We were recently given the opportunity to take part in the Suppori Memoirs project and road tested the carrier over a three week period. For your chance to WIN a free suppori, read on!!!
When I first saw the Suppori, I quickly realised it isn't a baby carrier as I would normally define one. This isn't a snuggly wrap for a newborn and it isn't a place for naps on the go. What it is though, is a support for hip carrying older babies and toddlers and that appealed to me.
As a 50 year old grandmother with chronic back, pelvic, shoulder and neck issues – I see a chiropractor twice a week! – I need to be very careful with how I use my body. Even five minutes of carrying seven-month old Charlie on my hip can throw my pelvis out of line and leave me in pain until the chiropractor or physio put it back again. So anything that helps me avoid that gets a thumb’s up!
|At The Toy Library|
|At the supermarket|
The other appealing feature is its obvious water-friendly design. This was going to be fine in and around some of our favourite places to be – the beach, the local aquatic centre and the beautiful hot springs not far from home. Wearing lycra and carrying someone else wearing lycra on your hip is a challenge I well-remember from my days with my own babies!
Working out which size Suppori, to order was important and I did really well – when it arrived, I was confident I had the right fit. What I didn't count on was my daughter being just a little larger than I – the sling we had thought to share was too small for her. Luckily, Suppori, were exhibiting at the Pregnancy, Babies and Children’s Expo that same week and we were able to get her fitted in person. We organised for her to get the next size up but that turned out to be a little too big! I emailed and was told:
“We have experienced 'mid' sized people. There is approx. 5cm difference between sizes so it is possible. With the 2L, you could tuck the sling deep under bub getting the sling right up to her knee area and then right up her back. This could help. Yes, it is important to get the correct size and for those who do it is described as 'prefect' but such a shame for the very few who don't.”
We did as suggested and Kaitlyn was able to use the carrier with Charlie. There is a bit more of a gap between their bodies than with mine and Charlie’s.
I love the way the Suppori, folds up to about the size of my phone, meaning I can keep it in my handbag – our family sling library is split between Kaitlyn’s car and mine but occasionally we make the wrong call and just take the pram, without adding a carrier. Inevitably, Charlie doesn't want to miss out on the action – she loves seeing what we are doing – and she ends up in our arms. Whilst I love to carry her, my back doesn't so having the Suppori handy means everyone is happy.
The Suppori, really came into its own at the swimming pool, and I think water is what sets it apart from other carriers. I found it easy to get on and off in the water, meaning we didn't need to exit the pool to do so. And Charlie loved being in it! We spent a good two hours at the aquatic centre, with Kaitlyn taking time out to have a spa while I walked in the warm-water pool with Charlie happily splashing and watching everyone else!
Wearing the Suppori, correctly takes some focus – you need to position the discreet strip in the fabric centrally over the spinal curve of the baby and correspondingly, on your own shoulder. Swinging the baby just that bit further round on your side takes practice and a helpful second pair of eyes until you work it out. Once there, you can make sure the fabric is going “knee to knee” to create a good seat and stretch the fabric right up the back: on Charlie, it goes to around her arm-pits. With the fabric correctly cupped over your shoulder, there is no digging in and the weight is balanced correctly – I was not tipping my opposite hip out to counter-balance, so my spine remained straight.
We attracted lots of interest when we had the Suppori, in action – people wanted to know what it is and where did we get it. This was especially so when we spent a day at the hot springs: other visitors were impressed. We could easily go from pool to pool and safely hold her without fear she would slip from our arms.
Not everyone found the Suppori, right for them: some of the mums in our babywearing group were not sure it would suit. In a straight comparison with alternatives like a ring sling, the Suppori, comes off second best – although you can have hands-free moments, this is not a completely hands-free carrier. The fabric does not reach as high up the baby’s back as most and it would be completely unsuitable for a baby without good torso strength. This is not a carrier to lull your baby off to sleep or to use for long carries. You need to get the position right – not always easy with a wriggling child. If you don’t get enough fabric under their bottom, you won’t get the knee-to-knee position, key to the desired “M” shape. Some babies who are “leg-straighteners” will need frequent adjusting. I wonder if some of the issues people have mentioned stem from the fact this is a Japanese product, designed for a different body shape to ours. I think the width of the seat fabric could be extended – especially for cloth-nappy wearers like Charlie.
Overall, I think the Suppori, is a great alternative to carrying on the hip. It is ideal in and around water and for short carries at home or out & about. Anyone only wanting/needing to carry an older baby or toddler occasionally will find this meets their needs. Those who practice babywearing on a frequent or constant basis, parents with babies under six months and those who use a carrier for more than short walks will find the Suppori won’t be for them. As always, it comes down to different options for different circumstances.
To enter, simply comment below why you love babywearing! Entries close midnight December 15th and a winner will be announced on Monday December 16th. Ans if you don't win, stay tuned for a great discount offer!