Jack Pack

 Last week Greg, Jack and I decided to go baby carrier shopping.  We have been talking about getting a new carrier for some time now.  Jack outgrew his Baby Bjorn at about 7-8 months and he’s now10 months.  We have missed the luxury of babywearing tremendously!  I have scoped out a few brands online but it’s hard to really know what carrier to get without trying them on.  Well, I have recently learned of a new, natural family store with natural baby products, including baby carriers in the Columbus area called Sprout Soup.  Upon hearing of the store about 1 month ago, I stopped in when I was in the area and was pleasantly surprised.  They carried cloth diapers, wooden toys, bamboo utensils, BPA free sippy cups, organic clothing and bedding, many, many slings and baby carriers and much more.  In the back of the store there was a large, open area stet up with toys and some tables.  Also there was another room that looked to be set up for classes.  I was really excited to find such a store in our area.  I also saw a salesperson helping a customer try out different baby carriers when I was there.  I thought that’s what Greg and I need to do before we make a purchase!  I had limited time during my first visit, but made a mental note to come back later. 

 

So last week we went back to Sprout Soup, excited to get fitted for the perfect baby carrier!  I spoke with the owner, Alissa DeRouchie, and learned that they started as an online business 4 years ago and just opened their store in Clintonville (a Columbus suburb) 6 weeks ago!  Here is an article about their new business!

 

I told Alissa the qualities we were looking for in a baby carrier:

1.      Something with a weight limit that will last through the toddler years

2.      Easy to use

3.      Adjustable so Greg and I can share

4.      Proper ergonomics to preserve our backs

5.      Safe for Jack

 

She showed us 3 that would be great options: Ergo and Mei Tai, which I had heard of, and the Beco Butterfly II which I had not heard of.  We started off trying them on with Jack but when he got fussy we used a 10lb doll instead.  Here is my synopsis:

 

becoweb1.      Beco Butterfly II

a.       Pros – comfortable, weight limit of 7-45lbs, can hold baby in front or back, has a pocket for baby to sit in, which made transition from front to back easy, padded, back-pack style shoulder straps, chest strap to hold it snug to my body, and love the waist strap, which our the Baby Bjorn didn’t have.  Overall it had all of the qualities I was looking for and was comfortable.  The fabric choices were very cute and there was one organic fabric however it was more expensive.  The Beco comes with a hood so if the baby falls asleep you can support the head.

b.      Cons – It Can’t hold the baby in the front facing out, he has to face me and Jack really enjoys facing out, where he can see the world.  However I found none of the carriers made for larger babies could accommodate an outward facing baby.  Alissa also informed me that it is worse for the parent’s back if the baby is facing out.  I also read recently that it is not good for the development of the baby’s hips, bummer!  The Beco was the most expensive of the 3 carriers we tried ($139 – on sale for $109, or $159 organic).  Also most of the styles were pretty feminine, unless you choose solid black.  It would have been nice to have more gender-neutral options since my husband will be sharing the carrier. 

 ergo-web

2.      Ergo – 

Pros – this carrier was very similar to the Beco.  It had most of the same qualities.  It also had more padding on the shouder straps, which was nice.   There were fewer fabric choices for this carrier but the choices available were more gender neutral.  Also it was slightly less expensive than the Beco ($105).

 Cons – It did not have the pocket for the baby to sit in which made it more challenging to switch from front to back.  It wasn’t impossible but for my husband the “ease of use” quality was #1. 

 

maitai3.      Mei Tai

a.       Pros – Comfortable with most of the same features listed under the Beco.  I liked the ties, gave me more of natural feel if that makes any sense.  The fabric options were gorgeous like the Beco, but again mostly feminine designs.  It does have a neat option where you can get extra fabric panels so you can change the fabric pattern, which I think is fun, and if your sharing, each parent can choose their own design.  You can face your baby outward in this carrier but again it’s not best for the baby or the parent.   The Mei Tai is the most affordable ($80)

b.      Cons – Like the Ergo it didn’t have the inside pocket.  It also didn’t have the chest buckle.  My husband did not like the ties.  It was a little more challenging to put on, and to move from front to back, although with practice I think it would be manageable.  However I know my husband didn’t want to mess with that.  It also doesn’t come with a hood for the babies head.

 

Our decision….

After trying on each carrier, we went with the Beco.  It was pricy but we are hoping it will last, and for future children we can use it as early as birth.  In the end this was the easiest for us both to use and very comfortable.  I think in the future if I find a nice sale I may add a Mei Tai to our baby carrier collection.  But so far I am very pleased with our choice, which we like to call our Jack Pack!  Thank You Alissa and Sprout Soup for helping our family find a great carrier!  We also purchased a few wooden toy cars for Christmas. 

Hood, Carrier, and infant insert
Hood, Carrier, and infant insert

  jack-95-mo-020 jack-95-mo-022

 

 

 

 

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