There are so many benefits to having your child in a baby carrier; for one thing we know that newborns are not designed, physically or mentally to be alone. And while cots, pushchairs and Moses baskets are all perfectly safe to have your little one in, they do not provide the closeness and intimacy that a baby carrier can provide.
After searching for ten weeks, my husband and I still hadn’t found the perfect carrier for our newborn son Ru. We started out with a classic Baby Bjorn and then a Mamas and Papas Comfort Carrier but didn’t feel that either met our needs. It was a bit frustrating, and the search was made even more difficult by a considerable pain in my post C-section back.
So when we came across the Britot Baby Carrier we could sympathies with its creators, London parents Mark and Sue who, after finding that none of the slings in the shops suited their first son William’s needs, decided to invent one of their own.
The result is a hybrid carrier designed to accommodate children weighing up to 20kg in two front-facing positions.
Despite being a fairly new product on the market, the baby carrier seems to have garnered quite a few fans and has even been named the Best Front Carrier of 2014 by Prima Baby & Pregnancy magazine.
What’s in the box?
- Britot carrier
Any additional extras?
Simplicity is key with the Britot so don’t expect any surprises when you open the package. It contains a 100% cotton carrier in current colour options black, brown or red, and an easy-to-follow 12-page booklet with product info and instructions. It’s all you need!
What does it feel like carrying your newborn in the sling?
When I tried the clingy fabric of the Britot for the first time and held Ru so close he almost felt swaddled, I loved it. I was even able to bend forward to give him a reassuring kiss on the head, which was a big thing for me, considering the back pain I have been experiencing since the C-section.
How do you put the Britot sling on?
Putting on the Britot on is actually really easy. It became quick and instinctive after just a couple of wears. The Britot merges the closeness of traditional fabric slings (without the fiddly lengths of fabric to wrap around) with the comfort and shoulder-saving hip support of structured packs (minus the feeling you’re off on a day trip in the alps).
Supplied in one piece, it has four main elements; two long shoulder straps, a padded waist belt, and a cover section that works to secure baby in place.
It’s great that this comes attached to the belt as it’s vital that you can put your hand on it at just the right moment. Britot’s success lies with two D rings with which the fabric straps attach to the waist belt.
These do require re-adjustment each time someone new wears the sling but the good news is that’s mostly done before the child is wriggling in it, and of course if its intended to be worn by one parent (or if you’re both the same size) then barring minor adjustments as baby grows, setting up is a one-time thing.
How comfortable was it for baby Ru?
I found it easier to place a squirming Ru into the Britot sling than into other carriers I had used. But it still took a good few tries and few tears from him before I felt I was doing it exactly right (watching yourself in the mirror helps a lot).
Once his legs were in place, however, and I fanned the soft cotton fabric out to support his back, he quickly adjusted and was as happy as Larry.
At first I nestled his head under the cotton on one side to support him, as directed. This position was also brilliant when bending forward time and again to take shopping out of a pram. As he’s gained head control though, this extra precaution has seemed less necessary.
Saying that, all carriers require care to be taken when placing your baby inside, you do need regular checks to ensure he or she is sitting comfortably, at the right height, and hasn’t slipped.
I found Ru sat securely in the Britot as long as I was careful to spread the fabric straps under his bum and over his shoulders at the outset. I also kept a hand gently on his head as he’s just learning how to control his head.
How comfortable was it for you?
I’d just about given up hope of using a front-facing carrier because each time I tried, I’d soon be groaning and moaning when it exacerbated a pre-existing pain in my back. But the cleverly designed Britot changed all that. The strong padded waist belt is ergonomic, helping spread the weight load to your hips, improving your posture and keeping your back straight.
And the fabric that envelops the baby, although strong, is extremely lightweight.
I am a little wary that as Ru becomes heavier the weight distribution will challenge me more, but at nearly 12lbs it’s so far so good. And I’ve never stopped carrying him because I’ve felt discomfort.
Did using the carrier change your daily habits?
Yes, using a carrier gives me, as a new mum so much freedom. It allows you to push a toddler’s buggy while keeping her newborn close to your heart.
I never knew using both hands when out and about would become such a luxury, as did hopping off trains without planning my journeys far in advance.
But with the Britot we went into shops that seemed out-of bounds with a chunky pram. I now realise that it’s super-important to get a carrier you are comfortable with using day-in, day out.
The only thing is, at under four months it’s recommended we use the facing-in position, so Ru usually wakes up desperate to feed!
How is the Britot when out and about?
It’s great, the attached outer layer gives added security and extra warmth – great in the winter but watch out for overheating in a hot summer.
However, we did have a hairy moment when we were caught a couple of blocks from home in a thundery shower. As a simple carrier, it lacks the rain canopy etc supplied with some up-market models.
This wasn’t something I gave any thought to ’til the heavens opened, but the fabric straps kept their shape even when uncomfortably wet (as were the rest of my clothes).
Does it work well and a front and back facing carrier?
Yes, we love the in-facing position, the clincher is that every time I’ve used the Britot sling Ru’s fallen asleep within the first five minutes. This worked both around the house and out and about – a great result!
No doubt we’ll use the outward facing position more as Ru becomes a more inquisitive child.
What about washing it?
Laundering the Britot is as easy as washing any t-shirt, wash it at 40 degrees in your home machine.
It’s best to pop it into a mesh laundry bag or old pillowcase to keep the long fabric lengths, waist clip and front D rings at bay.
Is it value for money?
As a startup product its available online at www.britot.co.uk and priced at £64.99. It’s a fair mid-market price for something that lacks some of the ‘whistles and bells’ options of some structured carriers. However the Britot is a joy to use as it does what it sets out to do exceptionally well.
Made For Mums verdict?
The Britot’s hybrid features impressed me; it fills an important gap in the market. True, it won’t take your youngster past toddler years like some carriers but it’s well made, sturdy, and it certainly made my life with a baby much easier to negotiate.
We’re happy and, at least for a little while each day, hands-free. Simplicity, safety and comfort were top of my list of non-negotiable must-haves and I’m happy to say that, worn correctly, the Britot delivers all.