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Terrible!! I purchased this for my 1 month old son, I knew I wouldn't need a carrier often and didn't want to spend a fortune. I wanted it so I could carry on with some light housework or go for short walks without having to assemble the pram.
The description of the carrier promised comfort for both mother and baby, it boasted about back support for mum, a dribble bib, good support for baby, comfortable shoulder straps for mum and adjustable leg straps for bambino. From the description I thought bingo!
However, the baby start carrier did not deliver at all. My son weighed approx. 10lbs when I attempted to use it. I found it quite difficult to position him in the carrier and the instructions must have been written for a baby who didn't wiggle or give out when manoeuvred into awkward positions. My son hated it!!
However I persevered (he didn't much like being manhandled anyway and even getting undressed seemed to annoy him).
When I finally felt like he was safe and comfortable in the carrier I went for a little dander around the house after 5 minutes I found it a massive drag, the shoulder straps where not comfortable and I kept feeling like they could slip off despite having adjusted them a number of times, I also felt like I was carrying a sack of potatoes around with me.. heavy and laborious, not comfortable at all.
We tried it out several times my partner and I, he found it a little more comfortable but hated using it because our son clearly wasn't!
All in all.. cheap but not cheerful, it felt uncomfortable and unsafe.
When I was expecting my twin boys the most popular comment/ joke was that Mr Lools and I were going to have our hands full and at times that has proved to literally be the case. Being first time parents Mr Lools and I were totally clueless over any baby equipment and purchased most of our baby items based on recommendations from friends, family and often being a little naïve when reading product descriptions. We decided in before our boys were born that a baby carrier was a good idea and Mr Lools was particularly keen on "wearing" a baby and actually approached buying a baby carrier with some enthusiasm however was seduced by the bargain baby carrier he found in Argos which is how we came about purchasing the BabyStart baby Carrier.
***BabyStart Baby Carrier***
The BabyStart Baby Carrier is a structured inward or outward facing baby carrier. The carrier is made from black and grey material which has padded shoulder straps, lumbar support and adjustable leg straps. The carrier also comes with a "dribble bib" which is detachable to keep the carrier clean.
BabyStart state that the carrier is suitable to use from birth as an inward facing carrier. It is suitable to use for babies as an outward facing carrier from 3 months old up to 9kg (which BabyStart give a guideline of between 9-12 months).
The carrier is made from a machine washable cover which is 100% Polyester. The inside of the carrier is made from polyester and polyurethane foam filling.
The BabyStart Baby Carrier is available from Argos and Amazon. It is priced at £19.99 which when we bought the baby carrier Mr Lools and I thought was a bargain as it is considerably lower in price than many other brands of structured baby carrier which retail at around £80. However on reflection and experience there was a very clear reason why this carrier was so cheap.
My boys were particularly small and although the carrier states from birth on the outer packaging (with no lower weight limit), when you read the instructions that come with the carrier it states not to be used for babies under 7lbs 7. My boys didn't reach this age until around 9 weeks old therefore we did not use the carrier until they were this age. When put into the carrier my boys were developing some neck control and because we had to use the BabyStart Carrier as an inward facing carrier until the boys were over 5 months old they probably had more neck control than most babies who would be put into this position. Even though my boys could support their head I felt the carrier was particularly uncomfortable and unsuitable for a young baby (especially a newborn) because there is a complete lack of neck support on the carrier. The carrier reaches up behind a baby's head but the material isn't thick, padded or supportive enough and for small babies it is difficult to actually tighten the support so that this part of the carrier fits close enough to the baby's head. As a result a small babies head will be jilted around which is quite dangerous if you are on the move which is what the carrier is intended for.
The carrier states for use for babies over 3 months old as an outward carrier however this is size dependent. The carrier is quite long due to the "support" structure however this means for smaller babies even if they can support their head the support section may be too long for their head to fit over the top and if they are too small their face will be covered by the support section. My boys were smaller than average as they were born early but they could not actually fit into the carrier comfortably in the front facing position until they were 5 and a half month old.
Although I had a bad experience with the carrier and my boys were both smaller babies I have had friends with larger babies also have a bad experience and find the carrier particularly unsuitable because the side adjustment sections have limited movement. This means that for larger babies space wise you can't make the carrier pouch big enough and a lot of parent friends at the toddler group claimed that on babies that were slightly larger than average on the growth scales by six months old their children had outgrown the space inside the carrier despite being under the recommended weight range.
The main benefit Mr Lools and I hoped for from the BabyStart Baby Carrier was convenience. I was hoping that on days out it could mean that we only needed to take a single pushchair or when we taking only one baby at a time out we had the convenience of having our hands free. I did not find the BabyStart Baby Carrier to be a convenient product at all and looking back it actually caused more inconvenience to put on. Firstly you need to strap the product onto yourself using the buckle clips, Velcro and adjustable fastenings and adjust to size each time you wear. You then need to open the inside pouch of the carrier up, put your baby inside and then adjust the fastenings and fix the buckles up the side of the carrier to ensure your baby is in securely. This takes long enough when you have another adult helping as the person wearing the carrier can hold the baby in place and the other person can adjust the fastenings but when on your own it is very difficult.
I tried to do this on my own when my boys were facing inwards and for floppy newborns that have a lack of neck support this does not really work unless you lie on a bed with your child on your chest to support them and even then this took me 10 minutes to do and feel the carrier was secure. For older babies facing outwards if you put the carrier on when on your own you can sit with your child on your knee but personally I never felt confident and always felt that when fastening the buckles my sons could slip out of the carrier.
For a parent wearing this carrier I do not feel that even if the product is suitable for your baby it is very unlikely that the BabyStart Carrier will be comfortable for a parent/ adult to wear for long periods of time. The straps of the baby carrier claim to be padded however this padding is only very light and quite a poor quality. The straps of the carrier on the shoulder start digging in to your shoulders after around 15 minutes which I found particularly uncomfortable and my boys were probably only around 5kg at their heaviest when using this carrier. Therefore when carrying heavier babies especially those near the 9kg mark then I imagine the carrier would be even more uncomfortable to wear.
I'm very petite frame wise and I found that the carrier felt uncomfortable for someone to wear of a smaller size as the straps seemed to be better suited to someone with broader shoulders. As a result I felt the carrier did not sit right on the front of me and the position of the carrier when one of my boys was in it felt uncomfortable and not quite secure. Even though the carrier claims to have "lumbar support" I did not feel this sat in the right place on my back or gave me the full support I needed to carry around a baby on the front of me. I have used other brands of carrier of this style and find them a lot more supportive. Mr Lools is of an average size frame and height wise and the carrier did seem to fit his frame better. However after wearing the carrier for periods of half and hour he did feel that his back was aching slightly. Both Mr Lools and I are fit and healthy and have no problems with our back however the carrier did cause us some discomfort therefore I would advise those with back problems or previous back problems to steer well away from the BabyStart Baby Carrier.
On reflection and after using other types of baby carrier I personally feel for baby comfort and parent comfort structured baby carriers are not for us and I much prefer using a soft inward or outward facing baby wrap which is made from the same material as the soft sling type carriers but allows babies and toddlers to be carried in the same way as a structured baby carrier. Even so I do not feel the BabyStart Baby Carrier would have been right for us even if I had liked this type of carrier which is why I will not be using for baby number 3 when he or she arrives.
Durability wise the carrier did not perform badly however in all honesty it was not used as regularly as I would have like to so did not have to withstand long periods of wear. The carrier is easily wiped with a damp cloth for light stains and when put in the washing machine and dried over the radiator or on a washing line comes up in excellent condition without fading. I did find however when wearing the carrier that the cheap plastic feeling material the outer of the carrier was made from made me very hot and also my boys seemed to get hot when inside the carrier therefore for those wearing for long periods it may require washing frequently.
Even though I do not feel that the BabyStart Baby Carrier was the right type of baby carrier for our needs I think as a structured inwards or outward facing baby carrier it is a poor product which I would not recommend to other parents looking for this style of baby carrier.
The low price is personally the only positive I can find the product and at £19.99 it is considerably cheaper than other similar style baby carriers however the poor design and poor quality of the BabyStart carrier is the reason in my opinion why it is so cheap.
Although the carrier states that it is suitable to use as an inward facing product from birth I personally feel that the carrier does not give enough support for a newborn baby and heir head rolls back which personally stopped me from using the carrier. You can use as an outward facing carrier from 3 months old but for small babies like my boys the carrier is too high and the body support covers their face and body. Other parent friends who have owned this carrier with long or larger babies than average have criticised the BabyStart Carrier as being too small therefore it would seem this is a product for very "average" babies and therefore not for those at the smaller or larger end of the scale. The carrier is only suitable for use up to 9 months which is a lot younger than many other brands of baby carrier which are suitable to use for older toddlers too.
Not only is the carrier uncomfortable for a baby in my opinion but also for a parent wearing the carrier. I found it difficult to lift a baby in and out of the carrier without help which when on the go makes this a very awkward product to use. Secondly even when wearing the carrier with a reasonably light baby inside of it the straps are not very padded and dig into your shoulders therefore this is not a product I would recommend a parent or baby would like to use for long periods of time.