Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Review Wendesday- Babyhawk Oh Snap

I figured I'd make this a Review Wednesday.  I needed to clear my mind of the "children in mass" post I have been trying to finish for weeks.  I am trying so hard to get my view across, non judgementally and encouragingly.  Yesterday I was able to dodge my post by writing about our cleaning adventures.  Today I'm going to hide behind the full review I promised over a year ago.

I am sure there are other reviews of the Babyhawk Oh Snap out there.  Though I do think I offer my own perspective since I've been babywearing for well over 10 years.  For those unfamiliar with the Oh Snap, it is a buckle carrier made by Babyhawk, the makers of the well loved Babyhawk Mei Tai (tie on carrier).  At $149 the Oh Snap is not much more than my beloved Ergo.  The Oh Snap can be made with your own customized fabric and color choices.  The body always stays the same so it is not considered a "custom carrier" but the fabric and colors are.  The design center could take you days to find the perfect carrier for you, there are that many fabric choices, in the panel fabrics alone I saw over 500.  When you mix and match that with the 19 strap fabric choices you have quite the dilemna, how to chose just one.  It took me 3 days and several other peoples' input before I chose mine.  The great thing about this is that you can get something for any style, from popular designers like Amy Butler to the punk of calaveras.  Not to mention the gender neutral, masculine or even camo choices.  The best part of this is that you don't have to get on a waiting list (though it does take several weeks for your carrier to be made, shipped and arrive) or stalk some site to get a "custom spot".

At 6½ months old and 20ish lbs it is still wide
 for my tall baby but the height is great 

A is about 35" and 30 lbs
she still fits barely
 The Oh Snap is meant for babies from 15-45 lbs, though 9 months seems to be the age that most consider they start to fit well in it.  At 15 lbs, I, as an experienced wearer, could wear them with their legs in (not included in the instructions/ recommendations) but my daughter could not fit well with her legs out at that size.  Even at 6 months old, when my daughter was 20 lbs, I didn't feel it was the best fit for her.  A month later it was perfect (but she is quite tall).  By perfect I mean that the width worked well for her legs and the headrest still offered head support.  She is now pushing 25 lbs and 32" and still fits well but there is not a lot of support for her head anymore (if she were to fall asleep).  I do wish the carrier were taller.  Proportionately I feel that when they finally fit the width well the height is just perfect, so not a lot of room to grow.  However, even A, at 30 lbs, still fits well. 

J is 40 lbs and 45",
his legs are no longer in
an optimal position

The weight limit of 45 lbs may depend on the makeup of your child.  The 2 middle kids are 40 lbs.  I have no problem carrying them in the Oh Snap, it is still comfortable for me.  They are long and thin though.  Their legs are no longer supported well and the back is quite low on them.  They don't have any complaints but it is obvious they no longer fit, yet still are 5 lbs below the weight limit.  I am not even sure the average height 45 lber would fit well.  If you have a stalkier child it will certainly support the weight.  For the average child I would say they will outgrow it in height first (which I also find to be the case in carseats, so definitely not unusual).

A big draw of the Oh Snap is that it fits sizes 0-22 or mens S-XXL without any extensions needed.  This has certainly been tested in my house.  It has been worn by most of those sizes.  It was even able to be cinched enough to be worn by the kids who like to wear the toddlers and they are only 10-13 years old.  I was worried that the Oh Snap would be too tall for a more petite wearer but it turned out the width looked more the issue, which it really wasn't.  The unique adjustments on the shoulder straps allow you to adjust the length of the shoulder padding even.

L is near 25 lbs and 32"
she can ride arms out comfortably
The headrest goes up a bit
higher when she's arms in
Another big draw of the Oh Snap, is the headrest.  Very few soft structured carriers offer such a substantial headrest.  The Oh Snap's is more supportive than the other ones I know of.  This not only supports a smaller babies head but it extends the back height for toddlers while still allowing babies to ride arms out.  This is why it was one of the 1st structured carriers that worked well for both baby L and A.  It does not have a hood for support, that is what the headrest is for.  If your baby sleeps, especially in a back carry, the height of the headrest is something to keep at the front of your mind.

This is a good carrier for those that aren't sure about what waist style they find most comfortable.  Instead of having to buy and try different styles, this one is adjustable.  There are buckles on the waist that allow you to adjust the bottom or top separately.  This allows you to adjust the waist even smaller.  It also allows you to change the carrier from a straight waist to a curved waist.  Your body make up, and your waistband wearing preferences, typically decides which style works best for you.  Some people like to where the waistbelt at their waist while others prefer it at their hips.  This is especially the case in men vs women since many women are more hourglass or pear shaped and men are not so much.  This and the shoulder padding adjustment can also be a con though.  Very seasoned wearers know exactly how much shoulder padding they want and which style of waist they want.  Knowing these things, seasoned wearers can purchase custom carriers of other brands that fit them perfectly.  Why would they do that?  When you are used to the ease of a carrier like an Ergo (with few buckles), or other brands, the fiddliness of all the buckles on the Oh Snap can be unappealing.  Having a very custom carrier can mean your husband needs his own.  With the Oh Snap once you have it set for yourself though, you don't have to mess with those adjustments unless you are sharing the carrier.  If you can only afford one carrier, this really allows you to adjust it to fit both you and your husband perfectly, taking both parent's preferences into account.  I would compare it to sharing a car though, it does take some adjustments when you switch, unless you happen to be similar sizes and like the same things.  If you cannot picture what I am describing, there are great pictures of this as well as the shoulder strap adjustment (and instructions) at Oh Snap Instructions .

A popular feature of structured carriers, that make them more comfortable for front carries, is the option to use the straps crossed in back when doing a front carry.  The Oh Snap allows this, whereas the Ergo (technically) does not.  Though the instructions do not show this (and therefore I can't say this is recommended by the manufacturer, I just know it's possible to do), I actually use it with the straps backpack style for front carries.  I do not do front carries enough to bother messing with buckling and unbuckling the straps to cross them, I dont mind backpack styles straps at all and am quite used to it because I used an Ergo for so many years.  When used for a back carry, with backpack style straps, the chest strap is quite nice because it attaches to the shoulder straps in 2 places on each side.  This keeps the shoulder straps in place more evenly, I really like this.  The webbing is also covered by fabric which I like.  I really wish they covered the waist belt webbing with fabric too.  I would certainly rave about that, it makes it more comfy and more flattering.  I also like that the chest clip slides along a "track" this is a lot easier to adjust than the adjustments on the Ergo and many others.  On the Ergo I tend to avoid adjusting the chest clip and just make do.  On the Oh Snap I take full advantage of the adjustability.  My one complaint is that 1 connection in my chest strap tends to pop off (not while in use) and it takes some fiddling to get it back on.

I have actually machine washed (I have a front loader as FYI) my Oh Snap several times and it is very sturdily made.  I found the fabric quite stiff when I first got it so it went right into the washer.  I can't say that one washing softened it up.  Even after several it is still stiffer than the carriers I am used to but I have gotten used to it.  Sturdiness is a big deal in a house full of 6 kids.  My Ergo is the only other carrier I have had that is so sturdy.  The Beco and Action Baby Carrier are sturdy too (just not quite as heavy fabric it seems).  I really feel the other custom carriers, by smaller companies, I have had to baby more or they haven't lasted as well.

One last thing I wanted to point out.  If you have tried a Babyhawk Mei Tai and didn't like it, don't assume you won't like the Oh Snap.  I consider them to be quite different, even if the body is pretty similiar in size and headrest.  The mei tai is a great sturdy carrier but I like my mei tai to either have slightly smaller bodies with complete simplicity to them or to be like a structured carrier that ties, having nice padding in the waist as well as the shoulders.  This is totally my personal preference, most people love the mei tai and end up loving the Oh Snap as well.  But if you are like me and that isn't the case, you may still love the Oh Snap, I do. 

I wouldn't consider this a "one and only" carrier.  I also don't really feel that way about most soft structured carriers, with only a few exceptions.  If you are looking for a good older baby and toddler carrier I really feel this could be used for the long haul and stand up to it (and even handed down) too.  The features it has are so unique you aren't going to find something else comparable anywhere.


  1. Babyhawk carriers are so much better than the Babybjorn one I used to own- they are way bigger and more comfy=)

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