Disclosure: I paid for this Tula via a delightful exchange of services with Natalie at Lagoon Baby. I am an affiliate for Lagoon Baby and receive a commission for sales that go through my affiliate link.
The name “Tula” has been on the tip of my tongue for months. First it was the gorgeous, unique and colourful prints that caught my eye. Being that I already have more cloth diapers than I need because of the “Oooh! I NEED THAT PRINT!” mentality, I wasn’t about to start hoarding baby carriers for the same reason. (My husband doesn’t know how inexpensive poop-catcher-collecting is, compared to collecting baby carriers!) I am by no means a babywearing expert. I definitely wear my son a lot, and have done so since he was brand new, but I’ve always used my trusty tan-coloured Ergo, a hand-me-down from my Aunt.
Around the time Cub passed the 20-lb mark (earlier than most, since he’s in the 95th percentile for weight), wearing him started to become a real pain in the neck, shoulders and lower back. I found myself reaching more and more for the stroller, despite our stroller (Uncle B.O.B.) being a behemoth to get down the stairs for short trips. I bought a Boba 3G off Kijiji in the hopes it would be more comfortable… but beyond the 5 minute walk to Day Care, I wasn’t wanting to wear him any more than with the Ergo. The last time I wore him on my back in the Boba was for a trip to Costco, and it was a quick trip. Under 20 minutes and I was ready to take him off. Furthermore, I was starting to find that, when pushing against me and arching his back, he was at risk of actually escaping from both the Ergo and the Boba if my decision to walk towards home contradicted his desire to stay at the park.
Some might argue that maybe he’s just too big (size-wise and age-wise) to be carried. I disagree, since firstly, I love babywearing, and secondly, because those presenting that argument have obviously never tried to walk anywhere with my son. He is definitely old enough to decide he wants to walk, which is great, I let him walk. But if we’re out with the stroller, that means I have to chase him while still maneuvering the stroller. He’s also smart enough to know he can decide not to walk… and carrying him in my arms is simply not fun. For a huge variety of reasons, the option of carrying him comfortably, and for longer periods of time is very important to me!
Like an alliterative chant, slowly increasing in volume, I kept on hearing “Toddler Tula! Toddler Tula!” until it was simply too hard to ignore….
And I have no regrets.
I can comfortably front carry him, and look how comfortable HE is! The Tula creates a super comfy, room seat for his little fluffy butt. If a giant wanted to carry me in an adult-sized carrier, I’d want to ride in a Tula (and hope that that giant had impeccable hygiene). See how far up his back the carrier goes? While he can still pummel me with his fists and push back against my chest if he feels like it, at least I’m not afraid he’s going to flip backwards out onto the pavement. The front carry is not as comfortable for me as the back carry, but it is infinitely more comfortable than in the Ergo or the Boba. I like to use the front carry when the carrying is just the means of getting somewhere, versus the means of actually doing an activity. For example, I like to walk to the metro station and ride the metro to our destination using the front carry because then we can sit down on the metro seats and I don’t have to take him off.
No pain. Not a single tiny twinge of pain. The farthest I’ve worn him so far is about a half-an-hour trek (it qualifies as a trek as there was a hill and it was really hot) to the mechanic to pick up our car. Aside from the back sweat, he could’ve stayed on my back plenty longer if necessary. Wearing him in the Toddler Tula is like wearing a well-designed, supportive camping back pack, except, you can talk to your cargo without looking like you’re insane.
I love the straps on the Tula because they’re thick and comfy. I think it’s the thickness and sturdiness of the waistband, however, that makes it so painless to use. My son’s weight is distributed over my hips, so I don’t feel pressure on my shoulders. Also, the waistband doesn’t dig into my belly, creating a lovely little muffin top as it does with my Ergo.
Here are some comparisons with my Ergo, Boba 3G and Toddler Carrier. Keep in mind that the Toddler Tula is designed to start working at around the 25lb mark, while the Boba and Ergo can work with newborns. Another feature of the Tula that I think sets it apart is the cushioning around the edges so it’s very comfortable against Cub’s legs.
One thing that I don’t find super functional on the Toddler Tula is the little pocket on the waist band. It’s just too small to hold much more than my metro card, and if I’m front carrying, I have to lift up Cub’s bum to even access it. I’d say, do away with the little pocket, or put a zippered pouch on the carrier body, as with the Ergo. [Update: My BFF Adrienne tells me the pocket is to store the detachable hood. In that case, never mind.]
What about Papa?
Whenever I’d strap Papa into the Ergo, I’d always have trouble getting it to fit properly over his very broad shoulders. He could never reach around, either, to release the back closure. According to him, he was never particularly comfortable carrying Cub in the Ergo. Not the case with the Toddler Tula: he LOVES it!
Yes, a Tula is a more expensive carrier. I haven’t tried the Standard Tula, but for baby number two, I absolutely plan on getting one. If you scoff at the idea of buying a Standard and then a Toddler Tula, you may not actually need a Toddler Tula… it’s going to depend on how big your baby is and how long you want to babywear. That said, Tulas have an exceptional resale value. Let’s say you are ready to move up to a Toddler Tula… you’ll be able to sell your Standard Tula and recuperate most of what you paid. Put that money towards your Toddler Tula, which you will also be able to sell for close to what you paid. Also, if you buy your Tula at Lagoon Baby, you’ll earn Lagoon Dollars towards a future purchase…. just sayin’!
And if you still need convincing…
My BFF, Adrienne, is 9 months pregnant, and she finds the Toddler Tula comfortable for her 30-lb boy! (Long-suffering BFF to my Cub.)
Gotta pay the bills...