Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier review

Our rating 
4.3 out of 5 star rating 4.3
User rating
From £119.90 RRP
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In a nutshell

A comfy, good-looking carrier with a long lifespan that secures baby in the correct position and feels safe and secure. It’s not ideal for those with back problems though and breastfeeding in it is awkward
Comfort for baby
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Comfort for you
3.5 out of 5 rating 3.5
Ease of use
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Design
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Sturdiness
5.0 out of 5 rating 5.0
Worth the money
3.5 out of 5 rating 3.5
Pros: Nice design, easy to adjust straps, baby sits correctly, ideal for bonding with baby
Cons: Not ideal for parents with back problems, tricky to adjust one-handed, no outward-facing front carry option
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The Baby Tula Free-to-Grow Carrier is an adjustable baby carrier designed to grow with families from baby’s early infancy through toddlerhood (7 – 45lbs). In addition to all of the features of Baby Tula’s inward-facing, two-position standard and toddler sized carriers, the Free-to-Grow Carrier also offers adjustable settings for width and height, ensuring proper, ergonomic positioning throughout the different stages of babies’ development. The carrier maintains the elegant silhouette and intuitive, easy-to-use design that Tula has always been recognised for.

This carrier goes everywhere with us and is super ideal for countryside walks as we are walking on grass and woodland. It can be used from birth unlike the Sleepy Nico baby carrier and there’s no need to buy an insert for newborns which is a bonus, as you have to buy this as a extra with the ERGObaby Original Baby Carrier (£84.99 on Amazon). When getting in her pram Arya will wiggle to get out and she very rarely falls asleep in it but the carrier gives her a snug fit which she finds cosy.

Tested by:

Angelita has been testing the carrier with her 1-year-old baby girl Arya on their countryside walks.

First impressions?

The material feels and looks great. There does seem to be a lot of straps at first glance though.

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What are the seating positions like on the Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier?

The seating position is spot on for me as baby’s thighs spread around my torso and back and her hips bend so the knees are slightly higher than her bum, with the thighs supported which positions her in an ‘M’ shape.

What are the different ways to carry your baby?

There are two ways to carry baby – on your front or back. Personally, I find it more comfortable using the back position as I have back problems and I feel less pressure on my lower back this way. After a walk, my back did start to hurt a bit more though. This carrier is not designed for the front carry facing-out position.

Is the Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier ergonomic?

It definitely seemed comfortable for the baby and after walking for half an hour she still seemed happy.

Does it support your little one’s hips and allow your little one to sit in the ‘M’ position?

I feel it supported my baby’s hips perfectly and not only did she sit in the ‘M’ position but if she was uncomfortable, believe me I would have known about it.

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Does it follow the TICKS guidelines?

Yes, it covers the TICKS guidelines. If you want to find out more check out the MadeForMums TICKS guide.

How does the Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier compare to other carriers you have tried?

I found this carrier to be lightweight but it also felt strong and safe. Other carriers I tried were easier when pulling the shoulder straps on with one hand – with the Tula Free-To-Grow carrier I had to use both hands. It’s padding is not bulky, but after a half-hour walk in the sun my lower back was sweaty which rubs onto the baby.

What is the sizing like – what age is it suitable for?

It’s suitable from newborn up to 4/5 years old, from 3.2kg to 20.4kg in weight.

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How easy is the Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier to put on and take off?

This was my first time using it so I followed the step-by-step guide. It was hard putting on and off as I have back problems from a cesarean but once I had used it a few times, it did get easier.

Can you put it on and take it off by yourself?

I can put the carrier on and off on my own even with a very active baby. To use it, I bend further forward than the instructions state as I have a heavy baby and feel she is more safe if I do this when putting her in the back seating position. Also, leaning forward a bit more takes some pressure off my back.

What are the shoulder straps like?

There are six straps altogether and once I had baby in the carrier, I could adjust four of them to my requirements. However, I couldn’t reach the small back shoulder straps so I had to take her out again, adjust those straps and then put her back in. They will remain in this position now until she grows a bit more so at least I don’t have to do it every time I use the carrier.

I still need to use both hands to adjust the straps because I don’t have much upper body strength to do it with one hand.

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What are the buckles like?

The buckle is big and has an elastic hoop to put it through for extra safety which is reassuring.

Is it easy to put your baby/child into the carrier?

My baby is 10 months old and I had her by cesarean which has caused me some back problems. She weighs more than 10.4kg so she is a little heavy for her age. Putting her in the carrier, I feel strain on the lower part of my back. Also my baby found it fun and giggled and wriggled while I was trying to get her in the centre position then she started playing and pulling my hair when I was trying to sort the straps out.

Is it comfy for your baby/child?

My baby seemed to love it. She wiggles with joy when I put her in it. After a half an hour’s walk through fields she is still comfy.

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Can you breastfeed while wearing the carrier?

When my baby is in the front seating position I cannot breastfeed her unless I have a suitable breastfeeding top on as I can’t lift my top up. Also, in order to breastfeed this way I think you would need breasts of certain size and your baby would need to be a size inlined in order to drink comfortably.

Does it feel durable?

What I love about this carrier is how durable and strong it feels. You can hardly see the stitching which makes the design of it look great.

Is it easy to clean?

I put it in the machine on 30 degrees and let it air dry – easy peasy.

What about they style?

I tested out the muse design – a low-key, nature-inspired pattern. There are other pattern options like black and white squares or polka dot but I prefer the muse as it goes with my countryside lifestyle and the design pretty much goes with anything I or the baby wear.

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What’s in the box?

The carrier and instructions book

Who would you recommend this product for?

This carrier is most definitely great for newborns as it provides a snug fit and no insert is required. It provides extra leg padding so my baby was cosy. The adjustable straps made it suitable for both my partner and I. (I am 5’3, my partner is over 6ft)

Are there any design elements you find particularly useful?

I love the pouch at the front of the carrier – it’s perfect for my mobile phone and small door keys.

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What is the price? Is it good value for money?

The price is £139.90 which is not bad if you use it regularly, bearing in mind its lifespan too – it can be used from newborn to 20.4kg.

However, as a mum with back problems, I could not use this carrier every day or for a long period of time and therefore it would not be something I would use on a regular basis so to me it’s pricey

Can you buy any additional extras?

It seemed not – which is good on the purse strings.

Where can I buy the Tula Free-to-Grow carrier?

It is available from Amazon, Baby Tula, and Love To Be Natural.

MadeForMums verdict

As a first-time mum I was wary about using a carrier as I assumed a pram would be more convenient and less hassle.

The Tula Free-to-Grow has not only changed my opinion but my baby loves it. It’s lightweight and stylish, and its insert free and straps are easy to adjust.

It is perfect for my 6 foot partner but as I have back pain I take longer putting the baby in and lean forward more to take any pressure off my back. But if I’m walking in the fields or on sand I can’t use for too long as again I feel pain in my lower back and when I do I find I have to re tighten the straps

However when we go for walks in the countryside or beach and it’s just the two of us I find I talk to her more. When she’s high up to near my level I feel we see and spot things together and it makes a bonding time extra special.

Read More…

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Product Specifications

Product

Brand Tula
Model Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier
Price £119.90

Suitable for

Child weight 3.2kg to 20.4kg – no infant insert required

Features

Fastening Buckles/clips
Carrying positions Back and front – 2
Features
  • Adjusts in three width settings and two height settings
  • Adjustable padded shoulder straps
  • Made from breathable 100% cotton
  • Back and front carry options
  • Wide padded waistband
  • Comes with removable hood

Accessories

Head hugger Comes with coordinating removable hood with snaps to support head