The Tula Explore is the first carrier from Tula that offers the option to forward face your baby!
See it explained in detail and in action here;
Key Features of the Tula Explore;
It’s width and height can be adjusted through poppers which means this carrier doesn’t need infant inserts.
Manufacturer recommends it for use for babies from just 3.2kg (7lb) all the way upto a fantastic 20kg (45lb). More realistically, however, I’d say this carrier works well from around 4 weeks through to 2 years old.
For the baby it has very soft leg padding and a softly padded neck support pillow that can be placed in different positions for different ages and stages.
Offers 3 carrying positions – front inward, front facing outward and back carry position. This carrier does not easily offer a hip carry position.
For the parent it has a fairly wide and firmly padded sturdy waistband, and it’s shoulder straps are bulky but soft and moldable. The long webbing but short padded part means this carrier is one that can fit both women and men very well and both the petite and the plus sized. Straps are designed to be worn “rucksack” or H style, and do not cross across the back.
It also has a detachable hood and a pocket on the waistband for small things like phone and keys.
All in all this is a fab option for someone looking for a sling that will last into toddler hood, want to forward face and are most comfortable with straps in ruck sack style. It is very similar to the Ergo Omni 360, in terms of shape and size. The main differences being that this carrier is a little simpler to use with the absence of buckles to do up at the shoulder straps but offers a bit less flexibility than the Omni as it doesn’t offer a hip position or the ability to cross straps across the back. The Tula Explore retails at £154.90
The Embrace is the newest carrier from Ergo Baby. Unlike their other carriers that work best from 2 or 3 months ish right through to 2.5 years… this carrier is designed to really fit that newborn and younger baby stage. It works really well right from birth and will last you till around 1 year ish give or take.
One of the reasons this carrier works so well for newborns is it’s made from very soft, slightly stretchy jersey material. The whole carrier is very lightweight and is designed to mold around both your and babies body… like a stretchy wrap or Caboo but with buckles. Because it is so lightweight it folds down into a really compact bundle, perfect for popping into a changing bag or under the pram.
The other reason it works so well right from the beginning is that this carrier has 2 height and width settings. This comes from simply rolling the waist band 2 turns towards you (as shown in the video below), which both shortens the carrier height and brings you to a narrower part of the panel. The adjustment isn’t smooth, just these 2 smaller or bigger settings but because the material is so soft this smaller setting does work really well on almost all newborns. Ergo recommend the Embrace can be used from 7lb (3.2kg) and I have certainly got a great fit on several babies who were just a few weeks old even as low as just shy of 6 lb (2.7 kg). Then as baby grows the waistband can be unrolled to the larger setting, typically around 2 months ish.
The Embrace offers 3 carrying positions. On the front facing inwards toward the parent, on the front facing outward toward the world and on the hip. Interestingly Ergo haven’t included the hip position in their manual, but it is actually a position this carrier does really well! The front facing inwards position can be used right from birth, and is really snuggly, a good position for a sleepy baby and comfortable enough for a long nap! The Hip position can be used from when baby has some head and neck control but it needn’t be as reliable as needed for the outwards position, this can be a really great position once baby goes through that big developmental leap around 4 months and transitions from being a baby who is quite sleepy interspersed with periods of ‘quiet alert’ to a full blown ‘nosy’ baby who wants to see anything and tries to resist sleep where possible!! Because it is a position that allows them to see more while still supporting them in a position where they can tuck in a sleep and support their neck as they start to tire! The front facing outwards position can be used once baby has really strong head and neck control. Which is typically anywhere between 4 and 5 months depending on the baby – you can read more about how to tell if your baby is ready for this position here.
While I think the hip and the front facing inward positions are really great, I can’t help feeling the facing out position on this carrier is more of a gimmick/marketing trick than anything else. It does work pretty well with a plastic doll, but I have my reservations about how well it works on live wiggly babies. The reason for my reservations is that facing away is a position that puts more strain on the parents back than any other position because babies centre of gravity is pulling away rather than toward parent… this is true of any carrier but this is likely to be exacerbated in the Embrace because its made from stretchy material… so as baby wiggles and bounces and strains to one side etc this additional strain is going to be magnified by the fact the material will stretch with baby. Personally, I wouldn’t buy this carrier to forward face. I would buy this carrier if I wanted an buckle option for a new newborn. Then as my baby grew I might use the forward facing position to see if baby liked being carried like that, then if they did I could buy a bigger carrier (something like the Ergo Omni or other such forward facing buckle carrier) that would offer me support, and if they didn’t when I came to upgrade to another carrier I could instead look at the huge range of amazing carriers that don’t offer forward facing safe in the knowledge that I wouldn’t really use it anyway.
You can see these positions in action here:
The position this carrier doesn’t offer is the back carry. Sadly this carrier isn’t really designed to be used on the back as there isn’t a chest strap. Added to the fact that the weight limit is 11.3 kg (25 lb) and that the stretchy material won’t feel as supportive as the child gets heavier this carrier this is definitely a carrier that most parents will move on from within the first year. However, if you are looking for an buckle option to use right from the beginning this is a pretty good option.
So what are the cons? Firstly, the extra soft jersey material is prone to bobbling. I have two of these in the library and one has gone a little bobbly and slightly worn looking already after only 6 weeks worth of hires. Doesn’t affect use but might bother some people! The other thing worth considering is that because this carrier works best for newborns to the first 6 or so months, it doesn’t actually add a lot more longevity or functionality that a Caboo or a Stretchy wrap but is a bit more expensive than either of these options. At time of writing the Embrace costs £79.90 verses £40-45 for a good quality stretchy wrap or £55 for a Caboo Lite.
How does it compare to other carriers? The two carriers on the market that this is most similar to are the Izmi Baby Carrier and the Mamaruga Zen. The Izmi like the Embrace is really designed to support right from newborn, even the smallest babies. Like the Embrace it offers front inwards, front facing out, hip and it does offer back as well. In fact generally the Izmi will last a little longer than the Ergo Embrace as it offers a bit more flexibility. And with its infant seat pad it can be used earlier with smaller newborns even many babies born prematurely too. But it is made of a slightly sturdier cotton so some parents will prefer the softness of the Embrace and the slightly more padded waist band. The Zen Sling is made from a very similar ultra soft jersey as the Embrace, and has a very similar slightly padded waistband too, so is definitely one to consider if you are looking for a carrier like this. The Zen sling has the benefit that it works really well from a couple of weeks old all the way to 2 years of age! Offers front inwards, hip and back carries and has a brilliant system for adjusting the height and width of this carrier giving an absolutely perfect fit for the child as they grow. Unlike the Embrace however, the Zen doesn’t offer the forward facing position and while it does offer a more flexible fit this comes with more straps to adjust and some parents prefer to have less to adjust.
All in all, the Ergo Baby Embrace is a great option for newborns and little babies. It won’t last as long as many carriers on the market but what it does do well is that first bit. Very few buckle carriers truly do newborn well and so is a good option for those looking for a buckle carrier rather than stretchy wrap or Caboo for this first bit. Cost is £79.90 and these can be purchased from Sheen Slings webshop here, or by arrangement at sling library meets, consults, workshops or doorstep collection.
Suptumitously soft and super adjustable – the Mamaruga Zen Sling is a real gem of a baby carrier. It combines the feel of a wrap with the intuitive practicality of a buckle carrier. Whilst also being one of the very few carriers that genuinely works beautifully well for tiny babies and then seamless grows with your child to continue giving them a great fit all the way into toddlerhood.
See how it works and hear my full thoughts here on my video review… or read on for more
Key Zen Sling Facts:
It’s massively adjustable! Both the width and height of the panel can be adjusted allowing this carrier to shrink all the way down to accomodate a newborn and then seamlessly grow and grow and grow all the way to still give a perfect fit to a 2 year old, possibly even older. Better still the height actually adjusts in two ways – with the overall panel height adjusting separately to the leg openings. Most adjustable carriers only allow you to alter one of these – which means often either shorter babies with chubby legs or tall and slender babies aren’t as well fitted… but by offering both the Zen Sling offers all babies a completely customisable fit! And one that’s really easy to adjust as baby grows.
This carrier is weight tested for use between 3kg (6.6lb) and 20kg (44lb). Realistically this is one that will work for most babies from within a couple of weeks after birth through to 2 ish… For reference my daughter was 13 kg at 2, 15 kg at almost 3 and my son didn’t hit 20kg until he was 5… but it’s always reassuring to know that the fabric has been weight tested beyond what you will need!
It is made from dreamily soft Jersey knit fabric. Feels a bit like a favourite pair of jogging bottoms. The kind you secretly want to wear all the time! Except that the Zen Sling comes in all kinds of lovely patterns and looks really stylish and not at all slouchy and slobby!
The fabric is slightly stretchy, this is wonderful with babies as doesn’t feel rough or restrictive on them, allows them to wiggle while still holding them securely. Consequently sometimes parents don’t like this as much with bigger toddlers as the stretchy material does feel like it has more give than a woven cotton. The closely related Zebulo is a great alternative if baby is a bit older and you want something light but more toddler proof!
The Zen Sling offers 3 carrying positions – front carry (facing parent), hip and back carry. It doesn’t offer a facing outward carry but it does do the hip carry really really well so often parents find this is an ideal alternative and do not miss facing outwards.
The shoulder straps are designed to fan outward across your shoulder if you find this comfortable, and are designed to cross across your back when wearing baby on your front. When wearing baby on your back there is a chest strap that comes separately that can be threaded through the straps if desired. This carrier doesn’t offer “ruck sack or H shaped straps when wearing baby on the front, as it is very difficult to attach this seperate strap to your own back! So this is definitely a carrier for those who prefer to wear their straps crossed rather than those that prefer the H shape.
My one gripe with this carrier is the waist band. It is also made from soft jersey and I find as baby grows this has a tendency to fold/scrunch under baby rather than lie flush and this can be a little diggy over time. It’s a small gripe, against an otherwise amazing carrier but it’s the one thing I personally would change!!
New to the UK, KAYA are a Bulgarian based brand whose gorgeous carriers are being brought to the UK by London based Babywearing shop Nomad Children. Their range includes woven wraps, ring slings, full buckle carriers, meh dai and stretchy wraps.
Here I review their full buckle carrier, which is made from their beautifully soft woven wrap material. The soft material and adjustability of this carrier means that it is soft and moulds beautifully around your child to give them a great fit.
To see it in action and hear my full thoughts, please watch the video below!
Vital facts about this carrier:
Adjusts in both width and height to allow the carrier to a perfect fit for babies from 8/10 weeks or so all the way through to toddlerhood.
Waistband is wide and relatively well padded at the sides (unpadded at the centre) and is worn apron style which means it can be worn quite high and good for those with relatively shorter torsos.
Wide and firmly padded shoulder straps, which are designed to be worn in “ruck sack style”. theoretically it is possible to cross the straps over parents back but in reality this is challenging.
Offers two carrying positions – front carry and back carry. Back carry is relatively low compared to some other carriers.
There are some carriers I have in the library because they fit a wide range of people, are very versatile and are generally brilliant. And then there are ones that are a bit different and I have because they are good for a specific situation or a particular subset. The Baby Bjorn One definitely fits into the latter category. It does not fit a wide range of people, it isn’t particularly versatile but there are some for whom this is the right choice.
It’s also a carrier that is asked for A LOT! Which is understandable, because it’s readily available in high street stores and one you often see out and about. But it’s also one I see brought to troubleshooting sessions over and over again. Often its possible to tweak it and get a better fit but sometimes it just doesn’t fit well and ultimately something else ends up being better. And of those who come asking for the Bjorn One who haven’t yet bought one, the vast majority opt for something else following trying a range of different options on.
The simple fact of the matter is that the Bjorn One only fits a relatively small range of people really well. There are two main reasons for this
The torso of the carrier is very long. The Bjorn One has a fixed panel that runs between adult and baby between the waist strap and the shoulder straps. The panel doesn’t adjust, only the shoulder straps and unfortunately this panel is very long. Generally if you are below about 5’8” (172cm) and/or have a shorter torso this panel will be too long for you. It’s still possible to wear the carrier – either by scrunching the panel or by dropping the waist belt to your hips rather than your waist but the result will be a less good fit and will be less comfortable for you the wearer. If you drop the waist band this will put more pressure on your shoulders and is likely to give you back ache, while if you scrunch the panel it will be more comfortable except that you might feel the rouched panel material against your (and your baby’s) tummies. Which is a little non-ideal. Consequently, anyone over about 5’8” tend to find this carrier far more comfortable than anyone under this height. In fact this carrier can be good option for the very tall – 6ft and over, because the shoulder straps can go pretty long and accommodate taller frames.
The panel running between adult and baby tends to sit over breast tissue on women. This can be very uncomfortable for new mothers, particularly those who are breastfeeding.
Consequently, it is often the case that the Bjorn One works a lot better for men than women. This is not an absolute, there are some taller women who it does fit well and isn’t uncomfortable over boobs and conversely there are men for whom it doesn’t fit at all well… but it’s really not at all uncommon for couples to come to me for help with their Bjorn One baby carriers and for the dad to say he is pretty comfortable, while the mother is experiencing back pain and/or discomfort when her boobs are feeling full.
But for those who it does fit, the Bjorn can be a great choice. In particular parents who love it love it because;
You fit the parent first and then the baby slots in after. Compared to carriers where you do the straps up around you and baby, some parents find they feel more secure getting baby in and out. This is particularly true of those who are very nervous about using a baby carrier.
The Slide and Releasebuckles. While most carriers use standard buckles, the baby Bjorn have these special buckles that involve overshooting then sliding back. They then have a seperate button that needs to be pressed while sliding the buckle the other way again. The advantage of these buckles is that because they need very specific movements they can’t be undone by mistake or by a parent who is on “autopilot” … you have to think about it! Again for nervous parents this adds to a feeling of security and safety. Although its worth saying while some parents find these buckles really intuitive to use, others find the sliding past really tricky and can’t seem to ever get the hang of them! So this is definitely a marmite feature.
The straps are not overly padded and not too bulky on the shoulders. Which can be a draw for slimmer taller people who can find more bulky padding a bit too much.
The Baby Bjorn One offers 3 carrying positions. Baby facing parent on the front, Baby facing outwards on the front and a back carry. Although in practise, while the 2 front carrying positions are pretty straight forward, the back carry is a bit more tricky! Because of how the straps are configured, to get baby onto your back on your own you need to first place baby on your front and then get your arms out (walk like an Egyptian method – one over, one under) swizzle baby around to your back then put your arms back in. It’s a mega faff, and most babies complain alot during the process! The lower waist band position of the Bjorn One also means this carry is pretty low and so its harder to monitor your little one once they are back there. Consequently, Bjorn don’t recommend the back carry position before 12 months. You can see the method for getting a child on your back here filmed with my very tolerant, bribed with a biscuit now 3 year old here;
In terms of size baby can be carried on the front from 3.5kg. The one contains an built in infant insert which acts to raise the height of the baby within the carrier. The width of the carrier also adjusts through ‘locking’ zips at the bottom. In practise the carrier still feels a little large for the smallest newborns but works for most from around 6 weeks onwards. Then as baby grows the infant insert can be unzipped, and the zippered base can be made incrementally wider so the carrier can grow with baby. Generally speaking it fits baby reasonably well up till about 18 months to 2 years give or take. However, many parents move on from this carrier earlier than that (more like 11-15 months ish), simply because front carrying becomes heavy and many parents struggle to back carry with the One. So instead they often move onto a bigger carrier than is easier to get baby onto the back with.
The forward facing carry can be used once baby has full neck control and is tall enough that their face fully clears the top of the carrier. Unfortunately, a hip carry position isn’t really possible because of how the straps are configured.
Another thing to consider is the material – Bjorn has a number of finishes for this carrier but the standard one at least is pretty rigid and not entirely soft! Many parents don’t like how “hard” it feels for a newborn. However, this is something Bjorn have improved on and their newest models are softer and they do also offer a mesh which is softer and lighter and many parents prefer for this reason.
Finally – do consider if you think you’d like to breastfeed in a carrier. Because the Bjorn has material running between you and baby, it is extremely hard to breastfeed in this sling without taking it off first because part of the carrier sits over the boobs.
You can see it in action and here my thoughts in my video review here
All in all the Baby Bjorn Onecan be a good option for parents with longer straighter/flatter torsos and particularly those who are more nervous about babywearing but it is very worth trying on before you buy, and comparing to a few other brands as it certainly doesn’t fit everyone. It works well from around 6 weeks to somewhere between 1 year and 18 months, which is a smaller age range than many of its main competitors and at a cost of £139 it is maybe not quite as good value for money as other similar carriers from brands such as Ergo and Beco.
The first time I ever saw a Connecta my first thought was “I bet that’s uncomfortable”. At that point I’d only ever tried fairly well padded carriers like Ergo’s and Manduca’s and the thought of carrying my then 9 month old something with a completely unpadded waist band and barely-there padding made me shudder. I was, of course, totally and utterly wrong.
Rachel 9 months
What I realise now is padding is not necessarily an indicator of comfort. Padding can be great if it fits you well, but if the shape is wrong for your body then that padding can actually make matters worse by ‘standing off’ your body in places and thus focusing the weight onto smaller pinpoint areas. What matters far more than padding level is how a carrier fits you. If it fits well it will be comfortable, if it doesn’t fit well then it won’t. Simple as that! The genius of the Connecta is by not having bulky padding it gives a lot of people an absolutely perfect fit – because the webbing waist band and the softly padded shoulder straps are able to mould exactly to your body and give a very even weight distribution.
Connecta currently come in 3 sizes – standard (birth – 2 years ish), Toddler (18 months – 3 or 4 years), and Pre-school (3 or 4 years onwards). Each with two strap options – regular and petite straps. The petite straps have simply 1.5 inches less padding to enable more petite parents to get the straps tight enough while back carrying. This review focuses on the standard (baby) size. For further info about the toddler size specifically see separate review.
Rachel at 5 weeks
The Connecta is a very flexible carrier. It’s extremely simple – just 2 layers of fabric with some straps sewn on – but this means it can be worn in different ways: In different carrying positions and at different heights. All of which means it can fit a wide range of parents and personal preferences.
And the lack of padding and bulk means it’s really lightweight and not at all hot to wear – great choice for summer. Also a great choice to use around the home as its so soft and comfy and you won’t overheat indoors. It also packs down really small! So it’s perfect to slip in your bag or under the buggy. Sturdy, secure and comfortable enough for a long walk, but soft enough to wear around the home.
It fits a wide range of babies – generally speaking the Connecta works really well for babies from around 1 month of age through till about 2 years! Which is a huge range! This is because both the height and width of the carrier can be adjusted. The width can be adjusted with the accessory strap that comes with the carrier, and the height can be manually adjusted by altering the position of the waist band on the adult and then simply putting the baby in deeper or shallower with respect to the carrier. The intergrated hood can also help alter the height of the carrier and help support babies head – either by fastening as a hood for an older baby or by being rolled up into a neck cushion for a younger baby.
Tandem Carry with 2 Connecta
Another reason this carrier lasts so well is the fact it offers 3 carrying postions – front, hip and back. Front is great while they are little, then when they enter nosy, want to see everything stage the hip comes into its own and the back carry is fab as they start to get older and heavier.
It is worth noting that when front carrying the straps cross over the parents back. Many carriers offer both crossed and ruck sack style strap configurations but because there is no attached chest strap it is difficult to wear the Connecta in ruck sack style while front carrying. It’s possible when back carrying as the accessory strap can be then attached at the front to act as a chest strap, but this is very difficult to achieve while front carrying because of the difficulty in attaching something behind your body. This is not a really a criticism as I find many people find crossed straps more comfortable anyway, but it is worth being aware of as there are people who don’t find crossed straps comfortable and prefer ruck sack style. If you fall into the latter category but like the idea of the Connecta, then take a look at the Kahu which is a broadly similar carrier but does over rucksack straps.
The other thing to be aware of is that the shoulder straps adjust in one direction only. This means that while they are very easy to tighten while back carrying, when front carrying you need to work against your wrist joint to tighten. There are ways around this (reaching across your back from behind or doing the “chicken dance”) and while most people don’t find this an issue at all, some people really do struggle to tighten and for them this is a total deal breaker. I’d say this is the case for about 1 in 20 – so definitely worth trying and seeing if this is OK for you or not. If it is a deal breaker, the Kahu Baby has two way buckles and is an excellent alternative.
All in allthe Connecta is a very flexible, lightweight, simple carrier which will suit anyone looking for something they can use for a long time with their little one in different ways as suits their life! Cost is £80 and these can be purchased from Sheen Slings webshop here, or by arrangement at sling library meets, consults, workshops or doorstep collection.
Carrying your baby is such a personal thing – people carry for different reasons and different carriers suit different people. Here is Juliet’s story….
“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.
Rosa 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.
Immediately 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.
Tony 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.
We’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!
The Beco Gemini is a little bit magic. It’s a carrier that has really grown on me. When I first got this carrier 2.5 years ago I didn’t have a child who fitted it (Tom was too big and Rachel hadn’t even been conceived yet). Trying with a doll I simply thought “yeah, its fine”… but over the years seeing this carrier on other parents and then later wearing it myself with Rachel I have come to realize why this carrier is fantastic… simply put it’s because the shoulder straps and waist band don’t match.
That probably sounds a bit odd, but let me explain… Almost all buckle carriers can be divided into 2 groups based on the thickness of the padding of the straps – a) carriers with light, soft or even no padding and b) carriers with relatively thick, firm padding. Likewise, for virtually all of these carriers the padding level is similar on both the shoulder straps and the waist band. I.e. carriers like the Ergo and Lillebaby carriers have thickly padded shoulder straps and firm thickly padded waist bands, while light weight carriers like the Izmi or Connecta have no padding or only very light soft padding across both the shoulders and the waist band. The Gemini, however, defies classification into one of these two groups because it has firm, thick padding at the waist band but soft light padding at the shoulder straps.
This padding ‘mismatch’ is just magic! And works for so many parents. Usually when helping parents find the right carrier for them I start by getting them to try first a thickly padded carrier and then try a very lightly padded carrier. Some parents then decide they love the supportiveness of firm padding and we try more thickly padded carriers. Others decide they like lighter weight more form fitting carriers and we instead try more of that type. Then there is a significant subset of parents who tell me they like the firm waist band of the carriers with thick padding but they find it too much on their shoulders, but then when they try a lighter weight carrier they like the feeling on their shoulders but don’t like the more flimsy waist. For this subset of parents the Gemini is almost always just perfect. A true Goldilocks carrier – firm enough on the waistband to feel supportive for hours, while still being soft and light on the shoulders and not feeling at all bulky.
Another reason its so often a winner, is that the Gemini is a very easy, very unfussy carrier. It doesn’t have loads of bits and bobs to adjust and fiddle with. No features, no pointless pockets, no hood, no multiple points of adjustment to faff around with. Just click, click and go.
What it does have, however, is 4 carrying positions. You can carry baby on your front facing you, on your front facing outward, on your hip and on your back. This carrier is weight tested from 3.2 to 16 kg (7 to 35 lb) and is one that realistically works well with a newborn all the way through till around 18 months to 2 years. A lot of this flexibility comes from the fact the ‘seat’ of the carrier has two settings – a narrow seat and a wider seat. The wider seat does inward positions (front, hip and back) from about 4 months onward (depending on the size of the baby), while the narrow seat accommodates younger babies while parent facing and allows older babies to face outwards comfortably. Adjusting between the two seat settings is ultra simple it simply fastens into either position using poppers. This makes the Gemini one of the few adjustable carriers that can be switched from facing in to facing out (or visa versa) with just one hand if need be! The poppers also do up independently on either side so I’ve even used this carrier in additional needs situations, including once with a baby who was in a leg cast – the poppers meant we could use the wide seat on one side to support the uninjured leg, but reduce the width on the side with the cast to ensure the carrier didn’t put pressure on the cast itself. Which makes this an incredibly flexible carrier that will grow with your child and adapt to their needs whatever they maybe.
Its also flexible for the parent – offering both ruck sack style straps and the ability to cross across the parents back. Most people usually have a strong preference for one or the other and often one parent will prefer crossed, while the other prefers ruck sack. So its great the Gemini offers both!
It is worth noting that compared to other similar carriers – like the Ergo Omni 360 and the Lillebaby Complete – the Gemini doesn’t last as long. While those will take to 2.5 years ish, the Gemini will often only last till around 18 months to maybe 2 years depending on the size of your child. It’s certainly not the best when it comes to longevity. This isn’t really a criticism as part of the appeal of this carrier is that it is smaller and the reason it works really well for newborns (or babies in the 2-3 month age range who are often between settings in a lot of other carriers) is because it is a smaller carrier. And many parents find themselves carrying less around then anyway or are very happy to move onto a toddler carrier that stage. But it is worth noting if you have a child who is tracking the upper percentiles on height and weight. However, if that is the case… the Beco 8 can be a great option, as the 8 is in many ways the Gemini’s big brother – a very similar but bigger carrier.
It also comes in a really lightweight mesh – “the Cool” option instead of the cotton, which can be brilliant choice for a summer baby or if you want a sling you can fold up easily as it folds to around half of the size of the normal cotton canvas version. You can see both compared in the video at the bottom of this review.
I have just one gripe with this carrier. The safety buckles. Or rather I did…. this is an example of where Beco has listened to parents… and these have been fazed out over the course of 2018 and now in 2019 all new Beco Geminis come with a new standard buckles. I am so glad, because the safety buckles were a bit of a pain to undo, especially the ones on the shoulder straps. Many people would get used to them after a few goes, while others would just find them infuriating. It’s still worth knowing though, particularly if your purchasing a second hand carrier rather than a new one because its worth checking which buckles and if you can undo them easily!
You can see this carrier in action and hear my verbal review here
So all in all, the Beco Gemini is a fantastic carrier, offering multiple carrying positions and super flexibility of use combined with a firm supportive waistband with light soft shoulder padding. It comes in two main finishes – a standard cotton version and a lighter cooler mesh version called the Gemini Cool, which cost £99.50 and £105 respectively. Both are available to purchase from Sheen Slings onlineor in person at sling library meets, consults and workshops.