This afternoon we went shopping for a new carrier for Felicity. She’s already had two different carriers: a bright green and taupe Tomy, and a black Baby Bjorn. The Tomy had good back support, but was very difficult to put on and take off; I found it distressingly easy to fail to do up all the necessary straps. The Baby Bjorn is by far the easiest to put on, but is growing less suitable for Felicity the more she grows, and provides no back support. Now my daughter is more than 16 pounds, I don’t want all that weight on my shoulders.

We’d been lucky enough to get our first two carriers for free, the first from my parents, the second, secondhand from a friend of my wife. Today was the first time we’d exchange cold hard cash for a infant-transportation-harness.

We had three alternatives in mind: the new Baby Bjorn, which is meant to solve problems like back support for the wearer and a lack of ergonomic support for the baby; the Ergobaby, which is meant to be much better (for sometimes unspecified reasons) and the Manduca, which is German, and made partly from hemp, that foodstuff you can’t import to Singapore.

The Baby Bjorn One costs at least a hundred dollars more than the others. The Ergobaby didn’t seem comfortable for either mother or baby, but the Manduca was just right. It’s simple to put on: do up the waist belt, then hold the baby against your body as you slip on, then fasten the shoulder straps, and you’re done. Compared with the Tomy and that nightmare of clickable plastic and Velcro it was a rare treat. Versus the Bjorn, which was beginning to resemble an overstuffed sausage skin as we loaded more and more baby into it, the Manduca is much more comfortable. Within five minutes of being inside it, Felicity was passed out cold.

That may be partly because the Manduca makes her face in, rather than out. We can’t get her to face in comfortably on the Bjorn, though it is technically possible. The Manduca only allows inward-facing babies, although you can wear it on your back or your hip and give the baby a different field of view.

Also, and most importantly, it comes in lots of different colours. We chose brown, for comforting associations with chocolate. You can personalize your Manduca with different coloured expansion strips, or bite pads to stop your little one chewing on the straps. We didn’t think the latter was necessary, but then Felicity immediately began trying to eat the carrier so we went back to the shop to buy some.

The only flaws I can think of, after one afternoon, are that it may be a little warm for Singapore (although the same can be said of every other carrier we’ve tried) and Manduca’s brand doesn’t seem as famous as its rivals, which make reduce resale value. Then again, depreciation is less of a consideration than a cheerful baby, and a Manduca will last up to 20kg of baby: that will be more than enough time for us to get our money’s worth.

2 responses to “Manduca”

  1. 20kg??? That’s practically the size of a school aged child!

    I think I moved onto back carriers quite quickly, the front ones became too heavy for me.

    • I think the advantage of the Manduca is you can keep upgrading it for some time rather than buy a new one. Although it’s clearly an impressive (or masochistic, or very clingy) parent who carries a 20 kilogram child.

      Before we put Felicity on my back, I want to buy a horse costume for me to wear, and a pair of rodeo trousers and a stetson for her.

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