I got my Baby K’tan carrier when my baby was 3 weeks old, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. I had another carrier, the Evenflo Snugli, which I had been using and could compare with the Baby K’tan. The Baby K’tan has a simple design: two wide strips of cloth, sewn in large loops, joined to one another using a small cloth loop. It’s basically a cloth figure-8. Mine is a mustard yellow color that I’m fond of. It’s made of organic cotton that is quite soft and not too stretchy. Right out of the package, I was impressed with the design and quality of the carrier. It comes with a tiny matching hat that is newborn sized. (If my daughter wears it now, at 6 months, it looks like a swim cap.)
The tag line for the Baby K’tan is “One Baby Carrier … 8 positions.” I was eager to try all eight, but soon realized that one of the positions is for carrying twins, and six out of the remaining seven positions are for babies that can hold their heads up unassisted. At three weeks, of course my baby could not. Still excited to try it, I read the directions for putting the baby in the one position she could safely use: the Cradle position. The Cradle position has 15 steps. I read them through, re-read them, and then gathered up my husband for support. Though it was a high number of steps, they were all fairly straightforward and clearly explained. I had no trouble following the steps and placing my baby in the cradle position. The only problem was that she hated it. I didn’t know this until I placed her in the carrier for the first time, but my baby hates things touching her head. Once I popped her head out and rested in on my arm, she was quite cozy and fell asleep almost immediately. It was similar to her sleep swaddler, which she loves. She slept for nearly an hour.
Though I couldn’t use my carrier hands-free (she required one arm to support her head sticking out), I found it to be quite comfortable and had no trouble wearing it around the whole time she slept. My back was never sore, and I wasn’t tired. It also held her body in the same position, so that I could sit, stand, or walk around without disturbing her sleep. The wide bands of fabric held her like a hammock, and I felt very safe carrying her around in it. Cradle position: check plus.
After my baby grew a little more and could hold her head up, I decided to try out the remaining 6 positions. With all of the positions in which the baby is held off-center (4 of the 6), I found that my baby hung too low for me to feel comfortable releasing my arms. She ended up sliding down in the carrier and ending up on her back a good bit, which she did not enjoy. The positions in which she was centered (one facing my chest, one facing out) felt quite secure and she and I both felt comfortable in those positions. We now go on extended walks with her in the Adventure position (centered on my chest, facing out). This is similar to the positioning of the Snugli (and Baby Bjorn, which I do not own), but my baby seems to like the Baby K’tan more. I think there are fewer pressure points and she can ride around longer. I, too, find it more comfortable to carry her for a long time in the K’tan. Incidentally, on a walk not long ago, our baby spit up a little in the Baby K’tan. We guessed that we took her out too soon after a meal and the pressure on her stomach from the carrier caused her to spit up. The pressure is not excessive on her, but perhaps it was too much so soon after eating.
When we go on trips, it’s easier to pack the Baby K’tan than our Snugli because the Snugli is a padded pack-type carrier and does not fold up neatly the way the Baby K’tan does. It takes up the same space in our suitcase as one of her outfits. Also, there are no snaps or closures that might pinch baby’s skin, which is a definite plus.
The fit of the Baby K’tan is good. I am 5’6” and am average weight for my height (a few extra baby pounds, but not many!). I own a medium-sized K’tan. I was warned against drying the Baby K’tan in a dryer because it might shrink. I cannot attest to whether or not it will shrink, because I haven’t risked it. I don’t think I could wear it as comfortably if it shrank—I’m a little snug in it as it is. The snug fit is good; I feel more secure carrying around my baby.
In summary, we love the Baby K’tan because the two positions we use most frequently are comfortable for both my daughter and myself. It is lightweight and breathable, so we are able to wear it for long periods.
To buy: babyktan.com