MÉABH HAS COMPLETED THE TRAGESCHULE MEDICAL LICENSE TRAINING LEVEL
MÉABH & TRICIA ARE CERTIFIED TRAGESCHULE BABYWEARING CONSULTANTS
MÉABH IS A QUALIIED JPMBB WRAP SPECIALIST

Suitability Of Soft Structured Carriers For Newborn Babies:

8 Jul, 2015

Author:

7 comments

A lot of sling manufacturers promote the fact that their Soft Structures Carriers are suitable to use from newborn with the help of extra inserts or built in inserts. Most qualified Babywearing Consultants are aware that these inserts are not always ideal and from their experience parents tend to find them fiddly and difficult to use correctly.

This can often be frustrating for parents as they may have gotten a carrier before their baby has arrived and then find they cannot confidently get their baby into the carrier or that they don’t feel happy that their baby is comfortable in the insert. As a result they end up having to look for an alternative until their baby is a bit bigger.

With this is mind I set out to test as many carriers as possible which have built in inserts or extra padded inserts with my newborn baby. I tested them for suitability in relation to ease of use, correct positioning and safety aspects.

I chose Soft Structured Carriers that are promoted by the manufacturers to be suitable from newborn and using manufacturer instructions. I tested as many as possible that I had available to me at the time. The carriers on my list are not the only Soft Structured Carriers advertised towards newborns but consists of the most popular ones and the ones available to me at the time.

The SSCs I will be reviewing are as follows in Alphabetical Order: Boba 4g, Buzzidil, Connecta, Emei Baby,  Ergo, Kokadi Flip, Lillebaby, Manduca, Olive & Applesauce, , Tula.

I tested them with my very obliging newborn daughter between the ages of 2-5 weeks and weighing approx 9.5lbs- 11lbs.

The “suitability” is based on my own experiences using the carriers as a mum of a newborn and as my experience as a Babywearing Consultant.

Pictures and additional Comments are under the table.

Name Of Carrier:Recommended Weight/Age:Recommended Adaptations For Newborns:Manufacturer’s Instructions:Position In Sling:Crossed At Back Or Rucksack Style:Suitability
(Out of 5)
Boba 4gNewborn / 7lbs / 3.1kgAdditional Cushion Needed*Video On Website

Video Shows To Put Carrier On First & Lower Baby In Over The Top

This Does Not Look Safe To Do With A Newborn

Would Be Safer To Position Baby On The Cushion & Bring The Back Panel Up Over Them
Legs In*

Hips In Tucked Up Position

Spine Supported

Head Not As Supported As Needed
Rucksack2/5
BuzzidilNewborn

(No Weight Limit Given)
Adjust seat using the pull string

Adjust the back with pull string

Adjust head support with pull string under the hood
Video On Website – Easy To FollowLegs out, sitting in natural spread squat position

Good hip and spine position

Back and head well supported
Crossed

Or

Rucksack
5/5
ConnectaNewborn/7.5lbs/3.4kgChest strap used to cinch the seatWritten and picture instructions on website-Legs out

Back not as supported as needed

Head not supported- better with hood
Crossed2/5
Emei BabyNewborn / 6.6lbs / 3kgAdjust Seat With The String To Make It Small Enough

Adjust Draw String For Extra Head Support
Video On Website

Easy To Follow
Legs Out, Sitting In Natural Spread Squat Position

Good Hip & Spine Position

Back & Head Well Supported
Rucksack5/5
ErgoNewborn / 7lbs / 3.1kgExtra Infant Insert That Baby Sits Into *Video On Website

Easy To Follow
Legs In*

Back Supported, Loose At Top

Head Not Fully Supported
Rucksack2/5
Kodadi FlipBirth

(No Lower Weight Limit Given)
Velcro On Waist Band To Make Seat Smaller

Elastic To Adjust Head Support
Written & Picture Instructions On Website

Easy To Follow
Legs Out, Sitting In Natural Spread Squat Position

Hips & Spine Are Well Supported

Head Well Supported
Rucksack5/5
LillebabyNewborn/ 7lbs/ 3.1kgFeature To Make Seat SmallerVideo On Website

Easy To Follow
Legs Out, Hips Not In Good Position, Not Supported Knee To Knee, Even With Pelvic Tilt I Could Not Get A Good Position.

Back Not As Supported As Needed. Was Not Able To Tighten Straps As Much As Needed.

Extra Hood For Head Support Is Quite Large & Bulky Over Baby’s Head
Rucksack1/5
ManducaNewborn / 7.7lbs / 3.5kgIntegrated Insert*Written & Picture Instruction On Website

Easy To Follow
Legs In*

Hips In Tucked Up Position

Spine Supported

Good Head Support
Crossed

Or

Rucksack
3/5
ManducaNewborn / 7.7lbs / 3.5kgUsing Size It and Zip In (Eclipse Shape)Written & Picture Instruction On Website

Easy To Follow
Legs Out Using Size It

Zip In Offers Even Better Head Support.
Crossed

Or

Rucksack
4/5
Olive & ApplesauceNewborn /8lbs/3.6kgIntegrated Insert*Video On Website - Shows To Secure Shoulder Straps Before You Close The Waist Band

Does Not Feel Secure When Holding A Newborn To Leave Waistband Open Until The End.
Legs In*

Hips & Spine Supported

Slightly Loose At Top For Head Support.
Crossed2/5
Tula:Newborn / 8lbs / 3.6kgExtra Infant Insert That Baby Sits Into*Written & Picture Instructions On Website

Easy To Follow
Legs In* Carrier

Sitting On Cushion In Insert

Back Supported

Slightly Loose At Top Of Spine So Some Movement Of Head.
Rucksack2/5

Overall

  • Overall most of the SSCs that I reviewed gave a good position for newborns although some needed some adaption to get right.
  • All the slings I reviewed with extra inserts can be used with newborns but I feel parents would need some education to ensure their baby is in secure and safe.
  • Slings made from woven material gave the best position for my  baby. They adjusted to my baby’s shape with no insert and they were the easiest to use (Buzzidl, Emei and Kokadi Flip)
  • The manufacturer’s instructions were lacking in some cases and if parents followed them then it would be difficult to get their baby into the correct position.
  • The biggest problem I found was that head support was lacking and my baby’s back wasn’t  fully supported- the worry would be that the baby’s back would end up over curled, their chin would end up on their chest and this would impact on their breathing.
  • Legs in does not suit every baby as their little legs can feel squashed inside the carrier. Also once your baby gets a bit bigger they can use the base as leverage to stand when they straighten their legs and end up hitting their head off your chin.
  • Extra inserts can be difficult to get your baby into which in turn makes it difficult to get your baby into the sling. Inserts tend to be quite bulky (Ergo bulkier than Tula) and would be quite warm on your baby.
  • Parents need to remember to bring the insert with them when they go out.
  • Integrated inserts can be hard to get your baby into the correct position and require the parent to be quite confident in handling their newborn.
  • Tricky to get baby into insert (both internal and additional), ideally need a bed or sofa to lie them down on which is not always available when babywearing out and about.
  • Can imagine it would be difficult if your baby was unhappy and moving a lot. Easier with a sleeping/ quiet baby.

Boba 4g:

  • Video instructions show to put carrier on first and lower your baby in over the top. This does not look safe to do with a newborn. Would be safer to position your baby on the cushion and bring the back panel up over them.
  • Difficult to get leg positioning correct sitting on Cushion.
  • Legs in position doesn’t suit all babies and mine used the base to stand up.

 Buzzidil:

  • No extra insert needed so easy for parents to use.
  • Woven material is soft and moulds to your baby’s body
  • Not as easy to cross straps at back- I’m quite flexible and found it difficult to close and to open with the safety catch.
  • Lovely natural position for your baby.

Connecta:

  • Not suitable for newborns as per instructions- leg position is fine but back not supported and my baby was over curled with chin on chest.
  • Back was also too long so could not see my baby easily and my baby could not see out.
  • I rolled the waist band and this helped with the length of the back but the head was still not supported, using the hood helped.
  • I tried FWCC and found that this helped greatly with supporting my baby’s head but it would be difficult to do if you were not confident and it wasn’t comfortable on my shoulders

Emei Baby:

  • Easy to use once you understand how the Emei Baby differs from other carriers. Parents new to babywearing could end up with their baby’s legs hanging down instead of in the natural spread squat position.
  • No extra inserts so easy to get my baby into their natural position
  • Woven material is very soft for newborns
  • Lovely natural shape for my baby

Ergo: 

  • Need to remember to bring extra insert
  • Quite bulky and heavy and your baby would be quite warm if using indoors.
  • Can imagine it would be difficult if your baby was unhappy and moving a lot. Easier with a sleeping/ quiet baby.
  • Recommended to keep your baby’s legs tucked into insert for first 2 months but this did not suit my baby as she was too big so I left her legs out.
  • Found my baby tended to straighten her legs and use the base to stand in carrier.

 Kokadi Flip:

  • Easy to adapt and keeps my baby in a very natural position with no need for an extra insert.
  • Need to remember to make sure the straps go under your baby’s legs not over them
  • Lovely natural shape for my baby

Lillebaby:

  • Hips not in a good position and not supported knee to knee. Even with pelvic tilt I could not get a good position.
  • Back not as supported as needed. Was not able to tighten straps as much as I needed.
  • Extra hood for head support is quite large and bulky over my baby’s head.
  • Safety harness strap- recommended for legs out position but not foetal position with legs in. Awkward to put on and can imagine it’s not comfortable for your baby while tied i.e. buckle against my baby’s tummy.
  • Alternative Foetal position: using rolled up blanket- can be hard to get right for parents as all blankets are different sizes- may be too big or too small. Have to remember to bring blanket and roll it up before putting your baby in.

Manduca:

  • Tricky to get my baby into the insert. Manduca instructions show to buckle the waste belt first and then put your baby into the insert. I found that babies head was left much unsupported falling over the edge of my knees doing this- she is quite a long baby.
  • Can cross the shoulder straps as well as rucksack so 2 options for closing it.
  • Eclipse panel gave a better shape for my baby’s spine and offered more head support
  • Hard to get the Size-It insert to go small enough to fit her at 4 weeks old but it would be great when she is slightly older. May be easier if Manduca and Size-It had been used more and were softer.

 O&A:

  • Instructions showed to secure shoulder straps before you close the waist band, does not feel as secure when holding a newborn when waistband is left open until the end.
  • Insert is neat inside the carrier. No need to remember to bring extra insert.
  • New parents may not have confidence/ability to get their newborn into the insert and attach the carrier correctly without some stress.
  • Used hood to support head

 Tula:

  • Tricky to get my baby into the insert, ideally need a bed or sofa to lie them down on which is not always available when babywearing out and about.
  • Can imagine it would be difficult if your baby was unhappy and moving a lot. Easier with a sleeping/ quiet baby.
  • Baby seems to sit comfortably on the cushion part of the insert.
  • Found my baby tended to straighten her legs and use the base to stand in the carrier.

 

Méabh Lyons (Registered ID Nurse, Certified Trageschule Babywearing Consultant & JPMBB Wrap Specialist)

© Snugglebugs 2015

7 Comments

  1. Luna says:

    Great comparison! Thank you for the effort and for sharing with the rest of us babywearing parents.

  2. Aoife Hogan says:

    Very comprehensive and helpful list ! Many thanks

  3. Niamh Connolly says:

    Hi, just wondering if you have an opinion on the suitability of the JPMBB Physio Carrier for a newborn?

  4. lorraine says:

    What a helpful well written review thank you so much

  5. Linda says:

    Great, comprehensive review, thanks!

  6. Tina says:

    I’m so happy that I found this website. I will always use a sling from now on.

  7. Damien says:

    Great post, I think I am ready to buy my first sling!

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