Friday, March 4, 2011

Mails here, mails here

Yep, that's right, my Boba Classic Baby Carrier came. The Boba looks so much like my beloved  Ergo Baby Carrier  that I have been wanting to try one.  The foot rests (or stirrups as I call them) sound interesting. So when Zulily had them for a good deal I had to pick one up.  I am not going to compare this to high end, harder to find, custom carriers costing over $150 because I don't think that's a fair comparison because they're out of so many people's price range (not to mention I have only tried some of them).  I will compare it to the easily available buckled carriers in the under $150 price range. I am not going to go geek on you. As much as it would be more fun (for me) to talk dimensions, angles, and numbers I will get carried away and fill way more than a whole post with that stuff. That stuff won't tell you what I think of it or if you may like it. I am instead going to give opinion and how I feel it compares to the other carriers I have tried.

Upon opening this it looked very much like an Ergo except that it has a curved top and stirrups. It also felt just as stiff so definitely needs broken in. Once on, I realized that my 6 month old already fits nicely at 22ish lbs. I was worried, that since this is so often recommended for toddlers, that it would just be too big. She was even able to sit with arms out.  In the BabyHawk Oh Snap Baby Carrier  she can ride but the seat is wide and tall, not really her size yet.

The seat darts on this do not create as deep a seat as the Ergo. It still gives you the leg support and seat you get from the darts but it allows baby to be held closer. The closer feel really is more comfortable. Closer may effect air flow though and be more of an issue in the summer. If you're used to a deeper seat you may have to tweak how tight you wear the shoulder straps and where you position the chest strap for a good comfortable fit for both.  It took me about a week to find my sweet spot.  Seat darts can really effect a carrier as much as width can. 

I took a picture of the Boba, Ergo Sport, and Beco 4th generation together to compare width.  I then decided I wouldn't include that because it wasn't a fair comparison because the seat darts (or lack thereof) are different on them.  The Ergo is the deepest seat followed by the Oh Snap then Boba.  The Beco 4th generation doesn't have seat darts.  However the Oh Snap is the widest then the Beco, Boba then Ergo.  But when worn the deep seat of the Ergo makes it feel wider than the Boba (and possibly the Beco).  I know I am starting to geek here so I will try to get back on track.  My point was that you can't compare apples to oranges.  To compare width of carriers you really need to compare a straight waist, no dart seat to a straight waist, no dart seat, not to anything else.  So when shopping for carriers that are not all exactly the same you need to instead compare to your baby's size and your preferences, not to another carrier.

The curved top also helps support baby closer to you. She doesn't lean yet and A2 is out of that stage so I can't say if it prevents that, I would think it would. The body is not too tall, though, so it's not going to support a sleeping baby the same as the tall, stiff headrest on the Oh Snap would. The body height also makes it easy for baby to go arms out without affecting comfort.

The shoulder straps are also very similar to the Ergo, but feature 2 buckle adjusters each, which makes it easy to make sure nothing is rubbing under your arm and makes it so easy to adjust while on. The chest strap and waist band also have 2 adjusters. At the end of the fabric portion of the shoulder straps there is a flap of fabric that should go under the buckle. However, it is unpadded and doesn't stay in place at all. I don't think being out of place really effects comfort. If your anal, like me, you'll keep trying to fix it and it will bug you.  Everything else seems the same to me.

The hood works very much like the Ergo hood, just snapping into place.  The hood on the Boba is detachable which I find to be a nice option if your children don't like hoods. It attaches with snaps like on the Ergo Sport except the Boba's is not adjustable like the Ergo Sport.  I hope they sell replacement hoods.  I can't be the only person who would lose it if I took it off. There is no pocket to use or to store the hood in when not in use.  If you read my review of the Ergo Sport you know I don't have pockets anywhere on my list of needed features.  A Front Pouch or Mai Poketto, etc will do a pockets job much better. Instead of a pocket there are elastics to hold the rolled hood in place. This may actually offer more support to the curved top, possibly helping with a small baby's sleeping head, if they are going hoodless. I don't know that it stays in the elastic all that great though.  Or maybe I haven't learned the trick yet.

The weight limit on this carrier is 45 lbs so I recruited a 40 lber to test it (ok, really the 2 year old refused a ride but all the 40 lbers were jumping at a chance). The Boba is too narrow to really support a 40 lber. They were up there and supported but would not have been comfortable, with their legs dangling, for long.  Especially since there is not a lot of additional padding along the leg edge.  That is where the stirrups come in. The instructions say to only use them with shoes on. My tester had on sneaker sandals (Keens) and his feet in NO way fit.  My 40 lber is tall but the height worked just fine if your child's not a leaner. If your 40 lber is not tall that probably means they're wider which would make the narrow seat, and too small stirrups, an even bigger issue.  The stirrups are velcro adjustable.  I had them on the largest setting and his feet still did not fit.  I am sure they might have without shoes, but that is not allowed according to the instructions.  At 4 he needs shoes everywhere we go so I would have had to remove them to use the stirrups.  This would be less an issue with a younger 40 lber.

You'll have to excuse my behind in the picture but it was the only way to get the stirrups in use (and yes, she should have shoes on, this was only for the picture, you only get so much cooperation at night) while still getting a glimpse of where her thighs fall in the actual carrier seat

A cranky toddler at the zoo resulted in a good test with a 29 lb 2.5 year old. She fit fine, though did have slight dangling to her legs.  The dangling wasn't so bad that she cared. In fact she rode up there for at least an hour without a single request to get down. I would say, she only used the stirrups for maybe 5 minutes of that. The 1st time we tried her feet in the stirrups she tried to yank them out.  The stirrups are full adjustable along the waistband. They easily slide to adjust, which allows a toddler to change their feet position without help. This is a great feature for the child's comfort. Not so great when your toddler's trying to rip her feet out, they just slide to accommodate for the movement. Instead she pushed firmly down and the velcro just broke apart and her feet were out (plus I had to put the stirrups back together).  It is not the most secure adjustment.  On the other hand, not being extremely secure means that you do not have to worry about injury from getting their foot caught or ripping your carrier.  Her feet did fit, on the largest setting, and it supported them when just resting or wriggling.  It was just when she fought with them that she won.  At the zoo she rode with her feet in them for maybe 5 minutes.  After that she was able to remove them easily when she slide them out instead of flailing around like the last time. So stirrups may take some getting used to. I thought she'd think of them like horse stirrups and like them. If your child is small, and not in need of these, you can remove them. Again I wonder if replacements are sold because they'd also be lost, so I leave them on.

It is definitely a decent carrier that I'd recommend. I prefer the less deep seat darts for the baby. For older kids, I think the deeper seat, like the Ergo's, offers better leg support without extra width by creating a bigger, deeper seat.  The trade off there is that the Ergo is shorter in height.  If your child likes them, the stirrups in the Boba may compensate some for the lack of width. I don't think, even with the stirrups, it is really the best option past the 30-35 lb range. If I were paying full price I would spend the couple extra dollars for the organic, which seems softer out of the box. I like the simplicity of it. Not having a front pocket makes it less bulky, which is a plus to me. It almost seems like a cross between my all time favorite (the Ergo) and my new current favorite (Beco 4th generation, no longer in production).  I say this because it has the curved top of the Beco and is easy to get seated in like the Beco (which has no seat darts) but does have seat darts like the Ergo.

I know this question will come up. Do I think you could use an Ergo (or some other style) newborn insert in it?  Because it isn't as deep I don't think the fit will be quite right. It might work, but not the way it was intended or tested.  Fit, comfort, and safety could be effected.

Ultimately, this carrier would be among my favorites for young toddlers. Starting around 9 months old (or if you have bigger babies, 6 months like my daughter) up to about 2 years old would be a great age range for this carrier.  The stirrups are unique but not sure that is a selling point.  Though I am sure kids outside that range will fit too.  Past that point you may want something larger like the Oh Snap.  Before that you may want a narrower seat like the Beco Baby Gemini Carrier  or an Infant Insert  like is offered for the Ergo.

By request there is also a geeky version Geeky Version or click Geeky Version under March posts

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm. Interesting. I current rider is my 15 month old, who is small at 20 lbs. She is a leaner though so the Ergo in a back carry just hasn't been working for us. She's getting too big for me to handle up front for very long. I have a Pikkolo but I haven't tried her on my back with it. I think it's shorter than the Ergo, so I just don't know if it will be better or worse. In your experience with leaners, what features do I need to look for if I need a new carrier....or which carriers do you think work with a leaner?