It’s incredible to me how quickly products and trends can come and go in the world of baby and parenting gear. My first child has just turned 6, and the babywearing and cloth diapering worlds alone have evolved almost as much as he has.
To be fair, I’m likely a bit more attuned to the ebbs and flows of these industries than your average mama wolf, but that just means I’m well positioned to tell you when something revolutionary hits the market. Lucky for both of us, I had more babies at the perfect moment: when the best thing since sliced bread hit the world of soft-structured buckle carriers. The one-size fits newborn-to-toddler baby carrier is here to stay, and in my opinion this style of buckle carrier is going to dominate the market and the hearts of both the babywearing-curious and the babywearing-obsessed for years to come.
Having always preferred buckle carriers to all other baby carrier styles, I’ve always been aware of their singular downfall: the need for either lots of patience as baby grows or an annoying, separately purchased insert in order to safely wear a baby under about 15 lb. I remember purchasing such an insert for my hand-me-down buckle carrier with my son and finding it absolutely baffling to use properly. Once I finally got him properly positioned, I was terrified to remove him while out and about for fear I wouldn’t be able to get him back in again. A baby carrier with a panel that adjusts both in width and height makes the separate infant insert just like a cow’s opinion: totally moo.
Made in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Gustine Baby Carrier’s Evolution Baby Carrier is the first fully Canadian adjustable baby carrier. It is a standout among the competition for its stunning Jacquard fabrics, straightforward adjustability, extreme comfort and local manufacturing.
My Evolution carrier is made with an easy-maintenance cotton Jacquard called Lemon Drop. It’s a work of art that’s also a total workhorse. I can just as easily use it to wear one of my 15-lb twins as I can my 30-lb preschooler.
Gustine Evolution Baby Carrier Specs
- 8–35 lb
- Carrier body adjusts in height and width to accommodate baby through toddler
- 3 ways to carry: front (facing in), back, hip
- Straps can be crossed for more support in a front carry
- Ultra-padded, comfortable straps
- Padded, firm waistband
- Extra cushioning at baby’s thighs
- Easy adjustment for both baby and wearer
- Matching nap hood included
- OEKO-TEX certified Jacquard fabric
Use with a 13-lb Infant
Let’s start with how it performs for wearing a wee one.
The Evolution’s panel can be narrowed to the perfect width for an ergonomic seat for a tiny bum, thanks to sturdy hook and loop fasteners on the inside of the waistband. The height of the panel is adjusted by pulling on the webbing at the shoulders. At its smallest, this carrier is designed to fit most 8-lb babies.
I love carrying my twins in the Gustine. I’m comfortable, they’re comfortable … that’s really all that matters. Adjusting it to fit depending on the twin I’m wearing is super easy (Twin B is taller), and achieving an ergonomic seat is so much easier when they’re just sitting in the narrowed panel of the carrier rather than needing a separate pillow or insert.
Use with a 30-lb Toddler (PRESCHOOLER!)
And what about at its largest? Toddler-wearing is definitely a thing … a much more comfortable thing than dragging, pulling, coaxing, shoulder-riding or hip-carrying a tired toddler. My daughter is 3 years old, 30 lb and 3 feet tall, and in her threenage glory frequently finds herself no longer able to walk. It might seem insane to carry a 30-lb toddler on your back, but it is both practical AND comfortable and, honestly, kind of fun.
I love having our heads close together and at the same level when we’re on a nature walk: we point out the birds and the trees and the airplanes together, and it’s delightful. Just a heads up that it’s a bad idea to let your toddler eat an ice cream while riding on your back. Don’t ask me how I know.
When carrying a little lightweight like one of my twins, I don’t need a ton of padding or support, just by virtue of them not weighing much. It’s when I’ve got Miss Cub on my back and I’m going uphill pushing a stroller that I really get to know what a carrier’s made of. And the Gustine Evolution is made of cushy-but-firm padded straps and a super supportive, body-moulding waistband that lets me enjoy wearing my sack-of-potatoes toddler-turned-preschooler for the fleeting few moments that remain before she’s too much of a big kid (literally and figuratively) to ride on my back.
Although our stroller can carry up to four kids, I prefer to toss the baby carrier in the basket when we go on nature walks. I pack the Gustine because it can so easily accommodate one of the twins OR my daughter if the twins are comfy and settled in the stroller. It’s a matter of seconds to switch from “tiny twin” mode to “testy toddler” mode, and both are equally comfortable.
Many children’s products marketed as “versatile” and “multi-stage” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Lots of gear sold as “newborn to toddler” ends up needing replacement well before toddler-hood because they just don’t pass muster as baby grows. Since I’ve got babies and a toddler as test subjects, I’m happy to say that I am in love with our Gustine Evolution Baby Carrier for all of them!