Moby Wrap Review

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My son Tom in the Moby at 3 weeks old.   This is one of the few pictures I have where he isn’t really obviously slumped!

The first carrier I ever bought was a Moby wrap.  Before my son was born I asked around all my friends, I went to a sling library to learn about all the different types of baby carriers and came to the conclusion I should get a stretchy wrap.  This was absolutely the right choice for us – when Tom was born it was worth its weight in gold for all 3 of us; for Tom who just wanted to sleep snuggled against one of his parent’s chests and definitely not in his moses basket; for me who just wanted to make a cup of tea; and for my husband David who loved the freedom of being able to leave the flat without being weighed down by a pram.

For all these reasons I am sure we’ll be using a stretchy wrap again when our new baby due in November arrives.  However, we won’t be using the Moby.

I choose the Moby at the time, because it was the biggest name, the one everyone I asked had heard of (as an aside, the more I learn about baby carriers the more I realise the biggest names/best sellers are usually not the best carriers!  They are the brands with the

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A far more typical picture – after 20 minutes walking Tom has slid right down and David is no longer hands free!

biggest markets budgets and consequently have been able to get their carriers into high street stores).  The sling library I went to only had 2 stretchy wraps and told me ‘they are all the same anyway’.  Which I have since learnt is simply not true. I currently have 8 different brands of stretchy wrap in the library and they all feel different.  They have different levels of stretch, different thickness, made from different materials which all feel different to the touch etc etc…

But of all of them the Moby is my least favourite.  This is for 2 main reasons;

  1. While it was snuggly and soft for me and my son, by the start of May when he was around 6/7 weeks old it was properly boiling.  The Moby is one of the thickest on the market.  Its 5.6m long, 62cm wide and weighs 753g which makes for quite a claustrophobic carrier in summer!  To put this in context this is one of the longest, widest and heaviest stretchy wraps on the market.  Definitely don’t consider the Moby if your having a spring or summer baby.
  2. Its the hardest for a beginner to learn! The beauty of stretchy wraps is that you can pretie them and simply pop baby in.  Even pop baby in and out without retying.  But this is really difficult to do with the Moby … the window between having the carrier tied so tightly you can’t actually get your baby in and having the carrier too loose resulting in baby slumping over time is really tiny.  Like trying to find the setting on an old temperamental toaster between burnt and still bread.  It meant I spent ages trying to perfect exactly how tightly to tie, and spent ages walking around with a baby starting to slump in the carrier.
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Twin perfection!

Why is the Moby so hard to use?  It is one of the least stretchy carriers, and only stretches in one direction.  In general stretchy wraps that stretch in two directions are much easier to learn as this ‘window’ is much wider and nearly everyone can get the hang of it right away.  Even with other one way stretchy wraps, while they are all harder to learn compared to two way stretchies, most are still a bit less stiff than the Moby and its this stiffness that makes it pretty difficult to use in this way.  In fact it works much better if you instead use it more like a woven!  This stiffness means its pretty supportive if you do get the tying right … in fact where I do think the Moby shines is for those wishing to wrap twins.  The extra stability that comes with the lack of stretch compared to other stretchy wraps really helps when trying to support 2 at once.

But for my singleton baby due in a few months I am going to make my life easy and give the Moby a skip.

 

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).

Sleepy Nico Carrier Review

IMG_0342Recently Sheen Slings have had the pleasure of hosting Sleepy Nico’s beautiful travelling toddler carrier, which is doing a tour of sling libraries all over the UK.  I’ve never had a Sleepy Nico carrier before and right out of the package I loved it.  I love the pairing of the georgous cotton print fabric with soft and snuggly but very durable corduroy material.  I was also impressed how light weight this carrier was, very lightly padded this carrier presents a great option for anyone wanting something in between the lightweight but unpadded Connecta and more fully padded carriers like the Ergo, Lillebaby or Manduca.  In fact I was so impressed with this carrier that I have since bought a baby-sized carrier for the library collection.  So this review will cover both carriers.  Although, as our son is 3, we have mainly used the toddler-sized and my husband was pretty sad when the time came to post it on.

IMG_0346To test it out, my husband Dave wore it on a trip to Kew Gardens.  He was immediately impressed, and found it really comfortable – carrying our 15kg 3 year old for 2-3 hours in total across the whole day.  He loved the light weight aspect, while it doesn’t fold as small as the toddler Connecta. David found it more comfortable and the right balance of comfort to lightweight.  As any carrier spends more time in our bag than on while our son walks for himself, something that will fold relatively small but is still comfortable is a bonus.  And Tom was certainly very comfortable in it, so comfortable that he fell asleep on the way home – despite having dropped regular day time naps sometime ago.  Clearly living up to the ‘sleepy’ part of its name!

While for me, while I loved the aesthetic, I found the straps didn’t sit as comfortably on me compared to other carriers.  With any buckle carrier fit is everything and hence why its so key to try before you buy!  For me, this wouldn’t be the ‘one’ where as it absolutely would be for David!

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Standard size Connecta (left) vs standard size Sleepy Nico (right)

That said I would have no hesitation recommending it to those who it does fit well – in particular I have found many coming to the library love the soft padding at the baby’s legs.  Many of those that leave with a Sleepy Nico came to try on the Connecta but found that the Connecta left red lines on their childs legs, the soft padding at the leg openings completely prevents this and is a real big draw of this carrier for those looking for a lighter weight carrier but not wishing to compromise on comfort!

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Difference in sizes, toddler size underneath the standard (baby) size

Both the standard size and the toddler size are smaller than the equivalents from other brands – both in terms of seat width and panel length. So might not be as long lasting but also may fit your child earlier.  The standard size has a weight range of 3.5kg-15kg and the Toddler 6.8kg-20kg.  Although these weight ranges, like that provided by any manufacture, only tells you what the carrier has been safety tested for … a child of these weights may or may not not fit .. the carrier might be too wide or too narrow etc.  In general I feel the standard sizes works wells from about 4-5 months up to around 2 years depending on the child.  I wouldn’t recommend it for an infant as there is no infant insert and the seat panel can not be easily adjusted down.  While the toddler carrier works well from around 18 months to 3 or 4 depending on the child.

-Madeleine