Guest review by Marie-Eve Perron
Like so many others, I was introduce to babywearing with the Maman Kangourou stretchy wrap. My daughter was two or three weeks old when I finally decided to unfold that (too) long and intimidating piece of fabric. And that’s when our love story with babywearing started. Twenty months later and a babywearing instructor certificate in hand, it’s far from over.
As a babywearer, I’m a huge fan of wraps. I’ve tried a lot : different lengths, different blends, different weights and different brands. I love them!
Founded in 2003, Maman Kangourou is the pionneer of babywearing in the province of Quebec. They are woven, dyed and made entirely in Canada. They offer different models of stretchy wraps, mei-tai, ring slings and pouches. Their Amerigo stretchy wrap is certainly their most reknown model. But what I didn’t know until very recently, is that they also have another model of wrap : the Europea.
This wrap is made of a poly/cotton blend and is described as a “5 meters of slightly stretchy fabric.” The instruction booklet says it’s suitable for babies from newborn up to 35 lbs depending on the capacity of the wearer. They say that the wrap can be used in 6 differents position, including front, hip and back carries.
I was really curious to put that wrap to the test with my 26 lbs toddler! But honestly, I wasn’t expecting much of it. Let’s start with that strange slightly stretchy fabric. It is really different than the other kind of wraps I have touched before. It’s closer to the feel of a woven wrap, but it’s not quite like that either. The best comparison I’ve found for the look and feel of the fabric is a golf shirt: smooth in the inside, a tad rough on the outside.
I was pleased to see that the Europea was much larger than its “brother” the Amerigo! With a good 67 cm, it is closer to the width of most woven wraps (for example Chimparoo’s woven wraps are around 72 cm) than classical stretchies (Amerigo is only 43 cm wide). Wider wraps mean deeper seat for bigger babies!
Where I was a little bit disappointed is the length. Described as a 5 meters wrap, the wrap I tested was only 4.4 m, soft tape in hand. Being an experienced wrapper, I know how to tie a wrap, but even with a good wrap job, it felt short on me and I had not much left to tied it up as shown in their tutorials.
Speaking of it…let’s be honest, the MK tutorials are not the best I’ve seen. In workshops, I often advised not to follow them and to use the Jeportemonbebe (JPMBB) one instead. It is not different in this case. They show to fold the fabric in half to do most of the carry. Why this? I don’t know. Is the fabric not strong enough to do it otherwise? I can’t tell, but can I wrap my toddler with 34 cm of wrap…absolutely not. Can I wrap my 5 month old baby with it? Maybe, but in my opinion, not securely.
Ok, I have to admit that I was pretty skeptical about this wrap! Come on, 26 lbs in a stretchy wrap?! Surprisingly, I was able to wear my 26 lbs for 45 minutes straight and I was kind of comfortable with it. I usually have pretty sensitive shoulders, but I had no pressure point for the whole wearing time.
The wrap is easy to wrap with but the stretch makes it harder to adjust as tight as a woven wrap.
I tested the front position with a front wrap cross carry (FWCC) wich felt not too bad actually. I danced and jumped and walked and the wrap stayed in place. I felt no pressure on my shoulders. I would not have worn it for hours, but for a carry with a 26 lbs toddler I was surprised. I started feeling the weight in my shoulder’s after 30-35 minutes.
As a babywearing instructor, I always advised parents against back carrying with a stretchy wrap. They are too narrow and just not supportive enough to so. The Europea is wider and less stretchy. Maman Kangourou says that you could back carry with it no problem! I followed the back carry they propose in their tutorial (I know I said their tutorials are not very good and that you should not watch them…but this one is actually okay!)
So I tried a back wrap cross carry (BWCC) and once again, it felt comfortable. I wasn’t scared that my baby would fall off the wrap, it was solid enough with this carry. I would never do a simple ruck or any other 1 or 2 layers carry. You need 3 layers of fabric to make it secure. That is the key to remember with this wrap, whatever carry you decide to do.
So overall, the Maman Kangourou Europea wrap brings something different to the babywearing world. Is it worth it? It can be interesting with a smaller baby and even with a toddler for short period of time. But is it worth the investment? At a retail price of 104,00$ I would say that your best option still an actual woven wrap. You can find dozens and dozens of models at less than 100$. (And maybe a Maman Kangourou stretchy wrap for the first few months!)
With that said, Mama Kangourou is giving away a Europa wrap to one lucky winner! To enter, post a photo of you babywearing to the Mama Naturale Facebook page and visit Maman Kangourou‘s page on Facebook. Good Luck!