Why I don’t recommend the Baby K’Tan

Probably seems a little harsh to say about a pretty decent, ergonomic, simple carrier aimed at newborns but I don’t generally recommend the Baby K’Tan for one simple reason – It’s sized.  It does not adjust to fit different sized parents, instead you need to buy the correct size to fit you.  There are a few problems with this:

  1. Unless you and your partner are exactly the same size it’s unlikely you can both use this carrier.  You’d have to buy two – one for you and one for them.  Likewise it might not be possible to share this carrier with anyone else who might carry your baby – grannies, granddads, aunts, nannies etc.  
  2. While this can be a great carrier if you do have the right size for you, many people find they fall between sizes.  Or outside the sizing.  K’Tan actually make a total of 6 sizes, however, at the time of writing this only 3 of these seem to be readily available in the UK.  Small, Medium and Large which apparently correspond to dress sizes 8-10, 12-14 and 16-18 respectively.  But in practise many people who follow this guide still find they end up with a carrier that is slightly too small or slightly too big and as a result can not use the carrier at all. 
  3. If your size changes significantly you may find the carrier no longer fits you.  This might sound unlikely but it’s very common to gain or lose weight quite a bit of weight in the months after birth.  Women’s bodies change loads in the postpartum period and men may find their body shape changes too with the new routine (my marathon running husband put about 8-10 kilos on in the months after the birth of each of our children until sleep and routine settled down enough for him to get back to running as much as he was pre-birth).  
  4. As baby’s size changes you might need to buy a new carrier or find that they no longer fit.  In theory, because the K’Tan is made of stretchy fabric, baby’s size shouldn’t matter.  Bigger children should simply stretch the carrier out more so that the same size carrier that fits the adult should worth whether carrying a newborn or a 1 year old.  However, in practise this is not the case at all – the material just isn’t that stretchy at all and many parents report baby no longer fitting without sizing up.

ktanUltimately, all these problems are solved by having a carrier that is adjustable rather than sized.  

I mean don’t get me wrong, if this carrier does fit you well – if you do have the right size, you don’t lose or gain lots of weight, your partner is the same size as you and your baby doesn’t grow too much (!) this is a really nice carrier.  It gives a lovely snuggly fit that’s perfect for the newborn period and it’s really simple to use.

But those are massive ifs, and the simple fact is there is another carrier on the market that does all the same things, that offers the same carrying position, offers the same ease of use, the same softness AND is adjustable.  And really that is why I don’t recommend the Baby K’Tan – why spend £50 on a Baby K’Tan when you can buy the Close Caboo and have all the pros without the massive cons for £55?

– Madeleine

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My favourite Newborn carriers

Today Rachel turns 3 months old, marking the end of the 4th trimester.  As she leaves the newborn period behind, these were my favourite carriers to use with her during her newborn phase;

image-20170104_090516.jpg1. Hana Baby stretchy wrap – I just love stretchy wraps for those early days.  Super soft, easy to tie, easy to pop baby in and out of, and perfect fit for parent and baby every time. Perfect for round the home as well as out and about… David and I would both wear her for hours on end in a Hana.  See previous posts for more on the Hana and other stretchy wrap brands.

2. Mid-Length woven wraps – namely my size 4 Didymos Prima Severn Sky and my size 3 Firespiral Brimstone Kaleidoscope.  These were great to grab for when Rachel was unsettled and needed a quick calm.  The shorter length compared to 1. and 3. meant I could very quickly throw them on and be quickly rocking her without needing to worry about oodles of fabric.  Mainly I’d use a kangaroo carry although sometimes also a front wrap cross carry tied under bum or at shoulder.  Useful for quick ups around the home and short trips out… although the reduced support would mean I’d choose something else for further afield or if I knew she’d be in there a while.

3. Long woven wraps – namely my size 7 Didymos Lisca Achat, size 6 Girasol Earthy Rainbow, and my size 6 Didymos Rosalinde Doubleface.  All three are beautifully thin and super soft and just feel perfect around a little baby.  While I used these from the beginning as well, I probably reached most for 1. and 2. during the first few weeks, while as Rachel grew, I started preferring long wovens more and more.  The extra support provided by the woven fabric compared to stretchy and by the extra length when compared to mid-length wraps meant these were absolutely great for long trips out, for around the home as she started to have longer more defined naps.  And as she started to want to stretch and flex more in a sling.  My most used carries were the front double hammock, front wrap cross carry and reinforced kangaroo carry.  Front double hammock in particular is my favourite for this age.

4. The Connecta Baby and the Izmi Baby.  While I generally preferred the perfect fit, comfort and closeness afforded by wrap style slings for this 4th trimester phase… there were days where the simplicity of a buckle carrier was really useful.  I.e. on days we were going to the doctors or health visitors and I knew I’d need to get her in and out of the carrier quickly and probably in a confined space.  Or on days when it was raining heavily and I was likely to need to retie while outside…  On these occasions I loved the Connecta and the Izmi.  Both are very light and can be easily sized down to give a lovely snugly fit for a little baby.  Which one I choose simply depended which one wasn’t on hire.  I marginally preferred the Izmi, but as it was out on hire so much I didn’t get to use it as often!  Please see previous post if you’d like to see how both of these sized down for a newborn compared to other buckle carriers.

Please note that these were my personal favourites.  Carrying your baby is a really personal thing and different people prefer different things.  Its always always worth learning about different carrier types, trying a few different brands and finding out what fits you best.  Both in terms of physical fit and fits your needs.   Its worth noting that both the Caboo and Ring Slings are really popular choices for newborns and ones I’ve seen work many many times with many parents.  I personally preferred stretchy wraps to the Caboo as these fit my body better, but I’ve met so many parents who’ve found the ease of simply slipping the Caboo over their head has meant that this is the best fit for them.  Likewise I often compare ring sling to marmite… you love them or you hate them.  They just aren’t my jam, but I’ve had so many clients for whom the ring sling is the perfect newborn and beyond carrier.

Ultimately its all about finding your personal favourite or favourites!

-Madeleine

(Photo of Didymos Rosalinde by the talented Alex Cetera)

 

 

What is a Caboo?

First time I was handed a Caboo I had a bit of a “But what is it??!?” moment?  Is it a stretchy? A ring sling? A carrier or what?!

IMG_2985.JPGOfficially it is a ‘Stretchy Hybrid’.  This means it is like a stretchy wrap in terms of the material used and the way baby is carried once in it, but it is ‘preformed’ to some degree to save you having to tie it for yourself. The Caboo consists of two pieces of material that are sewn together to form a cross at the back, come round to form a cross at the front and then loop back and are fastened to the cross at the back with a pair of rings on each side. The rings allow the carrier to be adjusted and tightened accommodating a wide range of parent body types and sizes. There is then a support panel which you tie over yourself and baby once baby is in the carrier. This panel provides both head support and acts as a safety belt completing the carrier. It also has a handy pocket that doubles as a bag to tuck the whole carrier into when your not using it.

IMG_2994.JPGJust like a stretchy wrap, the Caboo is absolutely great for newborns and the so called ‘forth trimester period’. It gives a wonderfully snuggly secure carry which I often think for the baby must feel like being swaddled to their parent. Absolutely bliss for almost any child under 3-6 months. And a sanity saver for the parents too who can make a cup of tea, go to the toilet or calm their little one while the other gets an hours sleep! However, just like a stretchy wrap, many parents find their child grows out of this carrier from 3-6 months onward. Sometimes in terms of level of support, but more often simply developmentally – as baby begins to have longer awake periods they start to prefer a carrier that lets them have their arms out and log around either from the hip or back or just turning their head from a front carry and having an unobstructed view of the world.

The main pros of the Caboo carriers over a stretchy wrap are that it simply slips over the head, and so you save the couple of moments it takes to tie a stretchy wrap. This can be a big draw for anyone who maybe has an older child and feels like they don’t have the time to get a wrap right, or any one just a bit overwhelmed or put off by the idea of tying. Additionally, it doesn’t drag on the ground so can be a great sling for out and about.

The cons are that because the cross is sewn in, the fit will never be quite as perfect as a wrap that is moulded to your exact body shape. More importantly as the support panel ties over the baby it means this comes over the middle of your back, so this carrier lacks the waist support the stretchy wraps are able to provide. Additionally while the rings do give the ability to adjust the carrier once on, this isn’t as easy as it looks. Not meaning to put anyone off but there is a knack to it and generally its easier better to have the sling correctly adjusted before you put the baby in. Which can lead to issues if two different sized partners are using the same sling with constantly needing to adjust the sling when swapping between partners. So while the Caboo can be quicker and is conceptually easier at least, the trade off is the support and ease of use between different body sizes.

-Madeleine

(Credit to Melissa Branzburg for taking the photos and proof reading).