I’m looking for the perfect buckled carrier. I’m a wrapper at heart but sometimes you just can’t beat the convenience of buckles for quick ups and downs. They’re also extremely handy when travelling, as we found in Paris with our Rose & Rebellion. Unfortunately, Lucas has grown out of our R&R and it is no longer comfy to carry him in it, so I’m on the hunt for a replacement.
I’ve been researching carriers and the Wompat keeps coming up as a wrapper’s favourite. For one thing, the panel and hood are made from Girasol wrap fabric, and as Girasol is one of my favourite wrap manufacturers, I am predisposed to love the Wompat! Several trusty sources had informed me that it’s comfy, adjustable and supportive. Wanting to find out more, I bought a second hand Medium Wompat with petite straps from a seller on Slings and Things – FSOT and advice (a Facebook group). An additional benefit is that it has petite straps, which means that the padded part of the strap is shorter than normal so you can cinch the strap down tighter – perfect for my slopey shoulders and my husband’s narrow frame!
First impressions: the Wompat felt beautifully soft and floppy, even though the shoulders and waist are padded, due to the gorgeous corduroy fabric. The waist is not as structured as other carriers I’ve tried, including the Tula, so I did wonder whether it would be supportive enough for a large baby! The panel fabric is Girasol Forest Berries, with rich hues of purple, pink and red. It’s gorgeous and not too feminine. The hood is pixie-style and pointed, very cute.
Carries: I’ve used the Wompat several times: front carries for cuddles in the house or quick trips round the block, and a back carry on a long walk at Lyme Park. I find it equally easy to use either way, and it’s easy to get Lucas into a good seat as the fabric is soft with seat darts, and the waistband isn’t very structured.
Waistband: after trying the Tula, I was surprised that the Wompat’s waistband felt even more unstructured. It’s soft and lightly padded, easy to adjust (sadly, my husband’s waist is smaller than mine so lots of adjusting needed!) and feels really comfy yet supportive for my 23lbs baby.
Straps: this carrier has petite straps, which cinch down tighter than standard straps. The ‘petite vs. standards straps’ debate has flummoxed babywearers as it’s not as simple as, ‘if you are a size X or smaller, you’ll need petite straps’. I am 5′ 7″ and size 10-12, so theoretically I should be fine with standard straps. However, I find that I cannot get a tight enough fit with them and they tend to slip off my somewhat narrow shoulders. My husband gets on with petite straps too, as he is very slim, even though he is taller than me.
The interesting thing about the Wompat is that, unlike other carriers I’ve tried, both the top straps and the buckle attached to the panel fabric are adjustable. This means that once you’ve tightened the straps adequately, you can cinch the panel fabric closer at the baby’s torso, leaving no room for ‘bouncing’ and making for a very comfortable fit.
Comfort: this is the most comfortable buckled carrier I have tried, by a long shot! My poor husband had to spend a long walk listening to me go on and on about how it was my favourite buckled carrier so far and I’d found ‘the one’! Lucas felt weightless, a sign that he was well-supported in the carrier as it was not digging into my shoulders or waist. Even after about 2 hours, it was still as comfy as when I first put it on.
Overall: I have already recommended the Wompat to friends looking for a buckled carrier. There are only two things I can think of that may put people off: the price, which is about £135 including your choice of fabric, strap length, corduroy, etc. Additionally, as the carriers are typically made to order, they typically take 6-8 weeks to arrive. However, if you can pick one up second hand, I would definitely recommend it!