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Baby Tula is a family-run business based in California. When the husband-and-wife team were travelling in South America and noticed babies being carried in wraps, they asked a relative to sew one when their own children were born. They wanted a carrier with the comfort of a sling, but also the elements of a structured carrier, and ended up designing their own to meet these specs.
Brightly designed fabrics are a key focus of the brand, with dozens of attractive options available on the Tula website, as well as matching blankets, backpacks and even mum-and-baby shoes. The company has a range of carriers to cater to different lifestyles: from breathable mesh-panel models for hot weather to toddler-sized carriers that support children up to 27kg (should a parent wish to carry a child of that weight!).
The Baby Tula Half Buckle Carrier combines elements of a standard buckle carrier in the waistband, with the fabric tie straps characteristic of meh dais (traditional Asian carriers).
Similar lightweight carriers include the Integra (quite a bit cheaper at £70), the Sleepy Nico (£79) and the Liliputi Buckle Carrier (£108).
Natasha is a mother of 2 and tested the carrier while out with both children, in the park, on public transport and while breastfeeding.
First impressions of the Tula Half Buckle Carrier:
The carrier looks wonderful. The fabric is beautifully soft yet strong and supportive. The Mint Chip design – pale green with black polka dots – is bold and fun. It certainly draws attention: lots of other mums asked me about the carrier while I was wearing it, both because of the bright colour and the unusual design of the straps.
What age child is the Tula Half Buckle Carrier suitable for?
The range of sizing is a big plus with the Tula Half Buckle – it can be used pretty much from birth (3.2 kg/7 lb), and up to 20.4 kg/45 lb. That means that no infant insert is required, unlike the ERGObaby Original (£84.99 on Amazon). There are several ways to adjust the size of the carrier to fit your baby as they grow: poppers on the inside of the waistband let you adjust the width of the panel, and you can also alter the height.
How many different ways can you carry your baby in the carrier?
You can carry your baby on your front, hip or back, which gives sufficient options to find a comfortable carrying position at different ages and stages. I mainly used the front carry, and the hip carry was handy for getting stuff done around the house while keeping a fussy baby happy. I’m looking forward to using the back carry function more when my baby is a bit older.
Does the carrier support your baby’s hips and allow them to sit in the ‘M’ position?
The Tula Half Buckle Carrier is one of the most ergonomic carriers I’ve tried. The seat panel is nice and wide (wider than the Integra Size 1, for example), and allows proper knee-to-knee support for baby. One of its best features is the padding around the leg openings, which make it extra comfortable for your baby.
Does the Tula Half Buckle Carrier follow the TICKS guidelines?
It easily meets the TICKS guidelines when used correctly, allowing the child to be carried with its back supported in an upright position, close to the parent and with its head clear of fabric.
How easy is the carrier to put on and take off?
Tying the straps takes a bit more practice than buckling, but after a couple of goes it was easy. The straps are long and I found it tricky stopping them trailing on the ground when putting on or taking off the carrier while out and about.
Can you put the Tula Half Buckle Carrier on and take it off by yourself?
Front and hip carries are simple enough to do alone. I managed to shift my baby into a back carry from a front carry while we were out without any practice, because I’d read the instructions beforehand. The next time, I practised indoors with a mirror, which I would definitely advise until you’re confident your baby is positioned securely. The Tula Baby instructions deserve a special mention for being well illustrated and easy to understand, which isn’t always the case with slings. There are also helpful videos on the Tula website.
Is it easy to put your baby/child into the carrier?
For a standard front carry, you secure the carrier around your waist with the buckle. Then you place your baby inside, cross the fabric straps over your back, and bring them around to cross over your baby’s back. Then you bring the straps around your back again and tie them in a double knot. Once you have the hang of the wrap and tie, it’s pretty easy to do.
Is the Tula Half Buckle Carrier comfy for your baby/child?
It seems supremely comfortable for babies, thanks to the combination of a wide panel offering knee-to-knee support; the padded leg openings; and the extra support of the fabric ties around their back.
Can you breastfeed while wearing the carrier?
It took me two attempts to figure this out, partly because the Tula Baby straps are thicker than those of the carrier I was using previously. But as with other features of this sling, once I’d got the hang of it, it was easy. As I have a short torso, for breastfeeding I had to adjust the waistband to position it on my hips rather than my natural waist (which is where the instructions indicate you should carry your baby). I found myself wishing that the waistband was as easy to adjust one-handed as that of the Integra, the buckle of which slides more smoothly than the Tula, which needs more tugging and wiggling.
How does the Tula Half Buckle Carrier compare to others you have tried?
The Tula’s wide padded waistband is brilliant for lower back support; it felt very secure to wear. The waistband is more padded than a traditional meh dai carrier (which usually has a tie waist), and it’s the buckle that allows this extra padding support to be incorporated into the design.
The mixture of wrap and buckle has a clear advantage in allowing a precise fit. In a front carry, the straps are worn crossed over your back, which is especially good if you’re petite and can’t get a close enough fit with buckled carriers.
The slight downside is that although soft, the padding makes it bulkier when folded, compared with the ERGObaby Original, for instance, and especially compared with the Integra, which is known for folding very small. This makes it harder to stash in the bottom of the buggy unless the basket is empty. I ended up taking along the Integra carrier instead of the Tula one as well as the buggy if I knew I would need my buggy’s basket for shopping.
What are the shoulder straps like?
The shoulder straps are lightly padded without being overly bulky, which means they don’t dig in.
What are the buckles like?
The only buckle is on the waistband, and feels secure. You can wrap excess length on the waist straps around a handy elastic loop, to keep them from trailing down.
What did you think of the hood of the Tula Half Buckle Carrier?
The hood is made of the same lovely breathable cotton as the rest of the carrier. It’s a generous size for covering a sleeping baby’s head and fastens with quiet-ish poppers so as not to disturb them too much. It’s removable if you know you won’t be using it and prefer a more streamlined design.
What did you like best about the design?
A lot of thought has gone into the carrier. The width and height adjustment mechanisms to make the panel fit you and your baby perfectly are simple to use. I also loved the pocket on the front of the carrier, which is big enough to fit a phone, keys and credit card (though a bit tricky to access under the baby’s bottom once they’re in the carrier). But my favourite elements were the leg padding and the soft, breathable hood.
Does the Tula Half Buckle Carrier feel durable?
Yes, thanks to the high-quality fabric and the clever design.
Is it easy to clean?
Yes, you can throw it in the washing machine on a cold wash – a delicate cycle would probably be best. This is an advantage over the Integra, which can only be spot-cleaned.
How stylish is the Tula Half Buckle Carrier?
The Tula Baby brand stands out for its stylish fabric designs. The Tula Half Buckle carrier comes in five tasteful colours, including a nearly neutral black with subtle grey stars; rainbow stars on black; a soft grey with graphic triangles; and a mustard yellow with cute hearts.
What’s in the box?
The carrier and the instruction manual.
Who would the carrier be most useful for?
Parents who want a good-looking, great-quality carrier and who are enthusiastic enough about baby-wearing that they are happy to take an extra few seconds to tie the wrap-style straps (compared with an all-buckle carrier).
Is the Tula Half Buckle Carrier value for money?
Pricewise, the Tula Baby Half Buckle is in the top tier of soft structured baby carriers, but because it adjusts to fit your baby at different ages from infant to four years (and beyond, if your child reaches 20.4kg after that age), it offers good value for money. There is no need for extras like an infant insert – it’s an all-in-one carrier.
Where can I buy the Tula Half Buckle Carrier?
The carrier is available from Amazon, Tula and Love to Be Natural, among others.
The Tula Half Buckle is a high-quality carrier with some excellent design features. The soft fabric feels wonderful, it’s comfortable for both parent and baby and lasts through different stages. I’d wholeheartedly recommend considering it if you don’t mind not being able to stash it in a bag, or the learning curve involved in wrapping the fabric ties.
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