. Or even the Ergo Omni 360 Cool Air, which is more bulky but again offers 4 carrying positions, works from 8 weeks and lasts to approximately 2 years and costs only a little more at £155. It doesn’t in all honesty seem to offer the best value.

If it fits you really well, and fits you better than these other brands that last longer and do more… then maybe it is worth it for you. But in reality it often doesn’t fit as well as these other brands, and if you are considering purchasing this carrier I hugely recommend you try it on and also try these others on and compare them before investing.

-Madeleine

Richmond Sling Clinic is back at the Barnes Children’s Centre

I am so excited to announce that Sling Clinic is back at the Barnes Children’s Centre (67B Lower Richmond Rd, Mortlake, London SW14 7HJ) from Tuesday 11th of May. Offering low cost sling and carrier support to local families. Everyone is welcome – from bumps to toddlers (or beyond), those with a carrier already they’d like a bit of help with to those looking for something new.

I will be there once a month on a Tuesday from 10-11.30am, and this brings the current total of free to attend Sling Clinics up to 2 per month – one at the Barnes Children’s Centre in Mortlake and one in Kingston in the Kingston Town Children’s centre.

Inline with current Covid guidelines these sessions comprise of 10 minute bookable slots (with 5 minutes between each family to allow cleaning of demo dolls, touch points and time to fill in hire forms etc as needed. Booking is essential and you can do so here:

We have dates booked in for May, June and July and you can find the full information on dates, when, where and what to expect for both venues here

If the current dates don’t work for you or if you need more help than can be offered in a 10 minute slot then please do get in touch to book a one to one consultation – either face to face in my home or yours or online via Zoom. Or if you don’t feel quite ready yet to come in person – all my socially distancing friendly services will still be running. Including postal or doorstep collection hires and online consults.

Looking forward to welcoming many of you to the Barnes Children’s Centre in the coming months!

-Madeleine

Ergobaby Omni 360 Review

Omni means “all” or everything and the Omni 360 is the model from Ergobaby that has everything. Adjustable seat, 4 carrying positions, hood, pocket, lumbar pad, safety buckles. You name it, it has it.

Watch my full, in depth video review to see it in action or read on below for a summary of its main pros and cons!

Key Omni 360 Facts:

  • Weight tested from 3.5 to 20 kg (7 – 44lbs), realistically fits from approximately 8 weeks to about 2 years of age. This is the big thing to realise – the box and all the marketing says “birth to toddler”, but in practise this is a carrier that rarely fits before 8 weeks. The reason is the panel is simply too long and the carrier is very bulky and it’s just hard to get a good fit on a very young baby. You can sometimes get it to work a little earlier using this method to adjust the panel, but in practise it just works best once baby is over 8 weeks or so. Once baby is over that age it adjusts and continues working beautifully until around 2 years of age – so this is a fantastically long lasting carrier that you should get roughly 2 years of use out of.
  • Adjustable width. The secret to this longevity is the adjustable seat. Velcro tabs inside the waistband make it very simple to adjust the width of the seat to accomodate different sizes as baby grows. No need for an insert for younger babies, the seat can simply shrink down for a younger baby. Coloured markers make it really easy to know where to place the tabs, and of course you can place them between the lines too to get a really incremental fit as baby grows.
  • Bucket shaped seat ensures baby sits in a comfortable seated position with bum lower than the knees and the padding at the edge is a nice soft touch. As with any carrier – how you use it matters more than the carrier itself – but the bucket shape seat certainly makes it easier to ensure great positioning (you can read more about this here).
  • 4 Carrying positions: Front inwards, front outwards, hip and back carry. Which means this carrier grows with your child developmentally as well as physically, giving you both lots of carrying options. One of the real pros of the Omni 360 is how easily it adjusts between the inward and outwards modes – it can be adjusted with just one hand, and how well it does both. The bucket shaped seat ensures you can get a comfortable seated position for baby in both inward and outward modes. In fact this is genuinely one of the best carriers on the market when it comes to the outward position… it really does give a fabulously comfortable deep squat position. The hip carry doesn’t work quite as well as the other three, simply because it is quite bulky and the strap across the opposite shoulder often doesn’t sit very comfortably compared to other less bulky carriers.
  • Wide, firmly padded waistband with lumbar support pad. The waistband and lumbar pad is often the selling point of this carrier for many families. If it fits you well, this can be supremely comfortable and supportive and can work really well for those wanting to use their carrier on long walks or days out. It can take a bit of adjusting – and getting used to tightening from both ends to position the lumbar pad well – but once you get the hang of it becomes quick and easy.
  • Heavily padded shoulder straps. The straps are well padded and fairly bulky. These are the most marmite part of this carrier – many parents love the padding and find it really comfortable, while many other parents just find it too much bulk and ultimately choose something like the Beco 8 or the Beco Gemini, or even the Kahu Baby for something that feels less cumbersome.
  • The straps do up in 2 ways – offering both crossed and ruck sack options (X or H shape), which is great because so often couples sharing a carrier find that they have different preferences and so this carrier is more likely to work for both parents! Which is a big pro.
  • Tightening is one directional. This does mean you need to understand how to move the looseness around your back (as shown in the video) and can be hard for those with weak wrists. Which is a bit of a con compared to other carriers that offer two directional tightening, but it is something that most people can find a method that works for them, so not a huge con but worth being aware of.
  • Safety buckles. It is worth noting that the shoulder straps attach to the panel via a safety buckle. The buckle can be undone one handed, but requires a very purposeful movement so can’t be undone by accident or absentmindely. Which is a both a pro and a con – pro because of that added layer of security, but con because it makes it more fiddly to do up and undo. And also because the safety aspect of these buckles do make them a bit frail and they are prone to breaking if you don’t line them up properly and use a little too much force. I’ve had to replace 5 in the last 4 years! Ergobaby are fab at providing spares but there is that inconvenience factor of needing to replace.
  • Fits a wide range of parent shapes and sizes. In particular it works well on average to plus sized frames. The straps all have plenty of webbing and this carrier is designed to be inclusive and fit most parent shapes and sizes. But it is pretty bulky and so often doesn’t feel right on smaller or petite frames. Often more petite parents will tell me they feel like it is wearing them rather than the other way round. Even for bigger frames, it all comes down to fit – this works for a very wide range but not everyone. Carriers are a bit like jeans – different brands fit different people and small differences in shoulder shape and how it sits on your waist can make a huge difference to comfort so aways worth trying a few different brands on and comparing. However, this is a carrier that does fit a huge range and if it does fit you well it will be supremely comfortable.
  • Pocket. The Omni comes with a detachable pocket big enough for keys, phone and maybe a small wallet too. Fab for stowing those essentials, although its worth noting it is only attached by velcro and pretty easy to remove (and accidently misplace!).
  • One final con or “thing to be aware of” is that the lumbar pad is not removable. Which does mean when you come to back carrying it will sit over your stomach. This can be nice because it helps stabilise the waistband and give additional support, but some people don’t appreciate the additional pressure on their tummies or like the look. Also the inability to remove the lumbar pad does mean that the super petite do sometimes struggle to get this carrier tight enough (although this really is only an issue for absolute most slender of the population).
  • Comes in two main finishes, the standard “cotton” and the mesh as shown in the video above. There are two main differences. Firstly presence or absence of mesh on some of the panels and on the shoulder straps. Second is that the mesh has sliders to adjust between inwards and outward carrying modes, while the cotton has buttons. Both can be done one handed and/or without needing to put baby down, but the sliders are much faster and a bit less faffy. Their only con is if you are prone to fiddling, you might find yourself fiddling with them!
  • The mesh is marginally cooler. It is more breathable for baby, however, for the parent – so much of the warmth comes from the padding and the overal bulk and as this is the same on both … there isn’t a huge amount of difference. The bulkiness means that neither would be one of my top choices for the height of summer (you can see my top summer picks here).

All in all the Ergobaby Omni 360 is a fabulous all singing all dancing option. It is a great choice for anyone looking for a carrier that will last them a long time and offer lots of options as their family grows. Its a great for days out and long walks. Cost is £154.95 and these can be bought through the Sheen Slings webshop here. As an authorised Ergobaby stockist your new carrier will come under the Ergobaby 10 year promise, meaning your carrier is guarenteed for an incrediable 10 years! I also hire these out (and offer exclusive discounts to anyone who hires first) so you can try before you buy risk free too.

– Madeleine

Kingston Sling Clinic Is Back!!

I feel like it I have waited forever to be able to finally announce this news – since the last Kingston session back in March that was sadly cancelled just 22 hours before I was due to be there. But at last! Here we are! Kingston Sling Clinic is back from Monday 26th of April.

I have a new slot and a new format! I will be there once a month on a Monday, 10-12pm. It is a longer slot than before but instead of drop in, there will be 10 minute bookable slots (with 5 minutes between each family to allow cleaning of demo dolls, touch points and time to fill in hire forms etc as needed). Booking is essential and you can do so here

We have dates booked in for April, May, June and July and you can find the full information on dates, when, where etc here.

I am so happy to be able to welcome families back to these low cost sessions and to be seeing clients face to face (albeit behind masks) once again! I am crossing my fingers that my other venues (and hopefully some new ones too) will also be able to return soon – so do keep an eye open for news of more dates and more locations.

If the current dates don’t work for you or if you need more help than can be offered in a 10 minute slot then please do get in touch to book a one to one consultation – either face to face in my home or yours or online via Zoom. Or if you don’t feel quite ready yet to come in person – all my socially distancing friendly services will still be running. Including postal or doorstep collection hires and online consults.

Looking forward to welcoming many of you in Kingston over the coming months!

-Madeleine

Battle of the Newborn Specialist Buckle Carriers – Comparison of the Ergo Embrace, Baby Bjorn Mini and the Izmi Baby.

While most buckle carriers are aimed at supporting babies from a couple of months old all the way through to toddlerhood, there are relatively few that genuinely fit a newborn well. For this reason many parents start with a stretchy wrap or a Close Caboo for the early days and then move on. But if you’re looking for a buckle carrier that you can use right from day 1 then the three to consider are the:

All three of these are designed with carrying a newborn in mind, so are made from soft, light materials and sized to fit a smaller form snuggly, and prioritise the head and neck support that they need.

So how do these 3 compare? Which one should you go for?

Lets start by taking a look at their basic stats…

Ergo EmbraceIzmi BabyBaby Bjorn Mini
Recommended Weight Range3.2 – 11 kg (7 – 25 lb)3.2 – 15 kg (7 – 33 lb)3.2 – 11 kg (7 – 25 lb)
Realistically works forFrom birth as soon as can open legs at least a little, generally fits from 2.75kg/6lb. Lasts to about 9 months ish.Right from birth, no need to spread legs at all. I’ve even had success with babies weighing as little as 1.75kg (just below 4lb), grows with baby to at least 1 year.From birth as soon as can open legs at least a little, generally fits from 2.75kg/6lb. Lasts only to about 4 months ish.
Number of Carrying positions2 (3)42
MaterialJersey
(79% Polyester, 17% Rayon, 4% Spandex)
Cotton or Cotton with a mesh panel
(Cotton is 100% Cotton)
Cotton, Jersey, or Jersey Mesh
(Cotton is 100% cotton, Jersey is 80% Polyester, 16% Cotton, 4% Spandex, while the Jersery Mesh is 100% Polyester)
Cost£80£80£80-90

Longevity

As you can see of the 3 the Izmi baby fits the earliest and lasts the longest. While none of them are weight tested below 3.2 kg (or rather insured to print any lower than this on the label), the Izmi actually can work for even the tinest babies. It comes with a booster cushion and it’s adjustable width and height means that it can fit smaller babies earlier than the other too. It’s the one I have seen work over and over again on babies born prematurely because it’s so flexible in terms of how it can be used and so working with parents I can usually help them find a way that baby can sit comfortably in this carrier even if baby isn’t yet ready to spread their legs, or has low tone or is currently on oxygen and we need to accomodate for this. By contrast the other two will work once baby is able to spread their legs at least a little and will work right from birth for most babies born at term.

Comparing the Ergobaby Embrace (black), Izmi Baby (purple) and the Baby Bjorn Mini (grey) carriers with a newborn or 6 week ish sized weighted doll

Then at the other end of the spectrum, the Bjorn Mini is the smallest of the 3 or rather has the least capacity to get wider and so this is the one that babies grow out of the fastest. Usually by 4 months or so baby is starting to outgrow this carrier on width and the lack of waist support means this carrier quickly becomes less comfortable for the wearer too. The Embrace lasts a bit longer and will often work to around 9 months give or take. The panel does become a little wider and longer but by 9 months baby will be starting to out grow it and also the stretchy fabric will start feeling less supportive and there will be more pull on parents back. Again the Izmi can out perform the other two – the panel goes much wider than the other two so it can continue fitting babies to around a year and often beyond. However, how long the wearer can continue wearing it comfortably depends alot on fit! If it fits you well and the unpadded lightweight straps sit nicely and flush on your body you’ll be happy wearing this to a year or beyond… if the straps don’t sit well on you and they ride or rouche then very likely this carrier will start getting heavy from 6 to 9 months ish too.

Comparing the Ergobaby Embrace (black), Izmi Baby (purple) and the Baby Bjorn Mini (grey) carriers in a inward facing carry with a 6 month equivalent sized weighted doll

Carrying Positions

In terms of what you can do with it – again the Izmi offers the most options! Offering 4 carrying positions – front inwards, front outwards, hip and back carry. While the Ergo Embrace offers 3 of these. Officially 2 – only the front inwards and front outwards are shown in the manual, but it works just as well in a hip carry as well. The Bjorn offers just the front inwards and front outwards and can not be used on the hip or back. For the parent, the Izmi offers both crossed straps and ruck sack straps (you can read more about these here), while the Bjorn Mini and Ergo Embrace offers just the crossed configuration. It is worth stating that the Izmi works much better in the crossed than the ruck sack but it does offer both.

Comparing the Ergobaby Embrace (black), Izmi Baby (purple) and the Baby Bjorn Mini (grey) carriers in a forward facing carry with a 6 month equivalent sized weighted doll

Ease of Use

When it comes to ease of use – the Ergo Embrace and the Izmi baby are similar in terms of how you use them. You pop the waistband on, pop baby in and then bring the panel up over them and fasten the straps around both of you. Its very simple. The Bjorn Mini is a little different… instead you fasten the carrier to you first and then pop baby in and all the clips to secure baby are on the front where you can easily see them. It is fab for anyone who is really nervous, or has difficulty doing up buckles at their sides. I hestitate to say the Bjorn Mini is easier though, I hestitate because experience has taught me that some parents definitely find it easier, while others find it more faffy and much harder. The clips are quite different and they are a bit marmite… some people find them really inutitive and others can’t fathom them!! So it can be easier but also it can be harder… it really depends on how your hands work, what feels easier to you personally. I very much recommend trying and seeing! I have to say I have had a good number of parents who have been worried about how to fasten the straps on the Embrace or the Izmi and assumed the Bjorn will be easier and thought they should just go for that and then when they’ve tried found that actually the Embrace and Izmi are way easier than they were anticipating and preferred the more flexible and comfortable fit they offered. So it is defintely worth trying each on if you are unsure.

Fabric

Here the Bjorn Mini offers the most choice. It comes in 3 different fabrics – a super soft polyester jersey, a mesh jersery fabric (also polyester) and a cotton. The cotton does feel a bit robust compared to the other two, but the other two are strokably soft and the mesh really breathable too. The Ergo Embrace comes in a polyester jersery that feels quite similar to the Bjorn Mini jersery fabric. It is very soft and molds around baby beautifully. The Izmi comes in a light weight cotton – it is a much softer, less robust cotton than the Bjorn Mini cotton finish, it definitely moulds nicely around baby. It isn’t quite a soft as the jersey fabric of the other two, but it also doesn’t have the give of the other two either so can feel a little more secure. The Izmi is also availible in a mesh where the central portion of the panel has been replaced with mesh. Again not quite as soft as the Bjorn mesh but this is both a plus and a minus as it has less give too.

Price

When it comes to price they are all much of a muchness at £80. However, when you factor in how long they will last and options offered, it is hard to see the Bjorn Mini as good value compared to the other two. Consequently I choose to sell both the Izmi Baby carrier and the Ergobaby Embrace, as I know parents will get good value for money with either of these (and anyone purchasing a carrier through the Sheen Slings webshop is offered a free 20 minute online video fitting appointment, so I know you’ll feel confident using whichever you chose).

It is worth noting that whichever you opt for, many parents do ultimately end up moving onto a bigger more robust buckle carrier around 4 -6 months or so anyway. So, really none of them offer quite as good value compared to something like the Close Parent Caboo or a Stretchy wrap that costs between £40-55 and last for the same period. Or the Calin bleu stretchy wrap that costs just £25! Another option can be simply to rent for the period you need it. I offer 3 month long term hires, so you could hire an Izmi Baby Carrier, an Ergo Embrace or a Baby Bjorn Mini for the whole 4th trimester period for just £40 and save yourself needing to purchase your own and save the rest of the money for the next step purchase that should hopefully last baby from a few months all the way into toddlerhood.

-Madeleine

Comparing the Ergobaby Embrace (black), Izmi Baby (purple) and the Baby Bjorn Mini (grey) with a newborn doll

How do I use an Ergobaby Embrace? Video tutorials for front, hip and forward facing carries with the Embrace carrier

The Ergobaby Embrace is a beautifully designed newborn specialist carrier.  Made from super soft jersey, it combines the softness and cozy cuddles of a stretchy wrap with the ease and intuitiveness of a clip on, no tying involved buckle carrier.  Suitable right from day 1, it is an ideal choice for a new baby and is available to purchase through the Sheen Slings webshop here.

But how do you use it?

Good question! Here are my video tutorials taking you through the different ways you can use this carrier as baby grows and develops

Front Carry with a Newborn

One of the things I love about the Ergobaby Embrace is that you can use it right from the beginning. Ergo suggest from 7lb (3.2 kg) and I have seen it give a great fit to several babies who were just shy of 6lb (2.7 kg). Provided baby is happy to open their legs enough to sit straddingly the material, this carrier will give a lovely cosy, snuggly fit to even a brand new baby.

To fit a brand new baby you do need to shorten the carrier. As shown in the video, you do this by rolling the waistband toward you. Please note that the “toward you” bit is important. If you roll the wrong way it doesn’t fit as well and it does trip parents up sometimes!

Front carry with a baby 2 months plus

As baby grows, the Embrace can grow with them – once they start to become too tall for the newborn position you can stop rolling the waist band and instead simply put it on directly. Note that the jump from rolled to unrolled is quite a big one, so you might need to pay attention to how you are popping baby in and where the waistband is on you to ensure you get a good fit. As explained in depth in the video above. Once in this position – generally from around 2 months (although maybe a little earlier or later depending on your baby!) they will stay with the unrolled waist band going forward and this typically lasts well until around 9 months or so when many babies start to grow out of the Embrace (again this might be a little earlier or later depending on the baby!).

High Shoulder Carry

You won’t find this position in a manual as this is a carry I invented for a client to solve a specific issue (you can read more about how it came about here). However, it works suprisingly well and can be great for those times when baby is just really unsettled – particularly if this is a way you find yourself holding baby in arms frequently.

Hip Carry

This is another carry that isn’t in the manual, although I have no idea why not. It works really well with the soft spreadable shoulders of the Embrace and is great for those “nosy” baby’s who want to see everything but aren’t yet ready to face outwards. Or for those times where baby is too tired to face outwards and needs to sleep but is protesting about your attempts to get them to sleep! In the hip carry they can see everything just as they would facing out, but their head and neck are supported and they can turn away and filter out when they are ready to finally succumb to that nap.

Facing Outward

The final position this carrier offers is the forward facing position. I beleive Ergo included it because market research showed at least 50% of parents won’t consider a carrier that doesn’t offer a forward facing position. But it is worth noting that of all the positions shown here with the Embrace this one is the least comfortable for the wearer. Facing your baby away puts baby’s center of gravity away from you, so puts more strain on your back in any carrier. But this is exacerbated in the Embrace because the stretchy material means baby pulls further way and thus puts proprotionally more strain on your back. Plus as baby’s are often starting to grow out of this carrier by the time they are ready to forward face – I can’t help thinking offering it is a bit of a gimmick. That said however, it can be fun for a short period and parents do find it helpful to try forward facing and see how baby gets on with it. Thus once they are ready to move onto another bigger/longer lasting option they know whether it is worth investing in a more robust carrier that offers forward facing or whether they can cast a wider net and purchase something that doesn’t offer this position safe in the knowledge they wouldn’t really use it anway.

You’ll note I don’t show a back carry here. Again there is no back carry in the manual and Ergobaby don’t recommend this position for the Embrace. I don’t either. Because the Embrace doesn’t have a chest strap and because it is made from stretchy material, it simply won’t feel as secure (nor be as secure) in a back carry compared to a carrier made from a non stretchy material and that has the chest strap for added security. Plus in general, most parents find their little one has outgrown the Embrace before they are ready to start exploring back carries anyway.

I hope this helps! Remember if you are struggling at all with this carrier (or any other) please do reach out! I offer both online consultations and consultations in person… often all it takes is a few simple tweaks and a consultation can be the perfect way of troubleshooting and gaining confidence. Or if you don’t have one yet but are thinking of purchasing one you can read my full review here and purchase through the Sheen Slings webshop here. Plus I do hire these out as well – allowing you to try before you buy or even rent one for the full 4th trimester period and save yourself needing to buy one at all.

-Madeleine

Garden Consults are back from the 29th of March!

I am so excited to announce that I will be offering face to face consultations in my back garden once more from the 29th of March.

I will be still offering online consultations and still coming to clients homes if you prefer. But if you’d like a face to face appointment and are happy to come to me… these are finally back from Monday the 29th of March.

They are however weather dependent! Between the 29th of March and the 12th of April, I won’t be able to invite you into my home in the event of rain or other inclement weather, so these will be weather dependent. I can book you in and then we will check the weather forecast the day before and make a call and reschedule if needed.

Then from the 12th of April, appointments will be able to go ahead whatever the weather! If it is nice we will be out in the garden, to make use of the reduce risks of being outside, but in the event of rain we will be able to step just inside with my big garden doors open so we have plenty of ventilation but remain dry!

What can you expect?

  • I have rear access, however, I will ask you to arrive at my front door and then I will walk round to my back gate with you so you don’t need to worry about trying to find it or about being in the wrong place.
  • We will set up in the garden on my patio. Please do bring something to put your baby onto while you are putting carriers on/preparing them ready for baby. I won’t be able to offer hold your baby (sadly!) so please do bring a blanket, car seat, pram or pushchair as appropriate.
  • We will both be wearing masks throughout
  • I will ask you a number of questions in advance of your session to help me determine which carriers will be most useful for you to try. These will be clean (either freshly laundered or quarantine since last tried on or demoed with) and handled by no one other than me (and I will handle only very minimally, only as absolutely necessary and only following washing or sanitizing my hands).
  • These carriers will be set out ready for you to try and I will have separate carriers to demo and teach with so that we are not sharing carriers. When you have tried something on there will be a second bag or area for you to place them and then these will be either quarantined or washed ready for the next client.
  • There will also be a doll for you to use if required (just in case baby doesn’t cooperate, or if baby hasn’t arrived yet!), and this will be freshly wiped down for your use prior to your arrival.
  • All teaching will be done at a distance of at least 2 m. It can help to have another member of your family with you as a spotter if your feeling nervous or if you are learning back carries for the first time. If you would prefer if I came closer to spot you myself, please ask, I am happy to do so and will keep this close contact time to a minimum. However, I am very confident at teaching at a 2 m distance and find most parents like the space to help them learn and assimilate the new information without feeling crowded or hurried!
  • At the end of the session you will be welcome to hire or buy if you’d like to, although there is no pressure to do either. I will simply ask you to dictate details for the hire form so you need not touch anything.
  • Payment for the session at the end can be done via contactless card reader, bank transfer or PayPal so there is no need for cash, unless you prefer it.

Inline with track and trace guidelines I will be keeping contact details, so if you receive a positive test result after coming please do let me know so I can act accordingly. I am currently making use of our local testing centre and under taking twice weekly lateral flow tests.

If you have any questions or worries about face to face consultations please do get in touch and ask! More info on costs, how to book etc can be found here.  In general consults in my home can be offered any weekday or weekend at any mutually agreeable time – simply suggest a few dates and times that work for you and we will go from there.

-Madeleine

How to Support Baby’s Head in a Buckle carrier

Quite understandably, how to support baby’s head is one of the most frequent worries parents express when they get in touch with me. Particularly parents who have a carrier already, and have tried using it but are just not sure if it is providing enough head support, how to adjust it to ensure baby is supported, comfortable and most importantly safe.

Here I talk through what you need to know in terms of how to position baby and where to offer them support and where not to…

The important key points are;

  • Support the neck, NOT the back of the head.
  • Check how baby is sat – check they are sat on their bottom in a deep squat. You can see how to perform a pelvic tilt to check here.
  • Check where they are sat in the carrier – adjust where in the panel they sit to bring the height of the carrier up or down so the padded top section rests nicely in the back of the neck.

As baby does grow you may well find you do need to use the flap to extend the panel. This is it’s true purpose – rather than being a head support for a young baby, it is designed to extend the panel as baby grows to support and older baby or toddler as needed.

The carrier shown in the video is the Beco 8 (which you can purchase here), however, everything I discuss also applies to pretty much all buckle carriers and in particular the Ergobaby Omni 360, Tula Explore, Lillebaby All Seasons, Beco Gemini, Baby Bjorn Mini, Bjorn One and a great many others.

-Madeleine