I tend to envision baby carriers on a spectrum, ranging from the least structured and most complicated to use (a wrap) all the way to the most structured, awkward to put on but pretty self-explanatory metal-frame hiking carrier.
In between those two extremes you’ll see variations on the wrap, the sling, the mei tai, and every possible variety of soft structured carrier (SSC). Somewhere along this spectrum, past the SSCs but still far from the hiking backpacks sits something I’ve never seen before: the MiaMily Hipster.
(Just as an aside, how excited was I to finally find a brick wall to pose in front of?!) The MiaMily Hipster is so different from the other buckle carriers we’ve tried, mainly because it comes with a built-in seat.Yup, that is a seat that goes around your waist! If you are not blessed with child-bearing hips, you are probably like me and have terrible posture when carrying a child on your hips. I have to lean over to one side to make enough space to balance baby.You can wear the MiaMily’s waistband all on its own, perching baby on your hip or your front, baby facing inwards or outwards. At first I felt a bit ridiculous wearing the waistband this way around the house. But I confess, I started to find it pretty darn practical.
It’s really easy to attach and detach the two front panels. The double-shoulder panel is for front and back carries. The single-shoulder panel is for a variety of hip carries.
Two-Shoulder Carry: Baby Facing Out
Wearing baby facing out can get a bad rap in the babywearing world. For sure, you should not be facing baby outwards until she is at the age and stage recommended by the manufacturer. Baby must be fully supporting her neck. MiaMily doesn’t specify an age, saying only that the “child must face towards you until he or she can hold head upright,” and also stating in the user manual that the carrier is not usually suitable for babies under 4 months old.
One of the primary complaints people have about wearing baby facing forward is that baby has nowhere to bury her head if she feels overwhelmed by her surroundings. I personally prefer to carry my babies facing inwards, and my babies have both been extremely content being worn this way. That said, I have met babies who adore facing outwards and really, really dislike facing in. I trust parents to listen to their forward-facing baby: if she gets sleepy, scared or overstimulated, she will let you know!
The other issue with forward-facing baby carriers is ergonomics. The most famous forward-facing carrier is likely the Bjorn (think Zach Galifianakis in “The Hangover”), which leaves babies “dangling” rather than sitting.
The International Hip Dysplasia Institute has designated the MiaMily Hipster as “hip healthy,” and with good reason:
The built-in seat allows you to seat your baby in a position that is totally safe for her hips, and undeniably comfortable.
No dangling to speak of! Little Miss Cub seemed quite content when we snapped our pictures. We haven’t been out and about forward facing aside from this photo shoot since it’s not my preferred carry style. That said, I was so excited to let a friend of mine give the front-facing carry a whirl at a recent playdate. Her one-year-old son detests facing inwards, and seeing this Mama happily wearing her boy—with both of them so comfortable—made this whole baby-gear blogging thing even more worthwhile!
Two-Shoulder Carry: Baby Facing In
First-time babywearers make a few common mistakes. There’s the “Ryan Reynolds,” where the baby’s feet are under the waistband of the carrier. There’s the issue of wearing baby too low, and sometimes parents struggle to get a correct seat, not “scooping” the child deep enough into the carrier’s front panel. It is basicallyimpossible to use the MiaMily Hipster incorrectly.
That’s the beauty of the built-in seat: it puts baby in the perfect position, every time. The waistband of the MiaMily is extra-wide, and secures around your waist with both a buckle and velcro. It reminds me of those supportive waistbands you see worn by hardware store employees who do lots of heavy lifting. The MiaMily also comes with a waistband extender, allowing for a maximum circumference of 59 inches.
Two-Shoulder Carry: Back Carry
Unlike the other buckle carriers in our collection, which allow for a back carry anywhere from 4 months (Lenny Lamb) to 12 months (Tula), the MiaMily doesn’t recommend their back carry position until 18 months. I will grant that manufacturers err on the side of caution with their age recommendations, but I’m not about to suggest you flout those guidelines. The upper weight limit for the MiaMily is 40 lbs, and when Cub felt he could walk no further during our recent nature walk, I was finally able to test out the back carry. For him, it’s like he’s riding on a comfy chair. For me, it doesn’t feel like I’m carrying a chair on my back!
It was surprisingly comfortable carrying him for the remainder of our walk. Cub loved it up there, and I think he loved being able to see up over my shoulders and ham it up for some selfies. We stopped regularly wearing Cub on our backs just before he turned three, and now it’s really a once-in-a-blue-moon occurence. That said, I know there are plenty of toddlers who still want to be carried and are as big as Cub, and I was definitely happy with the way the MiaMily performed for a back carry.
One Shoulder Carry: Hip Carry
Unlike with other buckle carriers, you actually swap out the front panel of the MiaMily when you want to do a hip carry. I am not a big fan of hip carries in any type of carrier, since I don’t feel like it leaves my arms free. That said, I prefer the hip carry with the MiaMily to the hip carry with the other buckle carriers we use. You can hip carry with baby facing outwards or inwards.
Other MiaMily Features:
The MiaMily comes with its own transport bag which folds into a little pouch when not in use.Both the one-shoulder and two-shoulder carrier pieces feature a removable front panel. Unzip it to reveal a mesh window to help keep baby cool. The MiaMily also comes with a set of suck pads which match the detachable nap hood.
Pros of the MiaMily Hipster
- Super user-friendly design allows even first-time babywearers to get baby properly positioned;
- I can use it to wear both my 17-lb, 7-month-old daughter and my 35-lb, 3-year-old son (if he lets me);
- Built-in seat ensures child’s comfort for long periods (if I was going to be worn, I’d want to be sitting in the MiaMily);
- Multiple carrying options, all of which are ergonomic and comfy for child and wearer;
- A truly ergonomic seat for a baby facing fowards, no risk of “crotch dangling” concerns;
- Removable front panel for babywearing in warmer weather;
- Included waistbelt extender;
- Front storage pouch and small storage pocket on the waistband;
- Very wide and extremely supportive waistbelt;
- Machine washable & stain resistant;
- Removable nap hood;
- Included accessories (teething pads and tote bag) are a nice bonus.
Cons of the MiaMily Hipster
- No “infant insert” currently available to allow use from birth (granted, I prefer a wrap for wearing newborns anyway); [They will be coming out with one soon!]
- The built-in seat means you can’t leave the carrier around your waist when you are sitting in the car (I tend to run errands with a carrier strapped around my waist at all times, so I definitely noticed this.);
- Recommended for back carries later than most other brands;
- I would personally prefer a softer, more cuddly outer material rather than the 100% nylon, but the 100% nylon is easy to clean and stain resistant, so that may be a selling point for others!
The MiaMily is easy on, easy off. The built-in seat is such a game changer for parents who are intimidated by regular structured carriers. It was a game changer for my friend, whose 12-month-old son was thrilled to be riding forward-facing at a recent play date. The wide waistband, with its dual closure using both velcro and a buckle, is extremely supportive, and the removable front panel is a nice touch for those doing a lot of babywearing in warm weather. The current “sale” price on MiaMily.com is $119 US, and I think that’s a fair price for such a versatile carrier that comes with all the necessary accessories out of the box. (As with anything right now, it’s less appealing if you’re paying in Canadian dollars… sorry about that, eh!)
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