It’s no secret that I am a big fan of babywearing. It’s fast, convenient, and I love the close bond that my kids and I share, what more can a mum ask for! 🙂 You’d quite often see us, as a family, hopping on the train to the city, with the husband and I each having a child strapped onto our backs! I must admit we draw lots of curious stares, but that quickly turns to envy when we just breeze through the festivals in the city without having to juggle any prams! Young Master is now 34 months (how time flies!) and 16kg, and Little Miss is 14 months and 9kg. Both still love to be carried and man, I never want to stop having cuddles and little arms around my neck, and chubby cheeks pressed up against me 🙂
So imagine my excitement when I found out there were a couple of new babywearing brands in town! I will review them individually, but first up, I will pit the Boba 4G Carrier (my long time favourite) against the new Beco Soleil Baby Carrier.
Both Boba and Beco are the big main brands in babywearing in the US. The carriers itself are structurally very similar, and can hold a child up to 20kg (Young Master is almost 3 and he’s not even there yet!). Here are the main differences I found between the carriers:
While Boba only offers a front and a back hold, both facing in, the Beco allows 3 holding positions: front, back and hip. While I have not tried the hip carry as yet, I am sure it will come in very handy, especially for an inquisitive one like Little Miss, who likes to check out the happenings around her; she often grumbles when she’s forced to face in towards my chest and not be able to see what’s going BEHIND her. The hip carry would definitely mitigate these complaints!
The Boba 4G front panel is 16.5″ in height, as compared to the 17″ height in the Beco Soleil. The width of the carrier, measured at the base, is 14.5″ for the Boba 4G, and 16″ for the Beco Soleil. While this may just seem like numbers, the height of the carrier is important for longevity of the carrier, as a higher back panel will allow you to comfortably carry your baby through to toddlerhood, as it acts as a support for your child’s body, and prevents them from leaning back when they are older. A wider seat will also allow your baby’s legs to be in the optimal ‘M’ position, the best positioning for your child’s hip development.
While both carriers have very well-padded straps, here I’ve found that the Beco has another added advantage: the ability to cross the straps while in the front carry position. I tried this and I am IN LOVE. As I am rather petite and have very narrow shoulders, I’ve always struggled with straps falling off my shoulders, even when I’ve done them securely. It’s like the width of the shoulder straps are wider than my shoulder itself! (Yes my shoulders are THAT narrow). So this was a big lifesaver for me. I could do my errands without worrying about straps falling off. And let me tell you, boy, the muscle strain on your shoulders when you are tensing your arm up to prevent a strap from falling, and that same hand is trying to catch a running toddler – the pain is BAD. The crossed straps have saved me much aches! Also I’ve found that this has mitigated the issue of straps digging in under your arm, a problem that seems quite common with Boba carriers sometime.
Both carriers offer strong, secure buckles to ensure that your baby is being carried safely. Boba offers military-graded buckles, whereas Beco has buckles with two clasps, which means it is necessary to use two hands to unbuckle. This took a while for me to get used to, since I was so used to removing my Boba carrier with one hand while holding baby in the other. But looking on the bright side, Young Master can’t come around us and unbuckle us out of nowhere anymore! It’s going to take him some time before he’d be able to work out how to undo the two clasps 🙂
Another biggie for me. Wow the pocket on the Beco Soleil is huge! With Boba, I’ve had trouble bringing along nappies and wipes, and often had to bring a nappy bag just for this (which the shoulder strap was very handy for). But the pocket on the Beco is so big that I can put 2 nappies and wipes in for both Young Master and Little Miss – a big plus when we are in the shopping centre on our own. The waist belt pocket on the Boba is also very flat and can only fit cards, coins and notes, whereas the Beco waist belt pocket is expandable, and it even fits my chunky car remote in there, which is excellent!
The Boba has an all-in-one adjustment system, meaning the shoulder straps tighten how close the baby is to you as well as the height of the carrier, whereas the Beco has a two-way adjustment system, a strap on the shoulder straps to adjust how close the baby is to you, and the shoulder straps adjust the height of the carrier. Because I use the carrier interchangeably with both our kids, the Beco system was easier for me as I like to have both of them sitting high so that it doesn’t hurt my shoulders, but Little Miss is a skinny little girl whereas Young Master is um, muscular, so the straps on the shoulder help bring both of them close to me as I would like them to be.
Another big win for the Beco! The Boba is made with a 100% cotton canvas, as is the Beco, but the Beco has the added feature of padding in the headrest and at the sides, where baby rests his or her legs. With the Boba, I’ve found that my kids often get red marks around their thighs because of how high and close I’ve put them up, in order not to put strain on my shoulders (due to their one-strap adjustment system). The padding at the leg openings on the Beco are a true godsend for this problem. My kids have no red marks at all. The headrest padding makes it look oh so comfy for Little Miss to rest her cheeks while she’s asleep, it just makes you go awww! These paddings are not found in the Boba.
The Boba 4G has an additional shoulder strap for holding onto your handbag, and footstraps to ensure optimal leg positioning. The Beco Soleil has two key rings, which allows you to carry a toy, keys or security blanket easily.
Apart from these, both carriers feature a removable sleeping hood, both require an infant insert for newborns up to 7kg, and both are machine washable. Both carriers allow you to breastfeed your baby discreetly. I can’t comment on that aspect since I am no longer nursing, but I can imagine that it may be easier to adjust on the Beco Soleil due to the two-strap adjustment system that they have designed. Despite the patent-pending footstraps on the Boba (which my son uses it as a giddyup by the way – does that make me a horse?), I think the Beco Soleil has found a new fan in me, particularly for the fit, the pockets and the padded comfort for my children. Sorry Boba, I’ve loved you for very long, but I think Beco has captured my heart now 🙂 I personally use the Beco Soleil in Micah Espresso because it’s such a stunning print for both the husband and I 🙂 To shop Beco, click here.