For those of you considering a soft structured carrier (SSC), I thought I’d go over the differences between these three carriers. SSC’s are great for heavy or squirmy babies because they do not stretch, and they do support the baby’s weight on both shoulders and hips. Each one has small differences though that might be overlooked but can make worlds of difference to the person who is using it.
Beco Butterfly II, 7-45 lbs
This carrier retails for $139 and of these three models has been around the longest. Positions are limited to front carry (baby facing you) and back carry (baby facing you). Shoulder straps are backpack style (attached at both ends to make a closed loop) and have an H-strap that connects the two shoulder straps across your back or your chest. The thing that sets the Butterfly II apart is the inner sling made of fabric where the baby sits. This sling is what keeps them in the carrier, so you can actually unbuckle the waist strap without the baby falling out. This means you can “Pass the Baby” without taking him/her out of the carrier. It also means that with an older baby you can put him/her in the Beco Butterfly II while sitting on a couch or something and THEN hoist them up on your back by the shoulder straps, and finally do the waist strap last. If you plan to do a lot of passing back and forth, or are nervous about back carries, this is the one for you.
The Butterfly II has an infant insert for babies 7-15 lbs and a detachable sleeping hood. Both are included in the price of the carrier and storage compartments are built into the carrier so you never lose them.
Because of the way the carrier is made, there are two things you can do with the Butterfly II that you can’t do with other carriers. First of all, just like you can take the carrier off without taking the baby out, you can also take the baby out without taking the carrier off. This comes in handy in cold weather when you have a coat on over the baby carrier. You can take the baby out and into their car seat without having to take off your coat and stand in the freezing wind or rain while you buckle your baby. The second thing you can do is if you can’t reach behind your back to buckle the H-strap, you can buckle it BEFORE you put the straps on your shoulders and then simply slip the already-buckled strap over your head onto your back. You would do this before the baby is in the carrier, of course.
Beco Gemini, 7-35 lbs
This carrier retails for $129 and can do a front and back carry as well as a front-facing carry and a hip carry. It does not have the inner sling that the Butterfly II does. It also does not have an infant insert (because of the way it’s made it doesn’t need one) or a detachable hood. Instead it has a padded headrest that can be folded down when not in use.
The Gemini has two features that the Butterfly II and Boba do not have. First, the base can be made wider or narrower with snaps. You would make it narrow for a tiny baby or for a forward-facinb baby, and make it wider for a bigger baby who needs more bottom support when facing you. Second, the straps are not attached at both ends but buckle to make backpack-style loops. This means you have the option of making an H-back or an X-back strap configuration. Some people find the X-back much more comfortable. It’s really good for moms with narrow shoulders because it never feels like it’s going to slip off your shoulders. When you have the straps on the X-back configuration, though, it’s important to remember that you can’t just switch back and forth from front-carry to back-carry like you can when they are set up for an H-back.
Boba 3G, 7-35 lbs
The Boba carrier ($120-125) has a simple design with lots of added bells and whistles. The basic design is that of an Ergo or a Mei Tai: waist belt, shoulder straps, fabric seat for baby in between. There is no inner sling like in the Butterfly II. It can do front carry (facing mom) or back carry, but no forward facing or hip carry. There is a detachable hood that can store in its own zippered pocket on the carrier. Instead of an infant insert, the Boba uses set of snaps that makes the carrier body shorter to accomodate an infant as well as to make a headrest to cradle a tiny baby’s head. When fully unsnapped, the Boba is about 30% taller than other carriers on the market, making it great for taller babies or those who want more support. Straps are backpack-style, attached on both ends and include a cross-back (or chest) strap to make an H-configuration.
Where Boba really shines is in its added features. There are two zippered pockets on the carrier, one just the right size for a smart phone and the other big enough for a small snack or keys and a wallet. Small snap straps on each shoulder allow you to attach the strap of your purse or diaper bag to the carrier so it will not slip off your shoulder. And (removable) footrests are great for the older child to prevent dangling legs and improper hip alignment.
You are welcome to stop by our store, Babies Bottoms and More, any Tuesday from 10-2 or Saturday from 11-3 to try on any or all of these carriers. The best way to decide which one is best for you and your baby is to try them on. Please see our website, www.babiesbottomsandmore.com, for address and current hours.
These reviews come from my own extensive personal experience with these carriers (I own one of each and use them daily). I have not received any free product or been compensated in any way for these reviews.