It’s no secret that our family is into babywearing in a big way. While I’d like to picture us as a peaceful, attached family that wears our babies purely for the many physical and emotional benefits it brings to our young, the truth is that most of the time we do it for convenience sake. (That and because a sleeping baby on your chest is one of the best feelings in the entire world…) That may explain why we have 5 times as many babywearing apparatuses as we do children. Or it could be because the Cragdaddy and I are both diehard gear junkies. I guess it’s probably a little bit of both.
Anyway, there’s a new favorite carrier in the house – the Bitybean! Founded by a Vermont company in 2012, this innovative carrier has found a way to utilize the best strengths of other carriers, while minimizing the weaknesses. Here is what we LOVED about it:
COMPACT: Not even kidding, the Bitybean fits into a case about the size of a soda can. It’s terribly easy to always have it on hand for trips to the grocery store, park, etc. And because there is so very little fabric involved, you don’t have to worry about long tails of fabric flapping about and getting caught on things (as you would in a sling.)
LIGHTWEIGHT: Another plus to having the bare minimum amount of fabric coverage is that this carrier feels super lightweight, weighing in at a mere 8 ounces! This feature also makes it perfect for hot weather. I’ve hiked Baby Z in to the base of the crag on numerous steamy, humid occasions, and while we of course both got sticky simply from being so close, the sweat factor didn’t feel any worse than it would have been had I just been holding her in my arms.
FABRIC: The fabrics used are a very sturdy combination of nylon and polyester. Spit-up and other stains are easily wiped away with a damp towel (although it can also be put in the washer), and the quick-drying nature of the fabric makes it a great option for rainy hikes or even splashing around at the swimming hole.
COMFORT: One of my favorite parts about the Bitybean is how comfortable it is for both the wear-er and wear-ee. If Baby Z is ready for a nap, she konks out within minutes. The sleep hood (sold separately, and definitely recommended) does a great job supporting baby’s head during naptime hikes. As for the wearer, it can easily be adjusted on the fly for a comfortable fit, making it perfect for the mom/dad pair that takes turns wearing baby. For long hikes, the lack of padding made it not quite as comfortable on the hips as a Boba 4G/Ergo, but that was to be expected, but that’s a big part of what makes it so hot weather friendly, so it’s an even exchange.
AFFORDABLE: We received our first carrier (the orange one) for free for purposes of this review, but it retails for $59.95 (sleep hood is $15.95.) We enjoyed it for a couple of weeks, and then promptly left it on the ground in the Frozen Head State Park parking lot over Labor Day (at least we assume that’s where it ended up…all we know for sure is that it never made it home from Tennessee.) We’d already gotten some great pictures and tested it in a wide variety of environments, so we easily could have just kissed it good-bye without a parting glance. But by this point I realized that I was relying on the Bitybean more than our other carriers on a daily basis, so we immediately ordered our own at full price (minus the same 10% discount code shared below.) If that doesn’t prove how unbiased this review is, I don’t know what will!
THE ONLY CON: The only issue I have found is that the shoulder strap is difficult for me to snap in place by myself on a front carry. I can do it but it’s very awkward. (Unsnapping is far easier.) My hubby, however, experienced no issues with this. At first I just chalked it up to shoulder mobility (as a climber, my shoulders tend to be tight.) But after further inspection, we realized that it’s a size issue – because I’m small I have the straps cinched down as tight as they will go, which makes the shoulder strap sit lower on my back. Lucky for me, 90% of the time I have an enthusiastic 4 year old on hand to “snap me up.” (Back carries are irrelevant, since the shoulder strap connects on the front.)
While no carrier is perfect, the Bitybean is the closest we’ve found to babywearing heaven. It is ideal for both the mundane (running errands) as well as the adventurous (strenuous hikes and scrambles.) It’ll comfortably and conveniently go wherever you need it to go, and is hands down the most versatile carrier we have.
With that said, I would HIGHLY recommend this carrier to any babywearing family. Shipping is free from their website, and their customer service is top notch (when we ordered the second one, we initially received the wrong color, and the Bitybean folks bent over backwards to make it right!) I’ve even got a nifty discount code that’ll give you 10% off – just enter #bitybeanlove when prompted on their website.