I love babywearing! Hubby and I embarked on the babywearing journey with the birth of our firstborn in 2012 and we’ve not looked back since. Babywearing allows us to bond and provide security and comfort for our children. With a 3 year old toddler girl and a pair of 8 month old twin boys, we use a combination of the double pram and babywearing. Like many mothers, I started out with ringslings and stretchy wraps for the newborn, and then eventually progressed to soft structured carriers (sscs). I have experimented with ringslings, wrapping and mei tais, but have concluded that I am a buckles kind of girl. I love the convenience and ease of sscs, and how short the learning curve can be. Let me share my thoughts on four different brands of sscs that I have tried before.
Rose and Rebellion (R&R)
My first ssc was a Rose and Rebellion ssc in the Animal Crackers print. All R&R sscs are made of canvas and are fully reversible to an all black reverse side, so you effectively get two sscs for the price of one. This also means you can choose your favourite girly design, and daddy can still babywear simply by using the reverse side! R&R’s tagline ‘Pretty or Punk, Rose or Rebel’ sums up their designs – funky and pretty at the same time. It is also extremely lightweight and easy to handle. According to the R&R website, the ssc weigh only 450grams! No infant inserts are needed and the baby size sscs are suitable from 3.5kg – 20kg. The panel is tall and provided adequate support for my sleeping babies without having to use the integrated sleep hood. However I found the panel narrow compared to the other sscs I will be reviewing in this post. It was also difficult to get a good deep seat, and most importantly, the thigh area was not padded, which meant my babies were always left with deep red markings on their thighs after each use. Major dislike! All in all, a decently good ssc at a very reasonable price: retailing from $170 onwards at its authorized local dealer.
‘Tula in the wild!’ One of the most popular and raved about brands. When my husband first bought his Tula in 2012, we had no idea it was going to become such a phenomena brand. To us, it was just the most comfortable and easy to use ssc after trying on many others at the one and only authorized (back then) retailer in Singapore for Tula. The Tula is generously sized so it is typically recommended for babies above 6 month old, without the use of an infant insert. However my smaller twin could only fit in it at close to 7.5 months. Interestingly, my lanky toddler still fits the standard size comfortably: the panel is halfway up her back, her legs are just everywhere, and I would probably feel a lot more comfortable with her in a toddler size, but for quick ups, it works. Money saved for mummy!
Personally, my favourite bit of the Tula is the padded thigh area. We simply love love love this feature. So cushy and comfortable for baby! The stiffer waistband was great for us too as it provided much needed support as the children got heavier. Another feature that I love about the Tula is its detachable hood. I could take it off to show off my panel design, and I knew of friends who had their hoods custom made to include dinosaur spikes, etc. Somehow it was also extremely easy getting a good deep seat with the (broken in) Tula so we could usually just pop baby in with minimal adjustments needed. The market is simply flooded with an abundance of beautiful cutesy Tula prints, and generally, not only does the Tula holds its resale value, a used Tula can at times fetch a higher than retail price. Having used the same Tula since 2012, I must say it is really sturdy and well worth the money spent! Do I have any complains about the Tula? Only that the Tula canvas requires quite a bit of breaking in before it gets really soft and comfortable. A brand new Tula retails from about $229.90 from the five authorized retailers in Singapore.
Lenny on the loose!’ I recently decided to try a Lenny Lamb after reading many rave reviews about it. Not disappointed at all! All LL sscs are wrap converted, and this means they are buttery soft even when brand new out of the box! Can’t imagine how much more softer and cushier they would be when fully broken in! Being full wrap converts, they are also much more cooling compared to Tula’s canvas. LL can generally be used for smaller babies from 4 months onwards by flipping up the waistband, no infant insert needed. I personally feel that whereas Tula’s prints are more loud and cutesy, LL’s prints tend to be more artistic and adultish in nature. LL is definitely upping the ante and rapidly gaining market share with a lot of new exclusives and prints every few weeks. The thigh area is softly padded and it is easy to get a deep seat with baby. Everytime I wear my LL, I feel that I am wrapping my baby snugly against me. And it comes with lots of sleepy dust too! The twins fall asleep in it easily after about five minutes or so once I raise up the hood against their necks.
My biggest gripe with LL is that the waist buckle cannot (or at least, with great difficulty) be undone with one hand. It has a safety feature where you have to press down the catch on the buckle and its sides simultaneously before the buckle releases. Another gripe is that the hood is non detachable which means the beautiful panel design and placement is hidden unless you roll up the hood (though this could be an advantage as it means there is less risk of misplacing the hood). There are also a whole lot more buckles and places for adjustment: it makes finding of the perfect sweet spot that much more elusive, and that much harder to share with your partner. The floppy waistband makes it very comfortable to wear, but I find it does not provide sufficient support for heavier babies and toddlers. I have tried on the toddler sized LL but did not feel that it was supportive enough: my back and shoulders were killing me after half an hour of wearing my 12kg toddler.
There are currently four authorized LL retailers in Singapore and the price ranges from $190 onwards depending on the choice of material and weave. All in all, extremely value for money considering it is a wrap convert ssc. It is right up there alongside the Tula!
Sometime before my twins were born I bought a wrap which I simply loved. Unfortunately I subsequently decided that wrapping was not for me and decided to convert it into a ssc with local converter Tamishoo. At that time Tamishoo had just begun to offer conversions for sscs and I scored a conversion slot at their introductory price of $230 (usual price is $250). I did not have to wait too long for a conversion slot and loved that I was able to get a consultation with Tamishoo, and try on different styles before deciding how I wanted to customise my ssc. I paid close to $300 after adding on details such as (non detachable) hood, personal fit adjustors (pfas) and a cinchable belt. It was completed within a week and I was overall pretty satisfied with the quality and workmanship.
However I was not able to use the ssc on my then 5m old twins even with the cinchable belt. When I used the cinchable belt, it shortened the panel length at the thigh area, resulting in my boys’ thighs rubbing against the strap. So I had paid extra for a feature I was not able to use, and I still could not use the ssc until they were more than 6 months old. Further, I realised that if I tightened the pfas, the chest strap buckle ended up smack against my neck and there was no way I could move the chest strap any lower. Tamishoo suggested sending me a separate chest strap with velcro to use first before deciding what adjustments I want to make. That was on 18th July. TIll date I still have yet to receive it. Am very disappointed at Tamishoo’s mistake with the pfa/chest strap buckle issue, and even more so that I have yet to receive her follow up close to 3 months after. So although there is a lot of convenience and money saved by going with a local converter, and being able to get a conversion slot and consultation session easily, the overall experience just didn’t leave a good aftertaste.
So there you have it, my take on four different brands of sscs. Hope this was useful!
A review on four SSCs by: Jennifer Yuen-Chen
Mummy to a 3 year old toddler girl and a pair of 8 month old twin boys
Note by Mummies’ Voices: All SSCs (Soft Structured Carriers) belong to Mummy Jennifer and her review is based on her personal experience while using these SSCs. Mummies’ Voices highly recommends interested parents to try before making a purchase.