I’ve rarely used a buggy since Baby Girl was born almost eight months ago. In the mornings it’s far easier to carry her on the school run, because Frog’s school isn’t big enough to take buggies inside. I don’t like leaving Baby Girl outside in her buggy on her own and it’s such a faff unstrapping her and taking her in and out for the short period I need to be inside the building to help hang up coats, tick off lunch menus etc. For that reason we sort of fell into “babywearing” when Baby Girl was just a few days old.
Because she loved being close to me in the sling on the school run, I inevitably ended up using it during that tricky witching hour phase at home too, when I needed both hands free to make tea but my baby needed to be soothed and cuddled.
Over the months babywearing has come in handy on all sorts of occasions – when I’ve needed to get some work done but Baby Girl hasn’t wanted to nap in her cot, for example, or when we’ve gone on family days out in non-buggy terrain. Even just a trip to the shops is so much easier without having to wheel the buggy around or trying to negotiate escalators. Plus, I rather like the fact that my baby’s head is within kissing distance and she can snuggle into my chest. It’s true what they say – time really does go that bit quicker with a second baby and I’m relishing every moment of these baby days.
Recently, though, I’ve noticed that Baby Girl hasn’t seemed as content in her usual wrap. It’s fine if she’s sleepy, but if she’s wide awake she wants to be more free to see the world and she seems to struggle against me instead of snuggling in. So I tried the old ring sling I used to have when Frog was tiny. Back then I didn’t really get on with it but I think that’s because I wasn’t using it properly. With Baby Girl I find it fine for a quick school run but after twenty minutes or so I get a sore shoulder and just want to take it off. Not ideal.
Enter the Pao Papoose. This is the latest offering from We Made Me, the company behind the famous Baba Sling. I’ve been looking at investing in a soft-structured baby carrier for a while, as I thought it could be the answer to making babywearing continue to work for us as Baby Girl gets bigger. So when I was offered the chance to review the Pao Papoose, I jumped at the chance. And I haven’t been disappointed.
Whenever I do a review on this blog I try really hard to think of negatives to balance out the positives. I don’t want my reviews to be a walking advert for a product. If I recommend something to you, I want to make sure it’s genuinely something I’d be happy to pay for myself. I tried the Pao Papoose for a week and couldn’t find anything bad to say about it. So I tried it for another week, sure that after a while I’d find some kind of constructive criticism. I’ve now been using the Pao Papoose multiple times a day for the past three weeks and – you’ve guessed it – still not a bad word to say about it.
First thing’s first, it arrives in very cool packaging…
Inside the cylindrical box there’s a set of brilliantly simple instructions, along with clear diagrams. There’s also a cloth bag which the carrier folds away into…
Not only is this bag handy for carrier storage, but it makes a useful mini bag for wipes and a couple of spare nappies, if you don’t want to lug around a change bag with you on a quick trip out of the house. So good are the instructions, in fact, that they even include a detailed tutorial on how to fold away the carrier and put it in the bag.
So, onto the carrier itself then…
The thing I was most excited about before I got the Pao Papoose was that it has three carry options. I’ve looked at other carriers and been really impressed with the way they have a back carry option. The Pao Papoose can be used in two front carry positions or on the back, so it can be worn in three different ways.
When Frog was this age I used a generic baby carrier with her and often put her in the front facing option. I didn’t know it at the time, but the carrier I was using wasn’t the best thing for her hips. It would be a year later when we would end up getting her X-rayed for hip dysplasia and I would come across all sorts of information that suggests some front-facing carriers aren’t great for a baby’s hips. In fact, the carrier I was using for Frog, which left her legs dangling down unsupported, was a design that I wouldn’t use now, knowing what I know about the link between some baby carriers and hip dysplasia.
Up until recently Baby Girl had never been carried in a front-facing position, because I was too worried about her hips, but the Pao Papoose fully supports the ergonomically correct seating position, so it doesn’t put pressure on the baby’s hips. This means I could sit Baby Girl in the “world facing” position with peace of mind, knowing it wasn’t putting a strain on her hips. However, I only tend to keep her in this position for 15 minutes or so – any longer than that and she gets a bit antsy. It’s as if she’s getting over-stimulated and just wants to snuggle into me again.
This is where the back carry position comes in really useful. Baby Girl can snuggle against me, but still see the world. She loves to peer over my shoulder and, although I can’t see her face, I can often hear her laughing as we walk about or do the school run, which is pretty cute. I found the back carry position harder to get into than the front carry positions, but about a million times easier to achieve than trying to tie Baby Girl into a back carry position using a woven wrap. I’m just not a dab hand at that the woven wrap back carry, no matter how many YouTube tutorials I study!
As well as the three carry options and the ergonomically correct seating position, I love the fact the Pao Papoose is so easy to put on. It takes approximately 20 seconds to clip it on and pop Baby Girl into it – that’s much quicker than the wrap. However, the thing I loved about using the wrap was that Baby Girl was right next to me, chest to chest. I was worried that using a carrier wouldn’t be like the wrap, because there would be a big bulky bit of material between me and the baby. The Pao Papoose isn’t like that at all, though, because the baby slots in right against you. It’s soft structured too, so you don’t lose the comfort that you get with a soft woven wrap.
Finally (before this turns into the longest essay about babywearing that was ever written) I love the fact the Pao Papoose has a hood that you can simply clip over on a hot sunny day. It means my baby’s head is always protected, even when her idiot mama forgets to bring a sun hat out.
Top marks on your latest creation We Made Me. The Pao Papoose gets ten out of ten from me.
Disclosure: We were sent a Pao Papoose for the purpose of this review. All opinions, words and images remain my own. For more information about the Pao Papoose or to buy your own, check out the We Made Me website.