If you’re thinking of buying a custom carrier then chances are you have already used a sling or baby carrier and have decided that you want something unique, or features that you can’t get on an “off-the-shelf” carrier, or maybe you have a special wrap that you would love to get more use out of by converting it into a custom carrier.
No matter how you came to the decision that you want to commission a custom carrier, it can still be a minefield of options to choose from and jargon that you may not have encountered before.
So let’s start with the basics, what type of carrier do you want?
These are the 4 most commonly requested carrier types but we have also made amongst others; reverse onbuhimo, reverse half buckle and a ring finish meh dai. So if you have an idea of what you want but can’t find it then let me know and we can chat through your ideas
Full Buckle – Folds up small, quicker to get a toddler up on your back than something with long straps, great in wet and muddy weather due to lack of long straps, easily adjusts to fit differently sized caregivers, some people find the “click” of buckles reassuring that baby is safely fastened in. Some people do find buckles can dig on their body so it’s a good idea to try before you buy by visiting a library.
Half Buckle – The comfort of woven wrap straps with the convenience of a buckle waistband. You can choose whether you would like padding in the straps or maybe you want them to be just woven wrap fabric so you can spread them and allow the fabric to mould around your body or maybe you want the extra comfort of padding for a heavier child but with the option to spread the fabric. (padded/wrap/padded to wrap)
Meh Dai – You love the feel of a wrap but want the security of a carrier, no chance of the baby “popping” their seat, easier and faster to get baby up and secure than with a woven wrap
Buckle Onbuhimo – Folds up really small, great for quick back carries with a toddler, the straps can be unclipped and crossed over the caregiver’s back to allow a front carry (feels very similar to a kangaroo carry in a woven wrap)
Next option is what kind of waistband do you want?
A simple unstructured waist like our essential carriers? A soft padded and quilted waistband like our deluxe carriers? A buckle fastening? A ring fastening? Tie waist straps?
Do you want a hood?
A flat hood, sweater style hood, pixie hood, bear ears or dino spikes? Do you have a really niche idea? A hedgehog, giraffe, deer?
Embroidery, applique or any embellishments?
Do you want to make your carrier unique with a special quote or piece of artwork?
Have a look at our previous examples for some inspiration.
What is the best type/blend of fabric to choose?
Cotton? Linen? Hemp? Silk? Viscose? Wool?
Wraps can come in so many different weights, weaves, and thicknesses but almost all cotton blends are suitable for conversion. Linen adds a cool feel to the fabric and lots of strength, but it can take some time and effort to soften up a high-percentage linen blend. Hemp is generally a sturdier yarn than cotton, like linen and can also take a little time to soften up. These plant-based natural fibres are often described as easy-care because they can be machine washed.
Silk can be so varied but almost always adds strength to fabric and is usually suitable for conversion.
Viscose and wool can be converted into carriers, but I would advise contacting us to discuss converting wraps with these fibres before sending it to us for conversion.
Here is a great blog post with a chart detailing the properties and qualities along with care instructions of different woven wrap fibres.
Do I need to consider the weight/thickness of the fabric?
Loose weaves and comfortable “broken-in” wraps don’t always make the best, neatest carriers and stiff, hard-to-break-in and “beastly” wraps can make a great toddler carrier so it’s worth asking if you’re not sure what wrap to use.
It is also important to consider the design/pattern on the wrap, if it has a large image think about how you might want this to be placed, is there a right/wrong side of the wrap? Do you want the carrier to be reversible? If yes, then you might need to provide more wrap fabric than if you choose to use a plain coordinating fabric. If you are choosing to add a hood, do you want it to match the pattern on the panel underneath?
Adjustability – Do I need – Petite straps? Shoulder strap adjusters? An adjustable panel?
There are advantages to a versatile carrier that fits different ages and stages, but versatility often comes at a cost. Versatility in a baby carrier usually means adjustability and being adjustable from baby size to toddler size has its downsides. There will be extra fabric bunched up in the panel when your baby is small that will need to be spread out as baby grows, this may be uncomfortable for the child or the parent. The fabric you might choose for a small baby (soft, lightweight, thin) might not be what you would choose for a toddler (sturdy, heavier/higher gsm, thicker) It can also mean more fiddly bits to adjust to make it fit you and baby comfortably.
Melliapis carriers are sized but also have some adjustability due to the shape of the panel, by folding the waistband over the carrier can be made shorter and narrower.
No one-size-fits-all perfect baby carrier exists, there are many different sizes and styles available and it’s worth considering the size of the carrier and the size of you and your baby so that both you and your baby stay comfortable as you navigate different activities and stages of development.
The comfort and safety of our carriers is our top priority, they have been extensively tested in-house and by our network of babywearing professionals and sling libraries over more than ten years. Whilst our custom carriers are not officially safety tested due to the nature of them each being slightly different materials and sizes, the techniques we use to make our carriers are the same as the ones that have been officially safety tested. We use buckles, rings and fastenings that have been safety tested for babywearing, the fabric we use is certified free of harmful chemicals and any babywearing fabric that is provided by the customer is certified by the original manufacturer to be safe.
Ordering a custom baby carrier opens the door to a world of possibilities, allowing you to tailor your choice to fit your lifestyle and preferences. By considering the type of carrier that suits your needs, prioritising safety, exploring customisation options, and researching customer reviews, you can confidently select the perfect carrier that enhances your parenting journey. Whether it’s the simplicity of a Buckle Onbuhimo, the convenience of Full Buckle, or the versatility of a Meh Dai, a custom baby carrier can become a cherished companion in the beautiful adventure of parenthood.
If you need any further advice, please don’t hesitate to get in touch, we’d love to chat!