Everyone loves a bargain, right? Right! I do, too.
There are plenty of bargains to be found when it comes to baby carriers. Some bargains are found on buy/sell/trade boards, and others at consignment shops. Some are on the clearance racks at the big box stores, and others are from flash sales at online specialty stores.
There is a type of bargain baby carrier that is really NOT a good deal, and that is the copy/knockoff or fake carrier. These come in two types: one that kind of looks like a specific brand carrier but is not labeled as that brand (copy/knockoff), and one that looks like, and is labeled as that specific brand, trying to pass for that carrier (fake). Many of these copies and fakes can be found on Amazon, eBay, or the Chinese e-commerce site Alibaba.
Major brands that tend to be copied are Ergo, Freehand (a brand of mei tai that is no longer produced), Beco, Hotslings, Tula, Lillebaby, Bjorn, Moby, and more. Ergo is by far the most frequently copied and there are many FAKE Ergos out there. They are now copied so closely that some of them are impossible to tell the difference. The only ways to ensure you aren't buying a fake Ergo are to buy new from an authorized retailer (Ergo maintains information about these on their site), or contact Ergo with the information on the tag if you are buying used.
It pays to be cautious. The fakes are everywhere, and sometimes they are being re-sold by people who do not realize they are fake. Swap boards, consignment stores, and garage sales have turned up fake carriers, and it is always a sad day when someone is excited about their new carrier, only to find out that it is a fake, and essentially worthless. Then, they are without a carrier, and often out the money they paid for the fake.
You might be thinking: "well if it looks like an Ergo, and functions like an Ergo, who cares?"
Here's why you should care and beware:
If you are looking for a carrier and feel like a fake or copy is your only option due to budget, please reconsider, for the health and safety of your baby and your family. There are a number of authentic carriers that are comparable in price to a fake or copy, and I will highlight these in an upcoming blog post.
For further reading on fakes and copies, please see:
Put your mind (and baby) at ease, and only buy authentic carriers!
"What buckle carrier do you recommend? My friend told me I should get a Tula. She loves hers!"
This question has been asked many times! When someone finds a carrier they love, they cannot wait to tell everyone about how awesome it is. Comfortable babywearing is life-changing for a family! So, if your friend has found that her Tula has made such an amazing impact on her life, it makes sense that she would recommend it to you as the BEST carrier.
However - no matter much your friend loves her carrier, and no matter how wonderful it might be for her, it may not be the right carrier for you! Every carrier fits differently, and every body (and baby) is different. Would you buy a new cut of jeans without making sure they fit just the way you wanted? Probably not. You try them on, check yourself from every angle, sit down, bend over, and make sure they are the perfect fit.
Buckle, or soft-structured carriers are very much like jeans. They might fit your hips, but the shoulder straps might rub under your arm. The panel might be the right height, but the seat might not be deep enough for your (or your baby's) preference. The construction of a buckle carrier means it is adjustable only to a point. There are some things that just cannot be changed, and those are the things that may impact your comfort.
Ingredients of a Buckle Carrier
There are a few different types of features that contribute to the fit and function of a buckle carrier, and why you may (or may not) like it.
Go to the Fitting Room!
When you have a stack of jeans to try, you take them to the fitting room, try them on, and compare. Similarly, the best way to figure out what works for you is to try on a variety of carriers. Most people can tell fairly quickly (as long as the carrier is being used correctly) whether or not a carrier feels good and fits well. Little tweaks in position of carrier and straps do make a big difference, so it helps to have a person knowledgeable about carriers help you. The quickest way to do this is to attend a babywearing group meeting, or to schedule a consultation with a babywearing educator. At a group meeting or a private consultation, you may have access to a wide variety of carriers to try on, and can get assistance with the tweaks and tips that may help you find the right carrier for your body.
Just like jeans, when you have found the carrier that fits, you KNOW. And you can buy with confidence, knowing it is the right choice for you and your body!
Beth. The babywearing lady.
copyright 2016 Beth Secrist
All photos used under the Creative Commons license through Flickr. Photography by: littletuesday12