During International Babywearing Week last year I discovered a few new carrier brands, one of which was Sleepy Nico.
I instantly fell in love with the design of the carriers – Angeline who is the owner of Sleepy Nico has a real eye for quirky and unique fabrics and details and after a quick look at some of the custom designs she has created I was in love.
I was thrilled when a few weeks ago Angeline agreed to let me have a Sleepy Nico to test out and share my thoughts here on the blog.
Sadly the arrival of the carrier coincided with the really awful weather so I haven’t tested the carrier out and about as much as I would have liked to. With it being offered as a prize to one of my readers I have been reluctant to take it out in the rain. I have however worn it in the house and given it a good test as I have completed a few chores, run up and down the stairs with Emma on my back and generally played around. Dancing with a toddler whilst you have a 13 month old on your back is a good workout!
I have also had Emma in it for a short while whilst I was at an indoor football group with Daniel (Emma is too young to participate at the moment). This involved lots of getting up and sitting down and generally a fair bit of moving around – who knew a toddler session could be so energetic?
So…. First impressions. When the carrier arrived it was in it’s own bag. I like this added detail. I have a few carriers and rotate the ones I use. My Rose & Rebellion carrier came in a storage bag and I do use it – just helps to keep it clean I find and also ensures that trailing straps/buckles aren’t stood on. There were also a couple of leaflets inside to do with safe babywearing (one of which includes the TICKS guidance) and an instruction guide on how to use the carrier. The instructions include photographs and are clear. I found them easy to follow, although bear in mind that I am experienced at babywearing.
I got the carrier out of the bag and the first thing that struck me was just how soft it felt. The Sleepy Nico is a soft structured carrier (SSC) but unlike other SSCs I have used, it feels much much softer. The waistband, whilst rigid, is also quite soft and squidgy and feels like it will mould better to your body than the likes of the Ergo and tula carriers I have. I was also struck at the unusual choice of material. The waistband, shoulder straps and inside of the carrier are made from a super soft baby cord. I don’t think I have come across another carrier that uses this – they are all either cottons or canvas (although I am happy to be corrected on this!). The effect of the baby cord is that it is super soft and Emma has enjoyed rubbing her hands on the shoulder straps. It just has a really nice quality feel to it.
I think the wadding/padding used in the waistband must be a different thickness to that used in other carriers as it feels so much softer and more pliable. I was worried at first that this might equate to it being less supportive but that is absolutely not the case, it if anything I think it increases the support as it sits closer to the body.
The other thing of note with the Sleepy Nico carrier is that the legs have padding on them. This isn’t a big thing for a smaller baby but it is certainly noticeable as they get bigger. I noticed with Daniel as he was nearing the end of using the Ergo and Rose & Rebellion that he would often get a slight red mark behind his knee. Had he been using a Sleepy Nico I suspect this would have been alleviated due to the padding softening against his knee joints. Emma is at the stage now where she benefits from this padding when she is in the carrier for any length of time.
The first time I used it I pulled the straps in to what I thought would be an approximate fit for me. I lifted Emma into the carrier and played around until it felt safe and secure. It did take me a little longer than I expected to get the fit just right and I think the sizing is a little more generous than the R&R, Ergo and Tula carriers I have used. That said it only took about 10 minutes to feel it was secure and I then altered it again 15 minutes later once I had a better feel for it. The webbing is easy enough to adjust and tighten the straps with whilst Emma was in it which made it quicker and easier to get it right. When I had the fit sorted it was fine and didn’t require any further alteration or tightening when I was using it. The SleepyNico does actually feature on the smaller end of the carriers I’m told but It didn’t feel on the smaller end of the scale to me.
Emma has been happy and content whilst she has been in the carrier, and when she saw me get the carrier out last weekend she climbed over, ready to be lifted into it. Daniel has also asked a couple of times to go into the carrier, but he is over the size/age guide so I haven’t tried him in this one. This is quite unusual as he is usually quite clear which is Emma’s carrier and which is his, so this one must appeal to him!
The stitching quality is superb, all lines are straight and even and as result the finish is excellent and high quality. The vibrant and detailed pattern of the fabric makes cutting the hood fabric difficult but this is done expertly. When worn, the fabric lies evenly against the rest of the design, blending in perfectly with the main body of the carrier. There is a real feeling of quality to the while of the carrier.
The straps and fittings are all well sunk into the body of the carrier and have lots of stitching points across them to keep them secure and safe. There is at least an inch sunk into the main body and 2-3 inches on the shoulders all with multiple stitches in the keep it safe and very secure.
The carrier feels like it is made from a tried and tested design, so I wasn’t surprised to read that Angeline, the owner of sleepy Nico used the carriers with her own children. It feels like a design that has been tweaked and modified until it is perfect.
I have been using the carrier in cooler weather and I would be interested to see if the use of a baby cord rather than a cotton/canvas makes the wearer feel warm in the summer months. I think it is a given that carrying a baby in the summer months does make the wearer feel a little warmer but I think that the carrier is lightweight enough for any warmth generated by the fabric to be reduced by the lightness of it.
Sometimes when I am carrying Emma in the Ergo I have to wiggle her back up my back and tighten the belt or adjust the shoulder straps a little. I can genuinely say that using the Sleepy Nico was quite different – It was almost weightless – probably similar in feel to the weight of a Connecta but much more supportive, comfortable and easy to use.
One of the brilliant things about this carrier is how easy it is to put the sleep hood up, unaided, when back carrying. This is the only carrier I have found that I am able to put the hood up on without someone helping me. The hood fastens with velcro and is really easy to do.
The Sleepy Nico baby carrier is suitable from 3.5kg – 15kg. At the time of testing Emma weighed in around 8.5kg and she is 13 months, a little on the smaller side. I found the carrier comfortable when she was carried on my front, although now she is taller I much prefer her on my back, and I found getting her onto my back to be easy enough. The carrier also folds up well so easy to pop into a bag.
The Sleepy Nico baby carrier prices start from £72 and I think this is a really good value price point. You are getting a superbly crafted item that is unique and with bags of character and made right here in Britain. There is such a range of carrier designs available (I absolutely adore the Lucy one) . That I am sure you will find one to suit you, and if you don’t then take a look at some of the stunning custom designs that have been created.