Boba X Review: 4 Perspectives

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Today’s the day! The Boba X is officially shipping and ready for purchase. If you missed my first glimpse, go check it out here. Here’s what it looks like fresh from the box.

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I had the opportunity this week (and this past weekend) to try out the Boba X myself, and help some mothers fit the new Boba X.

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Here’s what we all thought of it:

Ashley and 4-year-old daughter.
My goofy gal is 4 years, 4 months and weighs 35 lbs:

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I was very excited to pull the Boba out and start checking out the details of this carrier. I’ll share some tips and tricks in another post next week. Here’s what I loved though:

  • First of all, the fit! It’s comfortable. It fits me well. It also fits my 4 year old well and keeps her in a spread squat position. This position isn’t as important for her at this stage but if she had special circumstances — especially low muscle tone — I feel this carrier would support her well. The height hits her just below the base of her arms, which is the perfect support for her back (plus it keeps her safe, so she can’t do a back bend right off of me).
  • No stirrups: My kids had a love/hate relationship with the stirrups. I did as well. Let’s just say there often was one missing even though I always put them back in the same place. One would get knocked off the shelf or something would happen to them (I’m looking at you silly kiddos who like to hide things and make mom feel like she’s going crazy!). This carrier has zip in panels that are “toddler extensions.” They’re a little bigger than the stirrups so hopefully would be a little easier to keep in one place, or at least easier to find if they get temporarily lost.
  • Adjustable height and body width: There aren’t specific settings either-it’s super flexible how you can adjust this carrier to fit different kids.
  • Lots of flexibility of adjustment for fit: As with other Boba carriers, there are lots of possible adjustments including two ways to tighten the arm straps. This carrier also features two adjustments to bring in the front part of the strap (I think this adjustment will be wonderful for petite parents who find that other carriers gap away from their body) and to shorten the body of the carrier. A new feature is that you can criss-cross the straps while baby is in a front carry. This is a comfortable way to wear a little bit heavier baby longer term. The waist band is long enough that most parents will be able to wear it and easily switch between wearers.
  • Great pocket for your phone: Just like on the Boba 4G, there’s a great pocket on the waist for your phone, some cash or a card, and or a lip balm (or other small non-poky object). I compared the pockets on the Boba 4G and Boba X, this one is a bit larger.
  • There’s still a little flap that snaps down the strap of your purse, diaper bag, or backpack (there’s one on each strap).
  • Right now the carrier is only available in grey but new prints will be released soon. This grey is a really beautiful color though and very neutral. I believe a mother and father (as well as the rest of baby’s family and caregivers) would be happy to wear this without complaint.

 

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  • A lot of thought went into the design: The zippers that you use to zip on the extra width panels are hidden (they won’t bug little legs). There’s a safety elastic strap that will hold the buckle on the strap if it somehow comes undone by accident. This is an extra measure to help keep baby safe that was integrated in the carrier.
  • The instruction manual is very thorough. This is important if you’re a new wearer or don’t have experience with a Boba carrier. I always recommend looking over the manual before starting to play. This is how I learned this carrier offers an option of criss-cross straps for front carries!

The things I didn’t really like:

  • I still am a bit worried that the toddler extensions that zip on to make this a toddler carrier will get lost. Since my youngest is an older toddler, I plan to keep them on the carrier except when I’m helping families try out the carrier.
  • The zippers were SUPER stiff on the panels. It took a few times of zipping on and off and they’re still a bit stiff but I’m able to zip them on a quite a bit easier now.
  • The webbing was much stiffer than I remember being on previous new Bobas that I’ve tried. This could be easily remedied by washing and laying flat to dry before playing or by loosening and tightening the carrier a few times before using.
  • The “tabs” on the bottom of the adjusters (see picture below) were kind of short (especially the one that has the buckle). I like a little bit longer of a tab so that I can pull it up to release the strap to loosen it. It took a little hunting around while adjusting a doll in a front carry to find the tab to lift up to loosen. As I’ve played around with the carrier more, it’s gotten easier to hunt for these tabs and I can feel a little bit of a difference between them.

 

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Arrows are pointing to the “tabs” that you can use to help loosen straps. This picture shows one strap and the two different places you can adjust the tightness of the strap.

 

Overall, I would rate this carrier:

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5 stars! The things I didn’t like were fixable or ok for me to look past and the way the carrier felt more than made up for these. This is my favorite Boba yet. I LOVE that this is made for newborn* through toddler (* You will see later why I put this here). I recently sold my lovely toddler soft structure carrier that I’ve worn two of my littles in. I also recently had surgery so my muscles aren’t as strong for babywearing as they used to be. I was a bit worried that this carrier may not distribute her weight as well as the toddler carrier that I had. Her weight was distributed well, however, and the only pressure spots that I got were on my lower back when I wore it for about an hour (pretty much every carrier including wraps does this to me when I wear them long enough). I was SO impressed with how light it made my 35 lb toddler feel on my back. BUT as LeVar Burton would always put it on Reading Rainbow . . .”You don’t have to take my word for it!”

Elly S. and her 16-month-old son
This sweet toddler is all smiles and giggles, is walking, and weighs 19 lbs 15 oz:

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Elly’s son typically prefers ring slings. He hasn’t been much of a fan of soft structure carriers. The width of the carrier with the toddler extensions was a little too wide. As pictured, we tried to insert the hook portion of the Velcro in the loop Velcro portion with the body because the body without them was a bit too narrow in my opinion. They were designed to go in a separate portion. After this mother left, I figured out another trick that I think would have fit a little better. I will share this trick with you next week!

Elly’s main concerns were that usually an adjustable carrier is like a car seat, not easy to switch between two children. You have to keep getting them in and out of the seat to make sure it fits properly before getting baby fully buckled in. This could be a concern with this carrier, however, typically, the webbing will get a little indention so if you’re switching between wearing a toddler and an infant, you likely will be able to set the carrier pretty quickly based on the webbing “memory.” She also thought that it would be a great idea to have a different texture (somewhat like braille) on the different tabs so you know which one you’re adjusting when reaching behind you.

The carrier was really comfortable. Her baby prefers front carries so she didn’t try a back carry. He settled in well to the carrier and enjoyed snuggling with his mama. Elly did notice that she had a little bit of a pressure point under her arms, especially when her arms were tight to her body. This is one common complaint that some parents have when using a soft structure carrier.

Erynne M. and her 7-week-old daughter.
This sweet little baby weighs 13 lbs 15 oz:

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Erynne enjoyed putting her little squishy baby into the Boba X. She said, “It feels like I’m wearing nothing.” She had previously mentioned that she had tried an Ergo with one of her other kids. The Ergo had burned her out on using a soft structure carrier. She was optimistic trying the Boba. Erynne has shorter arms and with the webbing being stiff, she had some difficulty adjusting the carrier. Once we got it adjusted on her, though, it was really comfortable. She mentioned the only pressure point she felt was her baby’s head against her body.

As a Certified Babywearing Educator, my main comment was that her baby fit very well into the carrier. We didn’t have to tighten the straps all the way down to make the panel as small as it could go. The placement of the hood in the pocket helps add some extra support to her baby’s neck. We adjusted the width down as far as it could go and it fit this baby really well. This carrier certainly has some sleepy dust. Baby settled right in for a nap in the carrier.

Emily H. and almost 3-week-old son.
This sweet baby boy has a twin sister who napped while we played. He weighs 7 lb 8 oz:

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Emily is a busy mom with 4 children, including newborn twins. Her newborn daughter was sleeping while we played. Her adorable baby boy was happy to help us try out the Boba X. While the carrier felt comfortable and fit her body well, she commented that her son seemed a little too low in it. I agree. She likes the ease of a soft structure carrier. “Wovens and ring slings have scared me a little with the learning curve.” She didn’t feel any pressure points while wearing this carrier.

As a Certified Babywearing Educator, I believe that even adjusted all the way down, the panel was a little too wide for her infant. I believe when he’s just a couple more pounds and a couple inches taller, he will fit in this carrier great.

 

Bottom line on fit: As tiny as newborns are, it’s hard to fit a carrier to every tiny newborn through long-legged toddler. As for my asterisk earlier, I believe this carrier would fit a 9-10 lb newborn quite possibly. I would suggest checking for knee to knee support. Every baby is built a little bit differently. If this baby’s legs were just a little longer, he would have had wonderful knee to knee support. If you want to use this carrier birth to 45 lbs, I would suggest keeping an eye on the fit for both the height of the body of the carrier and the panel width. If it doesn’t fit well when baby’s BRAND NEW, give it another week or two. I may not call this a full birth through toddler carrier but it’s much closer than any other soft structure carrier that I’ve worked with putting a newborn in. The carrier didn’t gap from baby’s neck and gave great support. The Boba 4G seemed to fit and support baby’s neck better from about 2-3 months on. I believe this carrier will fit many babies from about 2-3 weeks on but I encourage you to try it with your newborn! I’d love to hear your experience with this carrier!

 

 

*For full disclosure I am a Boba Ambassador. I received this new Boba X carrier free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I became a Boba Ambassador because I love their products. They send me free products to review from time to time but I do not receive any other compensation from them. I like to offer my honest opinion and free products do not influence my views*

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Wearing a Toddler or Preschooler

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This post continues the ages and stages babywearing series.  If you would like to learn more about newborn babywearing, wearing an infant until they’re able to sit up on their own, or wearing an older infant in to toddlerhood check out my earlier posts.

Babywearing in to toddlerhood and beyond is a great way to bond with your child.  It’s also a good way to build your core muscles.  Newly walking legs get tired easily.  When you can grab a carrier and put your child up on your back it can save everyone’s sanity when you are on vacation, visiting a theme park, hiking, at a festival, and more.  Babywearing also allows you to be able to go to places that strollers aren’t permitted and allows your child to interact more closely with you and the world on your eye level.

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Babywearing while hiking on the Oregon coast.  Woven wraps are warmer for hikes than a soft structure carrier but can be more supportive as well.

I have children who have had sensory defensive issues (the part of sensory processing disorder that makes them really want to push away/not participate in highly sensory situations).  We really enjoy going to festivals.

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My middle son (pictured above) enjoyed the people but didn’t enjoy the noises.  Wearing him helped him be able to interact on a level he was comfortable as well as receive the calming sensation of being wrapped snuggly (like a big hug as my children have described babywearing when they’ve had more words). My oldest son was extremely shy.  Babywearing allowed him to turn his head in to me when he didn’t want to interact and people were more respective of his space when I was wearing him (though not always but it was easier for me to tell he needed a break).

Babywearing children with special circumstances and needs can be extremely helpful for their mental and emotional well-being as well as yours (being able to provide the extra snuggles which also helps release oxytocin which soothes and promotes bonding).

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Babywearing (toddler wearing) can be very soothing when your child is upset or hurt

Toddler wearing is also very helpful to soothe bumps and bruises and fits by offering additional comfort (while being a little easier on your body and arms than holding in arms when baby begins growing larger and heavier).  Toddlers are also notorious for falling asleep in the car RIGHT before you reach your destination.  Babywearing can be a great way to help meet your child’s needs (and allow them to continue sleeping) and your needs to make it on time to your appointments!

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Toddlers are notorious for falling asleep right before you reach your destination!

Babywearing can also be a great way to keep little curious hands out of danger but caution should always be taken to watch what those hands are grabbing while you are wearing baby on your back.  This little gal (below) had recently split her head open.  She goes to a lot of conferences and events with me.  Babywearing has helped me to keep her calm while I’m working and also keep her safe too.

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So what carriers are good for toddlers and preschoolers?

It’s important to keep YOUR child’s needs in mind.  After baby is 2+ the spread squat positioning isn’t quite as important but it’s the normal position for the hips so best practices are that you continue to support that position.  If baby has hip dysplasia or is at higher risk that position is very important to support. It’s important to counsel with your doctor and physical therapist if your child has special circumstances or needs so that you may be able to meet those as well as caring for their medical situations.

  • Woven wraps can always support that position through spreading the wrap to hit knee to knee. Try different lengths-shorter wraps won’t be quite as supportive (using fewer passes over baby) but may be quicker to wrap if your child likes to get up and down a lot.  Shorter wraps are also easier to tuck in a diaper bag or even in your stroller if you go back and forth between wearing and baby strolling.
  • Soft structure carriers and more structured carriers (like mei tais) may not support this position anymore because likely the panel isn’t wide enough any longer unless you purchase a toddler or preschooler specific carrier or one with stirrups (such as the Boba carrier).  Also, it’s likely at this stage that your child has outgrown the height of the panel as well.  If it doesn’t reach the base of their arms (where their arm meets their body) or higher up on their back the carrier is not considered tall enough any longer.  There is a fall and lean back risk even if your child usually does not lean backwards.

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    This is the first time that my oldest “made cookies” with me.  Babywearing allowed me to mix cookies while keeping him secure in a new environment he hadn’t been in before.

  • Ring slings may be ok for a few minutes here and there but many parents find that their back will get really tired using one for more than a few minutes.
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Babywearing is great for all!  Even Yoda! (This is a meme that is often passed around online.  I don’t have a photo credit but if you know who made it I would love to credit them!)

I teach best practices for positioning for all babies because suboptimal positioning puts baby at risk for possible hip/spine issues down the road.  Like how drinking alcohol doesn’t ALWAYS cause liver disease or smoking doesn’t ALWAYS cause lung cancer the benefits and risks should be weighed when making decisions.  The risk is there and I recommend minimizing that risk.

I am a Boba Ambassador.  I do not receive payment from Boba but will occasionally receive new products and updates from time to time.  I am a Boba Ambassador because I believe in their products.  For more information about this as well my other disclosures please visit this page.

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on babywearing help please contact me or visit my website.

What is your favorite carrier for a toddler or preschooler?

How to Find Babywearing Support

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We’re going to talk about babywearing support.  There are two types of babywearing support-volunteer support from a babywearing group leader, and paid support from a babywearing educator.  I have broken down the differences in this post and I highly encourage everyone to read it to understand why there’s a difference.

I started a babywearing group in Ogden, Utah when my son was about a year old mostly to find like minded moms to bond with.  It didn’t really get off the ground until another awesome like minded mom came in and started really organizing things (she knew other babywearing parents at that time, I didn’t).  I really enjoyed the group for a few months before we moved to Oregon for my husband to attend graduate school.  Less than a year after we moved I knew I really needed to create a support group in my new community and I better knew how to get it off the ground.  I started Corvallis Babywearers in May 2012.  I had seen some dangerous babywearing practices and heard from a lot of families that they had wished they’d been able to babywear but the two options that they could purchase locally didn’t work well for them and they didn’t know there were other options available.  I was able to work in my community until we moved after my husband graduated last August.  There are still some wonderful women that are keeping the group going which I’m so happy about because it was a great passion of mine and I put a lot of work in to it.

While we lived in Oregon I had the opportunity (in March 2014) to attend the Babywearing Institute on one of our trips back to visit family in Utah.  I was taught by Beate, the founder of the Babywearing Institute, who has been babywearing since she lived in Germany and wrapped her siblings.  She and her husband own Storchenwiege which makes beautiful German-style woven wraps.  They also own the online shop, Children’s Needs.  I was surprised how much I learned and different wrapping techniques.  I also learned better practices for how to teach babywearing.  I used the skills in my babywearing group but also started offering babywearing consultations until we moved.  I took a short break while we got settled and I again offer babywearing consultations.

I love both types of support and both types will help you wear your baby.  There are advantages to having a paid consultation and there are advantages to a support group.  I would like to share some tools to help you find local support.

Here are some tools to help you find a babywearing group or online support:

  • Babywearing International (not all babywearing groups are affiliated with BWI and are still awesome groups so be sure to check out several tools to see all the groups available in your area).
  • Online baby carrier retailers with listings or look up tools:
  • The Babywearer (Online forum with a lot of babywearing information.  There are also local boards within this forum.  You have to register to view forums but it’s free!)
  • Baby Center (online support)
  • Facebook (do a search of common terms that you call your area and babywearing.  There are also online groups such as Babywearing 102)

Here are some tools to help you find a local educator:

A special note on YouTube. You can learn to do a lot of things on YouTube.  Some can be dangerous and some can show not-as-optimal positioning.  It’s important to learn what is optimal positioning before scouring YouTube for videos.  I have compiled many babywearing videos on my YouTube channel.  You can check out my babywearing playlists here.

Where is your favorite place to go for online babywearing support?

I am a Certified Babywearing Educator and a Lactation Educator.  I offer babywearing and breastfeeding classes and consultations in the Oklahoma City, Mustang, and Yukon areas in Oklahoma.  If you are interested in learning more you can contact me or visit my website.