Key features of the Sleepy Nico baby carrier:
- Age suitability: Around 3 months (when baby can hold head unsupported) to 3 years
- Positions: Front, back or hip carry
- Fastening system: Buckle
- Cost: £79
Sleepy Nico is an award-winning baby brand based in Suffolk. It made its first baby carrier in London in 2008 when two mothers decided to design carriers that combined simplicity and beauty.
The brand offers a baby carrier, a toddler carrier and accessories in a variety of beautiful fabrics, and also offers a bespoke service that allows customers to choose their own fabric and style.
All its products are made in the UK from 100% pre-washed cotton, and the company prides itself on its superior finish. The Esmé carrier I tried features a beautiful floral fabric with grey cord, and the Yorkshire Terraces sling features a fabric inspired by the city of Sheffield
At £79, the Sleepy Nico carrier is very similar in price to other carriers, such as the Connecta (£79.95) and the Ergobaby Original (£89.90), and its mechanism is in principal the same as those carriers. There is a wide waist strap that helps distribute the weight and you connect the arm straps with a buckle at the top of your back or across your chest, depending on whether you are front or back carrying your child.
I have carried my two children (three and one year) in a lot in carriers, and I am used to a number of styles. My second child really liked looking out in our Beco Gemini (£99), but he has become too big for it. So it’s a good time to try something else.
Buy the Sleepy Nico baby carrier direct from Sleepy Nico, or from Love to Be Natural.
What were your first impressions of the Sleepy Nico carrier?
My first impressions were that it was a very beautiful carrier. The fabric seemed great quality and it was very well finished. It is a bit softer than, say, the Ergobaby, and it folds quite small, which is a bonus.
How many seating options does it have?
There are three different seating options – on your front or back, or on your hip. It doesn’t allow the child to face outwards.
Is the carrier ergonomic? Does it support your little one’s hips and allow your little one to sit in the ‘M’ position?
The carrier is ergonomic and encourages the ‘M’ position. However, my one-year-old, who is still well within the 15kg limit, isn’t quite supported knee to knee any more. He is still comfortable, however, and sufficiently supported, so I have no qualms using it for a while longer.
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The Sleepy Nico carrier follows all the TICKS guidelines. It allows you to adjust the straps to position your little one correctly, and the fabric supports the back, while the wide seat lets you carry your baby with its legs in the ‘M’ position.
How easy is it to put on and take off?
It’s easy to put on and take off; but I had previous practice with similar carriers such as the Ergobaby. You fasten the waist strap, position your baby, then pull on the shoulder straps while holding your baby in place. Now you can fasten the strap behind your back/neck – the most fiddly bit – before tightening the shoulder straps. You also adjust the height of the cross-strap to adapt to your specific size.
Putting your baby on your back is a bit more tricky as it involves leaning forward and swinging your baby round, while keeping hold of him, before putting on the arm straps rucksack-style. It’s best to practice this with a helper the first few times; and I still don’t feel overly confident doing this manoeuvre in public, but most people get used to it.
Can you put it on and take it off by yourself?
Yes, I’m more than happy to put it on and take it off from my front by myself. For back carrying I am a bit more reluctant, but I think I just need to practice a bit more.
How is the weight of the carrier – is it light/heavy?
The carrier feels very light and soft. Even though it’s more structured than a fabric sling, it is very pliable and snuggly. My son definitely appreciated the softness. It’s easy to take along, squashed into your changing bag or in the bottom of your buggy. It also has a travel pouch, which helps protect the beautiful fabric in transit.
Does one size fit all?
The straps are adaptable, and the fabric is very soft, so I think it would suit most sized adults for comfort.
Is it easy to clean?
I was a bit worried when I read that the brand recommends spot cleaning with warm soapy water as preferred. “Only machine wash when necessary”, it warns, on a gentle 30C cycle. This set alarm bells off, as I wouldn’t want to ruin the gorgeous fabric of the carrier. A bit of a design faux pas, in my opinion, as I have had to properly wash – get sick and poo explosions out of – numerous baby carriers in the past. Having decided to test it on a gentle wash, I was pleased that the carrier feels just as lovely post-wash. However, I am still unsure how it would cope with serious stains on a gentle wash.
Is it comfortable for your little one?
My little one loves this sling. I could really feel him snuggling into it, when I tried it with him, and he had no problem sleeping. He also enjoyed the ride on my back. The Sleepy Nico also has great little design details, such as the padded edges, where baby’s knees meet the fabric, to provide extra comfort.
Is it comfortable for you?
It is very comfortable when you get the strap adjustments just right. The weight is distributed nicely, and my little one was hugged towards my chest just right.
However, as he grows, the waist strap does start to dig a little bit, especially when he’s on my back.
How does it compare to other carriers you have used?
The Sleepy Nico carrier is very similar to the Ergobaby Original that I have used. You put it on and off in a similar way, and the basic shape is similar. The Sleepy Nico is definitely softer, stashes away smaller, and is potentially more comfortable for little one. However, I like added extras such as the integrated pocket in the Ergobaby. Also, the main seat area of the carrier is a few centimetres wider on the Ergobaby, so supports my little one knee-to-knee that bit longer.
Compared to the Beco Gemini I used when my boy was younger, the Sleepy Nico is definitely softer, but supports him knee-to-knee much better. It’s also super stylish – which despite my best intentions, I did really appreciate.
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What do you think of the design?
I really love the array of wonderful fabrics on offer with this product. However, I don’t tend to buy baby products for their style, rather their functionality. And I think some of the Sleepy Nico’s competitors offer a bit more of that; such as additional seating positions or pockets. However, it does what it does really well. The superior finish and padding are lovely, and the choice of fabric is clever, as the cord used on the inside and straps means that straps don’t slide off as easily.
What do you think of the shoulder straps and waist belt?
I like the fact that the shoulder straps are made of cord, which gives them more friction so they don’t slip around so easily.
The waist strap is also padded cord, but I found it did dig in a bit, once my son got a bit older, especially when carrying him on my back.
I would also prefer the integrated hood straps to come with poppers to fasten on the shoulder strap. As it is, I have to fiddle a bit to thread the velcro through the loops at the shoulder and fasten them.
Would you recommend this carrier to someone with a child of a particular age?
The Sleepy Nico baby carrier is suitable for babies who already have head control, so around 3-4 months. The guidelines state that it can be used from 3.5kg to 15kg. Unfortunately it’s not suitable from birth, and I’m not sure how comfortable the carry would be once my son hits 15kg – probably time to try the brand’s toddler carrier.
How robust/durable does it seem?
The Sleepy Nico baby carrier seems robust, but maybe not as durable as some competitors. The design and the manufacturer’s warning about spot cleaning it make me worry about the durability of the fabric.
Is it compact and easy to store?
It’s soft and squishy and easy to store. It also comes with its own carry pouch. I took it along everywhere, popped into my changing bag, shoulder bag or buggy basket.
What’s in the box?
- Baby carrier
- Storage pouch
Is it easy/hard to set up the product?
As with all baby carriers, it takes a bit of time to figure them out and practice putting baby in and out. The instructions are pretty straight-forward, with good illustrations.
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the item?
There were not many surprises with this product, but it’s definitely worth keeping the recommendation regarding washing in mind – especially if you have a little one with reflux.
Who would the product be most useful for?
The product would be great for style-conscious parents who want a very comfortable and well-made carrier.
Is there anything unique about this product?
The fabrics that Sleepy Nico offers are gorgeous and the fact that you can also commission your own style is a great service. However, on the functionality side, I wouldn’t say this carrier is unique.
What is the price? Is this good value for money? Do you have to buy a lot of additional extras, which all add up or is everything included?
The Sleepy Nico baby carrier costs £79. You can also buy matching suck pads for £14, or a sun hat for £14. It is very similar to its competitors in terms of price, but you can’t use it from birth and your little one can’t face outward, so you would have to combine it with additional infant carrier from birth. I also feel, because it is so soft, it might not last that well as baby grows.
I’m not one for trendy or overly stylish baby products, but I did love the fabric of the Sleepy Nico carriers. In our family baby carriers get a lot of use, and they’re out and about with us at all times for emergency baby soothing, so it was really nice to have such a beautiful one for a change. The Sleepy Nico product is also very soft and therefore easy to fold up and store. It’s a shame you cannot use it from birth, as it’s not supportive enough for infants, and my little one is starting to get too big for it now that he’s one year old, but I certainly got a lot of use out of it.
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