When it came to wearing my baby in the early months, I was a babasling girl-about-town. At almost eight months, my baby girl is now too heavy for me to carry very far soÂ I was interested to find out whether theÂ Ramalama infant carrier, which is designed for babies aged six months and older, could live up to its claim of helping to alleviate back and arm strain.
Concept: The company mantra is ‘functional luxury’ and at Â£129 it is certainly the latter. This is a baby carrier that looks like no other. What sets it apart is the elegant design and the fact that it is fashioned from suede-backed leather. The luxury leather wraps itself around baby’s back and bottom, holding her against you, while thick seat-belt like straps around your waist and diagonally across one shoulder hold the baby in place. Once buckled, you are hands-free (although the safety instructions do advise that the carrier provides ‘additional support’ rather than substituting your arms).
In use: Getting started is simply a case of fastening one buckle, positioning baby and fastening a second buckle. This was reasonably straightforward, however, I did almost come a cropper reaching my left hand round my back to my right hip in order to grab the over-the-shoulder buckle, if you see what I mean. As with other carriers I have tried, adjusting once you’re both in isn’t easy. You either need an extra set of hands or you need to put baby down, adjust the straps and start over. It’s so quick to get on that this wasn’t too arduous and once done you wouldn’t need to change the settings unless you swapped shoulders or someone else used it. The instructions include small diagrams, which were of some help, but I would have liked to have seen a simple front and back photograph of someone actually wearing the carrier to see what I was aiming for.
Positives: It’s beautiful. This is as sophisticated as baby wearing gets. It’s also lightweight, portable and comes with a drawstring storage bag. For some reason, it felt like a great option for holidays – there’s something summery about it, even though leather isn’t your traditional summer fabric. I felt very jet set, hot-footing it over to the children’s play area with little one on my hip. (Er, maybe I’ve been subconsciously influenced by the marketing photographs? See above.)
Any negatives? The claim is that the waist belt redistributes some of the weight away from your shoulder, but I still wouldn’t want to be walking for much more than 10 minutes without a rest. Â There are no alternative positionings to give your shoulder and back a break and the chances of baby sleeping while you’re on the move (an advantage of other carriers and slings) are slim to zero.
Where can I buy one? Monsters and Munchkins stock this Aussie product in three different colour combinations – black, dark brown or dark brown with biscuit suede for Â£129.
Overall: I must admit that I was initially gob-smacked by the price and dedicated a good 10 seconds to speculating what it must be made from to justify the expense – studded with Swarovski crystals, truffles in the lining, dollar bills used for padding..? But having swanned around in it for a week or so, I think I get it: stepping out to the corner shop for a bag of Haribo felt like an event and I found myself craning my neck to catch our reflection in the windows of parked cars. We looked goood! It’s about as comfortable as a one-shoulder carrier can be and it looks fantastic.