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Born out of one woman’s need for a comfortable carrier for her increasing brood, the Wilkinet is now something of a design classic. It’s the one with the long straps and no buckles and it’s not as complicated as it looks.
I have to admit I was too cowardly to try a Wilkinet when I had my babies, fearing I would become completely entangled in the straps. However, now testing it out makes me realise I have been utterly wrong. My friend Sara put it through its paces with her baby Charlie and soon showed me just how quick and easy it is to put on. The fact that there are no buckles means that there’s nothing to pinch your fingers on and all adjustments are made just by pulling tighter or letting it go looser as desired – and if your much larger partner has been using it before you, you don’t have to worry about readjusting before use.
The straps cross over at the back and wrap around the waist, distributing your baby’s weight evenly over the shoulders and back, so there are no pressure points. It ties under your baby’s bottom, and when adjusted properly his back is well supported so it doesn’t feel like he’s hanging. This is the best carrier in terms of pulling your baby snugly to you, so you don’t feel his weight tugging away and making you uncomfortable. As well as facing in or out, as with most other carriers, this can also be used for carrying your baby on one side and on your back as he gets older, thus increasing the life of this product. It’s also one of the few that can be used for very small newborns, under 3.5kg/8lb.
The Wilkinet may have the reputation for being a bit of a hippie accessory, but it comes in a wide range of colours and fabrics, so will suit pretty much any style. Dads will also be happy to use the more unisex colours. It folds up small and neat so can be stowed in your change bag or the bottom of your buggy so you can carry your little one and let your toddler have a ride in the buggy if necessary.
What we love
It’s hard to beat this for infinite adjustability. The Wilkinet is something of a design classic and it really isn’t as hard as you think to use. Fitted correctly, both you and your baby will be comfortable, and this gives a more ‘cuddly’ feel than most. It’s a great price for a carrier that can last one baby so long, and are good enough quality to pass on many times over.
What to watch out for
Do watch the video and read the instructions carefully before use. It’s easy when you know how, but if you’re not careful, it’s also easy to get wrong. Those straps are very long and if you’re trying to put it on in a wet car park, they may inadvertently drag along the ground. Also, because the straps are a less padded than many, they can cut into your shoulders after a while.
Who is the Wilkinet best for?
Mums who want hands-free cuddling and confirmed babywearers
It may have been around for a long time but it’s still one of the best carriers around, and much loved by all who use it. It takes a little while to master and the straps are annoyingly long, but perseverance is well worth it.