As a first time mom, I had absolutely no knowledge of baby carriers until the last few months. Even while I was pregnant, I didn’t feel too concerned with the carriers that existed on the market, and to be honest, I didn’t even see much difference from one to another when I saw someone wearing one in public. They all seemed pretty straightforward—built like a backpack, over the shoulder harnesses, something around your waist, usually black. However, I have now learned that this is not the case. After wearing several different carriers, I am a firm believer that there are nuanced differences between the various brands and styles and that they can make your experience quite enjoyable or quite uncomfortable.
When I received my Lillebaby COMPLETE Airflow, I was impressed by the look and feel of the product and packaging right off the bat. I don’t appreciate when the packaging is keeping you away from the—I find this to be one of the more frustrating occurrences in life—so when I was able to easily open the very nice box, casually unwrap the carrier and have the manual and carrying bag accessible at my fingertips, I knew we were already off to a great start.
Before reading the manual, I tried on the carrier and made strap adjustments. I enjoyed that it was very intuitive and that I was able to find a comfortable fit without having to read anything about the product initially. When I went back and read through the materials, I was able to see very clear details about the safety straps and learn the small variations within the carrier design to accomodate various ages. The manual is incredibly easy to use, mainly because of the pictures that outline step-by-step instructions for each of the six different ways to wear the carrier.
In all of the front carry positions, the manual advises reaching behind your shoulders and click the buckle yourself while the baby is in the carrier. I have two reactions to this: (1) I was surprised at how secure my baby felt (in my instance, while doing the “front face in” position) with the straps over my shoulders, before I had actually buckled the strap. This made me not concerned about my baby being supported while I finished buckling. (2) While you can absolutely reach the buckles yourself, it is extra convenient when another adult is around to take care of that buckle for you.
The carrier seems to be designed with every comfort in mind. Some areas of the straps are quite cushy—and those cushy, padded locations hit exactly where you would want them to. Most importantly, the lower back support can adjust very easily based on what size baby you are carrying and what is most comfortable for you when wearing.
One of the great features about this carrier is its built-in ventilation system and rain cover—both of which you have easy access to while baby is sleeping on your chest! As someone who has a very warm baby, I could tell there was a comfort improvement for her when I was able to zip down the front flap to reveal a mesh layer that lets air circulate. It’s much preferable to having her entire back covered with a thicker fabric. Although my baby is still young, and therefore, I wear her on the front, I did try to put the carrier on my back, which was easy. However, you would need another adult to help you zip and unzip the weather components if you were using one of the back based positions for the carrier.
As someone who always wants everything very clean and organized, I have to admit that my favorite detail of the carrier are the little elastic bands that keep extra length of strap rolled up nice and tight. One of the things that I dislike about a different carrier we own is when I adjust the straps smaller after my husband has worn the carrier, and I have eight inches of extra strap dangling down the side, or in front of my knees. It drives me nuts! This carrier has made the perfect solution with their little elastic bands at each of the adjustment points.
I recently took a trip to Chicago, where we did quite a bit of walking throughout the city, and my baby seemed to really enjoy the carrier. While in the carrier, she is able to sit at the perfect height on my chest where she could look around when she is more active, or, lay her head on my chest when she is ready to sleep. I also appreciate that there has been clear thought for parents on the go. There’s a brilliant front pocket where you can tuck cash, credit cards or keys pretty easily. And, the all weather hood that (again, fulfilling my everything-in-its-place tendencies) can quickly unroll and be in place with the use of just a few snaps.
The carrier has proved to be incredibly durable. My one complaint is that the sides of the shoulder straps that are closest to my baby’s face have mesh on them. I am not sure what, if any, purpose the mesh has, but I can tell you that the first time I put the carrier on, my baby immediately spit up—right on the mesh. As any parent of an infant knows, spitup is quite a common, if not a frequent, occurrence, and it’s not the quickest thing to clean out of mesh.
Overall, I have found the carrier to be incredibly comfortable, easy to use and very functional. I appreciate that it comes with a tote bag for storage and that it is versatile enough that both my husband and I can be happy wearing the same carrier. I am excited to keep using this product as my baby grows and try all the different ways to wear the carrier!
To buy: lillebaby.com