Sling Review: the stretchies - Kari-Me vs Close Caboo

When I was pregnant with Annika I knew I wanted to try babywearing, but I didn't realise just how much of a godsend a length of fabric with a few stitches in could be. Sure, I love my pram, but living in London and our total lack of a car means Annika and I walk or catch public transport everywhere. And a shockingly large part of London's transport network is not step-free. 

Enter the sling. I did a TONNE of research before diving into the world of babywearing. I knew I wanted something stretchy for when she was tiny, and something more structured for when she got bigger. It turns out neither of my initial selections worked out for us, but more on that later. 

First up - the stretchy. I was coveting a Moby for almost all of my pregnancy, but I'd already splurged on an Ergo Baby 360, plus a whole load of other baby guff, so the Moby's price tag wasn't quite to my liking. I could have bought one second hand, but there are a lot of Moby fakes out there and I didn't want to take that risk. Then I saw a second-hand Kari-Me for sale, figured it was close enough, and bought it. Here we are - tired Mama and teeny baby Annika with our Kari-Me (note: this is our first attempt at wrapping, so she's a little lower than she should be). 

Now, from my limited experience, baby wearing is a pretty personal thing. So what worked for me, might not work for you, and vice versa. Sadly, the Kari-Me didn't work for me. 

You see, the Moby is a stretchy, but the fabric only stretches one way, the Kari-Me stretches both ways (the warp and weft? GCSE textiles is lingering in my memory somewhere) and it was just too stretchy for us. Even though Annika was only a little tiddler when I first put her in it (around 7.5-8lb as she lost a fair bit post birth), she felt like she was bouncing around too much in there and I ended up supporting her with my hand, which sort of...negated the point of having a sling. 

So I sold on my Kari-Me and bought a second-hand Close Caboo (NB. I have the original organic kind, not the NCT one which, though lighter, is rumoured to not be as supportive). Here we are, enjoying our Caboo: 

I'll tell you straight off, I LOVED it. The Caboo comes in two pieces - a fabric 'X' which is adjusted with two rings, and an outer 'wrap' layer which you tie over the top of the cross part and then cinch in at the bottom with a drawstring. The outer layer also turns inside out to form a bag for transporting the sling, which is a nice, of slightly unnecessary bonus. The Caboo so much easier to put on that a traditional, all-in-one stretchy, and much easier to adjust - if I hadn't tied the Kari-Me tight enough, I had to take it off and start again; with the Caboo, I could just pull the rings tighter, or re-tie the outer layer. 

Caboo cons? There aren't really any that I encountered, other than it can be a little warm, so make sure you adhere to safe baby wearing guidance and remember that the Caboo counts as at least two to three layers, so no need for a cardigan/coat on baba underneath. I dressed Annika (in winter) in a normal outfit of short sleeved vest, then either long sleeved vest and leggings or a babygro, then popped her in the sling, and wore my coat on top, around both of us, if it was cold. The only other downside is that while the Caboo is supposed to fit babies up to 32lb, once Annika hit about 15lb I found it wasn't as comfortable, but that may be an issue with my slightly dodgy back more than anything else! 

Verdict: the Close Caboo won for me, hands down. I loved it and was pretty sad when I packed it away and put it up in the loft. I can't wait to use it again for baby no2! 

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