When my son Stanley was two weeks old I attended my local Sling Library and tried a Mei Tai but after a couple of attempts, it became quite apparent that Stanley didn’t enjoy the lovely bonding experience I had in mind for us, so I gave up the sling dream there and then.
I was very sceptical about the Oscha carrier when I first heard about it. I’m by no means an experienced wearer so the name Oscha didn’t ring any bells and the price tag (£185) seemed extreme for a carrier that I’d never heard of.
Oscha is a small family business based in Scotland. They are the “first jacquard woven sling company in Great Britain” and they strive towards “creating innovative and ethical artisan baby carriers and woven accessories every parent will love to use”.
You can buy the Oscha Cairis direct from Oscha.
What are the seating options like?
The instructions manual states that there are two positions (front and back) however the website states three (front, back and hip). This is a bit confusing, but i went along with the instruction manual and Oscha confirmed that it has two positions.
Does the fabric stretch or is it a firm fabric? Is it supportive?
Stanley is no featherweight – he is now almost 9 months and weighs in at just over 9kg, so I need good support if I’m going to be carrying. The Oscha Cairis in Tartan is woven using 100% organic combed cotton.
The fabric feels firm but very soft and easy to handle and tie knots with. Stanley was well supported and I feel so comfortable carrying him. It has become one of my favourite baby items in the house.
I must add that in addition to being supportive, the fabrics are stunning. They feel soft to the touch and Oscha have various different pattern options. Silent Night Erythema (50% bamboo, 50% organic combed cotton) is another stunning one on Oscha’s list.
Is it ergonomic? Does it allow your baby to sit in the ‘M’ position?
Before purchasing my first carrier I spent hours scouring the internet for reviews and information about ergonomics, comfort, and carry options.
The Cairis carrier is on the International Hip Dysplasia Institute’s list of “hip-healthy” products for baby and Stanley is always well supported and sits in the M position when he’s in the Cairis.
Baby carriers, slings and hip dysplasia – what you need to know
You needn’t be worried about your newborn either as this carrier comes with Oscha’s ‘Cynch’ accessory so the body of the carrier can be rolled and the width adjusted to perfectly fit young and growing babies.
The Cairis carrier definitely complies with the TICKS guidelines. Stanley is tight, in view at all times, close enough to kiss, his chin is off my chest and his back is fully supported.
How easy is it to wrap?
There isn’t too much wrapping to do with the Cairis as the waist has a buckle so that eliminates one element of wrapping which might put some parents off. The wrapping that is required is quite simple and only takes me a couple of minutes to do on my own.
How is strapping baby in?
Despite the two long straps that need to be wrapped, it’s very easy to put on and I can easily do it on my own.
The only tricky thing is to make sure the lovely fabric doesn’t end up sweeping the floors if you’re trying to wrap it while out and about.
Does one size fit all?
The Oscha Cairis carrier is available in two sizes – baby and toddler.
The baby version is suitable from birth until around 2 years (weight tested for 7-45lbs), and is fully reversible with no stiff foam – this means the panel can be rolled to make it the exact right height, allowing the carrier to grow with your child.
As I mentioned earlier, this version comes with the ‘Cynch’ accessory to create the correct panel width for small babies and includes a detachable hood for head support for sleeping children who have outgrown the curved headrest (around 4-6 months).
The toddler version is suitable from around 2 -5 years (weight tested from 25 – 45lbs), and the waist is padded all the way round for extra support, plus the flare straps have added width for supporting bigger children. The body panel has seat darts to contour to a larger child’s shape, and it includes a detachable hood.
Is it easy to clean?
Yes and no. I love my Cairis carrier and given the hefty price tag, I will do anything to avoid it getting damaged or losing its soft quality. So as per Oscha’s recommendation, I have only spot-cleaned my carrier and that has done the job perfectly well.
If needed, you can machine wash at 30 degrees on the delicate cycle then hang to dry. Oscha specifically say not to tumble dry or iron with lots of care, avoiding the labels.
Is it comfortable for baby?
Stanley seems to really enjoy being in this carrier. He never complains or cries. The fabric is soft and flexible and also provides him with all the support he needs. He’s gone to sleep in the Cairis on a few occasions – a sure sign that he finds it comfortable!
Is it comfortable for you?
This carrier features Oscha’s exclusive Strata-linea Waistband, which provides comfort by preventing digging in at your waist, and ‘Flare’ straps, which are padded shoulder straps that fan out, providing cushioning over your shoulders and allowing you to spread the fabric out under your child to increase support.
I was surprised at how comfortable it is and how long I was able to carry Stanley for without my shoulders aching.
How does it compare to other carriers you have used?
In terms of its competitors, there are many! The babywearing market has exploded ever since celebrities embraced babywearing.
The likes of Ergobaby and Baby Bjorn One carriers have been worn by many well-known faces such as Beyonce, Brangelina and Orlando Bloom who propelled these brands to babywearing stardom instantly.
On the higher end of the soft sling market, you’ll find the likes of Mezaya Baby slings, which offer luxury silk ring slings designed in the UK and handmade in Thailand by a small community of artisans.
The Oscha Cairis is an easy-to-use, ergonomic Mei Tai-type sling with a buckle waist, that’s crafted in Scotland using ethically sourced materials and jacquard-woven fabric.
We currently also own the 360 Cool Air by Ergobaby and find that the Oscha is more comfortable despite Ergobaby being more structured. The Ergobaby’s straps are thick and cumbersome while the Oscha is also padded, but it’s soft and flexible.
Buyer’s guide to baby carriers
I’ve only briefly tried slings when Stanley was very young but I do remember how soft and flexible they were and also finding it tricky to lean forward without worrying about Stanley falling out (probably partially due to my inexperience at wrapping!) but I feel that with the Oscha, I wouldn’t have had this issue as the fabric is not stretchy while still being soft, gentle and supportive enough for a newborn.
What do you think of the design?
I can’t think of anything I would change design-wise. This carrier is a great compromise between a carrier and a Mei Tai. In addition to the waist belt, buckle and flared straps which I’ve mentioned above, the Cairis also has a full detachable hood which can be fastened with handy poppers when your baby falls asleep.
The pattern for this particular Cairis (Tartan) is beautiful so I do feel that this carrier has a lot to offer. Oscha wins hands down when it comes to fabric designs and patterns – they’re beautiful and will get you lots of compliments.
Would you recommend this carrier to someone with a child of a particular age?
I recommended it any parent who has children small enough to baby-wear. I think this carrier is really versatile. It’s soft enough for a young baby and strong enough for a toddler (up to the age limits for each of the different carrier sizes).
How robust/durable does it seem?
I have no doubt that my Cairis carrier will last me a long time and once Stanley has outgrown it, I plan on carefully storing it away for future use.
Is it compact and easy to store?
Absolutely! It comes with a bag which is big enough to carry other baby bits which is great but as I already have a nursing bag, I think Oscha would be making a great addition if they could create a small and compact pouch for the carrier to go into. This would make the Cairis easier to take out and about.
Are there any additional accessories on the Oscha Cairis?
The strap protector/teething pads come separately and at an additional cost (£26). The cinch (£12), for adjusting to your child’s exact size, comes with the baby version, but not the toddler version.
Is the product value for money?
It is expensive and it’s a fairly simple carrier without the front carry position that many parents and babies might enjoy but with Oscha, you’re paying extra pennies for the luxury of a product which has low environmental impact and is handmade. The product is beautiful and durable and I certainly feel like I’m getting my money’s worth.
A stylish, durable and well-designed Mei Tai-style baby sling that looks good, and offers extreme comfort for you and your baby. Worth the investment as it could last for several years.
Still deciding what to go for?