Carrier of the Month - Mamaruga Zensling
By Susie Cooke, Babywearing Consultant, Helix Baby
AT A GLANCE:
Weight – 7 – 45lb (approx 3 – 20kg)
Positions – front inward facing and back carrying
Straps – cross and rucksack straps
Fabric: 96% cotton, 4% Lycra
Hood: attached, medium sized,
Wearer adjustability: waist belt adjustment 26-56 inches
The Mamaruga Zensling is such a popular carrier, especially in the early months of baby’s life. It’s just like the big, soft snuggle of a stretchy wrap, yet with the convenience and assurance of buckles. A quick “click and go” for a little Zen moment for you and baby.
I will nearly always have this sling packed for a newborn consultation. Although I LOVE to recommend a stretchy wrap for the newborn and early stages, they aren’t for everyone; some people can find them difficult to tie or feel intimidated by the length of fabric. Others just want something that is a bit quicker and easier! And this is where the Zensling comes into play. . . .
Firstly, the jersey fabric is mostly cotton, with a touch of Lycra. This is the same composition of many stretchy wraps, giving a lovely, soft feel with a sight stretch; ideal for delicate, newborn skin! Unlike most other buckle carriers, which use rigid, firmer fabric, which can sometimes “dig-in” and isn’t so forgiving as the Zensling fabric. Of course, the draw back of this fabric is that as baby grows, it is not so supportive. Whilst it is weight tested up to a huge 45lb (easily a 2/3 year old), I would not recommend this carrier to carry such weight, as the stretch in the fabric can feel like pulling on your back and shoulders. Pictured below, you can see my nearly 3 year old in the Zensling, whilst he fits, I wouldn’t want to carry him in it for very long. I personally think this carrier excels in approximately the first year, or before, of baby’s life, before wanting to move onto a sling that offers more support.
Secondly, it is incredibly adjustable. There is a fair bit of adjustment for the wearer (waist and shoulder straps), up to approximately a ladies size 18, in my experience. But it’s the panel adjustments that really make this carrier stand out. With the simplest waist band adjuster (on the market probably!), which just slides along the waist to widen/narrow the panel width, and the 4 buckle adjusters to change the panel height, you can achieve a perfect fit for your baby whether they are a 7lb newborn or a 2 year old toddler! For some, however, the adjusters can feel very complicated to work out, so make sure you know how it works first, before testing it out with your baby!
The shoulder straps have two-way adjusters, so you are able to tighten them by pulling forward OR backwards, whichever you find most comfortable. These are great when the carrier can also be used for back carrying too, so you are able to pull the same way even though the carrier is the opposite way round. The buckles are big and chunky, so are easy to grab and undo. There is also a “fan” of fabric on the shoulders, so you can spread it over your shoulders to spread the weight more, or alternatively the fabric just folds up neatly over the top of your shoulder.
The hood is of medium size. Absolutely fine for baby carrying and can usefully be rolled up to form a neck support for little ones. It is elasticated, so you can get a nice, supportive fit over baby’s head, and has tails long enough to grab if you need to pull it up whilst back carrying. To secure the hood, there is an elastic loop on the shoulder strap which you tie the tail to. I personally find this very tricky to do! And is my one dislike about the carrier. However, I like that the design is simple and ultimately, it works!
VERDICT: If you want the convenience of a buckle carrier, yet still want snug and softness for carrying your delicate newborn, then the Mamaruga Zensling is the ideal choice.