Sunday, February 21, 2016

Nona Woven wraps review

Prepare yourself: I ALWAYS forget anything vaguely resembling a bloom shot, because I'm usually far too keen to get things washed, but HUZZAH! This Nona all-cotton arrived on a quiet day from local stockist Startwell Babywearing, and as you read on I'd like to you keep in mind this is a budget woven - a size 6 will take a measly $102AUD out of your bank account.  

 Pre-wash... and post. You can see that texture has lifted a little, and my folding skills lack rather a lot to be desired.
There's no denying it: Palmae Antigua is a beast. Coming in around 275g/m, it's a mid-weight wrap which will want some loving (below is my lazy twist-and-leave method, where I coil wraps in on themselves and leave for a few hours before beating out and twisting the other way).

 After a few twists I may have jumped around on it a bit (I wanted to take it out! BREAK IN FASTER!) which is really fine as long as your floor is clean and the soles of your feet are too. Think of it a bit like treading grapes into wine.

We have LIFTOFF! I am a big fan of freshwater double hammock. The passes don't fall off my shoulders, it doesn't take as much messing around as a saltwater finish, and there's plenty of support. First wrap in this felt pretty crunchy, but my 16 kg 3yo was up for an hour and it didn't dig, didn't sag, and didn't require retightening or adjusting.
There's plenty of grip to be had from the leafy fern pattern and inexperienced wrappers may want to really perfect their front carries before trying a back carry, because the second pass takes a little care to get across snugly and evenly. Once it's there I promise it will velcro into place!

I absolutely LOVED the width of this - at 68cms, it's not overwhelming, but there's plenty of width for a nice seat.

We headed down to the beach one night for pho and guess what came with us...

Turns out to be just as good in a reinforced ruck with the passes spread.
 Tromping along the boardwalk I decided this has a nice spring. It's absolutely sturdy enough for your heavy toddlers and small children, and it's become much softer after a couple weeks of being loved on, so don't despair!
The color scheme is fresh and lovely, and Audrey has asked for the turquoise ferns on a few occasions, so I guess the color speaks to her as well!

You can see it in action here -


Saturday, February 20, 2016

Lilliputi buckle carrier /ssc review

This is a Liliputi buckle carrier - I'm showing it with a newborn size demo doll (about 3kgs) and with a 3yo, 15kg Audrey. This is a smart and simple design - an internal harness for small babies that's adjustable with thick Velcro until baby is tall enough to sit in the base panel, and seat extenders that zip on to the panel (and thread on to the waist belt) to widen the seat for toddlers. 

Here baby is seated in the internal harness. Feet can move freely either side,  and baby is well positioned. 
You can clearly see here that baby is not sitting in the full panel, but supported (like the Manduca) inside the panel by a harness. The height of the seat panel can be altered using hidden Velcro tabs.
Snaps secure baby in the insert panel. 

That's some serious Velcro! You'll usually need to adjust your carrier fit when baby's clothing size changes ;)

Zip on/off seat extenders. They add a couple of inches either side to extend knee-to-knee support.
Hey presto, 3yo is well supported!
Chest strap easily adjusts for height and a snug fit in back carries. I really liked the dual adjusters on the shoulder straps and found they supported a very snug fit.

Because we like to take snacks on adventures... 
You can see below that I have the shoulder straps almost - but not quite fully cinched - I am usually at the limit and hoping for more using a ssc in a back carry. 

What's my verdict? Highly adjustable, with great longevity across your child's growth and development. It's been tried at several meets by people both more petite and generously proportioned to myself and it's quite popular. The harness for younger ages and the zip extenders for older are really the icing on the cake of a well-constructed, unfussy carrier. having tried several Liliputi products now (ssc, mama belt and Babywearing jacket) I can say I've been impressed by good design and excellent construction every time. 

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Buzzidil SSC/Buckle carrier review

What is this? Buzzidil's XL carrier - a soft structured/buckle carrier that accommodates up to 18 kgs (nearly 40 lbs) and cinches to fit petite wearers very nicely. With woven cotton on the outside and inner (this conforms and curves beautifully) this is a well-constructed carrier boasting plenty of features without being overwhelming!
Specs: Waist belt is 14 cms /5.5 inches deep and padded section is 63 cms/25 inches wide. Extends to a max of 140 cms/55 inches. You can see I got a great fit with the waist belt sitting well on my hips without sagging or bunching.

Shoulder straps feature safety buckles requiring two hands - a good choice, given that this is a toddler carrier and sometimes small fingers can be surprisingly strong when playing with clips and buckles! The waist buckle does not have a safety button and can be unclipped with one hand. I found this was a smart feature, as I prefer to lower my 16 kg/36lb child "through" the carrier after unclipping the waist belt.
Shoulder straps have dual extenders and can be cinched to a minimum 43 cms/17 inches (that's using the perfect fit adjusters as well) or let out to a maximum 100 cms/39 inches. If you require a snugger fit or more support the straps CAN be crossed. The chest belt will slide up and down as required -  I prefer it quite low in a front carry but has to adjust it much higher when back carrying!
The chest belt will slide up and down as required -  I prefer it quite low in a front carry but has to adjust it much higher when back carrying!I was very appreciative of the dual adjusters on the shoulder straps - often I can't QUITE manage a snug back carry, so this was fantastic.
Body panel is 49 cms/19 inches wide at the base, which is plenty of support even for long 3 yo legs! At 44 cms/17 inches high you can see it hugs a 3.5 yo, 16 kgs Audrey quite snugly up to her armpits, and she was able to nestle arms in as well.

What are those funky antennae things? Toggles to narrow the body panel for use with a smaller child - in conjunction with the extra webbing strap provided by Buzzidil, it is possible to adapt the carrier for use from a manufacturer-listed 3.5kg/7.7lbs. While I would not purchase this carrier for primary use with an infant - I think it does a fantastic job of accomodating children between 8 and 18 kgs (18-39lbs) and is an excellent toddler/child choice - I do like that option to use with a smaller child is available and the appropriate tools and instructions are provided to make this safe.
Overall: Great carrier. Love the design, found it well-proportioned and measures well for plus-size and petite wearers. Buzzidil offer a range of fabrics and styles in hoods which allows you to get a customised SSC straight from the manufacturer - highly recommend! (You may wish to follow them on Facebook ... and you may want to watch MY Facebook page for something special too!)

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Soul Slings Ring Sling review

Would you like the short version?
Soul Slings rock. That may sound a teensy bit biased, but I don't even care. Almost a year ago, Chinmayie got in touch and asked me to review a double layer linen ring sling  - well, I was impressed by the product and the production, and I've sung their praises ever since.
(a) they are a BCIA member company with a social conscience, employing and enabling locals and sourcing materials ethically and in compliance with fair trade laws.
(b) their carriers are good. Safety-tested, certified and then test-run by babywearers before public release.
(c) their carriers are incredibly affordable, even accounting for shipping from Bangalore.

Right now I'm working my way through their range of carriers - this is the handwoven cotton version of their ring sling. Mauve is a single-layer, fine-grained handwoven cotton, 68 cms wide and 2.15m from rings to end, with a simple gathered shoulder. It has broken in quickly and has a flat, pliable texture, very lightweight and quite easy to pass through rings.

Yes, it stands up to Audrey's weight (she maxes out the recommended 15kg) and accommodates a newborn or smaller baby with ease. Ring slings are great quick, compact carriers that work from newborn to child well, and make front and hip carries a single-hand or hands-free breeze.
What will you pay for a Soul Sling? Retail on THIS particular is 2,000INR, plus shipping to your part of the world. Today, that's $42AUD, $30USD, 20GBP... you get the picture. You can find a variety of slings on the website in single-layered linen, double-layered linen, a thicker handwoven cotton (review coming soon) and this lightweight cotton ranging between $30-$90AUD.

I made a speedy little video so if you're thinking of buying one as a new baby gift... look no further!