At the most recent monthly meeting, I asked our librarian which carriers just don't seem to get much love. There are plenty of wraps, ring slings, mei tais, soft structured carriers (SSCs), and pouches that always get checked out - and then there are a handful that usually get packed back into the bins at the end of the meeting. I wanted to try out a few of these less popular carriers and see what they were like. Sometimes carriers don't get love because they aren't super comfortable or practical for most. But sometimes they just aren't as flashy or well known. This week we did some investigating to find out the story on this half buckle.
What is a half buckle?
A half buckle refers to a carrier that has one set of buckles and one set of mei tai straps. Usually half buckle refers to the structured waistband that buckles like an SSC (though you can also find reverse half buckles, which keep the mei tai straps around the waist but adopt the padded buckle straps of an SSC). As you can see, this Babies Beyond Borders carrier buckles around the waist and has mei tai straps that tie.
This baby-sized carrier is budget-friendly (retailing for around $65-$75) and fits babies up to around 18 months old, due to the limited height of the panel (though the website boasts support up to an impressive 75 lbs!...I would be cautious about this number).
Pros and Cons
My toddler is getting pretty tall to wear on my front comfortably, so most of his time in the BBB was spent on my back. My first impression? Hmmm... Yep, that's it. I wasn't sure what to think. We walked around as I worked in the kitchen and attempted to land on a verdict. It took a little while, so I'll let you know soon. :) I began to wonder, Why a half buckle? So let's begin there.
PROS: SSC-style buckle waistband is quick & convenient, sturdy enough to support a toddler, and easily adjustable. Mei tai straps allow for a custom fit (which can be handy for petite wearers, or anyone who can't get a comfortable fit with most SSCs).
CONS: Buckle waistband does not allow for full customization, and may not cinch small enough for very petite wearers. Some find a buckle waist uncomfortable or unflattering. Mei tai straps are not long enough to tie Tibetan or cross at chest, both of which can increase comfort. Panel does not adjust for smaller babies.
When I finally landed on a conclusion, it was that this particular carrier is not my favorite. I actually really like the idea of a half buckle, but I always Tibetan tie my mei tai straps for comfort. If I can't do that, I have little interest in straps. I love the convenience of an SSC, but my least favorite part is the buckle waistband. For me, it's not super comfortable, so I'd probably be happier with a traditional mei tai or a ring waist.
Then again, my preferences are not everyone's! If you like the convenience of an SSC but can't get a good fit with padded straps, this may be a great option for you! Or if you enjoy mei tais but prefer not to have a knot in your belly, give this one a try.
This half buckle needs some more love!