I don’t call myself a seasoned babywearer. I have found my comfort in certain types of carriers and some are a total fail (read: Wraps) for me. But that is the beauty of baby-wearing, it is capable of providing solutions for every person, to suit their needs, their babies and personal comfort, budgets and so on. Soft structured or full buckled carriers had found their place in my heart for their quick “wearability” and ease of use. I discovered Meh Dais by way of a travelling carrier program and we had a love-hate relationship with ring slings. I was in my happy place with baby-wearing.
Then one morning, I woke up and with half opened eyes, saw a message from Soul, asking if I would like to try one of their carriers and review it. Would I?? When Soul knocks at your door (or Facebook page) you only say YES! They wanted to send me a 100% Linen Full Buckle carrier and I quickly chose the colour I wanted and the very next afternoon it was in my hands. Wow. Blown over with their promptness and speed of response.
What I knew about Soul before they approached me was that they are an Indian company founded by Chinmayie Bhat and her husband. They make various types of high quality and efficient carriers and have a loyal base of customers spread across India and the world.
Every Soul carrier is designed, developed, hand-made, checked and shipped directly from the Soul Studio in Bangalore. (Source: soulslings.com)
What I did not know before my tryst with Soul began by way of this review was that they have an excellent team in place which is super responsive, efficient, friendly, understanding and helpful… I shall stop here for want of more adjectives because I do need to review a carrier here. But most importantly I think my view of Soul changed forever because I got to experience how wonderful the entire team is and how the values of Soul reflects in every single member of the team and the community they have managed to build by way of their baby carriers.
My Soul Full Buckle carrier arrived in a small cardboard box. I was amazed that a carrier (and a Soul snuggly) fit in this box. But it did. That is how slim and trim the carrier is when folded up. The carrier itself came inside a cloth bag with the Soul label on it. I love such cloth bags and have used them for many things around the house including to store vegetables in the fridge. The cardboard box too has been re-purposed to store #babyT’s books and toys. I think it is truly admirable that companies go the extra mile to avoid plastic and use reusable and eco-friendly materials to package their products.
From manufacturing to packing, we strive to maintain earth-friendly practices as much as we can. We now use only cloth bags and cardboard boxes for packaging right now avoiding plastic as much as we can. (Source: Soulslings.com)
My first impressions about the 100% Linen Full Buckle carrier was that it was extremely light weight, the purple of the linen fabric had a beautiful shimmer to it, which I have never managed to capture well with my phone camera, but it is just gorgeous to see. The body panel is really, really thin and the buckles are smooth like butter. All the adjusters like the PFAs – Perfect Fit Adjustors, the back/chest strap and the waist belt, are gentle and yet sturdy.
I have used this carrier for well over three months now and it is like second skin for us. We have perfected the settings and know just where to tug and pull and fold to get the perfect fit and it all comes together in a matter of seconds. But I will admit here that when I began using the Linen Full Buckle carrier I was having some trouble getting off to a good start with it. But I learned soon enough that it was due to the legacy from the other brand full buckle carrier which I was using. Every baby carrier system has some unique features and it is only a matter of time before you find your comfort with the one you have in hand. If I can use an analogy – it is a bit like driving or riding a bike. You have the skill and have perfected it but when you are handed a new brand of bike, you need to spend a few minutes or a few rides to get a good hold of driving it. What did help me was the YouTube videos by Soul to get the perfect fit and you can view this here too.
It is a very comprehensive yet simple way to show how you can get a good fit and find comfort for yourself and baby when baby-wearing. What I did learn from this video was that it is important to “Tighten up” in order to get a snug fit which really helps baby become weightless and therefore effortless for you. <3
Getting a really snug fit helps make the baby feel weightless and baby-wearing effortless for you.
From a usage perspective I am bowled over by Soul’s 100% Linen Full Buckle carrier. It is light, breathable and perfect for Indian weather conditions. I got to use this in the unusually pleasant February in Mumbai this year to the furnacey heat of April & now May. Both #babyT and I are comfortable in it even when worn for long duration. Linen has me fully converted and I am impressed not only by how sturdy the fabric is but also how light and airy it is.
Many other baby carriers have a canvas inner to make them sturdy and that’s what make them so sweaty, clammy and generally painful to wear baby in. Our Soul Linen Full Buckle is only LINEN through and through and so you can imagine how delightfully pleasant it is. Add to this a soft waist-belt and shoulder straps which are only lightly padded means that they don’t dig in to your skin and leave sweaty patches which rub against your clothes and as a result irritate you. In fact I must admit when I put on the carrier for the first time ever I had my doubts as to how successfully I would be able to carry a growing toddler and if they would support his weight, but turns out they did the job mighty well.
Even my husband who is a reluctant baby-wearer because of how hot and clammy baby wearing can get was impressed by how the linen body panel weaves itself around the wearer’s body and how weightless the wearee feels. I have to wage wars now in order to win my chance at baby-wearing #babyT these days as daddy insists I find my freedom and leave the baby-wearing to him. 🙂 He also finds that the natural M position of baby legs when wearing comes more naturally in a linen carrier as the back panel is so thin and moulds itself well around baby’s body.
A deep seat and the natural M position of baby’s legs
And we love back carries in our Soul Linen Full Buckle. I started back carrying #babyT just before he turned one in my other brand full buckle carrier and in that first moment I was kicking myself for starting so late. Back carries are awesome, really awesome and so wonderful for both baby and you. It gives them a new perspective to the world and is truly, 100% hands free for you the baby-wearer.
Back carrying in our Soul Linen Full Buckle (mom hair, don’t care) 🙂
However it can be a bit difficult to back carry if you are not a seasoned baby-wearer or baby is not yet standing up and climbing on to your back. So always make sure you are on a surface which will protect baby in case of a slip or ensure you enlist the help of someone who can support baby while you get the back carry on. Do remember that back carrying may require slightly different adjustments of the PFAs and the shoulder straps etc. This is because baby’s body is more up close to your back as opposed to your front where your breasts and tummy come in between. 🙂 Also tying the waist straps slightly higher and thus getting a higher seat for baby is more comfortable for them and you don’t have the fear of them spilling out and off (although that doesn’t really happen in a full buckle carrier) Once again tightening up will help get a snug fit and mean more comfort for both of you. But trust me on this, once you have tasted back carry you will only want to back carry.
To summarise, what I really loved about the Soul 100% Linen Full Buckle carrier is:
- Incredibly light and airy linen body panel
- Contoured body panel to give a better fit for baby
- Soft cushion at the thigh area for added comfort for babies
- PFAs can be loosened to help discreet breastfeeding when baby is in the carrier
- How tiny it is when folded up and so easy to carry on the go
Fits perfectly into my hand bag
- The shimmer that the fabric has is truly gorgeous in person.
What I wish for: I am not a solids person. I love vibrant and floral patterns and prints. Can Linen be made in prints? Please Soul?
My ratings for Soul’s Linen Full Buckle carrier:
- Ease of use: 5/5
After the initial hiccups, once we understood how to get a good fit we were really quick to get up and down in the carrier.
- Appearance: 4/5
I love all the colours that the Linen carriers are available in but I am still campaigning for linen with prints.
- Value for money: 4/5
A little steep at Rs. 8550/- But this is one carrier which will last you from the time baby is 7 kgs till 18 kgs, that is well into toddlerhood. So it does seem to be a worthwhile investment.
- Comfort: 5/5
It is summer friendly. It is India weather friendly. That is a major win for me.
I am mighty glad that Soul chose me and my blog to review their product. It has added so much comfort and happiness in our lives by way of the Linen carrier. Also it has opened up my life to a plethora of other baby-wearing options too such as their Onbuhimo which is a new release and a beautiful carrier and also their beautiful accessories like the Soul Snuggly blanket (have you read my review of the Snuggly yet?) and their Tote bags. Above all I got introduced to a wonderful community of Soul users and fans and some of them are now close friends. This is what I love about mommying and sharing the same passion and joy for a brand which does so much more than just make a product.
** Disclaimer: I was sent the Full Buckle Carrier by Soul for an honest review. I have used the carrier extensively over a period of 3 months and shared my feedback here. **