We love a good celebration over here at Something About Baby, so I was excited to discover that this week is International Babywearing Week! As massive babywearing fans, I am thrilled to see such a wonderful practice celebrated all over the world.
International Babywearing Week runs from 5 – 10 October 2016, and is a way for people all over to celebrate the joy that is carrying your babies. They promote babywearing as a way to extend that bond you have with your baby. There are numerous benefits to babywearing, especially in the early days when baby just wants to be held. In practical terms, you can go pretty much anywhere with a baby in a carrier, whereas you could be restricted when baby is in a pram.
Choosing a carrier or sling can be one of the hardest parts of babywearing, but once you’ve found something you get on with, the benefits are amazing. I’d highly recommend visiting your local sling library (if you google sling library and your area, your local one should come up).
It’s really important to know how to carry your baby properly in whatever carrier you are using. The typical carriers you get from highstreet shops are generally not very comfortable, or good for you or baby. Knowing things like the correct way to position the carrier, and the weight limits of your carrier are crucial, and a good sling library will really be able to help you with this. The T.I.C.K.S guidelines are also a great guide to follow, and this fab infographic from the Baby Sling Safety website is a fab source of information.
Once I’d tried on a few slings, I quickly fell in love with the Connecta. I was aware of it as a few ladies on my facebook baby group raved about it, but I kept my options open when I visited the library to see what suited me. However, the Connecta was a clear winner! You will have seen me mention it numerous times in my blog posts, and I even use it in the page banner at the top of my blog! Here are just a few reasons why I love it so much.
Ease of use
I find the Connecta so easy to use. It is known as a soft structured carrier, and is basically a canvas with a waist strap and two shoulder straps that buckle together. There is a pretty handy info sheet included in the Connecta pack, but there are also lots of great YouTube videos that show you exactly how to put the Connecta on. I can put Alfie in the carrier on my own in a matter of minutes – which is perfect when he’s being fussy and struggling, it takes no time to calm him down!
The Connecta also folds up so small, so it is easy to stash in your changing bag so you always have it with you.
Different sizes and positions
The Connecta comes in three different sizes – Baby, Toddler and Preschool. You then have a choice of standard or petite straps. The size of carrier you use is dependent on the size and age of your baby (you can find more information on the Connecta website here). The choice of straps is dependent on the size of the wearer. If you can try out different sizes before you buy, you can get an idea of what suits you and your baby best.
I originally bought a baby carrier with standard straps. This was perfect for both me and Craig to use, especially with front carries. As Alfie got bigger, we converted to back carries and although still comfortable, I think petite straps would be better as you can pull them tighter under your arms.
We have very recently upgraded to a toddler size with petite straps now Alfie is 14 months and 12.5kg. It is still a bit too big and I tend to roll the waistband to get a more comfortable fit, but the straps are much better.
With the Connecta, you can put your baby is two positions – on your front and on your back. I wore Alfie on my front when he was small as it was the most comfortable position, and then when we got to around 10 months, I tried him out on my back. Now, at 15 months, I can wear him either on my front or back and it’s comfortable (but I do prefer back carries).
The Connecta doesn’t forward face, but for me, this is fine. Research shows that this isn’t a very comfortable position for baby, and if they do forward face, it shouldn’t be for more than 20 minutes at a time.
There are a few different ways you can wear the Connecta. The most common way for a front carry is to cross the straps over at the back. This ensures the weight is evenly distributed, so your baby doesn’t feel heavy. You should ensure the straps are even on your shoulders and not too close to your neck, otherwise it can feel like it’s pulling on your back.
When doing a back carry, you can also use the cross strap method. However, if you are female you may find your boobs get in the way! I use the rucksack method and find it much more comfortable. I also don’t use the chest (accessory) strap either as I found it dug in and didn’t actually do anything to help with the carry. But most people do use this, again it’s just trial and error to see what works for you.
Once Alfie is in the carrier, be it on my front or my back, we are both so comfortable. I often get comments from family and friends, and even strangers about how heavy it must be and how my back must be aching. But no, not at all! It hurts more to carry him in my arms than it does in the carrier. I walked around a festival all day with him, first on my back and then on my front so he could sleep and there were no aches and pains afterwards!
Beautiful patterns and designs
The big draw for the Connecta is the amazing array of different patterns and designs. You can get plain block colours, pretty girly colours, whimsicals patterns. Or you can opt for bold and bright or Harry Potter themed designs! That’s before you’ve even started on the wrap conversion options. Connecta also do a solarweave option, which is basically a lightweight carrier that is perfect for the summer or use in hot countries. We don’t own one yet, but I’ve been lusting after one for a while and will definitely invest next year for our holiday abroad.
Due to Alfie being a boy, and to persuade Craig to try the carrier, we went for two more boyish designs – although they could easily be used to carry girls. That is another great thing about the Connecta designs – most of them are unisex!
Although I love Connecta so much, I would have bought some anyway, the cost REALLY appealed to me (and my husband!!). At an average of £68 for a standard baby carrier and £78 for a toddler, they are excellent value. Considering we used our Connecta almost every day when I was on maternity leave, it’s basically paid for itself! Compared to other similar soft structured carriers, this is a very reasonable price.
Family brand with great customer service
The thing I love about Connecta is they are a relatively small family company, but provide great customer service. There have been a few supply issues of late, but they have done their best to deal with them in the best possible way. It’s what keeps customers coming back time and time again.
When I ordered my first Connecta, I had enquired about a different design but was told they didn’t know when they’d be getting any back in stock. As I wanted it before Christmas, I decided to choose another design instead. It arrived within 3 days, with a constant email and text update as to where the package was. I then manged to source my Desperately In Search Of (DISO) design a few months ago in a toddler design.
Suits all the family
A big plus for me is that Craig is always as happy as I am to use the Connecta. When I first started babywearing with the Caboo, Craig attempted it once and both he and Alfie got flustered and he never tried again.
Since getting the Connecta, it took me a few weeks to pursuade him to have a go, but now he loves it as much as I do. It’s great when we are going on a really long walk as we can take turns with the carrying without one of us getting tired. Or if we are shopping, I can try on clothes freely without having to keep taking the carrier on and off. It also means Daddy and Alfie can go on walks (read: catch Pokemon!) together whilst Mummy has some me time at home!
So in summary, these are many reasons why Connecta is our favourite brand of carrier. It is easy to use, comfortable, cheap, pretty and suitable for both mum and dad. I would 100% recommend getting a Connecta – whether you are new to babywearing or an old hat, they really are suitable for everyone!
*I have written this review off my own back because I really love Connecta! They have not been involved in this review in any way*
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