I have been very remiss and absent from my babywearing blogging lately. I am so very sorry everyone! So to make up for it, I have a two in one review for you!!
A few months ago I got an email from a lovely baby carrier making Mama of 7 (her last pregnancy was a twofor as well)! She wanted to send me one of her carriers to see what I thought of it.
Well, you know me, I am not one to pass up trying out a new carrier and I am especially pleased when it is from a fellow Canadian Mama working to support her family while doing something that she loves.
So without further ado...
Here is Natural Mother Productions!
Michelle Dunn is the creative juice and super mama behind this brand, and she makes the loveliest custom mei tai and full buckle carriers!
So she sent me one of each! Woohoo! Double the fun!
The first is the Mei Tai.
My first impression of this carrier was Wow!! The stitching and workmanship on this piece is amazing. There is just the right amount of padding in the waist band and the straps of the carrier to make is super comfy. I especially like the angle of the shoulder straps on this Mei Tai. The way that they are attached to the body of the carrier keeps the straps nicely on your shoulders versus riding up onto your neck. This keeps the weight of baby off your neck and distributed better over your shoulders.
The body of the carrier is quite unique and to be honest, I was not sure what to make of it at first. The top half of the mei tai is padded and provides a more rigid support for your baby's upper torso and head. The lower half has a slight contour to is and is not padded. At first this confused me, but after further review and trying it out with a couple of different aged babies, I am convinced that this may actually be quite brilliant!
Here is the thing. My beef with a few of the other quite popular mei tai carriers is how stiff the bodies of these carriers are. This can make it very hard to use them effectively, especially with younger or smaller babies and makes getting these little ones in the proper position with legs out, in the flexed & abducted or 'M' position very difficult. The fact that the lower half of the NMP mei tai is NOT padded allows you to bunch in the carrier more at the base so that you can properly position your baby in a nice seated and froggy-legged position from 10 pounds and up (as stated by the manufacturer).
For the record, I will state that, with maybe one exception that I know of, mei tai carriers are not the most ideal baby carriers for newborns and in my opinion should be used from 3 months and up (the upper weight limit on most carriers is 35 lbs). In this regard the NMP Mei Tai is no exception to my rule.
What I do love about the NMP Mei Tai is the body and headrest. It is a nice high body and easily covers babies all the way up to the shoulders and neck (and head if need be). The headrest part can be folded down to accommodate a baby that is awake and wants to look around, but keeps its firmness when upright and provides good support for the sleeping baby.
The one thing that limits the use of this mei tai for me with my big kids, is the base of the seat. For bigger toddlers (2-3 year olds), I did not find that it gave the knee to knee support that is ideal in baby carriers. For younger babies, this is not a problem and the 12.5 inches gives ample support and makes a very nice seat for baby to sit in and get the above stated knee-to-knee support. And as you can see, I wore my little 11 month old helper, Baby N, very comfortably for about a half hour in my NMP Mei Tai and we both loved it.
Little N's mama is also rather petite and was having problems finding a carrier to fit her body comfortably. The NMP mei tai carrier was a very good fit for her and she loved how easy it was to get it on and off.
The high and more rigid upper body of the mei tai works great when wearing your babies and toddlers on your back. And, as you can see here, there is little to no chance of your little ones leaning back too far in this carrier!
And her Buckle Carrier is no exception!
As I have mentioned before, my biggest complaint with most of the mainstream buckle carriers (think Ergo, Beco and Boba) has always been the straps and the chest clip. Especially when carrying baby on the front and having to reach back and trying to get the clip done up with your arms behind your head. Well, I am happy to report that the NMP Buckle Carrier has taken care of this for me! The straps of the NMP carrier criss-cross across your back and actually buckle directly into the body of the carrier. I personally feel that having the straps of any carrier (wrap, mei tai or buckle carrier) crossed on your back, distributes the weight of the baby better and is a lot more comfortable for the wearer.
I had my friend, Josline (a tried and true Ergo user) try out the NMP buckle carrier with her 15-month-old, 29 pound little one and she LOVED it. As did her daughter who needed some uppy time for a much-needed nap. The structure of the NMP Buckle Carrier is much like the Mei tai with the high-backed, sturdy upper portion and contoured lower seat area. A nice addition to the buckle carrier is the sleep hood that buckles directly into the upper straps near your shoulders.
The NMP Buckle Carrier does not come with a chest strap like most buckle carriers and I will admit that I was nervous about this at first for back carrying. I have one slightly slope-y shoulder and find that I 'need' that extra support with most other carriers to feel secure in a back carry.
I was pleasantly surprised by how the NMP Buckle carrier fit both me and my 3-year-old, 35 pound 'baby'. The design and cut of the straps just sort of 'fit' perfectly around the shoulders and are nice and snug and thus, seem to eliminate the need for a chest strap. Princess L and I went for a nice walk with our gorgeous NMP carrier and were both very, very happy with it!
Michelle custom makes every one of her carriers and she has some gorgeous prints to choose from. I am particularly fond of the 'Carnival bloom' print and the 'Zesty Zinna' one too! The carriers are good for babies from 10 to 35 pounds and are a one size fits most design (you can discuss with Michelle if you need a more custom size).
Natural Mother Productions is offering my Natural Urban Mama readers a discount on her fabulous carriers! Let her know that I sent you and you will get $25.00 off of a buckle carrier or $20.00 off of a mei tai carrier.
Happy Babywearing Everyone!