The Huggaloops Wrap-Free Baby Wrap was the first baby product I bought before my daughter was born, and it's still one of my favourites. I bought almost nothing baby-related when I was pregnant, but when this went on sale at my local baby store, I knew I needed to snatch one up. I'd done a lot of research on the benefits of babywearing and had painstakingly decided that the Huggaloops would be the perfect carrier for me to start with. This was one piece of gear I knew I'd use a lot and I wanted to practice using it before the baby arrived, because I didn't trust that my addled postpartum brain would be able to figure it out as soon as I was ready to start babywearing.
It's considered a stretchy wrap, which means it's made of soft, stretchy material. It's meant to be used for front and hip carries (with no option to back carry or have baby facing out) and requires three passes of fabric to go over your baby in order to ensure that she stays snug and secure against your body. Unlike traditional stretchy wraps, which are typically a long piece of stretchy fabric that you wrap and tie around yourself and your baby, the Huggaloops is composed of three interconnected loops of stretchy fabric that you put on before putting your baby in. Once Girly made her appearance, it was the first carrier I wore her in and it didn't disappoint. Plus, the prenatal practice majorly helped and I was able to get her in quickly and easily.
I always knew I'd want to babywear, but once I experienced just how incredible it was, I wanted to try ALL the carriers and over the past 10 months I've amassed quite the collection. But even as I've fallen in love with other kinds of wraps and carriers, I never fell out of love with my Huggaloops. And while I have several different woven wraps, I've never even tried a standard stretchy wrap, because anything they can do, my Huggaloops(es!) can do better. I was thrilled when Huggaloops offered me a carrier in exchange for a review* -- I'll never pass up an opportunity to talk/write about babywearing or get a new carrier! Oh Huggaloops, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
1) Easy to Use
I often recommend this carrier to friends as being a great carrier for beginners, because it has a relatively shallow learning curve. When I was still pregnant, I watched a whole bunch of Huggaloops' handy Youtube tutorials and then practiced a few times with a teddy bear. By the time my baby got here, I knew exactly what to do and using it was an absolute breeze, even with a fussy baby and exhausted mama. My wraps and even ring slings required a (somewhat lengthy) learning curve that I wasn't really able to deal with when I had a fussy newborn. I still sometimes struggle with learning a new carry or mess up a wrap job and have start over. Whereas, with my Huggaloops, once I got it, I got it and since figuring out how to use it, it's felt almost impossible to do wrong. This is my favourite method for getting the carrier on -- full disclaimer: I still never get it on properly when I try to do it the other way.
2) Comfortably Takes You from Newborn- to Toddler-Wearing
The Huggaloops provides delicious hands-free newborn snuggles at home or on the go, so you can keep your little one close while getting things done or scrolling through your facebook feed. Our Huggaloops accompanied us on our first walks and helped me be as up-and-about as I wanted to be when my baby was newborn. Like many stretchy wraps, the Huggaloops is approved for babies weighing between 8 and 35 pounds. Unlike most stretchy wraps, the Huggaloops doesn't sag when baby hits 15 or so pounds, so it can truly last you until you reach its weight limit and throughout your entire babywearing journey. My baby is a chunky 21 pounds at the time of this writing and I can still wear her comfortably for an hour or two in my Huggaloops. Plus, the fabric stretches out and then bounces right back, so you can use the same carrier for your newborn and your toddler, if that's how your family rolls.
3) Two Amazing Fabric Options
The Huggaloops comes in two different stretchy fabric options, the Bamboo Carrier and the Everywhere Carrier. The Bamboo Carrier is perfectly soft and cozy -- it's made from a bamboo blend that feels like a thick, sturdy jersey and it's by far the softest carrier I own. Amazing for cuddling, getting stuff done around the house or fall and winter walks. The Everywhere Carrier is made from a performance sports fabric. It's lightweight, offers UV protection, and breathes more for a cooler babywearing experience -- I once took it for a long walk on a Florida beach and was shocked to find that I wasn't coated in sweat afterwards! It also dries fast and isn't weighed down by water, so it's great for splash pads and water fun**. If you can swing it, I recommend splurging and getting both, but you won't go wrong with either one. The first one I got was bamboo, because everyone raved about it and said it was easier to learn with and cozier for newborns, but if I could only have one, I'd get the everywhere -- the material has a little more stretch to it, so I find it a little more comfortable to wear and I love how lightweight and breathable it is for summer babywearing. It also doesn't need any breaking-in, whereas the bamboo one fits tighter at first, to accommodate for loosening up once it breaks in.
4) Low Maintenance Care
Baby carriers generally only need to be washed as often as outerwear, in other words, very infrequently, unless your baby has a poopsplosion or an epic spit up or you spill food all over it. I also like washing my Everywhere carrier after using it at the pool, because I don't want pool chemicals sitting on it. Washing it couldn't be easier. Just throw it in the washing machine on a cold, gentle cycle and then hang dry or toss it in the dryer on low heat. No handwashing, no hassle. I love that it can go in the dryer, because when messes inevitably happen, it's ready to wear again in no time!
5) No Wrapping!
By now I'm an avid baby-wrapper, but when my baby was a newborn, neither of us had patience for wrapping or unwrapping. With the Huggaloops, baby goes in and out quickly, so you can be off and on your way, since the last thing a new mom needs is another hassle on her way out the door. And since there's no wrapping or tying, it's impossible to make it too loose or too tight or screw up too badly. This also means that there are no tails hanging. Now that I've been babywearing and wrapping for a bit, I've acquired a taste for tails, but when I started babywearing, I preferred this more streamlined look, so it was and is a definite pro for me. I also like the knotless finish, because it means you can comfortably sit without having a knot digging into your back.
6) Perfect for on-the-go
The Huggaloops folds up small enough to easily fits in your diaper bag, so you never have to leave home without it. Even when I don't anticipate needing it, I try to always keep a spare Huggaloops in my diaper bag -- this has saved me on many occasions, like when Girly decided she didn't want to be in her stroller and when I didn't realize I'd be stopping somewhere and was otherwise unprepared to take her out of the car. The no-wrap design also makes it easy to use while out and about: you can either put it on before you get in the car, so you just have to pop baby in when you arrive at your destination or you can easily put it on, no matter where you are, because there are no long tails dragging on the ground. I also find it easier to get on in small spaces, again because there are no long strips of fabric to contend with, like you'd have when putting on a mei tai, woven wrap or regular stretchy wrap.
7) Easy to share
This carrier comes in three sizes (plus custom sizes) and it's critical that it fits the wearer properly, to ensure that you wear your baby safely and comfortably. Sized carriers usually aren't considered easy to share between wearers, because you'd need to be similar sizes. However, if your partner/mother/sister/friend/babysitter is a similar size to you and wants to try wearing the baby without learning how to do it on their own, it's very quick and easy to help them get it on, unlike other options, like stretchy or woven wraps, which I would find difficult to tighten properly on someone else. Luckily husband and I are about the same size and height, so we can easily share one Huggaloops carrier. He hasn't committed to mastering using it by himself, but it's one of the only carriers from our collection that he's happy to use and it's easy for me to help him get it on, so we can both benefit from the babywearing bonding and snuggles. Additionally, if you want to share your Huggaloops with someone who's a little smaller than you, there are slight adjustments you can do, to mak your carrier a full size or half a size smaller.
8) Excellent Customer Service
Huggaloops is a women-run Canadian company and their customer service is impeccable. When I was pregnant and researching carriers, I joined their Facebook group, For The Love of Huggaloops, a wonderful place to see and share pictures of their carriers in action. If you've watched the videos, practiced and still aren't sure if you're wearing your carrier properly, you can post a picture to get advice and tips from seasoned Huggaloopsers and Huggaloops owner, Stacey Vee, who is an active member of the group. Before buying, I was confused about what size I would need, so I asked for opinions in the group and Stacey invited me to private message her my measurements, so she could help me figure out the best size, an incredibly helpful "service" she offers up to everyone.
9) Gorgeous Colours for Every Season
Huggaloops regularly comes out with new, beautiful colours, so you can match your carrier to your wardrobe and incorporate it into your look. Because motherhood and babywearing shouldn't have to cramp your style. Ready to see for yourself? Fashionably Frum followers get an exclusive 10% off discount by using the code FF2017 at checkout! So go treat yourself to a gorgeous new carrier and start Huggalooping today!
*I received a carrier in exchange for this review, but all views are my own.
** Disclaimer: Huggaloops carriers have not been tested for water use. Always check your carriers after water use and never submerge yourself while wearing.