Review: Easyfeel Toddler Size Soft Structured Carrier

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We’ve not posted for a while- sorry about that! Turns out summer is a funny old time for sling libraries- flipflopping between wonderfully busy and wonderfully quiet!

In the mean time we’ve acquired a few new things for the library, hosted a few travelling items (wraps and carriers) and moved some stock on, so please check out our library page  to see what we’ve got in.

This week we had some exciting post- which came from the wonderful Sling Sally!

It was a new toddler size buckle carrier for us to try out for a couple of weeks. Whilst I’m really a wrapper at heart I am always searching for soft structured carriers we like,  and in particular comfy toddler size buckles that myself and the husband can both use.

The carrier that arrived this week was a Toddler Size EasyFeel  Soft Structured Carrier in a funky cream and blue/grey pattern. Easyfeel are a company from India who specialise in cloth nappies and are also now producing slings including ringslings  and buckle carriers in both standard and toddler size.

 

The toddler size can be used from 11-22kg (24-48.5lb) and has a  generous panel size that’s 42cm (16.5inches) wide by 44cm (17.3 inches) high. It also has seat darts in the main panel which give more room in the panel, giving it a good seat.

My first impression was that the waistband was super padded- more like a Tula but the padding is also very tall- almost 16cm (6.25inches) at the widest part in the middle, giving good support. there’s a handy littler pocket in the side of the waistband for keys or similar too.

 

The padding on the straps is also nice and thick, making it a very comfy carry. The buckles move well on the webbing and the straps are easy to tighten and loosen- particularly due to the shaped release clips, which are ergonomic to get your thumb under.

 

The flat hood with side drawstrings packs away neatly into an invisible pocket at the top of the back panel, but still looks attractive if left hanging out when not in use as it’s in the same fabric as the rest of the carrier and has a double drawstring which is quite decorative.

 

We were testing the carrier with our 14.2kg tall  (98cm) not-quite-3 year-old, so well within the weight limit of the carrier. Both my husband and I tried the carrier on our backs and I also popped the toddler on my front too to try it.

 

For the back carries we used both the hip scoot method to get him onto our backs, the superman method, pulling the carrier up over us , and the Walk Like An Egyptian (Wrap You In Love) method.

We found the straps easy to adjust in front and back carries, we were able to get a high back carry and had no issues with anything digging in. Small person was arms out for daddy and arms in for me! Daddy took small to the park in the carrier and found it very comfortable. Small also said that he really liked it.

 

The padding is quite long on the shoulder straps and I had the webbing pulled right up as tight as it would go under my arms (luckily the buckles didn’t dig in), but thankfully the carrier also has the perfect fit adjusters where the panel joins the straps at the top, which made it easier to adjust in a front carry. This suggests that it might not be too suitable for very petite wearers as they might not be able to get it tight enough. All the webbing has elastic ‘strap tidies’ and there’s some nice thick legs-out padding to make the ride more comfortable for the child.

 

 

 

The EasyFeel buckle carriers are available from their website  https://easyfeelproducts.com/  and range from a very reasonable 5000 to 5800 INR (£57-£66 approx). They come in a range of wonderful colours and patterns including handwoven fabrics for the slightly more expensive IKAT range.

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Q&A Guest post- Holly

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My name is Holly, I’m 33 years old and I live in Reading with my husband, 23 month old daughter and 4 cats. I am also a working mum so I juggle being a police officer with looking after my crazy toddler and running our local baby wearing group and the facebook pages ‘reading baby wearing UK’ and ‘reading babywearing walks & socials’

 

How did you get into babywearing and did you plan to wear your baby when you were pregnant?

I hadn’t thought much about baby wearing until I started going to homebirth groups when I was pregnant. A lovely lady called Zena who hosts the meetings (wife of the famous Slingdad Dom) showed me lots of varieties and the close caboo caught my eye. From then on it was something I thought I might do for convenience; little did I know how it would take over my life!

 

What’s your favourite wrap/carrier you’ve ever owned and why?

I don’t think I can choose a favorite carrier but my top 3 are:

1 – close caboo because it is so easy to use, super comfy for baby and wearer and also a reasonable price.

2 – lenny lamb ergonomic carrier, specifically the lace patterns but vanilla lace is by far my favourite. In my opinion they are the most well designed and manufactured SSC. They are extremely adjustable and gently padded and come in so many beautiful prints and colours.

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3 – my hand woven wraps. Honestly woven wraps tick all the boxes; versatility, comfort, appearance…. Yes they do take some mastering but once you get the knack they are simply addictive and can be used from birth to toddling and beyond. I still carry my BIG girl in my wovens and we both love it.

 

If money were no object, what wrap or sling would you own?

If money were no object I would get a custom hand woven wrap made by Little Fellows (based in UK) or Mad Hatter warped and woven. It would have pastel rainbows and sparkly thread in it.

 

What do you like about babywearing?

I love baby wearing for so many reasons; convenience (easy to throw in your bag/car/wrap round your neck as a scarf when not in use), space saving (no need for bulky buggies etc.), the huge variety of styles and patterns you can get, the closeness and bond you get with your baby and the magic of the carrier in calming a tired or teething or poorly baby.

I also love how, when they are little and just need cuddles all the time, it gives you the chance to clean/cook/have a pee whilst they stay just where they want to be. I am also in love with baby wearing because it can be a wonderful social activity; I have met so many friends at the local walks and the support they offer is priceless.

 

What do or did you find hardest about babywearing?

The only struggle I have had with baby wearing is the frustration when you are trying to master a new carry, especially in a woven, and you just can’t crack it. I also find it hard not to spend my whole wage on slings every month lol!

 

Does your partner join in with the babywearing?

My husband doesn’t babywear although he did when she was small enough to be in the caboo and he saw how cosy she was and wanted her to sleep on him. I wish in hindsight I had encouraged him more but because I was learning too and she is my first baby I wanted to do it all. He is now unsure his back would cope (he has back issues) so he leaves it up to me.

 

What kind of comments do you receive when you babywear out and about?

I can’t recall getting any direct comments about baby wearing for a long time now but when she was young I got lots of lovely comments and smiles; it really is magical because babies just don’t cry in slings like they often do it buggies.

 

Baby wearing is one of my favourite things about being  a Mum and I would encourage any carer to give it a try. I am so proud to be able to help other people to safely wear their children.

 

 

Thanks to Holly for her input to the local babywearing community- the Reading babywearing group and the Social & Walks groups that she runs are great social places to chat about slings, sling libraries, meet likeminded local friends and learn more about babywearing. She’s always supported local libraries like ours and we love having people like Holly locally to us!

Q&A Guest Post- Jay

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I am Jay. I have 4 wonderful children,3 biological and 1 stepson. 3 boys and 1 girl. I have a philosophy that ‘everything happens for a reason’ and I do my best to surround myself and my children with happy and positive people and being part of a sling community certainly helps with that.

I used to work in Executive Recruitment but recently had the opportunity to change jobs and now I am a carer in the community,helping to look after people with dementia and other ailments.

I love working with people and also being able to be there for my children,as my job can be flexible. Through the sling library I have trained to be a peer supporter and really enjoy helping people to find the right slings for them and their baby or child.

 

How did you get into babywearing and did you plan to wear your baby when you were pregnant?

I wanted to carry my baby when I had my first child and invested in a mothercare sling. It never felt right. I now know that is because I had her in the cradle position and couldn’t see her properly (I had no idea what TICKS was.) With my second child I was determined to do it right. I started with a caboo and then used a mei tai,with a brief flirtation with a connecta which I wasn’t keen on but my partner at the time loved it. I would push one child in a buggy and carry the other in the sling. With my third baby I used a stretchy,then a mei tai,then started borrowing from the Bracknell Sling Library and fell in love with a manduca and a hop tye,both of which I also own now…and still borrowing from the library to find my next sling.

 
What’s your favourite wrap/carrier you’ve ever owned and why?

My favourite, I think, is a mei tai. The simplicity and diversity of it.

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If money were no object, what wrap or sling would you own?

I would own all the slings…well,most of them. 😉

 
What do you like about babywearing?

I like the closeness,the ability to have hands free for my other children and to breastfeed on the run. Also,no buggy to pack for trips.

 

What do or did you find hardest about babywearing?

Wanting all the slings and not having them all. Actually,ring slings…love the idea,know how to use them in theory but just can’t get it to work well for me.
Does your partner join in with the babywearing?

Yes. He went from ‘I won’t wear one of those’ to deciding he liked my mei tai,then falling in love with the manduca too and has now chosen his own toddler sling.

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What kind of comments do you receive when you babywear out and about?

Mainly positive oohs and ahhs but the occasional “isn’t he too big for that?” and “doesn’t it hurt your back?

 

Huge thanks to Jay who is one of our super peer support trained volunteers. She’s learnt so much so quickly and is always on hand to help out at our meets  with her gorgeous little boy, and is wonderfully encouraging and helpful on our facebook group too!

Onbu!

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We have one onbu at the sling library already. It’s an unusual carrier- a buckled carrier without a waist strap. It’s for older babies who can sit by themselves, up to pre-school size and a very handy little carrier they are too!

We currently have a Nova inbetween size onbu, but Amy from JellyStitch very kindly offered us a toddler size one for our library. This was a wonderful opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. It arrived today……

 

 

And it’s love! The Jellystitch has wider, thicker padding to the straps which really helps if you’re taking the full weight of your toddler on your shoulders! I’m yet to perfect the fit for me, but working on it! Can’t wait to see how popular it is at the library next week.

 

May time

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We as a library are really proud of what we’re accomplishing over at Bracknell Sling Meet & Library. Because we’re a community group, all the money we receive from hires goes back into buying more brilliant slings for everyone to try and enjoy. It means we can widen our range to even more popular carriers and also some of the less well known ones, but in addition we are now reaching a point where some of our carriers are so popular that we are buying two of them.

We now have two manduccas, two lilebabies, two baby size connectas, three size six wraps, two size 7 wraps and once we’re decided which Ergo- we’ll have a second one of those too!

What have we added to our library over the last month?

 

This month we’ve added:

In addition to the Lenny Lamb buckles that we added the month before (bottom right image).

 

Sling meet was a ROARING success this week. News about all our new carriers has spread and so we managed a huge 19 hires, and 4 out of the 5 newest carriers went straight out. We’re looking forwards to seeing photos of happy babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers and happy mummies & daddies!

 

 

 

March Update

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We’ve had a few meets since I last got around to posting properly. The new year was a little quiet but spring has seen an influx of bumps, babies and toddlers (with their parents) coming to see us.

It’s also been lovely to see mummies come to us for the second time around, having helped them find something to carry their older child in.

Here’s Jenny with the beautiful baby T who absolutely loves being carried by his mummy and daddy in this gorgeous Baie Slings size 6 wrap which we won in a brilliant giveaway  back in October.

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Baie Slings Size 6

In addition to introducing parents to slings, we also love it when people bring along their own slings to play with, or to get advice on how to use something they’ve bought and aren’t quite confident with.

After each meet we look at our finances to see how we’re doing. We much appreciate everyone who pops a pound in the pot to help us cover room hire fees and all the income that comes into the library goes out as soon as possible on room hire and new stock for the library.

As of Feb 2016 we have been offering a deal on stretchy wrap hire for newborns- £10 for 6 weeks to try a stretchy wrap for new parents. This offer has been very popular and it’s meant we have been able to order some more Close Caboo carriers for the library. In addition to the caboos, we have a number of standard stretchy wraps and a papoozle which has a more structured waistband (see here for our entire library).

 

Here’s one of our first Library customers from back in early 2015, having a go with a stretchy wrap with a tiny premature baby.

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Close Caboo Grey (x3)

 

We are also looking to increase the number and range of wraps that we own in the library. It’s great to have wrappers come in, and we like to be able to have a range of sizes, blends, colours and brands of wraps to try. When we saw a Pure Baby Love wrap for a very good price a couple of weeks ago, we couldn’t resist it, having had briefly as a travelling wrap last year. In gorgeous neutral lilac, and as soft as we remembered, this was an excellent choice and we can’t wait for it to go out on it’s first hire!

 

We are also pleased to be adding to the range of sizes of wrap available, and look forwards to receiving a beautiful Library Exclusive Firespiral Alchemy Weave in a size two to add to our collection.

That’s all for now, but please be in touch if you have any questions!

Clare & Gemma

Q&A Guest post- Clare

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With our impending first birthday coming up, it’s time that the co-owners of the sling library wrote their own Q&A Guest posts!

I’m Clare, one half of the Bracknell Sling Library! I’ve got one little boy who is coming up to two and a half now and live in Bracknell with my perfect family of three, an embarassingly large pile of wraps and our crazy British Shorthair kitten, Magnus. My many hobbies include running the sling library, photography and volunteer work with Bracknell Lions Club.

 

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How did you get into babywearing and did you plan to wear your baby when you were pregnant?

I had a friend who used slings for a couple of her children, but I knew very little about it all. I knew that my general parenting ideals were quite closely aligned with “Attachment Parenting” and so the more I began to learn about babywearing and the range of slings available, the more I wanted to know. I wish I’d known more sooner, which is one reason that we set the library up. I wanted to help people get into slings and carriers as soon as possible to enjoy all the benefits!

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What’s your favourite wrap/carrier you’ve ever owned and why?

I find this question impossible to answer (and I wrote it!). I have a neat stash of six wraps, plus a Mexican Rebozo shawl and a custom half buckle with wrap straps. The wraps are all different lengths and blends of fibres- I have a size 2, 3, two size 4’s, 5 and a 6 in a range of blends including hemp, linen, pima cotton, wool and tussah silk. I also own a few different brands (Oscha, Natibaby and Firespiral) and between the brands, weaves, blends and sizes they all have very different wrapping properies.

In reality though I suppose our favourite has to be our Oscha Okinami Noir. It’s our “legacy” wrap, which (in this case) means that it was released on my little boy’s birth date. It’s a pattern I’d admired for a while and when I realised that “oki” was our legacy wrap, I had to have it! It took a while to track down as it’s a Boutique wrap with a small release, and as a size 3 it was my first short wrap. Being wool it’s also a big thick beast and was a bit daunting to start with, but it’s soft and beautiful now, and definitely “permastash”- i.e will never be sold! But having said that all my wraps have meaning to me, and anything that’s not special enough has been sold on to fund something more special!

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If money were no object, what wrap or sling would you own?

There are some really really beautiful wraps out there. Handwoven wraps, custom handwovens- you could literally buy a wrap to match every outfit! I’d love to have more money to support wonderful social enterprises like Bebe Sachi who made the first wrap strap mei tai I ever owned and made me love woven wraps.

I’d probably grow my stash of wrap conversion mei tai’s (wrap straps) because they’re a little easier out and about, but also because my husband likes them too. In addition though I also love the Pellicano Baby Niyaha Sapa (black and white feathered eagle wings), Wrapahula have some beautiful new patterns and I’ve been sniffing around some of my friends’ Woven Wings they’ve recently bought too! At a recently woven wrap meet in Bracknell between us most our wraps were Oscha, Firespiral, Nati and Woven Wings.

 

What do you like about babywearing?

 

I didn’t start babywearing straight away which I regret now. I wish someone had shown me a stretchy wrap as I would have lived in it the first few months and it would have made everything much easier. I love the connection I get with R when he’s up in the wrap with me- I walk him to the childminders in the morning with the wrap and sometimes if he’s tired and doesn’t want to walk home he comes up too. We can chatter about the day in a way not really possible in a buggy. He’s at my level so we see things from the same perspective so we can share experiences together. We can visit places that just aren’t possible with a buggy- whether it’s a beach, a mountain or just up some steps. As a family we recently visited London for the day without the buggy which was a revelation and much easier to navigate crowds and tubes. Babywearing a great workout too- up and down hills with 13kg of toddler on my back carried in a good ergonomic and comfortable way is like an Army workout! There are too many positives to list.

Oh and I’ve got to say- the wonderful new friends I’ve made along the way! You know who you are and you’re all brilliant!

What do or did you find hardest about babywearing?

Mastering lots of new and complicated carries is always a struggle. As R is now almost 2 and a half, I usually carry him on my back. There are about a zillion different carries that you can do and I am desperate to master all of them. Once I remember one, I tend to forget one that I did know! Getting R onto my back for the first time was the hardest thing ever, and I still regularly get it a bit wrong! Sweaty practice after sweaty practice and I nail it more often than not now.

I also find it a challenge carrying him and all the kit I seem to need for a toddler- books, snacks, toys, nappy change kit (esp when in cloth nappies), warm layers in case he’s not in the wrap all gets very bulky! I’ve been known to take the buggy just to carry the shopping or similar.

Does your partner join in with the babywearing?

Yes, although wraps themselves haven’t really taken off, my other half loves to carry R in our mei tai. If I ever go out in the evenings it’s a great opportunity for R and daddy to bond, and the only guaranteed method to get him to sleep is usually a quick walk with the sling. Steve has also mastered the art of the “dismount”- getting R out of the sling and into bed without waking him, something I have never mastered properly myself.

What kind of comments do you receive when you babywear out and about?

Some people do have some very funny and unfounded ideas about babywearing. The number of times I have heard people say “He’ll never learn to walk/be independent whilst you carry him everywhere”- which of course is ludicrous- he walked before 11 months and hasn’t stopped since. He’s also a very well socialised little boy who will happily barrel into new situations without looking back once. I’m also surprised when people say “Oh you wouldn’t catch me ruining my back carrying a heavy toddler”- yet they end up regularly picking their child up and carrying them on one hip rather than in a comfy carrier with the weight spread evenly. Mostly though I get smiles and nice comments about how cosy he looks, especially if he’s conked out asleep or yelling at me about squirrels.

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FAME!

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A huge thank you to the wonderful journalists at Get Reading & Get Bracknell for the lovely article they wrote for us to celebrate our Sling Library Birthday which is coming up!

You can read the full article here on the Get Reading website (click to view).

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New year flyer!

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new flyer Jan 2016 CORRECT DATES

Here’s our new and up to date flyer with the correct sling meet dates for 2016! Come along, join our (closed) Facebook Group here (click the link) and meet some likeminded people!

2015 in review

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The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog! Lots of interesting stuff including how many hits and where people are getting directed to us from.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,400 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 40 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Happy New Year from all at Bracknell Sling Library!