It is not too often that a BRAND NEW never been made before soft-structured baby carrier comes on the market. No 'fourth generation', no 'II', no 'now with designer fabrics'. I mean brand spanking new! And not only NEW, but GOOD. Like really really good!
That is what happened in September of 2011 at the ABC Kids Expo in Kentucky, with the official launch and release to market of the Onya Baby Carrier.
And babywearers everywhere were itching to get their hands on one to try it out and see for themselves what all the hype was about and what this new carrier had to offer.
I was no exception!
I "met" Diana Coote, the creator of the Onya Baby on Twitter and we started having great babywearing conversations. I immediately loved all the great things she was posting about babywearing and living an active lifestyle with baby!
So, when the carriers finally hit the market after four years of research and development (this fact alone is reason enough to give this carrier and the company BIG props), I asked her if I could have one to review.
She gladly obliged and sent me the 'Cruiser' in Leaf Green/Raw Umber.
The first thing that hits you when you take your new Onya Baby out of the box is how incredibly well made it is. Your eye is immediately drawn to the padded and contoured waist strap and leg padding for your little one and you just know it is going to be a very comfortable fit even before you put it on. With little details like covering the waist buckle and putting it over on one side versus in the middle and the super cute Mama and Baby Koala logo on the carrier, the esthetics of this carrier are also very appealing.
And then you put it on and get your baby up on your tummy or your back and you are completely blown away!
This is one comfortable baby carrier.
And not only that, as a baby carrier educator I look for certain things in all carriers that I review and the ONYA Baby hits all the major points that I am most concerned with.
- Proper positioning of baby in an upright and tummy-to-tummy (or back carrying) position. CHECK.
- The fabric of the carrier extending from knee to knee and baby sitting in a good flexed and abducted ("M") position. CHECK.
- Good support and just the right amount of padding for the wearer's waist and shoulders, with the option to cross the straps diagonally across your back when front wearing. CHECK.
- The body of the carrier high enough to fully support baby up to the neck/bottom of ear lobes, with an optional sleep hood. CHECK
There is more!
Not only is the ONYA Baby a really great and comfortable baby carrier, it also has this ingenious little zippered pocket at the front that once opened reveals the full versatility of this product.
It is a CHAIR for your baby too!
Now I know some of you may have done something like this before with your wrap or mei tai carrier. Strapped your carrier to a chair and then fashioned some kind of contraption to safely tie your baby into it, not unlike those very expensive separate chair harnesses one can purchase.
Well, this is exactly what the ONYA Baby does. Strap your ONYA to a chair, unzip that little hidden front pocket and voila! Instant and SAFE seat harness for your little one.
Think about it mamas. You go for a nice walk with baby to your local coffee shop and decide to sit down and enjoy a latte and get a little snack for the two of you. But there are no high chairs. So you take baby out of your carrier and try to drink a hot beverage with them squirming on your lap or have baby eat something without making it look like a 'Category 4' hurricane of cookie crumbs and squished grapes has passed through the place. The whole situation can kind of take the joy out of the whole 'babywearing walk and chillin' with your little one' idea that you had in the first place.
With the ONYA baby, you and baby can have your own chairs and you can enjoy your nice chai latte without risk of scalding the top of your child's head and baby can squish as many grapes as he or she wants in the comfort and safety of her own chair on the opposite side of the table!!
The chair option on the ONYA is ideal for the baby who has perfect head control, but can't quite sit on their own in a chair.
I did not have a four to six month old baby on hand, so asked my three-year old to give it a go!
I can see how the ONYA would be very handy to have and be able to 'put' baby somewhere when you are out and need to have your lap to yourself. The only issue I can see with it, is that it is not a 'booster' seat and unless the tables are relatively short, baby would still be quite low and may not be able to reach any food or toys ON the table.
The Onya Baby is a very welcome addition to the soft-structured baby carrier world and I am thrilled to give it a very enthusiastic two thumbs up!! It is a great carrier to transition to when your baby is about 3-4 months (~15 lbs) and it has been tested up to 45 pounds!! I wore my 36 pound three-year old in if very comfortably and wouldn't hesitate to put my 5-year-old in it for a piggy back ride as well.
Diana from Onya Baby posted a great comparison chart of the different Soft-Structured Carriers on her blog this past week and has given me permission to repost it here for you to see how the ONYA stacks up to the other SSCs on the market. You can also go HERE to read her original post and see the rest of the chart.
The Onya Baby Carrier retails for ~ $149.00 and is available at these fine retailers.
Happy Babywearing Everyone!