When I was pregnant with J, I was really keen to get a carrier for him. It never happened, because I couldn’t find one that I liked enough, one that held baby in a good position with plenty of support (I hate ‘crotch danglers’); one that fitted me as well as Daddy P; one that wasn’t difficult or fiddly to adjust and put on and one that would offer longevity of use.
When I was pregnant with A, I was introduced to the Tiny Love range. Included in this collection is a baby carrier called Tiny Hug. I was immediately smitten.
Suitable from 3.5kg-18kg (7lbs 7 ounces up to 40lbs) this carrier is available in black or natural, and is lined with a soft touch fabric. For small babies (up to 5kg / 11lbs) there are additional straps to keep babies legs in optimum position. With babies up to four months old you should always carry them on your front, facing in to your chest. The part of the carrier that is against the babies back is lovely and firm and feels like it is really holding them well and supporting their back properly. Their legs are tucked up and into the fabric at the bottom of the carrier against your tummy in a natural position (Baby A automatically got his legs into the right position without me having to adjust him in any way) There is a chest strap to go over the front of baby to ensure they are securely held in the carrier with no chance of them wriggling too low. The chest strap and the strap which does up on the adult is easy to adjust for your size with sliders to find the best position to suit you and your baby. You can continue using the Tiny Hug carrier with baby on your front facing in until they reach 12 months old – as they get taller the fabric can be folded out of the way to free their legs, first in frog position then in legs around waist position, while still providing fantastic support under their bottom and on their thighs, no ‘crotch dangling’ going on here.
If you prefer, from four months, you can use the carrier on your back. Personally I would use it on my front for as long as possible so I can see baby, but that’s my personal preference; it’s nice to know you have plenty of options with this carrier depending on what you’re doing. When you’re using the carrier on your back there is even a little mirror on the shoulder strap for you to be able to unhook it from the little hidey-hole and check on your child whenever you wish to without having to stop and take off the carrier.
The carrier is fitted to the adult with two straps like you would get on a back-pack. Added security to ensure the straps don’t slide off your shoulders comes from an additional horizontal strap which goes between the two back-pack straps. When using the carrier on your front, this strap is on your back. Initially I found this really awkward to do alone – then I realised that I hadn’t got it adjusted properly and it was too high up, putting too much pressure on the base of my neck, so once I adjusted it I found it much easier to do (like a bra strap, except instead of a hook and eye fixing it’s a nice solid plastic clip which clicks reassuringly when you’ve done it up properly)
In the instruction manual it shows putting baby into the carrier before putting the carrier on yourself – I thought this would be really awkward, but it’s so much easier to do than I imagined. I place the carrier on the bed or sofa and lie the baby into it, do up the straps and then lift the carrier onto myself. Once it’s done up it feels secure and comfortable, and baby is at a good level in front of me – he isn’t stuffed down too far making me feel like I am going to suffocate him, but he is contained enough within the carrier for me to feel comfortable that his neck is well supported.
So far I’ve used the Tiny Hug for the school run and for doing housework. Baby A is a much more cuddly baby than J ever was – while J was the sort of baby who wanted to be put into his Moses basket and left when he was ready to sleep, A is the kind of baby who much prefers constant contact. It can be more practical for the school run than the pram – especially if I’m pushed for time, as it’s faster to get in and out of the house with him in the carrier as well as over the barrier between our cul-de-sac and the main road heading toward J’s school (with the pram I have to walk the opposite direction the length of our road to where the barrier ends, and join the main road there to walk back on ourselves the other side of the barrier, which isn’t much but adds another five minutes to our walk); When I’m trying to do some housework and A is crying every time I try to put him down anywhere, then I put the carrier on and he’s happy – and normally falls asleep – while I carry on.
The downside is that I can’t get him in or out of it without him waking up, which is a shame, since he does normally fall asleep in it, but then it’s not a huge downside and to be honest I don’t think there is a carrier which would allow me to put him in / take him out without him waking up. To begin with I wasn’t sure about how it would affect my back by carrying him, but it distributes the weight better across my shoulders than carrying him normally so it’s probably not doing as much damage in that respect. The clip is quite fiddly to do up when you’re carrying baby on your front, particularly if (like me) your hair is at a length where it can get caught up (ouch!) but it’s something you get used to quickly and once you have the knack it really isn’t too bad at all.
He stays nice and warm despite the chilly morning school run wearing a sleepsuit, thin jacket and a hat (with a vest underneath obviously) as he is well wrapped in the fabric and cuddled against my chest. At this stage his legs are completely contained in the fabric, as he gets older and they stick out I’ll probably need to dress him properly, but for the time being it’s easy to put him in there first thing without worrying about that. I put it on before I put on my coat, so that if necessary I can wrap my coat around the carrier and contain him within that, though it hasn’t been needed so far as the colder days creep in that might be something I do.
I also got Daddy P to have a go wearing it the other day and though he didn’t take it for a test run he found it easy to adjust and he seemed quite impressed.
I do rate this product and for anyone seeking a baby carrier I would recommend they add this one to their shortlist. As always I recommend try before you buy, but I am very happy with this item and can see it being well used. It's sold for around £75 which is a fair size price tag, but you do get a very high quality, weatherproof baby carrier (the outer fabric is water resistant) which can be used until baby is around 36 months old.
Click the link for the Tiny Love website and Tiny Love Facebook page. You can also view product videos on YouTube.