Carrier of the Month - Beco 8
By Susie Cooke, Babywearing Consultant, Helix Baby
AT A GLANCE:
Weight – 7 – 45lb (approx 3 – 20kg)
Positions – front inward facing, front outward facing, hip and back carrying
Straps – cross and rucksack straps
Fabric: 100% cotton
Hood: attached, small, fold-away
Wearer adjustability: waist belt adjustment 28-52 inches (with lumbar support)
I’ve seen the Beco 8 carrier be a firm favourite with families over the last couple of years, and you can understand why; lots of support and features, yet simple and versatile and potentially could be the only carrier you ever need to buy!
The main feature of the Beco 8 is its support. The 5 inch wide waist belt is firm and structured, meaning you can take most of baby’s weight through your hips/waist, rather than over your shoulders and back. Having said that, the straps are lovely and padded, so still offer great support and comfort. They can be worn rucksack style or crossed. The small buckles sit on padding sticking out from the panel, so they don’t dig into you.
The straps are also two-way adjustable; when front carrying, you can pull backwards to tighten, or if you prefer, you can reach back and pull down your back to tighten. Either way, you need to have some flexibility to be able to do this. Someone with little movement in their arms may struggle as there is no forward tightening option. It is also difficult to pick out the correct tail to tighten when you are wearing the straps crossed, reaching back and you can’t see what you are doing!
The chest strap is attached to the straps (so you can’t lose them!) on runners, so are easily adjustable up and down from wearer to wearer.
It comes with a very supportive neck panel, stiffer than using a hood alone, so great for younger babes with little head control. It can be easily poppered down out of the way when not in use, and easily buckled and adjusted into place when needed.
The Beco 8 offers every carrying position you will need! Front facing in, front facing out, hip carrying and also back carrying. It adjusts very simply with just 2 poppers to change the width of the panel, so you have either the narrow or the wide setting. However, this does mean that as your baby grows, you wont always be able to achieve that perfect knee-to-knee panel fit. You can only change up to the wider setting once babe is big enough, so for a while, you will find you have a bit of a “leg overhang”, which will pull on your back slightly more that carriers that can “infinitely adjust”. But having said that, the carrier is so supportive, you may not even notice!
Below, you can see the carrier being used firstly with a young baby with the infant insert (included), then secondly without the insert. The lumbar support, forward facing option and also a back carry with my 2.5 year old.
I often refer to this carrier as the “big brother” of the Beco Gemini. The structure is very similar; same chunky waist belt, same padded, crossable straps, same panel adjustment and same neck support. But there are some important features and differences that I personally think are well worth the additional £20 in price.
Firstly, the lumbar support (pictured above). This is a great extra if you find your lower back is struggling a little whilst carrying. It is easily removable for back carrying or if someone else using the carrier doesn’t like to wear it.
Secondly, the hood. The Beco 8 not only has the neck support panel like the Gemini, but also has an integrated, fold-away hood too. This is great if you are carrying a bigger child or back carrying, so you can reach back and pop the hood in place if they fall asleep. With it being integrated, it means you can’t lose it too!
Thirdly, the zip-down mesh panel. The Beco 8 combines the standard cotton AND the cool mesh versions of the Gemini into one, by having a panel that you can un-zip (even whilst baby is in the carrier) and just fold away neatly into the waist belt to keep that little bit cooler. By no means is it as cool as the Gemini Cool, but it is a great option for those warmer summer days or in winter when you are layered up and walk into a warm shop or pub.
Finally, the Beco 8 differs in weight range from the Gemini too. The panel of the 8 is overall slightly bigger than the Gemini. Both are weight tested from 7lb, but with the 8 you will most likely need to use the infant insert at this weight, making it slightly trickier to use than the Gemini, with which you do not. The upper weight limits differ by 10lb; the Gemini up to 35lb and the 8 up to 45lb. This extra means the Beco 8 would see you well into toddler hood, as you can see my 2.5yr old still fits comfortably in it. I would struggle to carry him in a Gemini now and would have moved on and purchased a toddler carrier to continue carrying him.
VERDICT: If you want structure and support in a carrier, then the Beco 8 is it! Can be used from newborn, but is perfect if you are moving on after a stretchy, right through to toddlerhood – it may be the only sling you ever buy!