Friday, October 10, 2014

Product Review: Tula Baby Carrier

The Tula baby carrier is the latest in our baby-wearing arsenal but I'm compelled to give a review of it first before the others. As if I haven't done 2 prior blog posts about it already (here and here)...can't you tell I'm so excited about this one? Hehe :)

Baby wearing mom and little one in a kiddie party contest...our team won! :)

The move to a Soft-Structured Carrier (SSC)

I've had 3 different carriers prior to our Tula. Of those, I was most satisfied with the Baby K'tan Breeze Baby Carrier. The baby wearing learning curve with the K'tan was short and definitely not steep, baby and I felt so comfy and it was the only place she'll sleep in whenever we were out. Yup, even in the craziest and noisiest of malls! In short, I love it! I also loved the fact that the K'tan was usable up to 35 lbs of baby's weight.

Wearing Z in the Baby K'tan Breeze

Well, what do you know? When Z hit the 15-lb. mark, oh boy did my back hurt! Sure I was able to wear her for more than an hour in it. But the moment I took it off, I was in so much pain. I researched a bit to see if I was wearing her wrong or whether IT IS JUST ME who's not as strong. What I found is that (1) I really don't have strong back muscles and (2) there really are mommas who transition from slings or hybrids to SSC's or soft-structured carriers once their baby gets heavier. I guess I would be one of them.

At first I didn't really want to have to buy ANOTHER carrier. After all, the mounting costs would soon probably be more expensive than the stroller we initially bought - to carry the baby. But I've seen the difference baby wearing makes and the obvious benefits. As far as our experience goes, even if we bring the stroller with us, I still end up wearing Z 95% of the time! But when we're shopping, the stroller is still great for carrying the bags! :p


Why the Tula

Like many Filipino moms, I've never even heard of the Tula until a few months ago! In my mind I was sooo bent on getting a hip seat carrier as it looked easy enough but I was still second guessing it so I researched more. From most online reviews I've read, it seems that the hip seat they were using were sponsored by the company so I thought there might be some bias with their review. I also checked baby wearing groups on Facebook and the only person who said she owned it was already selling. So the lack of non-sponsored reviews and my own uncertainty made me shy away from this product.

I also had my eyes set on getting an Ergo. It was, after all, highly available in almost all SM Baby Company stores and seemed to be the SSC standard. However, some moms who have used it have commented that it may be easily outgrown. Sometimes even before baby hits the 1 year mark! See Georgia of Documenting Delight's blog post about their Ergo to Tula experience here.

I think most baby-wearing-in-SSC-moms would love the Tula (don't you already?) specifically because it is FUTURE-PROOF. It has wider panels than most other carriers hence it can help support you and your baby well into toddler-hood, while maintaining the correct "M" leg and bum position. Aside from that, the back panel is also a bit taller than the others which should help you be more comfortable especially if you child is a 'leaner'. Should you find yourself between sizes (between Standard Baby and Toddler), there is also the Free to Grow extension panels. See The Portable Baby's comparison chart of different carriers to know the features of the different carriers.

And and and. Have you seen their prints? They really are just some of the best ones out there. Honestly, I avoid going back to their website...I might be tempted with a wrap conversion (WC) carrier...oh the pretty little wrappeys!!! Well if money was no object (I doubt, haha) and I'd qualify for the chance to buy a WC, I most definitely would..and happily I would add.

It is by far nowhere near affordable but it pays for itself in the future. And that is not just a sales ploy I used on my husband! Hah! Why do I say that? First is that I can use it for longer. The Tula Baby (Standard) Carrier can be used up to 45 lbs, with the free-to-grow extension, it is essentially converted into a Tula Toddler Carrier! But note that the true Toddler carrier will carry up to 50 lbs. Second, and this is what I found hard to do in my other carriers, is that I can breastfeed well in the Tula (see picture below)! Third is it is really ergonomic - no more back and shoulder pains for me or at least I haven't noticed any yet! I feel that baby's weight is really supported especially with the width and thickness of the padding. Fourth - I can actually do chores while baby wearing! And as most baby-wearing moms can attest, it amuses our kids no end. I was able to shop for groceries (alone!), cook bake and wash dishes (baby was worn on my back). I was able to exercise (walking only) and even attend our Sunday Mass with baby in the Tula! And dads, now you get to share in the baby wearing adventure!

I tell you mommies, it really is worth it! :)

Impressions


100% satisfied! I love (love, love, love) it!! :) I feel I have won the baby wearing jackpot with the Tula! The materials used and build quality are great. And based on their manufacturing process flow (quality vs quantity) wherein only 1 person attends to your carrier from start to finish, I feel the love and care that goes with its creation.

They are also a responsive company. If you're unsure with the size, just email your little one's height, age and weight to their customer service (help@babytula.com). Cassiopeia (hello!) has been so helpful to me when I was still deciding which size to buy.

Wearing it - front carry (facing in) was a no-brainer. Basically if you can buckle up a seat belt then you're set! Just remember to adjust properly so it will be comfy for both of you. And make sure baby's legs and bum are in the proper "M" position, with her knees slightly higher than her tush. Back carry (facing in) is the one I find most comfortable to wear her for longer periods of time. However, this is a major learning curve for me! I dare not do it without a spotter! But again, Georgia of Documenting Delight has a great tutorial for doing the back carry on your own, of course without flipping baby to the back!

Heat - Personally, no significant difference between using the Saya, K'tan or my Ring Sling. As most baby wearing moms would say, as long as you add an extra layer of cloth and of course your baby, there will be additional heat generated. I find it does not disturb me at home, inside a well-ventilated Church and in an air-conditioned mall. As always, you can discern for yourself keeping in mind your environmental considerations. Would I take it for a hike? Probably in Baguio where it is cold. :)

Caveats - unlike other carriers, you cannot do an X strap for the front carry. Neither can you do a hip carry with the Tula Baby Carrier. I find the pocket useful only for a few coins, maybe? Doesn't have a panel pocket to tuck the hood into but if it matters, the hood is detachable so you can stash it somewhere else :)

Can you really do things / chores while wearing it? - Yes! When Z's yaya has to take the day off, I don't mind as long as I have the Tula! :) Again, it's more functional for me as I am able to do more / harder chores than simply picking up clothes or fixing our beddings. Talk about grocery shopping, cooking, baking, real cleaning (as opposed to? hehehe)

Does baby love it? - Absolutely! Maybe it's the carrier, maybe it's my silly antics with us horsing around but I can say enough that she loves being IN there! In fact, there are times when she would cry if we try to take her out. Talk about attachment..Yes she can sleep in there too! No less than in a jam-packed mall with sale-crazy people! :) She's comfy and happy = we're happy!

The Tula makes us happy!!!





Breastfeeding friendly

Yes yes and yes!!! Little Z got cranky and sleepy at a Jollibee party. Good thing I was ready with my nursing wear. After a few adjustments on the straps and repositioning Z, we were good to go! No need for a nursing cover as the hood already serves that function. No one was the wiser that a little one has gone on nursing. They just kept saying, "Awww. she's sleeping now.."

Some mommies suggest to wear a cardigan or a shawl over it to make sure no tiny bits are showing :)


Peso Power

If you have the available funds, I say go with the Tula! Luckily, the stars aligned for me and I was able to afford it.

Tula Baby Carrier - $ 149
Free to Grow Extension - $30
Shipping from USA to Philippines (thru Johnny Air Cargo/JAC) - $39
TOTAL: My hubby's eyes rolling! Hahahaha :D

Retail Availability

1. The good news is that for Philippine-based moms & dads, there is already a reseller. How I wish I have learned of this sooner. You can check out CEO Emporium for available sizes and styles. Since I already have my carrier, I just ordered the drool/suck pads from the owner, Ms. Candy.

2. You can order directly from their website (http://www.tulababycarriers.com/), indicate the Johnny Air US address (they have in New York and Los Angeles, California) and have it shipped by Johnny Air Cargo to you, door-to-door!

3. Or you can use my Amazon links below if you want to maximize your Amazon Prime membership! Just remember to check the correct size before ordering! :)



4. There is a baby wearing event tomorrow to celebrate Babywearing Week 2014. Check the details below and make sure to register...Tula will be there! :)


5. And while we're at it, I'd like to invite you to two of the babywearing groups that have been so instrumental for me in my quest to continue wearing my baby - FAB or Filipino Association of Babywearers and EDBW Everyday Babywearing

Share the Adventure! Wear all the babies! :D

6 comments:

  1. I am impressed with the Tula carrier breastfeeding friendly :) great for so many mommy's out there.
    For toddlers 2.5 y/o + up to
    60lbs, try Piggyback Rider standing child carrier and you'll sure enjoy your adventure. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment! Will look into the Piggyback Rider too :)

      Delete
  2. Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon the blog and wished to say that I’ve truly enjoyed browsing the blog posts
    baby tips

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

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