Monday, September 19, 2011

Infantino EcoSash Wrap & Tie Carrier

After my review of the Moby Wrap, it should come as no surprise to you that I enjoy babywearing.  Or, should I say, I enjoy the freedom it gives me.  Freedom from having a heavy carseat tugging at my arm sockets.  Freedom from having to balance a baby on one hip while reaching for a cup of coffee with my free arm (and then attempting to drink said coffee without baby splashing it all over both of us with her endlessly waving arms).  Freedom to shop at Costco without having to leave the baby in her carseat on the "Carts" side of the checkout.

I have heard many great things about the Ergo baby carrier, and had the opportunity to take it for a test drive with my little girl last month as my sister let me try hers out.  This isn't an Ergo review (since I don't own one, I am not going to consider myself qualified to review it) but there were a handful of thoughts that came to mind when I used it.  First of all, I really liked the support around the waist/hips.  And the fabric was really nice and soft (she has the ERGObaby Black Sport Carrier).  So I got my daughter adjusted in the front carry, I had the padded shoulder straps over my shoulders, and then - I had to get my sister to close the buckle.  I don't know about you, but I don't always run around with an assistant.  Unless you could count my 4 year old, which I don't, because if I'd asked him to close a buckle on the Ergo he'd probably answer by saying something like "rawrrrr, I'm pretending to be a spike-o-saurus" and headbutting my hip.  And I'd be left trying to safely buckle in a squirmy baby in a parking lot by taking both hands off her and reaching over my head and ... ouch.  My neck and back hurt just thinking about it.

I love the Moby Wrap because it's so simple.  One knot, and you're done.  I just wanted something like that, only with a little less fabric to deal with.  So I went to a local store that carried a number of babywearing options, and tried out several different styles of carriers.  I tried the BabyHawk Mei Tai (loved it, but they only had one in stock and I didn't like the fabric), another very soft similar style carrier, the brand of which I cannot recall right now (loved how small it folded up, it would literally fit into my coat pocket, but did not like that the straps had no padding), and finally the Infantino EcoSash Wrap & Tie Carrier.  It was packaged up in its own carrying/laundering bag made of a black mesh, so I did have to dismantle the packaging to try it on.  Thankfully the store owner was OK with this.

I love how there are no buckles to fuss with, but the carrier still feels somewhat structured.  It has a reversible front fabric panel (goes from modern abstract vines to plain black, in case I have to make my husband wear it somewhere) and two loops into which to thread the shoulder straps to facilitate an easy back carry (or to make the front carry a bit more secure by ensuring the straps coming from behind you stay in place around the height of baby's torso.  The EcoSash actually has the wearing instructions printed on satiny soft panels so that you don't always need the book in front of you (when you are starting out, use the book.  Once you are adept at wearing it, you won't really need the instructions in either place.  You double-knot the shorter straps around your waist, then hold baby in front of you, lift the front part, long straps go over shoulders, criss-cross behind you, feed through the front loops on left & right, then double-knot in the front.  The shoulder straps are padded and so are quite comfortable even after a few hours of wearing with an 18lb baby in it (I haven't worn it for longer than that, so I can't comment what it would be like to wear all day).  I do wish that the waist straps were either padded or stiffened in some way, because even though they are nice and wide, they do just sort of bunch together after being knotted around my squishy middle section (AKA waist).

The carrier is also baby approved, she is warm and comfortable in it, and apparently sucking/chewing on the shoulder straps is a fun and tasty way to pass the time.  She also loves being able to look right up at me, and to look around at everything going on, especially when we are out shopping.  I love that when she is in the baby carrier, random strangers are less likely to touch her than when she's in her carseat (although, random strangers' children are not shy at all about holding her hands, which dangle out of the sides of the carrier most of the time...).

I have not yet laundered my carrier, and since it is a deep black colour, I will likely wash it on its own the first time, maybe with an old cloth tossed in to see if it stains other clothes.  It does come with its own mesh bag for laundering, so that is a nice feature.  I can just imagine what fun it would be to have to untangle all 4 straps from my old school top loader's agitator...*shudder*.  If I find any major issues after laundering I will be sure to update here.

**Updated**, so I laundered the Infantino EcoSash Wrap & Tie Carrier a couple of days ago, in the mesh bag that comes with it.  It washed just fine, and did not stain my other clothes (granted, I washed it with all my "dark" delicates,  I wouldn't throw it in with anything white or light coloured).  I must not have tied the mesh bag tightly enough, because the straps did work their way out of the top opening and snaked around my top loader, though they did not actually get tangled with anything.  I had to hang it up to dry, and we've been having awful wet weather here, so it's day two of indoor hanging to dry, and it's still a bit damp.  It says explicitly not to put it in the dryer though, so I will just try and be patient while it dries (and use my Moby wrap in the meantime).

If you want to learn more about the Infantino EcoSash Wrap & Tie Carrier, check out the product page on Infantino's website.  You can also read more here on Step2's website.  It sells for anywhere between $60 and $80 depending on where you shop.

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