Carrier of the Month - Mamaruga Zebulo
By Susie Cooke, Babywearing Consultant, Helix Baby
AT A GLANCE:
Weight – 3 – 20kg (approx 6.6 – 44lb)
Positions – front inward facing, hip and back carrying
Straps – cross and rucksack straps
Fabric: 100% cotton
Hood: attached, medium sized hood
Wearer adjustability: waist belt adjustment 26-55 inches
The Mamaruga Zebulo. It is a carrier of adjustability! There are not many carriers on the market that can give you the “perfect fit” each and every time over such a long period of use like this carrier does.
It boasts a weight range of 3 to 20 kg, that’s approximately 6.6 through to 44lb, which roughly means you can use this carrier for a newborn until they are 3 years of age. And it is a comfortable carry at every stage because of the way it adjusts.
Firstly, the panel width. This has got to be the simplest panel adjustment out there! You simply slide the fabric along the waist belt, both sides, to widen or reduce the panel width to the size of your baby. Its so easy that you can even adjust it when baby is in the carrier! It is infinitely adjustable, so you can get the perfect knee-to-knee fit for your baby EVERY TIME. The fabric bunches up and can sometimes slip back down along the waist belt, but I’ve generally seen no issues with that, even with small babies.
Secondly, the panel height. Four, easy to use, adjusters, two on each outer side of the panel, which you pull to tighten, bunching up the fabric and making the panel height shorter. Again, they are infinitely adjustable, so you can get the perfect fit up your baby’s back every time. The webbing generally slides pretty easily through the small buckles, however, if you had any issues with your hands or grip (hypermobility or rheumatism, for example) then these could be tricky to use. It’s also important that you get the adjustments on each side of the panel the same, or you will end up with a wonky carry that will end up being uncomfortable very quickly.
But because of the infinite adjustability, and ability to get the “perfect fit” each time, this means more comfort for baby and comfort for you, as baby’s weight is evenly and well distributed across the carrier and therefore across your back and shoulders too.
The pictures below show a fit for a very small baby, with the panel width and height adjusted very small, and a fit with my 2.5year old with the adjusters on the widest and longest settings. It’s a good and comfortable fit for both babies!
The carrier offers forward facing in (from newborn), hip carrying (from approx. 6 months) and also back carrying positions (from approx. 6 months).
The waist belt is fairly wide at 3 inches, however, it is also soft. I think of it as an “in between” waist belt – it isn’t hard and structured, but it does have more structure than an “apron style” carrier, so it is supportive yet comfortable, so can appeal to caregivers who prefer either type of waist belt style.
The shoulder straps are straight and slightly padded. There are Perfect Fit Adjusters, which are great for extra head/neck support when baby falls asleep or for that additional adjustment if you are a particularly petite wearer. The buckles, including the waist belt buckle, are lovely and large! So are easy to grab and click into place. You might find they are so big that they dig in; if this is the case, fear not! The straps also come with 2-way adjusters, so not only can you choose which way to tighten up the straps (pulling forward or backwards) but you can also move the buckle into a more comfortable place, if it is digging in.
The hood is of medium size with elasticated edges to get a nice snug fit over baby’s head when asleep. The hood attaches into place by threading the cords through a loop on the shoulder straps and tying a knot. This is the one bit of the carrier that I personally find very difficult and fiddly! Again, if you had any grip issues, you would struggle with this. The majority of other carriers have a little buckle to secure the hood into place which is easier to use, but having said that, the Zebulo design is very simple and it’s still just as effective!
I wanted to mention the Zebulo’s very similar “sister” carrier, the Mamaruga Zensling. Both carriers are very similar in design and structure; both are weight tested the same, both have the same panel adjusters, hood and waist belt. However, there are a couple of crucial differences.
Firstly, the shoulder straps differ slightly – the Zensling doesn’t have the Perfect Fit Adjusters like the Zebulo, but it has wide, spreadable straps that you can pull over your shoulders, if you find it comfortable and spreads out baby’s weight a bit more. Some people find their arms are restricted having extra fabric over their shoulders, but it is easy to fold away if not being used.
Secondly, and more importantly, the fabric of the 2 slings is very different. Both come in a range of beautiful designs, however, the Zebulo is a sturdy cotton that doesn’t stretch. The Zensling is made of a beautifully soft and stretchy jersey cotton. Whilst the jersey fabric of the Zensling is more snuggly and softer on baby’s delicate skin, it doesn’t offer the robust support of the Zebulo’s sturdy fabric, which becomes vital for comfort as baby grows and gets heavier.
I personally prefer other choices of sling for newborn carrying, like a stretchy sling or the above mentioned Mamaruga Zensling due to their softness. However, the Zebulo really comes into its own and excels from around 3 months of age upwards, for comfort, adjustability and longevity. It is a great carrier at a great price that will last you and your child, and subsequent children, a long time!
VERDICT: If you are looking for a comfortable buckle carrier, after using your stretchy sling, the Mamaruga Zebulo is a super adjustable choice, giving your baby a perfect fit each time right up to 3 years of age, with an affordable price tag.