When an opportunity to review a soft structured carrier (SSC) came along, I was pretty excited. At that point, my husband and I had only used a Moby, a ring sling, and a borrowed mei tai with our son Henry. We loved wearing him, but we were interested in something that would come together a little faster. Having zero experience with a SSC, I envisioned clipping the carrier around my waist, popping Henry into the seat, and away we'd go. I expected the straps to be kind of "set it and forget it," which appealed to me. The ring sling required all kinds of minute adjustments, and I didn't always feel as if I had him seated just right. What could be easier than a SSC?
I got the Boba 4G model to review because I had a 3 month old. The Boba 4G comes with a nifty infant insert that I was eager to try. A leader from our local babywearing group patiently walked me through the finer points of the carrier. We clipped the waist belt on me, and she showed off the neat elastic loops for rolling excess straps up and getting them out of the way. Next came the infant insert. The infant insert had a moon-shaped little spot for a baby bottom to rest allowing the legs to be supported. After snapping it in and testing Henry in it, however, it became apparent that my long, skinny, cloth-diapered kid was already WAY too tall for it. You are supposed to have the baby's head within "kissing distance"--however Henry was withing teeth-bashing distance! So, my local babywearing group leader suggested we try the carrier without the infant insert.
|The Boba 4G Carrier Infant Insert: Instructions for a newborn hold can be found here.|
|Carrier Adjusted From Front|
The second feature I noticed (which ended up being my favorite part and is now non-negotiable for future SSC purchases) was the napping hood. Henry desires to be in arms at all times. (I mean, a little less now, but still isn't happy with more than 15 minutes of alone time.) This started to get super difficult after the various grandparents and relatives were back home and my husband and I were left to the task of figuring out how to get the kid to sleep during the day. Carrier naps became our go-to for mid-day naps, if only to give our arms a break. Plus, let's face it, snugly napping is awesome, even if that means the wearer doesn't get a chance to take a nap themselves. However, as Henry got more aware of the world, it became harder and harder for him to relax and nap in a carrier. The napping hood allowed him to still peek out if he needed to, but provided a much darker and less stimulating environment for him to drift off in. Because he was in front-carries only, his little head was usually leaning against our chests, so the hood was less about support for us. We made sure we could peek in and keep an eye for an open airway, even when the hood was up.
|Henry Naps Happily on Dad|
|Baby Henry Helps Mama in the Garden|
|Carrier Adjusted From Front|
|Carrier Adjusted From Back|
Overall, we liked our experience testing out the Boba 4G. It was the carrier my husband would grab first, always, and Henry always felt supported well on our bodies. We liked trying a SSC to see how it'd compare to our stretchy-wrap, ring sling and mei tai options. While there were definitely positive things about what was clearly a very well-made carrier, I'm so glad we had a chance to test it out for awhile, because carriers fit each body differently and babies definitely have their own ideas about what they prefer and what's comfortable for them.
NOTE: Boba donated the Boba 4G Carrier to our local babywearing lending library in exchange for this review. The views expressed in this review are Kate's own and were not influenced by this donation. Our community whole-heartedly thanks Boba for their very generous donation.