Category Archives: Reviews

Comfy Joey Water Ring Sling Review and Comparison

By B

 

I recently had the opportunity to try the Comfy Joey Water Ring Sling out with my family at an indoor water park. I talk here about how babywearing really helped out on that trip. I’ve owned a water ring sling since my older child was just a few months old. It got a lot of use here as a shower sling. I figured the CJ sling would be the same thing. I was so pleasantly surprised to find that the Comfy Joey water sling is a million times better!

I thought that the major advantage of the Comfy Joey sling was the wide range of cute colors they are available in. Other water slings I’d see are available in black, white and blue. The Comfy Joey ones come in 6 beautiful colors, the better to match to your swim suit.

On the ring sling that I have, the material is like a football jersey, with larger holes. When dry, it is somewhat slippy, not dangerous, just needs to be readjusted often. Once it gets wet, it becomes grippy. I expected the same from the Comfy Joey, but that isn’t the case at all. The CJ is rock solid. I put baby girl in, got her settled and headed to the pool. I didn’t need to adjust the sling one time during the 90 minutes she was in it. The CJ material is grippy from the get go. This is a big advantage when you are wearing your baby around, say, a water park, where you will be in and out of the water. I was really surprised at how supportive and comfortable this ring sling was. I could definitely see wearing it for a day at the pool. I think the smaller holes in the Comfy Joey would make for better sun protection as well, though neither sling is made to be a substitute for sunscreen.

Close up photos of the fabrics:

Comfy Joey is the green one.

Another difference is the shoulder style. Really, it’s a matter of personal preference. I really like the “CJ Hybrid” shoulder, as it’s called. Some info from the site:  “Fans of gathered shoulders will find that this design allows the sling fabric to be spread wide to hug your shoulder similar to a gathered shoulder style, virtually eliminating pressure points. However, our design also allows the shoulder fabric to be worn narrowly, or scrunched up, maximizing the freedom of movement for the ring-side arm with less bulk than you’d expect.” This means that you can wear the shoulder either spread out, to distribute the weight better, or bunched up, to have full range of arm motion. Honestly, they are both super comfortable on this.

CJ shoulder, spread

And bunched

The other, spread as much as I could

And bunched

The rings on the Comfy Joey are smaller, too, which helps it to be less slippy. It’s just as easy to adjust, though.

 

 

 

Beco Butterfly 2 Review

By JH

I recently tried a Beco.  For those of you who are new to babywearing and concerned with the safety of a buckle carrier, this carrier is for you.  The Beco has special safety buckles on the shoulder straps that require two hands to unbuckle, thereby ensuring that the straps do not accidentally come open.  It is a very comfortable carrier and can be used from infancy.

I used it with my 20 month old, 23 lb son as well as my 3.5 year old, 35 lb daughter.  It was equally comfortable with each of them.  The wide, padded shoulder straps and flat back waist buckle distribute the weight nicely.  The Beco comes with a chest clip as well that can slide along the shoulder pads, but cannot fall off.  Overall, it is a very well designed carrier.

Chimparoo Mei Tai Review

By CS

 

The Chimparoo Mei Tai is different thanany other mei tai that I have tried and I really liked it. The key difference is that the mei tai is made out of woven wrap material. Chimparoo has their own wraps and they used this as a basis for this carrier. Since the material is so supportive, they do not need a stiffer interior canvas panel that many mei tais use. Using the woven wrap material also made the mei tai very soft and snuggly. I thought I could get a tighter fit with my son than I could with other traditional mei tais. The Chimparoo Mei Tai in our BWI Peoria library is a pretty blue and purple colorway, but there are lots of good options on their website.

I used this met tai primarily with my eight month old son. He weighs about 18 lbs. Something I really liked about this carrier is that both the height and width are adjustable. I synched the base in a little bit so he didn’t have quite as far of leg spread, and I also shortened it so he could look around. We wore it out while hiking and it performed very well. I had him in a front carry during the hike and he fell asleep. There is a built in hood that rolls up, so I unsnapped and used it to support his little head. I also did a back carry with my son in this carrier and I was able to get him really high. I tied the waist straps close under my chest and he was able to look over my shoulder. This extended the amount of time that he was content on my back.

Another thing, is this carrier was my gateway carrier for nursing. I hadn’t really mastered nursing in carriers until I tried it is this one. I don’t know if it was this carrier’s flexibility in supporting my son or something else but since mastering nursing in this carrier, I have been able to replicate with other carriers. It was also very discrete.

I like to get my money’s worth in acarrier, so any carrier I can also use with my 25 pound two year old daughter is a plus. I adjusted both the width and height to accommodate her (very easy to do quickly.) The wrap material was sufficient to support her comfortably while I cooked dinner. I was pleased with the height of the carrier on her back. I did not have the height at the maximum and the weight limit of the carrier is 30 lbs so she still has some growing room.

The adjustability in the width and some additional features allow this mei tai to be used with very young babies as well. I am looking forward to hearing what a mother with a newborn thinks of this Chimparoo.

Like some wraps, this carrier was slightly slippy and I did readjust. The carrier was brand new when I tried it and I think that this should get better as the carrier gets worn more.

Finally, this carrier is good for summer usage. I think it would be fairly cool due to the lack of interior paneling. It also folds up pretty small to tuck into a diaper bag or stash in a car. If you are a mei tai fan or if you haven’t loved mei tais before I recommend trying the Chimparoo as it is completely different from other mei tais. There is a 10% discount for BWI Peoria members as well.

 

 

Tula Review

By HD

Carrier: Tula SSC


Reviewed with children age: 14 months

This Tula is a buckle soft structured carrier that can be used for front and back carries. Tula carriers are handmade in Poland and are high quality. This carrier is definitely on my favorite list! It was incredibly comfortable to wear and I love the print! It was easy to adjust and easy to use. I also really liked the pocket on the waist of the carrier (under the seat) for storing my phone and money. 

I used the carrier for many of my everyday activities such as cleaning, cooking, shopping and of course walking. My son likes to be worn while I get ready for work in the morning. These pictures were taken after a morning stroll before leaving for work. He loved looking at the squirrels, bunnies and birds! 


Come check out the Tula at the next BWI of Peoria meeting!

Colimacon et Cie Review

By B

We got the Colimacon & Cie wrap at a discount from The Blueberry Tree. (Thanks!) We used the “Surprise Me” listing to save 10%, letting Susan select the color for us. She nicely tossed swatches of all of the colors in with our order. They are all beautiful. Really, there’s nothing I would’ve been disappointed with. The solids are plain enough for dads to wear, but bright enough to not be at all boring.

We got the wrap in a 4.5 m, though they have a full range of sizes, from 2.5 to 5.5 meters. The 4.5 m length, a size 6-ish, is a versatile length. For most average sized mamas, this is their base size. If you are tall, fluffy or busty, you’d want to size up. This is the size I would use for a front wrap cross carry, my go to front carry, as well as multi layered back carries.

Out of the box, I’d call this wrap softish. It comes with a nice instruction book, which tells you to wash the wrap before use. I tumbled it for 10 minutes, then hung it dry. Out of the wash, it was a bit crunchy, so I set about breaking it in. There are a number of things you can do to break a wrap in. I go with the lazy gal’s way and haul the wrap around like it’s my blankie. I sit on it on the couch. I make other family members sit on it. I smush it around while I’m watching TV. I get kids to smush it around. If I’m sitting down, the wrap is underneath me. I’ve even slept with wraps under my pillow, though I didn’t with this one. If you were intending to use this with a newborn, I’d advise buying it and prepping it ahead of time. Right out of the box, I don’t know that I find it newborn soft, though I’m picky about what I use with teensy ones.

When broken in, this wrap could absolutely be your one and only. If you are someone who is looking to buy one wrap, not spend a ton, be able to use it from small baby through heavy toddler and share the wrap with your spouse, I’d encourage you to try this wrap out.

One feature I noticed on this wrap that I haven’t seen before is the stitching on the edges. Each side is a different color. This would be a big help to a newbie wrapper, helping you make sure you know which end is which. I’ve seen wraps with each edge a different color, but I haven’t seen a solid color wrap that still helps you differentiate. It’s a nice feature.

Something else that I like about this wrap is how sturdy it is. This is not a wrap that you need to baby. If I owned it, I’d machine dry it (on low). It’s very hardy, not easily snaggable. This is a wrap you can use as a picnic blanket, as a hammock, that you can let your toddler drag around without worry. This is a parking lot wrap.

I tried my 36 lb 4 year old in it. While we don’t do a lot of wearing these days, I do consider this something that would be suitable to wear him in.

 

Je Porte Mon Bebe Wrap Review

By B

I’m more excited about this wrap than I’ve been about one for a while. This is so cool! Je Porte Mon Bebe is a fabulous French company. The wrap is a hybrid stretchy. It can be used for back carries safely, unlike a traditional stretchy. The name means “I carry my baby” or “I wear my baby”. Je Porte Mon Bebe is all about babywearing education. I love their philosophy:
“OUR PHILOSOPHY

Our purpose is to deliver the best wrap possible and its explanations, in order to have an easy, durable, and physiological baby carrying experience.We focus on the teaching as much as on the product R&D. Since 2005 we do weekly workshops to explain babywearing to parents in Paris. Since 2008 we have an instruction program to train health professionals and baby wearing instructors to teach wraps to parents in need. There is now a JPMBB workshop network across France and Belgium. We’re a pretty hardcore and unconventional company, very close to our users, and users ourselves. We’re dedicated 24/7 to babywearing with no compromise. As a company, we focus on putting sense in the product and in the commercial transaction. We consider the buying as a beginning between us and the user, not the end of the story. Our ultimate goal is a correct and physiological use of the wrap and an increase of the user’s parental trust.”

Their site  and many of their amazing instructional videos are in English as well as French. They have the absolute best, most thorough, easy to understand videos that I have seen. Hands down. And, guys, I’ve seen a lot of instructional videos.

The wrap is 5 m long, 70 cm in width, which is wider than a lot of wraps. This is part of what makes it secure for back carries. (Most stretchy wraps are NOT safe for back carries. If you have an older stretchy wrap, the manual may show how to do a back carry, but these are no longer recommended and are not safe. Hybrid stetchies are safe for back carries.)

The wraps come in an array of solid colors, with a contrasting pocket in the center. They are gender neutral, but not boring, very stylish. The fabric is a cotton spandex blend, made specifically for JPMBB. It stretches in all directions, but is very dense, the same density as a woven wrap. What does that mean? This is another part of why it’s safe for back carries. Though the wrap is stretchy, the density means that it’s hard for the baby or child to stretch. I’ve done some experimenting with my older child and he can’t get himself into an unsafe position, like falling off my back, even when he tries with a spotter. I feel very safe with Baby Peach  on my back. I was surprised at how comfortable it was with my 35 lb big boy. I could definitely carry him in it. He is at the maximum weight for it and I expected it to be not very comfortable.

I learned a new carry to do in this wrap, the Reverse Double Hammock, from the videos on the page.

I admit, I was a little nervous wearing such a stretchy wrap on my back, but it felt very secure, even the first time. The instructions are very easy to follow and detailed. What I really like about this wrap in that carry is how very soft and comfortable it is across my chest. I’m picky about chest belts in wraps, how they are tied and which wraps I find comfortable enough for them. The JPMBB is sooo squishy soft, it doesn’t bother my bony upper chest at all.

It’s definitely soft enough for use from birth, soft enough for even the tiniest, most sensitive baby. The density makes it strong enough for long carries, even as my baby gets heavier. I think that density and softness would make it a really good choice for a preemie. (I have no personal experience with preemies, though, so take that for what it’s worth.) There is a lot more versatility with this than with a typical stretchy wrap, in that you can do so many different carries. If you love your stretchy wrap, but your baby is getting too heavy or you want to do back carries, this is for you. If you like the versatility of a woven wrap, but find they aren’t soft and squishy enough, consider a Je Porte Mon Bebe.

The company could not have been nicer to deal with. Plus, you feel really cool getting a package from France!

 

BB Sling Review

By HD

 

Carrier: BB Sling (generously donated to us by Nova Natural)

Reviewed with children age: 12 months

This is a ring sling carrier made from the same material as a woven wrap.  The material gives extra support and you can carry a heavy child comfortably.  I used this carrier primarily with my 12 month old, but I did try my 3 year old and he also fit.

I am not a typical ring sling user, but this sling was easier than a lot of ring slings I have tried.  The fabric makes it easier to pull through and adjust the fabric to size.  The shoulder is especially comfy and spreads easily.  I also thought the fabric added sturdiness, I even slid my son to my back a few times and I normally don’t do this with a ring sling, but he was safe and secure.

For me, ring slings are great in and out carriers and I like to use them for quick trips into stores.  They are easy to fold up and stick in a large purse or diaper bag.  I also really liked this carrier for getting ready for work in the morning.  My little guy enjoyed being carried as I rushed around to find all of my things and get myself ready!

BB Slen Review

By B

Many thanks to Nova Natural for donating this BB Slen and the BB Sling. We’re really enjoying both!

I actually own a BB Slen wrap. I bought it when my son, now 4, was around 15 months. I did a ton of research, looking for a wrap that would be suitable for my heavy toddler. BB Slen was a brand that seemed to come up as being recommended pretty often. It’s true, this wrap is wide enough for a tall toddler, but still thin and light for summer. It’s definitely  workhorse wrap. I bought a shorty (2.6 m) as my go to carrier for Bubby’s 2nd summer and it was terrific. Here’s Baby Peach in it recently. I couldn’t find any pics of me and Big Boy in it.

I bought mine second hand, so I hadn’t seen the original packaging that comes with these. I must say, I am very impressed with the instruction book that comes with. It’s 46 pages long! It’s a very comprehensive book with excellent pics. There are detailed instructions on getting baby onto and off of your back, a  whole chaper on twins and great FAQ section.

The wrap we got is 4.9 meters, which actually turns out to be a super versatile size for our library. 4.9 isn’t a standard size for most wraps. There’s usually 4.6m and 5.2 m. For lending, 4.9 is a nice in between size that lets bigger users squeak most carries out without being too cumbersome for more petite mamas. They come in 2.6m, 4.6m, 4.9 and 5.6m. It’s long enough for me to wear both kids at once. I was surprised at how good it felt with 50 lbs of kid!

This BB Slen, like mine, is nice and wide, which makes it a great wrap for taller kids. It is thin enough to be a primary wrap for summer (as it was for me.) It’s sturdy enough for a heavy kid. It’s soft out of the box, no need to break it in. This is suitable to use with a newborn brand new.

BB Slens come in a lot of great colors, both bright and neutral, stripes and solids. Everyone can find one that will suit their style. Some of the wraps have a contrasting stripe on one side. This can be helpful for a newer wrapper, to make sure the wrap isn’t twisted.

It is sturdy, not something I would be concerned with snagging easily. I threw mine in the dryer when needed (like, when I didn’t have time to wait for it to air dry. I normally take the time to line dry all my wraps.) You can use it as a picnic blanket or a toddler hammock.

 

These are one of the more affordable wovens. I think this wrap could easily fill your needs from newborn to toddler. BB Slen could be your one and only wrap, if you are wanting only one.

Olives and Applesauce Review- Wheelchair and Walker

By NC
I have always been passionate about babywearing.  I enjoyed wearing my first daughter well past her second birthday.  However, I had no idea the integral part babywearing would play in my life when I had my second daughter.  I was in a car accident while pregnant with Baby L.  When she was 4 months old, I underwent surgery to repair the damage to my pelvis that was done in the car accident.  While recovering from the surgery, I was in a wheelchair for 10 weeks and I continue to use a walker. Babywearing has been invaluable as I can keep my baby kissably close while maintaining some mobility.
I initially tried the O & A while still in the wheelchair.  I found it slightly more cumbersome to put on than if I had not been in the wheelchair.  I had a little difficulty adjusting the straps to achieve the best fit within the confines of the chair back and arms.  Once Baby L was positioned well, we were both very comfortable.  The symmetry of the straps allowed me full use of my arms to push the chair around while keeping my babe close.  One of the best feature of this carrier for wheelchair use is the sleeping hood.  It is difficult to nurse discreetly while sitting in a wheelchair when everyone around you is standing up.  The sleeping hood was perfect for allowing a bit more privacy when nursing in the carrier.  It also added a little support for Baby’s head when she nursed herself to sleep in the carrier as I didn’t have my hand to support her head while pushing my chair around.
Even though I found the O & A to be very comfortable, I often turned to the ring sling instead of the O & A when at home.  With the ring sling, I could pop Baby in, roll into the next room, and pop her back out.  The O & A took more time and effort for me to get positioned correctly so I didn’t go to it for the quick in-and-outs.  For longer babywearing, the O & A was a champ for wheelchair use.
And if I was fond of the O & A while in the wheelchair, I absolutely loved it once i was released by my doctors to start using the walker.  I had missed walking around with my baby in tow so much that i couldn’t wait to get her in the O & A.  I first tried Baby L in a front carry in the O & A.  It was easy to get on and achieve a comfortable fit.  I loved having the symmetry of the shoulder straps which made it comfortable to use my arms with the walker.  However, having the extra weight (all 15 pounds of her) on the front of my body was painful due to the nature of my injuries.  So I tried a back carry.
  
I absolutely loved the back carry in the O & A.  Having the extra weight on my back was no problem and was comfortable even with my forward posture, leaning on the walker.  It was super comfortable for both of us.  Baby L fell asleep and I was able to wear her longer than I have since her birth.  Again, the symmetry of the shoulder straps was a big plus for use with an assistive device.  I was able to walk with the walker around a grocery store, bending and stretching to reach items with no fear that she would shift or fall out of the carrier.

Bamberoo Soft Structured Carrier

By B

I’ve been wearing the Bamberoo soft structured carrier around with my 3.5 year old, 35 lb tall boy. This is a carrier that is remarkably comfortable with such a heavy kid. I could wear him around for a good amount of time in this. The body is tall enough that he can stuff his arms inside.

I love the styling on this. I love how the chest belt matched the print of the carrier, rather than just plain webbing like you normally see.

Everything about this carrier is stylish. This is the middle size of Bamberoos. There is a “baby” size and a “toddler” size as well.

The nitty gritty:

-Slightly contoured 16″X17″ darted body will give a more comfortable seat for
the little ones.
-Leg padding
-Shaped sweatshirt style hood, that adjusts with a drawstring and cord lock. When the hood scrunched down to the smallest setting it’ll fit smaller babies On the largest setting it’ll fit a 2-3 yo toddler. (The hoody style hood works better on bigger babies, functioning as a sun shade, rain hood, hiding spot.)
-Shoulder straps has 16.5″ long padding
-The waist is very slightly curved, padded with polyfoam, adjust from 28″-48″ also with double adjustable buckles.

This carrier also has the elastics to tie up any dangling webbing. I’ve talked before about how much I love that feature on a carrier.

My nursling is too small for this carrier, so I can’t comment on that.

I really like soft structured carriers with toddler aged kids. They are in that “pick me up, put me down” sort of stage, so it’s nice to have something that is easy and fast to get them in and out of. The waist belt makes this supportive for even a heavy child.

I tried this out with a toddler I had on hand and took some pics.

Oh the adorableness!

I LOVE toddler wearing. In that busy stage, so full of strong emotions, it is so wonderful to have those quiet, connecting moments that babywearing brings.

I am really enjoying the resurgence in wearing that the influx of carriers has brought about with my big boy. This is definitely one of the carriers I reach for first to wear him. It’s amazing, even though he’s so grown up these days, he still has moments where he needs to be a little guy, to just snuggle up close. Babywearing or preschooler-wearing, in a solid carrier like the Bamberoo, makes it so much easier to be the parent I want to be to two littles.