As our lovely friend Sling Sally is poorly, she’s kindly sending over testers for us to review for her. Sally is a local consultant and good friend who regularly volunteers at Bracknell Sling Library. We’re sending lots of good vibes her way as she’s been ill the past couple of months and having a hard time!
The second carrier she sent our way is a buckled carrier from the South Vermont based Olives & Applesauce. When it arrivedfrom Nurture and Bliss (UK retailers) we both (myself and the small person) said “oooh we like that”- it came in a gorgeous animals pattern with burnt orange colour straps and trim. The carriers come with an inbuilt infant insert, a cinchable hood which folds down into the carrier when not in use, and claims to cover from newborn to pre-school age (8-50lb or around 3.6kg to 22.6kg) which is a huge plus point for many parents looking for a carrier to suit them for a long period of time, or to be used for more than one child. In fact they’re advertised as “One Carrier to Rule them All!”
I’ve heard of but never before had a chance to use an Olives & Applesauce carrier before
and my first impression was that it was a well made, sturdy and reasonably self explanatory to use. The company do have a number of handy videos on their website to help with putting the carrier on/off and how to use the infant insert.
I tried it first with a demo doll to see how the infant insert worked- it looks similar to that of a Manduca carrier, but clips in rather than using poppers. The clips were a little stiff, but felt very secure once done up, plus you can adjust the straps on this part. It’s worth watching the specific video for this as usually I’d do the waistband first on this style of carrier with a newborn insert and the method used in the video is a bit different.
The carrier was comfy with a smaller baby, and the insert felt secure and ensured that the weight was on baby’s bottom rather than their feet.
I’ll admit that we had a couple of attempts to get my toddler into the carrier comfortably and securely. He’s a tall almost-three-year-old (98cm at last measurement), and the pannel on this carrier is 15inches wide by 19 inches tall so not quite as big as many toddler/ pre-school carriers on the market.
When getting him into the back carry I supermanned him up, and pulled the carrier up over his back. It didn’t go particularly far up this time around, even with a good jiggle down into the carrier. The second time I tried, I loosened off the baby insert to ensure that it wasn’t bunching the fabric under his bottom, as the insert stays in the main panel rather than folding or rolling down inside, and this seemed to work a bit better.
The straps tighten in both directions which made it a bit easier for the back carry as I could loosen the female part of the buckle on the body of the carrier and make it easier to reach, plus it meant that the buckle didn’t sit just on my boy’s thigh as they do in some buckled carriers. The buckles slid well on the webbing and were easy to tighten and loosen off. The chest strap was similar as it was very easy to move up and down to find the position that suited us. The only issue with this was that a few times when I was putting the carrier on, the chest strap on it’s webbing fell off the end of the main strap and onto the floor so I was a bit worried I’d loose it. The straps can be crossed at the back, which many parents find easier and more comfortable than just being able to do rucksack style straps with the chest clip.
The hood is a nice feature as you can ruche the sides up to get the correct shape, and the straps were also easy to reach in a back carry. In a back carry with a taller child like my R, I put the hood up which gave a little more support across his back.
The carrier features a loop of elastic just above the waistband on the inside which we had to look up for instructions- but it’s to go around the carrier to make it all neat and tidy when packed away which is handy. In addition it has all the useful strap-tidies to keep the carrier looking neat during a carry too. the waist padding is a bit thinner than some carriers which means it packs away quite neat and small.
These are all in all a pretty, sturdy and comfortable carrier that can be used from birth right through to at least toddler-hood if not beyond! They retail for $149.99 from Olives and Applesauce from America, and there are some UK retailers too. You can also buy suck pads (or “strap wraps” as they are called on the site) in matching print to your carrier for $19.99.
You can buy in Europe directly from Nurture and Bliss for €130, which is around £109 at the current exchange rate, and they sell the strap wraps too.Nurture and Bliss also have a great range of natural parenting related items in their shop- from cloth nappies to amber jewellery and gorgeous bibs, swaddles and changing mats.