Manduca review, by Jen
When our little one was getting too heavy for our structured front carry-style carrier (a little 7 month old – 15lb) we went in search of a SSC for back carries.
After trying one out at the sling library for 2 weeks, we bought a lovely pre-owned (like new) Manduca carrier. For such a little 7 month old, this was the only SSC we tried which didn’t swallow her up, coming over her head. With the adjustable height back zipped down to small it was the perfect size. The Manduca does also have a newborn insert to boost baby up higher for up to 15lb, which we’ve not tried as she was already big enough without it.
For me and my husband this carrier is perfect. I use it every day as I walk around Sheffield to various baby events. Sometimes I have her on my front with the straps crossed over at the back – I love this as she’s right under my face and I can sing to her or give her a little kiss whenever I fancy! With the crossed over straps and wide, thick wasitband spreading the weight, this is much more comfy than the structured carried we used to have and means that front carries are nowhere near being ruled out (she’s just over 17lb now but we’ll still be front carrying when she’s much bigger).
The other carry we use a lot is the back carry. It took a couple of weeks to master the hip scoot technique, but nowadays I can happily get her onto my back in seconds. The straps work rucksack-style in a back carry, with a chest buckle to keep them in place. I tend to have the waistband quite low, but it’s possible to fasten it around your chest and have baby really high and peeping over your shoulder! Learning to put the sleepy hood in place in a back carry takes a bit of dexterity and practice, but as my husband has found, random strangers seem happy to help! I wonder if the straps might be placed a little far apart for someone with particularly narrow shoulders to do the rucksack style carry without feeling they will slip off, though neither me or my husband have had a problem.
The third way of wearing the Manduca is a front carry with rucksack-style straps. I have tried this a few times (normally when I’m rushing and can’t be bothered to adjust the straps when they are set up for a back carry). I don’t find it comfy and don’t really see a reason for using it and not the crossed straps – but each to their own!
Another possibility is the hip carry. This involves having one strap long going round your body, and one strap short over one shoulder. I have used this when she’s wide awake and wants to be able to see everything. It works for a quick wander round, but wouldn’t be comfy long-term as it’s so wonky – nice to have the option though!
The only negative point either of us could think of is that the two handed release on the waist belt buckle is a bit fiddly as it’s tricky to do with a baby in your arms…but then that’s the point of it as a safety feature, and it’s better than it coming undone by mistake!