I love the idea of baby wearing and I’m the owner of 4 different slings/baby carriers to prove it. Somehow the perfect sling has so far alluded me, so I was keen to try out the Sleepy Nico carrier. For the first 6-8 months of my son’s babyhood, I used a hand me down Mothercare baby carrier which was quite functional, but not what I would have chosen if I had been buying for myself. Once my baby got heavier I found it more difficult to use (even though he was still well under the maximum weight recommended), but my husband persevered for a few months longer. I bought another carrier/sling, but found the instructions too complex. Now we use a Quinny Curbb for going round art galleries, museums, stately homes, etc. and a hand me down basic backpack for country walking. Both work adequately for those needs, but they aren’t very adaptable and are rather bulky. I really missed having a sling I could use on a daily basis, but was worried about wasting money on something else that didn’t really work for me.
Testers: Me, 5ft 7 average build, my man 5ft 9 average build and our 18 month old Mr Active weighing in at a healthy 26 pounds. We used it for about a week both at home and out and about including a weekend trip to London.
Appearance: I tested the Broderie Noire fabric combination which was made of a soft black corduroy with broderie detailing. The detailing is quite low key making this carrier appealing to both mummies and daddies. Bebe Cannelle sell a range of fabric choices of which my personal favourite is the Murmure option, which is stylishly stripy limited edition in cream, moss and chocolate.Â Being handmade and ethically produced, the quality shows and I think you could get a lot of wear out of these carriers and they would still look good.
Instructions: Very easy in fact I managed to use it correctly without looking at them first – this was quite a relief as I was a bit apprehensive of having to get my head round some complicated boy scout procedure.
Set up: To carry the baby at the front you simply clip the waistband around you, hold baby facing you and put on arm straps. To finish off you clip the horizontal strap across your back. To carry baby on your back the same process is the same except the you hold the baby in a piggy back position and clip the strap across your chest.
I think it would be easy to use the front position from birth and it would be easy to use the carrier without assistance. Carrying baby on your back is only recommended from 6 months and this could easily be done with help to get the baby in and out. I had no problems getting my 18 month old into it without assistance, but he was able and willing to hold onto my neck while I got the straps sorted. I don’t think I would attempt it with a 6 month old if I was alone and I know that my bambino would not have been happy with the front position when out and about from that age onwards.
There is also a hood designed to stop your baby’s head rolling backwards when asleep which fastens with velcro.Â I did try this but found it wasn’t strong enough to support the large head of my 18 month old, but I can imagine it works better for a newborn.
In use: I used the carrier in both positions at home. For part of the week I had a rather clingy teether on my hands and found that short periods of time in the front position helped sooth him. It was particularly useful after he woke from a nap as I carried him around until he had fully come to. If he went to sleep whilst being carried, it was easy to either keep carrying him or take the carrier off without waking him. Cooking was easy with bambino in the back position keeping him safe and allowing me to get on with things.
Back carries were the order of the day when out and about as this gives the baby a better view of the world. Neither of us had any problems carrying our little boy for quite long walks.
The Sleepy Nico is recommended for use up to 3 years of age and we were testing a baby at the half way point, but I feel confident that we could use this carrier for many months to come, especially when you consider that toddlers gain weight relatively slowly.
Any negatives: As I said earlier, I would have doubts about using the back position for a 6 month old unless I had help. Potentially this could mean that you have a gap of some months where you couldn’t fully use the carrier.
I also feel I couldn’t use this as my only baby wearer because I don’t think the baby or toddler can see enough in certain situations. We took our baby round an exhibition and found it difficult to show our son all the things we wanted to.
Price: From Â£64.99 from Bebe Cannelle.
Overall: A well made comfortable carrier which is very easy to use. Great for travelling as it folds up nicely and is stored in a handy bag. There are also no trailing straps and it is machine washable.
Verdict: 4/5 for very young or older babies and toddlers. 3/5 for babies around the 6-12 month age range.