Those of you who have been following the Times Of Amma’s posts on Instagram and Facebook, know how vocal I am about wearing my babies.
However, despite the fact, that these days, I cannot be seen without a sling or a carrier around my person, I was not always the baby-wearing enthusiast, I am today. When my first child was born in December 2011, my husband and I bought a stroller, a structured carrier (for him) and a pouch sling for me. Living in Manila at the time, where baby wearing was still a comparatively new and hippy sort of thing to do, we were conditioned to think that babies are more comfortable in the stroller. Trust our feisty daughter to shatter our preconceived notions, with her piercing wails when strapped in. The stroller was quickly abandoned in favour of the carrier and the pouch sling and there was no looking back. By the time, my daughter was five months old, we moved to El Salvador and ended up travelling across Central America. Baby-wearing became a way of life as we saw how easily she adapted to new places and situations when she was held close. Travelling with her became fun when we did not have to worry about a place being stroller-friendly or not. We continued wearing her even as a toddler, through out our trip to Myanmar and Vietnam, when I wore her, then three-years old on my back in a ring sling.
In 2015, when my son was born, I had already bought two hybrid slings in advance. We had become a baby-wearing family and in our minds, this was not just a matter of convenience, but also something primal and instinctual.
All that being said, my sling loving son soon started to grow out of the slings, he had spent his infancy and first few months in. He was not getting the support he needed and he could no longer comfortably go to sleep in it. I was in the market for a new carrier and this was when Soul Slings approached me for an honest review in exchange for a soft-structured carrier. I took one look at their lovely designs that were made in India and their earthy Indian fabrics and colours that appealed to my Desi soul and I agreed, though I wondered if they would be able to ship me the carrier all the way to Manila, where we were now based. Of course, they would for Soul Slings ships worldwide. Within a couple of weeks of that conversation, the carrier arrived along with a pair of ‘Soft Soul Baby shoes’ (Review to follow). And we pounced on it immediately.
Presenting the Times Of Amma review of the Soul Full Buckle Soft Structured Carrier - SSC.
Listed Price : Rs. 9,950 INR
According to the company brochure:
"Soul Prism full buckle baby carriers are made out of 100% handwoven cotton wraps. They are lightweight, breathable and very comfortable for all weather conditions.Our full buckles are very easy to use and highly adjustable – they can be used by parents as well as other caregivers among friends and family since they are one size fits all! Buckles make them very quick and hassle-free. They are designed to carry the baby in a comfortable, ergonomic and natural position, which is ideal for his/her growing body. When worn correctly, these full buckle carriers distribute the weight of the baby evenly on your own body, and help you comfortably carry your baby for long periods. They can be worn in front and also back carries."
You can read up on this particular carrier and more features here.
Now for the review.
1. Perfect for hot and cold climates
I started using the carrier during the beginning of Manila summers and the first time, I tested it out was at a hot open market surrounded by food stalls that had on-ground kitchens. It was hot and muggy but my son was extremely comfortable in the carrier, despite it being his first time in it.
I’ve also used the carrier in Manila malls that are known for their delicious air-conditioning and I’ve felt my son snuggle in cozily and even happily go to sleep.
2. Customizable for breastfeeding
The carrier is truly customizable by the perfect fit adjusters on it – this makes breastfeeding on the go, easy-peasy provided you are wearing a nursing friendly top. Many a time, I just continue with my daily chores while he nurses away happily in the carrier, unperturbed.
3. Ideal for travel
As a family who travels out of town a minimum of two times in a month, our baby equipment needs to be durable, light-weight and low-maintenance. This carrier checks out on all three counts. It cleans up pretty easily too.
4. Truly comfortable for baby
From the additional padding by the shoulders and thighs and the padded waistband, my son is cushioned in without being extra-heated. A huge plus compared to other carriers, I’ve used.
5. True distribution of weight
While, I found the front carry comfortable for nursing, the true star was the back carry that distributed my son’s weight so well, that I barely felt it. He also loved the back carry as he got to see the sights that we do without having to twist his head. It is a testament to the comfort of this carry, that he actually fell asleep while being back carried once.
Now, that I’ve gushed about it, here are a few niggling cons.
1. The buckle straps have a mind of their own
So, my son has just started getting comfortable with the idea of walking. He likes to start off by stumbling around and then head back in to the comfort of being carried. This leaves me with the carrier fastened around my waist, hanging down as he walks and then up again when he wants to be picked up. The buckle straps react by getting twisted in the buckles at times, making me lose the customized adjustment that I have made and sometimes making it hard to tighten.
2. The hood is not very user friendly
I’ve not really gotten the hang of using this on the fly, which is when I need it – in case of sudden rains or sunshine. It is wide, but doesn’t really attach comfortably without some effort.
As the mother of a highly energetic five-year old and an exuberant seventeen month old, I wholly recommend this carrier. The pros and the ease of comfort far outweigh the cons. Not only does it help the caregiver or mother get work done with hands free and without the added stresses of back ache, it keeps the child comfortable. A win-win situation as far as baby wearing is concerned. A bonus that appeals to the Indian Bohemian in me, is the gorgeous hand woven fabric and Indian prints that Soul Slings feature. While a carrier is more of a utility item and not an accessory, the unusual prettiness of the carrier adds to your overall style quotient, as well. And as we Ammas know, what with the comfortable pants and hair twisted up in a bun, nobody is going to say no to an upgraded look that requires minimal effort!
You can check out the Soul Slings site here.
I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. If you would like to see your products for Moms and babies reviewed, please send an email via the site here or the Times of Amma Facebook page, or via the Times of Amma Instagram account. ))