Anyone that knows me that when it comes to slings, I love my wraps, but I like the convenience of the soft structured carriers (ssc) otherwise known as buckles. There are plenty of good, wide based carriers such as Ergo, Lillebaby and Manduca. But my favourite two I have come across are Boba and Tula.
Since I began back carrying I have found I prefer a carrier over a wrap for the ease and safety. I have struggled over several months to nail a simple ruck, but even though I am now confident in that I find I still love my buckles.
My first buckle is a Boba 3G in Tweet. This carrier retails at £80.
I originally hired this from a postal rental service as we didn’t have a local library, which gave us the inspiration to set up our own. The Boba 3G is a very easy buckle to not only start with, but to use for your entire babywearing journey. They claim that the carrier will fit a child from 7lb all the way upto 45lb.
They do this by starting with a rolled waist, and a top adustmet which helps to support the baby’s head. The baby can be placed in without an extra insert which other carriers insist on which can add extra expense to the carrier. I found that rolling up a muslin under the babies bum helps to lift the baby and means a better position is achieved. The newborn baby can also be breast fed in the carrier, as there is an extra adjuster at the side of the carrier to loses it so positioning is better. (I still do this now, with my 20lb little girl who has just turned one!)
As the baby gets older and larger the waist can be flipped (at about 12lb I found), and the top can be widened.
As the baby becomes a toddler, the knee-2-knee position is no longer likely to be happening with this carrier, but they that thought of this. They include stirrups in the box which fit easily onto the sliding attachment so it will fit a much larger child.
I’m yet to try the stirrups as my little girl isn ‘t big enough yet, but I like the idea, and it is a very easy to use, well made, and well priced carrier.
This is an updated version of the 3G, so it looks and performs in the same way as the other. the updates are purely for the newborn baby. Rather then flipping the waist band and turning the buckles, you simply attach a small cushion to the bottom of the pouch which boosts the baby up. This would be useful if you were using it for two children, but I feel a rolled muslin does a very similar job.
This carrier is in the “Dusk” colour, which is very smart and would e a good colour for people who likes simplicity.
The Tula which has found its way to me recently is a rather beautiful wrap convertion Tula, made with an Oscha Ladybirds glow wrap. These are like gold dust, and usually resell at over the £200 mark. It is stunning, and I was very lucky to win it in a Goodcause Dip on Facebook. But Tula sell standard and Toddler carriers in canvas in very attractive designs, and these cost between £95-£125.
When I first tried the tula, I found the straps a bit thick and the clips s bit clunky. The waist band is recommended to be worn lower, and whole ing felt strange after the Boba. But after a half hour stroll with my little girl on my front, I was sold. There was little weigh on my shoulders at all, all weight distributed in to my hips and my baby felt weightless!
As for the back carries, one I got her in the right position, and got used to the fact that all the. Adjustments are on one side ( rather then in the middle like the Boba) and I found that seems neater over all, as although there is a lot if strap left over there is a handy price of elastic on the end of each piece of webbing so that when you roll the strap up it keeps it as a neat little parcel.
One place that I feel the Boba wins, is the hood, which is attached in a pocket at the top of the carrier with fabric reach straps, were as the tula is a removable hood which I find fiddelly.
Another area the Boba wins, is the versatility, as the Tula is one that needs an infant insert, (£20) for newborns, and toddlers either need the bigger sized carrier (£105-£125) or knee extrenders (£20) to keep the carrier knee-to-knee as recommended. Seems more faffy to be honest!
So although I would say how much I love the comfort and style of the Tula, I think over all for versatility and value for money, The Boba 3G has to win!
By Emily Tyler