Didymos Lisca Achat Review

20161215_110028This was the second wrap I ever bought and is still one of my absolute favourites.  I adore this wrap.  It’s just perfection.  I’ve used this with both my children and its proved itself to be absolutely perfect for tiny tiny newborns and heavy older toddlers/preschoolers alike.

What sets Lisca’s apart from other wraps is their loose herringbone weave – it gives these wraps a ususually large amount of diagonal stretch.  This diagonal stretch allows the wrap to really mold around you… to move and flex with you and your baby.  This is absolutely wonderful with a newborn as it gives a similar ultra softness and snugness of a stretchy wrap combined with all the pros of a woven wrap.

 

 

IMG_9533But this diagonal stretch sometimes worries people in terms of longevity – some worry that it won’t be supportive enough for an older baby or toddler.  But I don’t find this to be the case at all.  And I guess it depends on your definition of supportive.  Some of the wraps that are described as “toddler worthy” are very rigid! They are supportive in a cast iron, never yielding, toddler prison sense!  Didymos Lisca weaves are not supportive in that way – instead they are supportive in the same way a tubular grip style bandage is … shaping its self to you, giving you optimum support where you need it while still moving with your body.  Before I bought this wrap I had often heard the term “wraps like a bandage” and didn’t really understand it, but Didymos Lisca weaves really do wrap like and offer support akin to a super soft bandage.

20180616_114236Although I do think it helps that I have this wrap in a long size.  Mine is a size 7 (which is a base +1 for me).  This wrap absolutely shines in a multilayer carry.  It’s relatively thin (215 gsm), with a fairly loose/airy weave so even in warmer weather its not too hot to wear in a multilayer carry and it’s those layers that really contribute to that feeling of support when it comes to wearing a fast asleep toddler!  And to that feeling of security with a brand new newborn!  It is worth noting that you get thick and thin Lisca’s, and while the thicker Lisca’s may well work well as a midlength or a shortie, I’d always choose a long length for a thin Lisca.

But best of all when it comes to this wrap is the fact that it comes already super soft.  Right out of the box its already outrageously soft and cuddly.  Like a favourite blanket.  No breaking in, just ready to use.  Which will always make this a favourite choice of mine for someone looking to buy a new wrap for a newborn.  It doesn’t hurt that the herringbone weave and subtle colour choices make for a timeless classic look either.

All in all Didymos Lisca Achat is a great all rounder.  It’s easy to use, soft as anything and easy to look after (its 100% cotton so washing machine and tumble dryer safe).  While Achat was a limited edition colourway, Didymos does have other colourways that are very similar and are in their standard collection (i.e. always availible), in particular Burgund, Petrol, Azzuro, Minos, Smeraldo and Obsidian are all pretty similar to Achat, and retail at approximately £100 for a size 6.

– Madeleine

Toddler Carriers Compared

There are a number of Toddler carriers on the market, and confusingly they vary HUGELY between brands!  In particular, they vary most in terms of size!  Both in terms of how old your baby needs to be before they are big enough and in terms of how long they will last for.

We currently have 7 Toddler carriers in the Sling Library collection and to help me compare them on size and longevity I have enlisted the help of both my children.  Rachel is 18 months, 80cm tall and 11.5kg and she represents roughly the age I most commonly see parents starting to entertain looking for a toddler sling.  Tom by contrast gives an idea of the absolute upper end! He is 5 years old, 116cm tall and just over 20kg.  I stopped regularly carrying Tom at around 3.5 years old, and have only really carried him very occasionally on holidays or long trips since then.  Many people find carrying naturally peters out sometime between 2 and 4 years old.  That said there is a significant number of families for whom carrying may well last a lot longer than this – particularly for a child with additional needs such a developmental delay, low muscle tone, ongoing medical treatment that might cause fatigue etc.  Tom helps give an idea of those carriers that are a bit more roomy for those who might want to carry a much older child.

Taking a look at each in turn…

Connecta Toddler 

IMG_20180616_221210

Connecta advertise their toddler size as being “suitable from 12kg to 24kg and giving a supportive and comfortable fit for most children from 18 months until around 3.5 years or older.”

The panel is a fixed size and doesn’t adjust or grow with the child, but despite this I do completely agree with the advertised age range.  Rachel is supported all the way knee to knee and all the way upto the back of her neck, so there is plenty of growing room for her and I agree that this carrier wouldn’t have fitted her well much before 18 months.  Tom despite being 5 is still supported reasonably well.  Yes the carrier is only just about supporting him to mid thigh (and so wouldn’t be as comfortable for him over longer periods), it is supporting him right the way up his back to under his armpits so it’s still a safe secure carry.  It is worth noting that Connecta also make a pre-school size so if I were still carrying a child Tom’s size I’d select that carrier over the toddler size.  But it is clear this carrier will comfortably manage from 18 months to at least 3.5 years old as advertised.

Compared to others here, the Connecta is the most lightweight and folds up the absolute smallest.  I have to say I love how small it folds… Rachel wants to walk everywhere so having a carrier that folds up small enough to slip into the change bag while we are not wearing it is an absolute boon.  I also love how comfortable it is – until I tried a Connecta for the first time, I always used to equate padding with comfort.  However, it’s simply not the case with this carrier, despite the lack of padding this nifty little carrier makes great contact with your body to give a perfect fit and brilliant weight distribution … even with 20kg of Tom.

This carrier can be worn on the front, back or hip.  When worn on the front, straps cross across the parents back.  When worn on the back, straps are worn ruck sack style and the accessory strap can be used as a chest strap to hold the two shoulder straps in place.  I have to say I never find this strap the most comfortable and am often forgetting it at home anyway so I often don’t bother! But it can be helpful for some shoulder types and to make the carrier feel a little more secure if you have a very wiggly toddler.  Cost is between £90 and £110 depending on material.  Full review of the Toddler Connecta can be viewed here.

Isara Toddler

IMG_20180616_221027

The Isara is so clever in its sizing.  Both the width and length of the carrier can be adjusted, allowing this carrier to very smoothly adjust incrementally from around 10 months (minimum of 8 or 9kg) all the way through to 4 years (max of 20kg).  It’s just a fab size range and one that works really well… particularly for those who are moving on from one of the smaller carriers on the market (like the Bjorn, Stokke, Izmi baby etc) and are looking for something that will fit now but last as long as possible.  The adjustable seat means that it will fit earlier than most other toddler carriers on the market and last longer.

The Isara can be worn on the front, back or hip.  When front carrying the straps can be worn crossed over the parents back or worn rucksack style.  Padding wise, it has a relatively firm wide waistband and softer well cushioned shoulder straps.  Consequently, the Isara doesn’t fold up as small as the Connecta or Izmi, but the increased padding will be more comfortable for some.  It’s a good option for those who carry for long periods, where the carrier spends less time folded up in a bag or under a buggy!  The material is lovely and soft and there is also very soft light padding at the leg holes to ensure toddler comfort.

It fits Rachel absolutely beautifully and is an option I am starting to use a lot for her.  At 18 months old she is roughly at the halfway point sizing wise – in the photo above I have both the velcro adjustment on the waist and the buckle that adjusts the height set at the roughly halfway point.  So this carrier will go considerably smaller than her.  I do think 10 months to a year is realistic.  For the photo with Tom the carrier is on its biggest setting.  And you can see that even though he is beyond the upper age range and weight, he still fits reasonably well – he is supported to at least mid thigh with his bottom lower than his knees.  The back panel is a little too short for him as it doesn’t quite reach to under his armpits, but it would have definitely still fitted him well at 4 so this is not really a criticism!  The Toddler Isara costs between £124 and £150 depending on material and print.

Izmi Toddler

IMG_20180616_220806

The Izmi Toddler carrier is also adjustable and also covers a huge age range from 9 months/1 year ish (or 8kg) through to roughly 4 years old.  It’s weight tested to a staggering 27kg (or 60lb)!!

Unlike the Isara the adjustment isn’t smooth/incremental but stepped.  There is a narrower seat setting and a wider seat setting.  The narrower setting works from 9 months and will take you through till about 18/20 months.  Rachel is shown on the narrower setting and its supporting her to a little past mid thigh and still giving a lovely M shape.  She is close to being able to move to the wider setting – she’ll be ready when she can sit in it without the material passing the backs of her knees.  Tom is shown in the wider setting and on this wider setting he is supported to at least mid-thigh and again has a great seated position with his bottom lower than his knees.

The height of back panel on this carrier doesn’t adjust.  For Rachel it supports all the way up to the top of her shoulders/base of her neck.  Which does mean she struggles to get her arms out, which is always a bit of a source of frustration for her!  For Tom the panel is a bit short for him… similar to the Isara … but this would have been plenty long enough when he was 4.

The Izmi is another lightweight option.  Like the Connecta it folds up relatively small and doesn’t weigh much and so is a good option for independent toddlers who are up and down alot and thus you end up carrying the sling empty as much as you actually use it!  The Izmi toddler has a very softly padded waistband which is shaped so that its very wide in the centre and then quickly tapers.  I find this shape really comfortable – gives support where you need it without bulk and as its so soft it moulds perfectly.  At the shoulders there is no padding at all but instead has spreadable fabric straps.  The Izmi toddler can be worn on the front, hip or back.  When I am wearing it on the front or hip I find spreading the straps make this carrier superior on comfort – it really works well for me and I don’t miss padding at all.  For the back carry however, its more difficult to spread and use the chest strap and while I am still comfortable enough on shorter journeys… I start to miss the padding if I am carrying for more like an hour or so!   Cost is £80, which makes the Izmi the lowest cost toddler carrier on our list (and that I know of) and certainly makes it amazing value for money!

KiBi 

IMG_20180616_220552 (1)

Not technically a toddler carrier the KiBi is the most adjustable carrier I’ve ever come across.  It smoothly adjusts to accommodate children anywhere from 6 months old all they way to beyond 5 years of age.

The offers front, hip and back carrying positions and its possible to wear the straps either crossed on in rucksack configuration when carrying on the front.  It has a relatively firm but thin padding at the waist and wide but softly padded shoulder straps.  Its superbly adjustable – not only for the child but also for the parent with 3 points of adjustment for the shoulder straps ensuring a great fit for a really wide range of adults.  For the child, the flexibility comes from the ability to adjust both the width and the height of the carrier.  The width has 4 poppered settings and a drawstring to give fine tuning between each of the poppered settings.  Rachel is shown on the third popper, Tom on the forth.  The height of the panel then adjusts in two ways – there’s a ladder lock buckle that adjusts at the leg openings, and then the top half of the panel can be pulled up or scrunched down as needed.  I love that the two adjustments are separate – you can really get a great supportive fit on a wide range of different sized children as a result.  It means that Rachel is just as well supported as Tom.  And the fact I can squash down the back panel means Rachel can have her arms out if she wants and then I can work it upwards once she is ready to sleep.

While it’s only weight tested to 20kg this carrier is perfectly capable of carrying a much larger child.  As can be seen with Tom – he’s legs are supported to at least mid thigh, in a good M shape and his back is supported all the way to the top of his shoulders.  The KiBi is a great choice for anyone looking for a carrier that will last a long time.  In particular, this would be a fab choice for close in age siblings where both are still regularly carried –  because this is a carrier that can easily be used to carry either.  Giving you the flexibility to carry either while the other walks or is in the pram as needed.  This carrier is also a great option for anyone looking for a carrier that will last longer in order to continue carrying a child with additional needs.  While many of the carriers on this list will carry an older child, the KiBi is a great choice for a child with low muscle tone and/or a developmental delay because the back panel is so high – this means even if they are tired and now struggling to support their upper torso etc the carrier will fully support them.  With many other toddler carriers, it’s often that lack of upper back support that can prove difficult in additional needs situations (depending on the individual need of the child).  Cost is £99 and full review of this carrier, including photos with a 6 month old can be viewed here.

Lillebaby Carry On

IMG_20180616_221328

Of all the toddler carriers I’ve tried the Lillebaby CarryOn has the smallest range in terms of ages/sizes it can be used for.  As can be seen on the photos above its too wide for Rachel at 18 months.  The material is rouching at her knees and her legs are close to being over extended (the one on the right side in particular is not able to bend to give completely free range of motion).  It’s also too wide at the top which means she is able to lean back and her weight is pulling away from me (making it heavier for me).

In reality most children won’t fit the Lillebaby Complete until they are 2 years old.  Or as a general guide until they can fit into size 2-3 trousers.  Then because this carrier doesn’t adjust at all and is fairly fixed (i.e less flexible that the Connecta) it doesn’t last as long either.  We can see that for Tom his legs are right on the border of still being supported upto mid thigh and the panel is only reaching to his mid back… its way way below the safe region of right under the arms pits.  So really he doesn’t still fit in this… if he wasn’t fairly compliant when it comes to being carried, this could potentially be dangerous.

Lillebaby market this carrier as “a roomy carrier made specifically for growing toddlers from 20-60 lbs (9-27kg)” and a “versatile, ergonomic and comfortable way to carry your child for many years”.  However, I think more realistically this carrier only really works from aged 2 through to 3.5 maybe 4 but certainly no older.  And 27 kg seems honestly optimistic!!!  Good option for those on the upper centile lines, but for Tom who is on the 50th centile and weighs 21kg… there’s absolutely no way he could be safely carried in this carrier when he reaches 27kg!!

In terms of parent comfort this carrier is one of the bulkiest I’ve looked at here, with pretty pretty wide firm shoulder padding and a wide firm waist band.  Consequently it’s a fairly large bundle when folded up and is a bit warmer for the parent to wear.  This particular model is their airflow mesh so it is pretty breezy for the child at least.  And surprisingly bouncy… the mesh is pretty springy so gives the carrier a little bit of “bounce” for the child as you walk!  Cost is around £125 to £150 depending on material and print.

Neko Switch Toddler

IMG_20180530_172318

Of all the carriers compared here the Neko Switch is the biggest!  Or at least has the capacity to become the biggest.  Like the Isara and KiBi both the height and width of this carrier can be adjusted.  Where it differs from these two is it’s a bigger carrier to start with.

Rachel is shown on the absolute smallest setting.  The width alters via a series of poppers, while the height can be adjusted via a drawstring.  Widthwise she is near knee to knee on this setting (but slightly over extended on the next setting up), while the absolute smallest height setting barely allows her to get one arm out!!  So this is definitely a carrier that won’t fit before roughly 18 months.

But once it does fit… my does it have growing room!  It will grow and grow and grow… all the way to a carrier that will carry Tom with absolute ease.  Tom is supported way past mid thigh in a lovely deep squat, and then all the way up his back to his shoulders.  He shows no sign of growing out this carrier for sometime to come.  I could see this still working for a 7 or 8 year old, possibly even more.  It’s weight tested to 27kg (60lb) so certainly has the strength to carry a 7 or 8 year old too.  Making the Neko switch a great option for anyone who wants a carrier that will last as long as possible.  In particular this is a fantastic option for a child with additional needs – for any child over about 18 months/2 years where there is a reason they might need to be carried for longer, i.e. developmental delay, on-going medical conditions or low muscle tone.  As discussed for the KiBi, this is a great carrier for a child with low muscle tone because the back panel is so high.  There is also a detachable hood that can be used to support sleeping heads!

The Switch is made from Neko’s really lovely woven wrap material, which makes this carrier very soft and also really pretty!  It comes in a huge range of gorgeous designs.   In terms of positions the Neko offers a front carry and a back carry (unlike each of the others, a hip position is not easily possible).  Straps can be worn rucksack style only (they don’t cross), which means while this carrier works a treat on my back, neither me or my husband like wearing it on our fronts – we find our daughter too heavy without the ability to cross the straps across our back.  However, on the back its really comfy with fairly firm padding at the waist and shoulders.  Cost is £135 and the Neko Toddler Switch can be purchased from Slumber Roo.

Beco Toddler Carrier

42363068_1716968028432217_874542228653998080_o

The Beco Toddler carrier is another one with a fixed panel (it doesn’t adjust) and it’s relatively large.  So large that Rachel – aged 21 months and 84cm tall only *just* fits. The material is reaching all the way into her knee pits and possibly a little further, but its soft and light enough she can squish it down and still move her legs freely so that she isn’t over extended.  The panel reaches all the way to the top of her neck, which does mean she can’t get her arms out which she doesn’t love but does mean she could sleep very comfortably without needing to put the hood up.  It’s worth noting that Rachel is tall for her age… most babies won’t fit well before 2.  And Rachel certainly wouldn’t have fitted prior to 21 months old – she has had a huge growth spurt over the summer jumping from 80cm to 84 in just 3 months and this has made all the difference in terms of fitting the Beco Toddler.

So while this carrier is unlikely to fit much before 2 years of age… it will last and last.  The shape of the seat means that Tom aged 5.5 years still has beautiful support well past his mid thigh – giving a great M shape – and the back panel reaches all the way upto right under his armpits.  In fact he could get his arms in too but he choose not to as he said arms out is more comfy mummy!  Plus there is a detachable hood that can be added to support his head while he slept if needed.  So he is still held very safely and securely and is still way below the very generous weight limit of 27kg (60lb).

In terms of parent comfort, like all Beco carriers this carrier has a relatively firmly padded waist band that feels very secure and supportive.  While the shoulder straps are relatively wide but very softly padded which means the shoulder straps do not feel overly bulky and fit very comfortably over the shoulders.  Additionally there are perfect fit adjusters on the shoulder straps which allow more petite parents to get a nice snug fit while back carrying.  The Beco toddler offers front, hip and back carrying positions and it is possible to wear the straps either crossed or in rucksack configuration when carrying on the front.  The main strap pulls in one direction only, which does mean that while its easy to tighten this carrier when back carrying, its a little harder when wearing on your front.

It is worth noting there are also several “standard sized” carriers that do last a good long time.  In fact many standard carriers last a lot longer than you might think… but if you have an older baby who isn’t quite ready for toddler carrier but needs something that will last a good year or two it’s well worth investigating the Boba X, the JPMBB Physio carrier and the Lillebaby Complete.

-Madeleine

KiBi Carrier Review

Want to see a magic trick?  A carrier that gives a great fit to both a 6 month old and a 4.5 year old? I mean that must involve magic right??

Longevity is the holy grail of anything baby related, and ‘how long will this last?’ must be a question I am asked a few dozen times a month!  KiBi have responded to this very natural desire among parents by making a carrier with the most adaptable panel that I have ever seen.  Smoothly transitioning from a size that fits my almost 6 month old all the way to a size where my 4.5 year old still almost appears to have growing space!

To do this the KiBi panel can be adjusted in 3 ways.

  1. The width is dictated by a combination of 4 poppers to give gross adjustment and a central drawstring to give fine tuning allowing an exact knee to knee fit at every point between the jumps between popper positions.  Broadly speaking 1 popper fits a 6 month old, 2 poppers a 1 yr old, 3 poppers a 2 year old and finally 4 poppers attached equates to 3 years and up.
  2. The leg openings and depth of the seat is adjusted with a pair of ladder lock buckles on either side of the panel.  Often in adjustable carriers the height of the panel is altered at just one point and this can leave the leg openings gaping or make it hard to get a nice spread squat position with knees above bum on a smaller child.  By adding a separate pair of buckles controlling the leg openings the KiBi have nicely solved this problem and, as you can see on Rachel, makes it possible to get a great ‘M position’ with knees nicely above her bum.
  3. Finally the overall height of the panel is altered by a soft part that simply squashes down or pulls up sliding over the shoulder straps.  This part then anchors at the desired height on the straps with little key ring style clips.  These clips do look pretty flimsy and I have heard of them snapping. Which is something that would normally put me off.  However, I have to confess that I personally don’t bother to use them.  What I quite like about this squashy part is that if you don’t anchor using the clips you can easily adjust the height of the panel while the child is in there.  This means when your little one is awake you can squash the panel down so they can see more, or so they can have their arms out.  Then as they get tired you can simply pull the panel up to give them more support.

A big part of how this all works is that the material KiBi have used is soft and light, which means it can easily be squashed down without too much bulk.  Completely squashed down it is still a little bulky (as can be see by all the rolls behind Rachel’s shoulders!) but for me its no more bulky than some of the bigger more padded carriers on the market like the Ergo 360 and the Lillebaby so I really didn’t mind the bulk at all and for me it is worth it for how the carrier will grow with the child.

Most standard sized baby carriers on the market work well from around 5-6 months of age until around 2-3 years.  In order to be safe and comfortable, a buckle carrier needs to support a child to at least mid thigh on the legs and reach up their back to least directly below their arm pits as a bare minimum.  As can be seen, the KiBi is still supporting Tom right up to the top of his shoulders and while not quiet knee to knee on both sides, certainly well beyond mid thigh with a great deep squat position.  Tom is just above the 50th percentile for both height and weight … so I am pretty confident in saying that the KiBi would continue to fit most children until almost 5!  In fact I think Tom may grow out on weight before size … the weight maximum for this carrier is 20kg and Tom currently weighs 18.

At the other end of the spectrum, the weight minimum for this carrier is 3.5kg.  While it was safety tested for this weight, its worth noting that this carrier is not suitable for a newborn as there is no newborn adaption or insert etc.  The manufacturers suggest it can be used from 4-6 months, and I think from 6 months is realistic.  In the photos Rachel is just about to turn 6 months old.  While the carrier could have gone a little smaller for her, and fitted around 5 months… its worth noting Rachel is on the taller side (91st percentile for height, and 50th for weight) and so can fit things a little before the ‘average’ baby.  But all in all 6 months to almost 5 years is pretty impressive,… the KiBi will certainly last you until you no longer need a baby carrier!  In fact on its biggest setting the KiBi is bigger than any of the toddler/size up carriers I have in the library collection.

As well as adapting as the child grows, the KiBi fits a wide range of parent sizes.  The straps have two points of adjustment allowing them to easily fit bigger frames as well as syncing all the way down to fit petite frames too.  This carrier is one that works well for families where parents are very different sizes but both would like to carry.  The straps can be worn both ruck sack style or crossed across the back as per personal preference.  And the carrier can be used carry on the front, hip and back.  Forward facing carries are not recommended with this carrier.

I also like that KiBi have thought about when your little one might want to walk.  Carriers like this rarely fit in bags, and can be a bit flappy or look a bit ugly worn ’empty’.  KiBi have added little elastics to the waist allowing you to roll the carrier up neatly so you can wear it around your waist as a neat little package with no worries about catching on anything.  Another interesting little feature is the ‘lockable’ buckles.  Each buckle has a sliding switch to lock it.  I like this verses 3 point safety buckles as you can still open them with 1 hand but you can’t do it absentmindedly or accidentally, which is a nice safety feature.

 

All in all the KiBi is a fab carrier, with all of its sizing systems and clever little extras its not the simplest carrier on the market but its still very easy and well worth taking a little time learning to use for its sheer adaptability.  I can see this carrier working really well for anyone who wants a carrier that will last them as long as possible, but in particular I think this carrier really shines for families with more than 1 child.  Particularly families with a relatively small age gap who are looking to avoid the double buggy … this carrier would make a great choice in combination with a single buggy; if the baby is asleep in the buggy the toddler can be carried, while instead if the toddler wants to go in the buggy the baby can be carried – no need for different carriers for each child and when not in use it easily folds down to fit under the buggy or around your waist.

-Madeleine

Toddler Connecta Review

img_8263For me, Connecta Baby carriers are really quite different. Most other buckle carriers in the library are pretty similar in terms of construction. Sure they all have different bells and whistles and all fit slightly differently because of different strap placements, shaping and contouring of the waist belt, straps and carrier body. But really they are pretty similar and which one someone prefers is a matter of personal preference and body shape.

Connecta are the exception.

The waistband is entirely unpadded. The body of the carrier is just two pieces of fabric sewn together and the straps are only very lightly padded. The first time I saw one I immediately thought “that looks uncomfortable”. And then I tried it on, and audibly said “Oh!”. I had always considered the thick waist padding of other buckle carriers like the Manduca, Ergo, Beco etc were needed for comfort. But in reality by taking this away entirely Connecta have created a buckle carrier more similar to a wrap in that it is able to mould to your exact body and thus provide comfort by giving a great fit.

Connecta make their carriers in 3 sizes – standard (birth – 2 years ish), Toddler (18months – 3 or 4), and Pre-school (3 or 4 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. I currently have 3 Connecta in the library – a Standard size with Petite straps, a Solarweave Standard size with regular straps and finally a Toddler size with standard straps (although these, particularly the two Standard sizes, are in such demand I am likely to add another soon!). This review focuses on the Toddler size and how it fared on a family day out to Kew Gardens with our toddler.

For me, when it comes to carrying an older child (in my case 2 and a half), there are two main considerations for any carrier.

  1. How comfortable is it, with the increased weight of a toddler?

  2. What can I do with it while my son is walking?

I love buckle carriers, but most are pretty bulky and don’t fit in my bag (or at least not with all the changes of clothes that go hand in hand with a boy newly graduated from nappies). On this second count the Connecta is amazing, it folds up really small and the accessory strap helps keep it neat and compact in your bag.

img_8273The absence of the waist band also means that front carries can be much lower compared to other buckle carriers and this greatly improved my front carrying experience as my son was no longer directly in my face! However, in terms of comfort and supporting his weight, I was generally happiest in a back carry. Shorter outings were great, but over 30 minutes it would start to get gradually heavier and more uncomfortable. I would start to wish for more padding or find that the chest belt was digging in my chest, or the arm straps under my arms. In general I think these things were a product of the Connecta not fitting my body personally as well as I have seen it fit some of my clients.

But at 2 and a half its actually rare that I would need to carry my son for more than 30 minutes. Any carrier spends more time in my bag than with my son in it….

David, my husband, summed this up really nicely when I asked him if he found the Connecta comfortable? He said “It is less comfortable compared to others we have tried but I wouldn’t say its uncomfortable. I see it as a trade off a little less comfort in exchange for a much lighter weight carrier. For a toddler this is quite a big pro, as our son walks more and more and time in the carrier goes down comfort becomes less important and weight and the ability to fold up small and fit in a bag becomes more and more important and something I would trade a bit of comfort for”.

Would I trade comfort for lightweight? Maybe not full time, as I really like to be comfortable but on a hot day, or if I was going on holiday … yes, absolutely.

-Madeleine

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!

IMG_0353

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!

IMG_0357

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