In the midst of pre-Christmas madness, myself, Yoda and Woodie took a little trip out to meet Kim from Knee-to-Knee Slings and try out one of the Lenny Lamb Ergonomic Baby Carrier she exclusively stocks at her new shop in Dun Laoghaire. Here’s how we got on.
Like most things baby-related – three babies later, I’ve had mixed experiences with baby wearing and slings. My first baby carrier was a long ‘wrap carrier’ given as a gift when Spidey was tiny. It was great for him, keeping him snug as a bug and close to the grub. I found the wrapping and unwrapping a little trying and spent too many days squeezing out the ends after dropping them in puddles. But it was a good introduction to the ‘handsfree’ joys of baby wearing – particularly with a newborn who was averse to being put down for two seconds.
As Spidey grew heavier I wanted something more structured and started using a Baby Bjorn . I bought this really based on brand recognition thinking it was ‘standard fare’ (a bit like the everyone-buys-them Maxi Cosi car seat). It was handy to carry around but both myself and my husband sometimes found it uncomfortable on the shoulders. Being honest, as a first-time mum I bought it thinking it would be great for the baby to look outwards and knowing nothing of published concerns about hip health and baby position (useful article for any other newbies is here at www.hipdysplasia.org.). We were fairly happy to wander around with Spidey initially facing toward me, and later (probably from 5 months) facing outwards.
By the time Spidey was a year – and very heavy, I’d read up on ergonomic slings and changed to the Ergo Baby carrier which has been my faithful friend now for 4 years. It has carried Spidey from toddlerhood, and both Yoda from their newborn days tucked in the safety of the baby cocoon. These days it’s stashed in the boot of the car or the bottom of the buggy and used a few times a week with the baby (now nearly 10 months, and 9.5 kgs) on my front / back, or himself in the buggy and herself (3.5 years, 19 kilos and sometimes very lazy) on my back.
As a big fan of the ergonomic slings, but not necessarily looking to splash the cash on a new one, I was chuffed when I got an opportunity to meet Kim from Knee to Knee Slings in December – and to try out one of her exclusively stocked Lenny Lamb carriers.
Kim has set up her new shop in Dun Laoghaire. She specialises in baby carriers and slings and has great expertise on fitting slings to suit Mama (and Dada) and baby alike. When I called out to her to look at trialing a baby sling for Woodie, I – of course, had Yoda and Woodie in tow. Her shop is really relaxed and personal and there was a lovely little play / colouring area to keep Yoda occupied while myself and Woodie checked out the goods. As someone who routinely chooses the convenience of internet shopping over the hands-on shop experience I was curious about whether there was any advantage to buying a sling in a dedicated bricks and mortar shop and I have to say there is. Kim took great time fitting and adjusting the carrier and showing me all the bits and pieces. I was really impressed by the advice she was able to give on the positioning and adjustment of both the carrier and baby. In the days that followed when I was taking all of about 2 seconds to throw the Lenny Lamb on, it stood to me that I’d learnt the ropes in a less-flustered fashion!
The carrier we tried was the Lenny Lamb Baby carrier. It can be used with babies aged from around 6 weeks – though the instructions note that structured carriers work best with older babies from around 4 months, to about 18 months – or the 5 to 20 kilo weight range. Clear instructions are given as to the best-fit of the carrier so it would be easy to tell at what stage a child is getting too big and needs the toddler size version.
The sling itself, is very similar to other ergonomic slings. It’s a buckle sling with a padded waist band, two shoulder straps and connecting straps and buckles. The baby sits in a shaped pouch which can be adjusted easily, and which has a little hood. The straps can be worn three ways – straight on the shoulders with baby front or back, or criss-crossed across the back and baby on the front. The sling conforms to all the relevant safety standards and features three-point safety buckles to prevent accidental opening.
In terms of using it, having been familiar with the Ergo, I found the Lenny Lamb very easy to use. The tips Kim gave me meant I was much better placed to adjust the baby and straps to get as comfortable as possible. I think if I’d been relying on learning on the fly with kids hanging off me – i.e. my normal way, I’d have been less likely to get as comfortable with it as I did. In addition to the fit being great, the padding on the Lenny Lamb was definitely much more generous that on the Ergo and the straps were therefore much softer to wear – particularly if worn for any amount of time. The safety features on the buckles were a little tricky to get the hang of but the buckles are chunky and easy to find and I got used to the little clip after a few goes. The best position for me was the criss-crossed straps on the back with the baby on the front which I found just brilliant and really secure.
From the baby’s point of view Woodie was being particularly tricky those weeks and practicing pushing off me and flinging himself backwards at every opportunity. Good man Woodie! The extra depth of the Lenny Lamb pouch meant I felt he was more secure during this hellraising stage. His legs were lovely and free to kick around, but well supported. He looked particularly dashing in his new chevron leg warmers that Kim had send us home with! He seemed very comfortable in it and happily took the opportunity to fall fast asleep on a few occasions.
Though the look of the Lenny Lamb carrier is similar to other carriers, the jacquard fabric on the turquioise and white sling we tried was beautiful. I also reckon it would wear and wash well as it was very good quality – although I didn’t wash it myself. Considering the carrier hid my tummy AND looked very pretty, I looked better than I have in months!
By the end of the two weeks I was sad to send back this lovely sling. It was a really comfy trial run and we were well impressed. I’d personally recommend this carrier to anyone in the market for an ergonomic carrier – and more to the point send anyone looking to try out a bit of babywearing down to Kim who can give lots of advice.
Contact: Kim at Knee to Knee Slings, 46A Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 086-178-8145
I was given the complimentary use of a Lenny Lamb Ergonomic Baby Sling from Knee to Knee Slings for two-weeks, in order to review the product. This carrier retails for €120. I was not paid to write this review. All opinions as stated are my own.