I bought this carrier before my daughter was born as I thought it would be useful for walking without having to use the buggy, and for carrying her around if she would not settle. I have found that I have used it much less than I anticipated, although it has been useful in certain situations. The carrier can be used on your front, either facing you for young babies, and facing outwards for older babies. It can also be used on your back when the child is older and there is a breastfeeding position, but I have never needed to try this.
The carrier has wide padded straps, which are adjustable and do up with plastic clips. There is a padded waist strap, with a small zipped pocket for very small items. They adjust fairly easily by pulling the straps, but can't be done whilst the child is in the carrier without help, so you need to work out the right settings and keep them there. This is difficult if the carrier is used by more than one person as it has to be adjusted each time.
It is easier to get the child into the carrier with someone else to help you, as you can put it on, stand up and they can put the child into the carrier and hold then whilst you do it up. By yourself, you have to sit down and do the straps up around the child, with them sitting on your lap. This is not too difficult unless they are very wiggly! Doing up the strap behind the baby's head is quite tricky as you have to hold the baby secure, whilst threading the strap through a loop and doing it up with one hand.
I find the carrier uncomfortable to use for anything other than very short periods and so have not got much use out of it. At 8 stone I am not that strong but found that even when my baby was still quite small (around 2-3 months) she sat too low down and so the carrier pulled on my neck and shoulders. I could not get the waist strap tight enough so that the weight was on my waist rather than my shoulders. I could feel my back and neck aching after using it for any length of time and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to go a walk with it on. My husband has got more use out of it than I have and it has been useful in situations when we couldn't use a buggy, such as visiting National trust houses.
My daughter has always seemed happy to be carried in it. As a young baby she would go to sleep in it and seemed comforted to be close to me. Now she is older she enjoys looking outwards at what is going on. I would not want to use the carrier regularly as the weight rests on her spine with her legs dangling down rather than supporting her hips with legs outwards, which is supposed to be a better position to be carried in.
We bought this carrier as it was the only one on the market to offer front and back carrying capability. However, after using it a few times, we realised why no-one else has done it - IT DOESN'T WORK! The problem is that the baby sits far too low, whether front or back mounted, and in fact nearly strangled me with the cross strap that is supposed to go across your chest!! The instructions are woefully inadequate and offer no suggestions as to how to solve such problems. Having tried the full range of adjustment available, we gave up and returned it. We'll get the highly recommended Baby Bjorn carrier for front carrying, and a frame carrier for back mounting once our baby reaches 6 months.
This one of two items (the other the swing I also wrote about) that I could not have survived the first few weeks of motherhood without. Highly rated in baby magazines I can see why, saying that though I have found a few things that caused me problems. It is suitable from birth as a front facing carrier and this is where my daughter spent quite a lot of time as a new born. She refused to be put down for a minute as a new born and so when she wasn’t in her pram or swing she spent a great deal of time in here. I took a long time to heal after her birth but this caused me no additional problems at all. It has a head rest for your newborn, additional support for your baby’s back and I found it both comfortable to wear and easy to put on. Just doing my normal housework with Thai in it sent her right off to sleep giving me a break (at least until I stopped!). You can use it front facing once your child has full support of it’s own head or even on your back. I found the back the most comfortable option a the weight of her as a bigger baby didn’t pull me forward all the time, but I needed someone to put her in and take her out so can’t be used if you are alone. I just could not get to grips with the breastfeeding position at all, I just found it annoying. It also comes with an outer cover to keep your baby warm in the winter. It’s easy to attach but I found it left large gaps at either side that needed tucking in but it does have a hood which I liked. One thing I found very useful is that you can remove it without the need to remove your baby, great if you come in from a walk and you baby is sound asleep because there is no need to wake them. I liked the thick, soft material and the padded shoulder straps. Suitable for babies up to 1 year or 9.5kg.
The Verona from Tomy is not a cheap carrier at £50 but a wonderfully comfortable and versatile one. It suits babies from newborn to one year old (I'd dispute the older age group) and allows them to be carried in many different ways eg, facing mum/dad, facing away etc. It's well padded with a head nest and.. wonderfully.. a little sicky strip which can be removed and washed. It has a complex strapping system which ties around the back and the waist but for baby, it has adjustable straps to give them a little more room as they grow. My two gripes regarding this carrier are:- 1. It's very difficult to get baby in and at the same time, strap on to yourself. 2. It kills your shoulders. Although the shoulder pads look good and comfy, I found that even a three month old hurt my shoulders. This is probably a simple design fault and typical of most carriers.