Connecta Baby Carrier review
In a nutshell
One of the most stylish baby carriers on the market, this versatile carrier is good for small and larger babies, but not the easiest to put on.
What we tested
- Comfort for baby
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Comfort for you
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Ease of use
3.0A star rating of 3.0 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
4.0A star rating of 4.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
3.5A star rating of 3.5 out of 5.
- Lots of pretty fabrics to choose from; cheaper than some other carriers, takes babies up to 24kg, very comfortable to wear, folds down to a small package for easy storage.
- The instructions are difficult to read, and three weeks in I'm still struggling to get baby onto my back without help.
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Carriers offer a hands-free way of carrying your baby, with the bonus of keeping your baby close and safe.
And that, coincidentally is the slogan of Connecta, the makers of this baby carrier.
Founded in 2011, the brand prides itself on making “the best UK Baby Carrier if not the best Baby Carrier in the universe!” What a statement to live up to.
Suitable from 3.5kg (from birth) up to toddlerhood, or 24kg (around 4 years) to be exact, the Connecta can be worn on your front or back and comes with an integrated sleep hood.
It fastens with buckles and has been constructed with ‘load-bearing’ thread.
I carried Alex – who is just under a year old, weighs 10.5kg and is very tall on my front in a Baby Bjorn original (which has no waist belt) until a couple of months ago when it started feeling too tight and too heavy.
But after a couple of months of fighting to get the pram on crowded buses and not going for walks in the woods, I was keen to get her back into a carrier or sling as soon as possible.
I wanted one with good weight distribution. And I wanted to be able to put her on my back so I can see again – as she is too tall to see past when I carry her on my front.
First impression of the Connecta Baby carrier?
When the Connecta arrived through the post it looked so simple I almost wondered if I could have made it myself.
It looks like flat piece of cloth with some straps attached. But it works. And it's very comfortable – once you've mastered getting it on.
You can buy this carrier from M&S or Connecta.
What’s it like to put the Connecta Baby carrier on?
I hate reading instructions at the best of times, and the instructions provided with the Connecta did nothing to win me over.
The photographs are tiny and the model is wearing a dark navy shirt under the black straps so you can't see a thing.
Three weeks after it arrived, I mastered the front carry but I'd only managed to get Alex on my back three times – with help.
Alex is still very young, she doesn't follow instructions and doesn't sit still for a minute.
So using a carrier that requires her to sit still while you fasten several different straps is challenging.
The only safe way to put her on is to put the carrier on the sofa, put her on the carrier, and then sit down in front of her very quickly before she crawls away.
Which is fine if you are starting your walk from your sofa, but more tricky when you drive or get the bus to the woods to go for a walk. There aren't a whole lot of sofa-like objects in the middle of the woods.
I've tried the “advanced back carry” once. This involves swinging her over your back whilst holding both straps over your head.
I managed to get her over, but I couldn't reach around to straighten the straps, and therefore couldn't tighten them, so she promptly pushed the left one off my shoulder and tried to climb out.
Which was a bit nerve-wracking since we were walking along a gorge with a steep drop on the side she was trying to climb out of.
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How is the Connecta as a back carrier?
I read an article recently that said that left-handed people hate trying new things, and I have to say that in my highly unscientific sample of one, that definitely applies to me.
It took me a while to pluck up the courage to put baby Alex on my back in the Connecta. And that moment only came because I was on holiday and I really wanted to carry her on my back so that I could go for a long walk and have my arms free.
The back carry is also fine, and very comfortable once you've got her safely strapped in in the right position. Which is easy enough if you start from a sofa, or if you've got a friend with you.
I think the back carry will be much easier when she's older, and able to follow instructions, rather than trying to crawl away all the time.
We went hiking on Dartmoor. I did a couple of hours up hill and down dale with her on my back and I felt like I could have carried on for a couple more hours. At 10.5kg she's not so heavy and the Connecta felt really comfortable.
How is the Connecta as a front carrier?
I have no trouble with the front carry, and the weight distribution there is good. As long as you get her up nice and high, she is light enough to wear for an hour or so quite happily.
However, if you’re planning on wearing a larger baby in the carrier while shopping it’s worth noting that your arms won't really be free because you can't reach around baby to do anything.
I wore her on my front to the supermarket in the Connecta and I couldn't reach around her to put things in the basket, I had to put the basket on the floor and drop things in it, and that's not good news for many of the things that you put in a shopping basket.
Does the Connecta Baby carrier follow the TICKS guidelines?
Yes, if worn correctly the carrier meets all the T.I.C.K.S guidelines for safe babywearing and Alex seemed very secure in the carrier.
Tell us about the Connecta head support?
I wasn't sure about the head support – Alex fell asleep on my back on a long walk and her head lolled a lot.
What do you think of the Connecta sleeping hood?
This would certainly be a better feature for front-wearing parents with smaller babies who may need cover from the sun or light rain when sleeping.
Saying that it’s not a very thick or sturdy piece of fabric, so it will have to be very light rain. And on another note I couldn't reach it to do it up by myself when Alex was on my back anyway.
Will it last the recommended 4 years of use?
Yes, but it really depends on the size of your baby. The Connecta can take children weighing up to 24kg, that’s around 4-5 years.
Although I'm not sure I will still be carrying my daughter when she weighs that much I certainly feel like I could carry a few more kilogrammes, so we will probably get another year out the carrier, or maybe even two.
Is it easy to store the carrier?
Yes! It folds down very small so you can pack it up and take it anywhere with you.
And depending on which fabric you go for, it's easy enough to wipe clean or chuck in the washing machine.
What do you think of the style of the Connecta Baby carrier?
The standout feature of the Connecta is that it looks good. Some slings are quite boring, like black or grey rucksacks, while the Connecta is available in a gazillion different prints, including some really lovely Liberty ones.
It's also available in denim and Harris tweed, in case you are hoping your other half, male friend or relative is going to do a lot of the carrying and he is adverse to wearing flowery prints.
Or you could turn a flowery one inside out and wear it with the black lining fabric showing, although that means you are also displaying the safety instructions – but people are unlikely to notice.
This is a really pretty carrier and it's comfortable to wear, but there is a knack to putting it on with a wriggly baby in it and that takes a bit of getting used to.
So if your baby is a wriggler and you are planning to go out by yourself a lot, you might want to go for something with a frame that you drop baby into, which has rucksack like straps attached.
But if your baby is not so wriggly, if you start your journeys from home, and baby is generally awake and doesn't need head support, then at £68 it's significantly cheaper than say the ErgoBaby 360 (£130), the Baby Bjorn We (£85), or the Boba 4G (£95), which are also designed to carry babies from birth to school. And it’s way prettier.
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|Child age (approx)||Birth to 4 years|
|Child weight||3.5kg to 24kg|
|Washing instructions||Machine washable|
|Carrying positions||Back and front – 2|
|Head hugger||No - but a sleep hood is included|
|Optional extras||Connecta teething pad (£12) Connecta Eye Spy mirror (£10)|