It’s not uncommon to see me wandering through the aisles of my local Chapters store (or grocery store or The Home Depot…) with one hand tucked inside a soft-structured carrier, Miss Q nursing contentedly.
There is simply no easier way to nurse a toddler on the go than while babywearing. As any mom who’s breastfed a toddler can attest, they’re happy to latch on while lying down, standing up, curled up in your lap or spread out in a strange position that doesn’t look remotely comfortable. But without help from a carrier, it would be just about impossible to be on the move with a nursing toddler. They’re not very portable.
The other reason I love breastfeeding Miss Q in the carrier? If timed right, she’ll nod off and take a decent nap, too. We’re still in the throes of the two-to-one nap transition; and though I’m a proponent of babies napping in beds, she’s a year-and-a-half old now and if she takes the occasional morning kip on-the-go, I’m OK with that. Plus, there’s so little left of her that’s still “baby,” and my uterus is closed for business, so I’m hanging on to every remaining shred.
Even if you’re not nursing a toddler, there’s no reason you can’t “wear” a toddler. Sure, there are some who – bursting with a new-found talent for running, for example – may be hesitant to be confined in a carrier. But I promise you: when that toddler runs out of energy, s/he’d love nothing more than to snuggle up to mom/dad/grandma in a carrier. And you may find this happens in rotating 10-minute bursts, so a soft-structured carrier will offer you the flexibility to cope with a toddler who just can’t decide whether she wants “uppy!” or “doon, doooon!”
Where to begin…
Holy moly – the pattern selection is to die for. It was really hard choosing a favourite, but I ultimately went with the Soho (created by fabric designer Holli Zollinger). And, truthfully, it’s even prettier in person than on the computer screen. I will say, however, if you end up sharing this carrier with a man, you probably want to choose one of the more basic colours – many of the patterns are pretty girlie…just the way I like it! And Big B happens to like pink as much as I do.
I can’t say enough about the fit. The BOBA 3G slips on like it was made for my body. Unless BOBA’s using a fit model who’s a bit overweight like moi, it must just be that the company has taken a woman’s body into careful consideration while engineering the design of the 3G. It curves where I curve, hugs in all the right places and offers a perfect fit through the shoulders.
Although it’s lacking the extra elastic safety strap that the ergobaby has around the waist belt, the BOBA 3G’s military-grade buckle isn’t going anywhere. I click it closed and forget about it, never worrying that it’s going to disengage.
Adjusting the straps is remarkably easy, and I have to give a shout-out to the chest strap. It moves on what I can only describe as “sliders,” making it slide up and down with absolute ease. Now I know what I’ve been missing with my other toddler carrier. Once you experience how easily the BOBA’s chest strap moves (to accommodate the front or back carries, where you need the chest strap in different locations), it makes it hard to consider going back to a slider-less carrier.
The seat-back is very high and curves, so I never feel like Miss Q is going to hoist herself so far back that she’s going to actually fall out of the carrier. It’s also really wide across her bum and has darts sewn into each side to help it curve around her little booty more comfortably.
The hood is adjustable and detachable, which I love. There are times we go out and I know that a nap or a nursing session aren’t in the cards, so I can yank off the hood to free up some storage space.
This carrier is lighter and more compact than what I’m used to, and there’s an optional stuff sack that I strongly recommend. In fact, even if you own a different carrier, you should still buy the BOBA Stuff Sack – just roll it up and squeeze it in! It means you can attach your carrier to a diaper bag or stroller with just a Mommy Hook, and also means that you’re going to keep your carrier clean longer than without a protective cover. At only $15, it’s a great add-on. (Though, BOBA: why not make a BOBA 3G “starter kit” available that combines the BOBA 3G and the Stuff Sack for a price that’s less than buying both pieces separately?)
Did I mention that it just feels really good to wear? It’s worth repeating.
Big B’s a fan. He feels like this carrier is narrower through the shoulders than the ergobaby (which I find makes it more comfortable), but he still finds it incredibly easy to wear. The straps all have plenty of give to provide a custom fit. And although the official ruling in the BOBA manual is that it’s designed for parents up to 6’3″, I assure you that anyone up to 6’6″ is going to be just fine.
The manual provides you with instructions to wear the 3G baby- or toddler-free without it cascading down your legs. It quite nicely hides my jiggly tummy, too, and I appreciate that. Now, I suppose you could wear any other soft-structured carrier like this, but since I’ve never seen this option before, I wanted to mention it.
Although this babywearing series is all about the toddlers, I really should mention that the BOBA 3G can accommodate a newborn as well – without an insert. I haven’t tried this myself but the pictures in the manual make it look pretty straightforward.
While I love the idea of the foot straps (perhaps one of the BOBA 3G’s features I was most looking forward to)…
The foot straps only encouraged Miss Q to try – over and over and over and over – standing up while on my back. I had to stop using them within the first five minutes. When I tried them again a few days later, she wasn’t having any of it. I guess she’s too used to being carried with her legs dangling. I will continue to try as she grows, however, simply because they’ll keep her legs in the most ideal physiological position.
The hood is too small. BOBA should have a look at the size of the ergo’s hood and move in that direction.
There may be three pockets but they are S-M-A-L-L! If you don’t carry a purse (for which there are clever purse-strap holders on both shoulders), I’ll tell you what you’ll be able to fit in the two pockets that remain if your hood is snapped in: a bank card, a credit card, a piece of ID, a crisp $20 bill and a couple of keys on a very small keychain in one area that zips closed; and a Blackberry in the other area, which is open at the top (so don’t lean too far forward). I dare say that if the BOBA 3G had the same size storage compartment as the ergobaby, it would be the perfect carrier.
I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong or if it’s the very tall, curved seat-back but every time I try to put Miss Q into the back-carry position by myself, I always need help readjusting her deep into the seat. It’s like the top curved part gets all bunched up. I’m convinced this is just me but it’s a bit of a problem when I’m solo.
For me? 4.5/5
For Big B? 4.5/5