Key features of the Integra Carrier:
- Age suitability: From birth (3.5kg) to around five years (up to 25kg, with larger size recommended)
- Positions: Front or back
- Fastening system: Buckle
- Price: from £70
Integra Baby founder Sarah Sadler has been making baby carriers since 2011 and has built her brand on good quality and high standards of material and manufacturing. All carriers are made in Somerset and the company’s approach to ethics includes the use of vegetable inks, recycled card and carbon neutral couriers.
With its Integra Carrier, the brand enables those who love carrying their little ones do so from birth well beyond toddler-dom.
Cleverly, it comes in three sizes, with Size 1 suitable from birth until your child is around two years, and Size 3 suitable from three years up to five (admittedly, for “shorter carrying moments”, as the brand points out). All models have been tested to a weight of up to 24kg.
This is where the Integra really comes into its own. It is very similar in its functionality to other carriers such as the Ergobaby Original or the Sleepy Nico carrier, but the different sizes – and its suitability from birth – make it a great option, no matter how old your pre-schooler.
Prices for the Integra Carrier start at £70 for the Essential in Size 1. If you want one of the lovely prints, it increases to £75 and the lush Harris Tweed versions cost £110 – they look gorgeous. Size 3 Integra Carriers start at £90, so overall it compares well against its competitors. Sleepy Nico Carrier, for example, starts at £79, while the Ergobaby Original has an RRP of £99.
You can buy the Integra Carrier from Integra Baby, Love To Be Natural and It’s A Sling Thing.
Read our buyers’ guide to baby carriers
How we tested this product
Anna Richardson Taylor is a mum of two, who has carried both her children in a different procession of slings. She likes going on days out, for long walks, so is keen to test anything that can help when the kids’ batteries run low.
It comes in some lovely designs, as well as simple black or other block colours. It had a lightweight, squishy feeling to it, but felt structured enough to provide the right support.
What are the seating positions like?
The Integra comes with instructions for simple front, parent-facing carry and a back carry. Older children can position their arms above the straps to have a bit more room to manoeuvre.
Is the Integra Carrier ergonomic? Does it support your little one’s hips and allow your little one to sit in the ‘M’ position?
Yes. Even though it is lightweight and soft, it provides great support to your little one. My 2-year-old sat very comfortably in the ‘M’ position, and as he gets older, the possibility of using a larger size means he will always be supported correctly.
Baby carriers, slings and hip dysplasia – what you need to know
Does it follow the TICKS guidelines for safe carrying?
The Integra Baby is very easy to adjust to different body sizes and shapes, as the straps can be adjusted in two directions. So you’re almost guaranteed to get the position of little one right and successfully follow the TICKS guidelines.
Is the Integra Carrier comfy for parents?
Yes, the carrier was very comfortable for me. Even though the waist strap wasn’t padded, the Integra’s ergonomic design meant that my little one’s weight was evenly distributed and didn’t dig in any weird places. The shoulder straps are also padded which helps a lot.
What is the sizing like?
The Size 1 Integra is suitable from birth (7.5lbs/3.5kg). To use from birth you simply use the provided accessory strap to create the perfect fit for your baby. This flexibility ensures that the Size 1 is suitable for a longer time and can be used until a child is approximately 2.5 years old.
The Size 2 is suitable from approximately 18 months until around 3.5 years of age, and Size 3 is the biggest size and suitable from around 3 years to around 5 years.
How easy is the Integra Carrier to put on and take off?
This type of carrier is generally easier to get the hang of than its fiddlier soft sling cousins. Whether carrying your child on the front or back, you secure the waist band first, then position the child with loose shoulder straps, before finally securing the straps. In the front carry position you secure the straps in a cross across your back, while the back carry works like a rucksack.
Can you put it on and take it off by yourself?
Yes, with a bit of practice it’s easy to put on by yourself.
What are the shoulder straps like?
The shoulder straps are nicely padded which makes them very comfortable. The straps can also be tightened on both sides of the buckle, which is great as it makes adjusting the fit very easy.
What are the buckles like?
The buckles are very sturdy and feel secure. They are also easy to undo, which is always a plus. The little buckles to secure the accessory strap and the hood also work smoothly and are easy to fasten on your own.
Is it easy to put your baby/child into the Integra Carrier?
Older kids are great at helping you out, although wriggly toddlers can be a bit tricky. It’s definitely straightforward though, and it’s no more complicated than other carriers of this ilk.
Is it comfy for your baby/child?
The Integra is super comfy for my 2-year-old. It envelops him snuggly and fits in all the right places. It provides nice support, and a very secure fit and feeling. Even my super tall 4-year-old enjoyed going for a ride in the Size 3. Although, as the brand suggests, this is probably more for shorter stints, rather than full-on excursions.
The carrier’s extra shade flap also comes with a cute sun visor extension which is nice to keep sleeping little ones out of the glare.
What age can the Integra Carrier be used for?
Amazingly, the Integra is suitable from birth (3.5kg) to well into pre-school years (up to 24kg). The option of three sizes means you can find the perfect fit for your child.
How does it compare to other carriers and wraps you have used?
When I first started using it I was a bit weary that the area around the waist isn’t padded. Ergobaby carriers, for example, come with pretty substantial padding. But even when carrying my larger children, it felt very comfortable, as the fabric really moulds to your body shape. Overall, I really liked the soft, lightweight feel of the carrier. It made taking it along easier, and felt really comfortable and natural.
Read our full review of the Ergobaby Original Carrier
Can you breastfeed while wearing the carrier?
I no longer breastfeed my 2-year-old, but as with similar structured carriers, the Integra can be loosened to lower the baby slightly for access to the boob.
Is it durable, do you think?
The Integra Carriers seem very durable. They have sturdy stitching with reinforcements in all the right places, and the fabric doesn’t feel flimsy or delicate. The buckles and straps are no-nonsense utilitarian, so I would trust this to last a few years.
Is it easy to clean?
As with Sleepy Nico, whose carrier I reviewed a while ago, Integra advises to only spot clean its cotton carriers – with a delicate, maximum 30 degrees wash at a push.
Remembering how snotty, puky and refluxy my second one was in his first six months, I really shudder at this advice. As kids get older, a spot clean might suffice, but when it comes to infant bodily fluids, I’d rather have a more hardcore option. I suspect that this advice is to protect the beauty of the fabrics rather than its structural integrity, but I do prefer the ability to chuck my carriers in a decent wash.
Read our full review of the Sleepy Nico Carrier
Is it value for money?
Yes, I think it is value for money, as it is very competitively priced, and will last you a long time. It also comes in some very stylish prints, if this is your thing, and seems great quality. Some might argue it’s not that great value if you have to buy three different sizes, but even the smallest size is tested to 24kg, so you will get great use out of it.
I also like that Integra provides you with a very easy way to adapt your sling for a newborn. They provide a simple strap that you use to narrow the seat of the carrier. This is a trick a sling expert told me about at my local sling library a while ago – no need to spend extra on inserts – so it’s nice that Integra is taking this no-nonsense approach.
I wholeheartedly recommend the Integra. It was a revelation to have a carrier that I could stick my 4-year-old in, at a push, if she was really exhausted. It packs down so well that I am seriously considering ditching my buggy on future excursions and just stashing the sling in my bag. It can be easily adjusted and is very comfortable, so I will be hanging on to my Size 3 for a while longer. The Integra is well worth considering if you’re in the market for a durable, comfortable and stylish sling.
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