Although I am a short 5’2″, I was blessed with a very large baby. My son, Erik, was the size of the average six month old at two months and the size of the average 12 month old at six months. Despite his size, he was also born a complete cuddle monster. My arms felt like limp noodles after carrying him for ten minutes and as such, babywearing became an absolutely necessity. After trying 4 other carriers, I finally found the Lillebaby Complete Airflow.
I tried the Baby K’tan Wrap, the Munchkin Jelly Bean Sling, the Baby Bjorn Original carrier, and the Infantino Mei Tai Carrier. Due to either my first time mom naivety or our collectively awkward dimensions, I was not savvy enough to make any use of either the K’tan wrap or Munchkin sling.
The Baby Bjorn Original carrier served me well for the first six months or so. The design was intuitive enough, and it was easy to put the baby inward or outward facing without much fuss; however, my shoulders and back could not handle strain after a while, and I was concerned about the non-ergonomic seating position for the baby. The Infantino Mei Tai carrier was very ergonomic for both me and baby, but the straps were long and cumbersome and would drag on the ground when untied.
When I began Looking for YET ANOTHER new carrier, my requirements were that it be:
- ergonomic for baby
- comfortable for me
- easy to use
- not too hot for either of us
- able to be used in multiple positions
With these search criteria in mind, I narrowed my search down to the Baby Bjorn One Mesh and the Lillebaby Complete Airflow. Although I was not familiar with the brand Lillebaby, the carrier met all the above mentioned criteria and was offered for significantly less (at $115) than the Bjorn model, so I took a gamble on the Lillebaby.
I am extremely happy I took that gamble. If I could use one word to describe the product design it would be “thoughtful.” They really put a great deal of consideration into the product design. Without needing an additional insert like other carrier models, the carrier can be used to wear a newborn in the inward facing position. The carrier can then be used to carry an older baby in the front carry position facing both in and out, the side (hip) carry position, and the back carry position. The carrier can also be used to carry a child up to 45 lbs, which I believe gives it one of the longest lifespans of the available carriers.
My son is nearly eight months and 22 pounds now, and I carry him in the inward facing front carry position for 30 min walks around the neighborhood without feeling any strain at all on my back or shoulders.
My son is so comfortable in his carrier that he has fallen asleep more than once (and if you know my son, this is basically a miracle). It is extremely easy to get him in and out of this carrier, and I use it exclusively for running errands (no need to use bulky strollers or sanitize the child seat in the grocery cart).
There is a head support that facilitates nap time and provides neck support but can be unsnapped, folded downwards and secured with button claps when nap time is over.
The carrier also comes with a rain hood that can be unsnapped completely and stored away when not in use. An additional lumbar support attachment is included with the carrier for parents who need extra support. The only attachment that does not come with the carrier are foot stirrups for use by older children in the back carry position.
We are both quite fond of the hip carry position, which takes a quick overview of the instruction manual to master. We tried the back carry position for the first time the other day.
There is a very helpful youtube video available to assist with this position. The back carry position can be accomplished without the assistance of another adult, which also makes this carrier unique. After watching the instructional video, we were able to accomplish the back carry position fairly easily, and he took to it well around the house.
Although the outward facing front carry position was one of the reasons I purchased the carrier, I have yet to try it. This position is accomplished by adjusting the snaps at the seat base to narrow the seat base.
The downside of this particular model is that the mesh still does not do much to keep us cool. At the time I made my purchase, the airflow was only available in black, which is a sun-attracting (and lint attracting) color.
Babywearing is a sticky business any way you slice it though. Overall I am extremely pleased with this carrier and wish I had purchased it for my son when he was a newborn.
The Lillebaby Complete Airflow Baby Carrier is available from Amazon for $115.