Friday, April 5, 2013

Let's Review... Baby Carriers

Hello! This is the first of many posts where I will write a review of my experience with something. That "something" may be a product, a movie, or food. I rely heavy on the reviews of others before I purchase something or even sometimes whether I go see a particular movie or to a certain restaurant. Hopefully these reviews will be helpful to you as well and, as always, if you have any questions or need more clarification, please don't hesitate to ask me.

Today I will be reviewing baby carriers. I'm actually going to be doing a comparison of the four different types of carriers that we own and what I see as their strengths and weaknesses. I am including links to each of these products on Amazon in case you are interested in any of these carriers. And for the record, I don't get paid for my reviews or endorsements. I'm just hoping they will be helpful to other moms out there.

A baby carrier is a fantastic item to have for several reasons. Babies love to be held. And most people want to carry a baby. It's a great way to bond with your little one, look them in the eyes, smooch their faces, smell their heads, you get the drift. However, after hours of lugging that sweet little 10, 15, 20 pound baby around, your arms begin to feel like they're going to fall off. Also, there are certain circumstances when a carrier is much more convenient than a stroller. A super crowded museum or aquarium is a great example on when it's a whole lot easier to just maneuver your body around the masses of people than it is a stroller. Plus you never have to worry about losing your baby in a crowd since they are attached to you. It's also great for when your baby is still itty bitty and the sweet, well-intentioned people in the grocery store want to touch your baby and you don't want them putting their hands or faces in your babies face for fear of germs, most people won't do that when you have your baby right up against your chest in a carrier.

First up is the Baby Bjorn Classic. We received this as a hand-me-down from a coworker before K was born so ours is a bit different than the one pictured and in the link. For all intents and purposes though, it works the exact  same. The Bjorn works nicely for young, lightweight babies. It's convenient for travel purposes since it's soft and can be rolled up and stuffed into a diaper bag. It's easy to get your child in and out of and it's nice that you can wear your baby facing toward you when they are very tiny and facing out when they are a bit older. (You cannot wear the child on your back though.) However, when your child gets a bit older / heavier, here is where it fails. I found that carrying a heavier baby in the Bjorn for an extended period of time was very uncomfortable on my back. Also, this carrier is not very ergonomic for your child as there is a great deal of pressure placed on their private bits since the area between their legs is very narrow and all of their weight is resting right on that spot. This is especially significant as your child gets heavier.

The second carrier we used was the Chicco Smart Support Backpack. This carrier is only worn on the back and has an aluminum frame to give it structure. We used this backpack primarily for hiking since it has a sunshade and a more rugged design overall. It comes with a zip-off rain shield, a zippered phone / key pouch, and a little bit bigger pouch for a diaper and a few wipes, etc. that clips on the back (you need someone else to access it or you have to take the carrier off to get into the pouch.) The part that rests against your back is well padded making it pretty comfortable to wear but after a few hours of hiking, it did start to make my shoulders and neck ache. Also, it's not convenient for travel with its rigid frame. I found it to be a nuisance having it take up a bunch of room in our trunk when there are so many other things that I need to have back there, like the double stroller and three cases of wine. Just kidding about that last part - I don't have a double stroller ;)  While it is easy to get your kiddo into and out of this carrier, it isn't the easiest to get it on your back by yourself. I found the best way to do it was to load the kid in it while it's either sitting on a table or on the tailgate of our van and then shimmy it on my back while trying to keep it balanced and then pulling in the kickstand once I had it secure. If the hubs was with me he could hold it up while I slipped the straps on but again, neither method is super easy or, I felt, that safe.
The picture on the left shows it with the kickstand out for easy loading/unloading.
The picture on the right shows it with the kickstand pulled in for walking/hiking, etc.

Next up is the OneStepAhead Zip-N-Go Hip Carrier. This carrier is the ultimate in convenient travel. The whole thing zips up into its own small pouch that you can then throw into your diaper bag or even a purse. And, when you have the carrier on you can then use the pouch to keep your essentials in (keys, phone, diaper.) Plus, it's kind of neat because it carries the baby on your hip instead of your front or back which is a natural place for most people to carry a baby. Unlike the Baby Bjorn that can have your baby facing toward you or away, this carrier only allows the baby to face you. There is a large movable padded section on the shoulder/neck strap that also covers the clip that holds it on. It's easy to get your baby in and out of it on your own and it's quick and easy to put on. This is a good carrier for a baby that is old enough to hold her head up but not so old that she will be flinging herself out of it backwards. This last point is even more important with the model I have since it looks like they have made the back higher than the one I have. I find this carrier to be good for shorter trips like going to the grocery store and your kid wants to be held instead of in the cart but your arms are tired and you still need to be able to get to the food. I was using it for longer, several hour events and I was finding it to really hurt my neck and shoulder and even lower back after that long.

Our fourth, and last, carrier is the Boba 2G Baby Carrier. I *LOVE* this carrier! It can be worn with your baby facing you on your front or your back, it's adjustable for me or the hubs to wear, it's super convenient because it's soft and can be rolled up and stashed in our diaper bag, and most importantly, it's comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Like the last two carriers above, this one is designed for your child's weight to be evenly distributed to their bottom and thighs instead of their sensitive areas making it much for comfortable (and safer) for them as well. It also comes with a sun cover that does triple duty - first as a way to keep the sun off of their heads while out hiking. Second, as nodding head-catch for when your kiddo falls asleep and their head starts bobbing backward. And third, as a cover up for nursing. I've had E on my front and have been able to loosen the straps enough that I can actually nurse her in the carrier and use the sun cover to give us some privacy. I chose to purchase the organic version because inevitably E was going to chew or suck on the straps. Plus, I got a better deal on it since it's a 2G model and they already have a 3G model out with some nice upgrades but nothing that seemed like I couldn't live without to save a few bucks. The only downside to this carrier that I have found so far is that when E was younger I had a REALLY hard time getting her on my back by myself. I'm guessing that now that she's a little older and more able to hang onto me that we can try it again and it will be easier but it was definitely a two person job the few times I tried it. They have YouTube videos online demonstrating how to get your child onto your back so maybe I'll have to try watching those again before we attempt it.
The picture on the left is the front carry (that's the model & color I own.)
The picture on the right is the back carry (that's the 3G model.)

I hope this has been informative / educational / helpful in determining what type of carrier to get for you and your child. Like I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I'm a firm believer in using a baby carrier which is why I'm on our fourth one. Oh, and if it isn't obvious, none of the women, children or man in any of these pictures are us. Just in case you were wondering :)

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, this should be great help to people.