My baby boy and I are enjoying our new Baby K’tan Carrier. I’ve had fun seeing how it works, and he’s obviously loving it because he’s contently cooing or sound asleep within moments of being inside. I love that it’s simple to use and doesn’t have any straps or buckles. There’s no wrapping, it’s not a huge piece of fabric, and it’s lightweight. The Baby K’tan is “pre-wrapped,” and setting it up is just like putting on a shirt.
I’m using the Baby K’tan with my second son, so I’ve had some experience with other carriers, baby slings and wraps. The Baby K’tan incorporates a double-loop design that provides the stability benefits of a traditional carrier while maintaining the closeness of a sling or wrap style. At first, I wasn’t sure I wanted to try a new wrap because I don’t have super origami wrapping skills or extra time for preparing a wrap. Our older son is 3.5 years old, so I need to be quick getting our baby into a carrier at home if I’m preparing a meal, and especially if he’s waiting on us to get started at a play place. Within a couple minutes, I can put on the Baby K’tan and have my son comfortably inside—and my hands free. This is a huge benefit compared to other wraps, and I imagine that I’ll shorten that time even more with practice.
The Baby K’tan can be used from 8 to 35 pounds, all while remaining ergonomic and hip healthy. That’s quite a range, and I like how versatile this carrier will be for my son as he grows. (For newborns under 8 pounds, consult your pediatrician before use.) It’s nice how the different wearing positions meet baby’s needs at each stage of growth, first providing a nurturing environment, and then allowing for exploration and learning.
Upon opening the box, you’ll find a “Getting Started Guide” to the basic babywearing position called “The Hug Hold.” There’s a longer instruction booklet, and it explains everything you need to know. The directions are well written and easy to follow. It was nice to open the box, read the manual, practice once during nap time and be ready to start carrying our son when he woke up. The Baby K’tan original baby wrap carrier doesn’t require lots of practice to perfect. It’s really easy, and after using it once, I felt comfortable with the steps and didn’t need to reread the manual to use it. When we changed holding positions, I got out the manual again and learned that wrap style. They all begin the same way, so it’s nice to have that familiarity as the wearer.
Multiple carry positions
There are five positions in all:
1| Kangaroo for newborns: A close fitting position with your baby’s legs inside the carrier; it allows baby to hear your heartbeat and feel your warmth while resting on your chest.
2| Hug Position for 2+ months: Once they begin stretching their legs, this is a close fitting position that holds your baby facing you in front of your chest and allows your baby to sit inside the wrap with his legs extending outside the carrier.
3| Adventure Position for babies with full head and neck control: Similar to the “Hug Position,” but your baby faces outward.
4| Explore Position for babies with full head and neck control: Your baby is seated sideways in front of your chest; legs can be tucked inside in a crosslegged position or extended outside of the carrier.
5| Hip Position for babies who can sit by themselves: Your child is seated inside the carrier near your hip.
The Baby K’tan website has a lot more information. I found the “Instructions” section most helpful. There’s a page for each position, a demonstration video and written instructions, too. On the website, you can also find success stories and learn all the benefits of babywearing and the Baby K’tan. Additionally, they’ve included a “Safety Check” page of instructions that makes it easy to double-check your little one’s security.
The Original Baby K’tan is made of 100 percent soft, stretchy, comfy and natural cotton. The seams are stitched well and seem very durable. There is a pocket stitched in the waist sash, too. The Baby K’tan can be folded inside itself for storage, and the drawstrings can be tightened to make a nice little bag.
You’ll want to wash the material before its first use because there is a slight manufacturing smell. Since the Baby K’tan is machine washable (cold water setting) and dryer safe (low heat setting), this is easy. The odor goes away after washing, and then the material is even softer for baby. I found that our carrier shrank a little after washing/drying, but it stretched back out with use. The fabric is sewn, so it will “cross-stretch” back to its original size.
There are five different fabric styles including organic cotton, a cooler fabric, an activewear fabric, a printed fabric, and the original natural cotton.
The Baby K’tan comes in five sizes ranging from XXS-XL, and I like how sizing suggestions are given in women’s dress and men’s suit sizes. It is designed to fit snugly, so this sizing guide is very helpful. (You may not be able to share the wrap with your partner depending on how your sizes differ.) I’m 5 feet 8 inches and a size 6. I am reviewing the small size. It fits well and is best over a T-shirt or fitted sweatshirt/sweater. I wouldn’t recommend wearing it over many layers or bulky clothing.
Shoulder and back comfort and support are both very important to me. The Baby K’tan is very comfortable to wear on my shoulders because the material stretches and can be positioned to distribute the weight. I like how I can move the fabric after an hour to redistribute the weight. The waist sash provides extra support and helps support my back. It is nice that I can tie it right at my son’s bottom and get support exactly where he is resting.
The Baby K’tan holds my son upright, and this position helps with his digestion. Typically he takes a minute or two to squirm and get comfortable. During those few minutes he burps and passes gas. Even if it’s been a while since his last feeding, this position helps him to move things along. Once those squirms have passed, he settles in for some cooing or snoozing.
After our son falls asleep, I worry about him getting enough air. Some other carriers and wraps have me constantly pulling back fabric and checking that he’s breathing. The Baby K’tan fabric can be folded back over the shoulder to allow extra space near our son’s mouth without hassle. He tends to lay to the side, so I can tuck his head into one side and open up the other side. It’s nice to be able to make these adjustments according to his chosen position.
I love the closeness of this wrap. Since our children are adopted, that closeness is especially important for our bonding. The Baby K’tan can even be worn in the kangaroo position without a shirt between mom (or dad) and baby. Skin-to-skin contact has been super important and helped me bond with my children more quickly. I began using our Baby K’tan with our son when he was 32 days old, and I wish I could have started earlier. It took him a little time to get used to such close contact, but each use took less time for him to get comfortable. Now I can see how happy he is to be so close and feel so comfortable.
For me, a carrier or wrap needs to be lightweight and compact to fit inside our diaper bag/backpack or tossed into the under compartment of a stroller easily. It must be easy to access inside the bag, quick to set up and simple to put our son inside. Likewise, it also needs to be simple to remove and store in a hurry. Our Baby K’tan fits these requirements. I like how it can be stuffed into a pocket on the waist sash. (I’d like to say it folds easily, but really I don’t take that much time, and it’s great how it doesn’t need to be folded a certain way.)
Areas for Improvement
An important thing to note is there are no instructions for removing your child from the Baby K’tan. I noticed this when first reading the manual and laughed as I contemplated how to best get my son out. After a few uses, I figured out the best way, but it might be nice to include those directions also.
Additionally, the wrap may not fit a few months postpartum depending on how your or your baby’s size fluctuates. While the snug fit is needed and appreciated, some sort of adjusting capability night be nice for continued use, or the ability to share the wrap with a partner who is different from your size.
Who Would Enjoy this Product
This product is perfect for any parent not keen on the more complicated wraps and carriers on the market. The simple design can’t be beat, and for anyone caring for a newborn, often the simplest version is the best.
I’d also recommend this wrap to a mom or dad who prefers to keep their baby gear clean. The ability to machine wash and dry the Baby K’tan allows for more routine maintenance without being wrap-less for too long.
Image: Baby K’tan