I’ll admit it: I’ve been a Tula carrier girl since the first time I put one on. I had been carrying my snuggle bug of a daughter in ring slings and an inexpensive mei tai carrier for months, but as she approached the six-month mark, it was getting hard to carry her everywhere all the time. Five minutes with her in a Tula that I “just wanted to try on,” and I was handing over my credit card.
I’m not the only mom who has found the Tula love. There are plenty of moms out there who can’t wait to get their hands on the latest carrier in this amazing line. What is it about this specific carrier, however, that’s so great? While I still hold that the perfect carrier is like finding a perfect pair of blue jeans—there’s a different fit for all women, and it may take some trying to find the one that’s ideal for you! There’s a very good reason why Tula is a favorite recommendation for moms looking for a comfortable way to hold their babies close.
Tulas Are Great For Moms of All Sizes
My favorite thing about Tula is how versatile it is. With just a few quick adjustments, my 100-lb fifteen-year-old daughter can carry her little sister just as easily as I can. My plus-size cousin loves how long the waistband is and how much room she was to work with in her Tula carrier. This carrier offers incredible versatility. Adjusting it is a snap; while I’m picky about my strap placement and prefer that other wearers use a secondary carrier instead of my primary one, it’s easy to adjust it comfortably to fit individuals of different sizes.
A Tula Lasts Forever
I’m not just talking about the fact that Tula carriers are sturdy enough to take a beating in the car, be worn every day for months (or even years), and go through frequent wash cycle without a problem. I’m also talking about the size range for babies. Little ones fit great with the infant insert (purchased separately); by around four to six months, most babies fit fine without the insert. They’re very secure: the high back panel keeps them firmly in place even when they’re big enough to wiggle around. My daughter was a peanut at six months, but she didn’t have any problem fitting in the Tula! By comparison, she is now 3 years old, around 30 lbs, wears a size 2T pants, and still fits comfortably in a standard Tula.
Many moms find themselves wondering just how long a standard Tula will last. If baby is creeping toward the eighteen-month mark, is it time to upgrade to a toddler? I would say an emphatic no. Like I said, my three-year-old peanut still fits great in a standard Tula. It wasn’t until she was solidly in 2T pants that she could fit comfortably in a toddler-sized Tula without spreading her legs too far. A note for my fellow fluff mamas: that’s 2T pants without the extra fluff on the bum, as it’s leg length that is the issue. Ideally, you want your baby to be able to sit comfortably with fabric from knee to knee in the carrier, but it shouldn’t be bunched between her knees, nor should they be over-spread.
I went for an hour-long walk today with my toddler up in a standard Tula on my back and could barely tell that she was there. She’s obviously comfortable and happy and loves it: when I put her one-year-old cousin up to cuddle, she informed me emphatically that it was her carrier!
The Comfort Benefits
The padded straps and thick, padded waistband are the items that really set Tula apart. The thick waistband isn’t just there to keep baby from falling out; it also supports part of your baby’s weight around your waist so that it isn’t all dangling from your shoulders. By adjusting the straps, you can also change exactly where baby’s weight sits so that it’s in the place that’s most comfortable for you. If you’re having shoulder pain or lower back pain after wearing for a while, a little adjustment can go a long way toward making you more comfortable.
Note: that strap that fastens between your shoulder blades in a front carry and on top of your chest in a back carry is fully adjustable. It slides up and down. I won’t say that I didn’t realize this for the first several months, but, well, I didn’t.
There’s a Low Noise Factor
Many babies love to fall asleep in their carriers. They’re cuddled close to mom, being bounced around just like they were before they were born, and they’re comfortable and warm. Once baby falls asleep, however, you might want to do something else—and that means transferring your baby from the Tula to a safe sleeping place. Since your Tula will come off with just two soft clicks, it’s great for transfers.
Tula Comes in Great Prints
Okay, let’s face it: there’s something amazing about having a carrier that makes you smile every time you look at it, and Tula offers a wide variety of prints that appeal to a lot of different moms. Cotton Babies’ “Love” Tula is absolutely gorgeous, but it’s not the only option by a long shot! No matter what your taste is, chances are, there’s a Tula print out there for you. While their print line isn’t their only selling point, finding a carrier whose appearance you love as much as the fit is certainly a plus for fashionable moms. And hey, you have to collect something once you have a full diaper stash, right?
No carrier is perfect, and if you’re thinking about making the investment, you want to be sure that you’re choosing the best one for you and your baby. There are a few downsides to note about Tula carriers.
- The pocket isn’t designed as well as I’d like. The only thing I’ve ever been able to successfully place in it is my phone or an odd receipt or two. Since the waistband covers up the pocket of my jeans, this can make for some awkward digging.
- It has a very wide seat, which means that you’ll need an infant insert longer than some of the other carriers on the market.
- Most moms struggle with a bulge over the waistband of the Tula that can make them feel self-conscious when wearing baby in a back carry. Wearing two shirts and pulling one out over the top of the belt can help with this, but if I’m wearing my kids, I’m hot enough!
- Tulas do tend to be warmer carriers. If you’re carrying a tiny furnace or tend to sweat yourself, it might be worth checking out the Coast line, which uses a mesh panel within the canvas structure for added airflow. (ANGELA’S NOTE – The author linked to http://www.cottonbabies.com/product_info.php?products_id=7468 but the link now appears to be broken. Do you know which Tulas are more light weight than the others?)
- Tula only allows you to carry in two positions: on your front and on your back. Unlike other carriers, you don’t have other carry position options although that makes it simpler to learn.
Tula baby carriers have been my perfect pair of jeans ever since I purchased our first one. I’ve tried plenty of other carriers, but in the end, I always come back to my Tulas. If you’re on the fence about purchasing your first one, I wholeheartedly encourage you to give it a try. A good baby carrier will save your arms, your back, and your sanity during these early years of motherhood.
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