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My husband and I have always enjoyed getting out into the hills or along the coast and walking when the weather is at least dry. We knew before our daughter was born, we weren't going to be able to do this kind of walking with a buggy, and when our daughter was younger, we were able to take her in our chicco baby carrier. SHe has long outgrown this and my husband just didn't take well to my Babyhawk Mei tai, so we started looking around for a proper baby carrier for the back, that me and my husband could use, but more so the latter.
A friend suggested to me the brand Little Life, who I had seen online, and seemed to be a middle of the road priced baby carrier, compared to some of the very high prices you can pay for more top end baby carriers. WIthin this brand, there is a huge variety as well, so it is important to do your homework in advance, so you decide how luxurious/compact/lightweight you wish your carrier to be, and obviously this in turn has an effect on the price. We decided in the end, we didn't need the top of the range, nor did we want something too compact that limited us in how long we could comfortably carry our daughter around, so we opted for Little Life Cross Country S2, which costs in and around £130, but we managed to get at just over £100, which is a lot of money, but given that we have had this for over a month now, and we have had it out every weekend and any other free time we have, I think we will get our money's worth. It is also worth noting that the Little Life carriers come with a lifetime warranty, which is a pretty good advertisement for the brand and reassurance when you are spending that kind of money.
This carrier is designed to carry children up to a maximum of 44lbs, so I would be hoping we might get a couple more years out of this carrier with our daughter, before she gets too heavy for it. This carrier is really only suitable however for babies from about 6 months. There are certain carriers within the LittleLife range which are designed for all day usage, whereas this is designed for short days in the country or city excursions, and this particular one states that it is 'lightweight, tough and comfortable' which is really what we want.
There are some great design elements to this carrier that make it an easy to use, comfortable and safe carrier. First of all, there is an anchor point, when you can put one foot in to hold the carrier steady on the ground when you are putting your child in and out, without fear of it tipping. It means there is no need for two people to be there, you can manage to get a child in and out yourself very very easily.
Secondly, there is a great sized pocket that runs all the length of the bottom of the carrier. Within this pocket, we have been able to put three lightweight coats, three drinks, as well as other items within any bother. It is also a great place to carry nappies, snacks and wipes when out and about, meaning you don't' need to carry added bags. There is also another small pocket for extras, but we haven't even needed to use this as yet.
The child seat of this carrier has been shaped specifically to give your child the most comfortable ride. As part of the carrier there is a soft protection pad, that baby can rest their chin on and if they fall asleep they can fall onto comfortably, which my daughter has done on a few occasions. When they are a little older, you can buy another snooze pillow that can offer older children comfort should they fall asleep with their head leaning back, so their head is always supported. This can also act as a dribble pad for younger children which can also be washed, which is very handy.
Thirdly, there are little loops at the side of the carrier where you can attach (securely) some of your babies favourite toys or teethers so they can fiddle with these when you are out and about. My daughter always likes to have something to fiddle with or chew on, so this is a great thing for her.
My only reservation with this carrier before we got it, was how I would cope with the weight on my back, and although my husband is the chief wearer of this carrier when out and about, I have worn it several times with my daughter in it, and I have been very surprised at just how lightweight it feels when on. The frame is light but robust which helps enormously, but the hip belt taking the bulk of the weight. The shoulder straps are thick and comfortable balancing out the weight as well, and a further strap across the chest to help keep the carrier in place. Considering the weight of my nine month old daughter, who isn't a small baby, it is quite amazing how easy this carrier is to wear. We have been able to go for one or two hour walks with our daughter, which is just enough for her, and neither of us has reason to complain of any discomfort when wearing this carrier.
In terms of enjoyment for my daughter, she absolutely LOVES this carrier. From the first moment we put her in it and took her around the house, just to get us and her used to it, she was beaming. I think the fact that she is up so high, she can see everything and since she is so nosy she loves this. When we are out walking, she can touch the branches of the trees that are hanging down low and she giggles and giggles. SHe has never once moaned or complained when in this sling, even when she is teething and not in the best of moods, this helps lift her mood.
So all in all, despite the high price tag, this is well worth it as a baby carrier if you like getting out and about and can't be bothered being restricted with a buggy. We can literally go anywhere with this carrier and we don't have to find paths to walk on, or worry about whether a buggy would get through a crowd of people. I am so glad we purchased this and given the amount of use it has already got, we definitely will be getting our money's worth!
Lightweight, tough and comfortable to wear, the Cross Country S2 is perfect for days in the country and city excursions. It incorporates the patented Anchor Point, top and side grab handles, reflective piping, toy loops, soft face protection pad and anatomically shaped child seat. In addition, the carrier uses a Comfort-Adjust backsystem to ensure comfort and stability. Sun & Shower Canopy is included. FEATURES: Anatomically shaped child seat Soft face protection pad (removable) Toy loops for attaching items that may get lost Small front pocket for drinks and snacks Reflective piping for increased visibility Large base pocket for accessories etc. Top & side grab handles to ease lifting Pivoting waistbelt for added mobility Anchor Point for stability Comfort-Adjust backsystem Sun/Shower Canopy included Complies to BS EN 13209-1: 2004 DIMENSIONS: Weight: 2.5 Kg Maximum Weight Load: 20 Kg Dimensions: 26 (w) x 28 (d) x 70(h) cm Suitable for Ages: 6 months - 3 years