Maman Kangourou Europea Review and Giveaway

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Jun 072015
 
Guest review by Marie-Eve Perron

ME 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.

The wrap

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!

ME2Where 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.

The test

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.

The conclusion

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!

Jun 172013
 

I’m not a babywearing expert but I am a bit of a babycarrier junky. I believe there is a time and place for pretty much every type on the market. I personally own eight high-quality carriers and wanted to highlight some of the ones we use most. I bought or was given all of these carriers, none of the companies are paying me or giving me freebies.

Papa carrying Babe at 8mos

Papa carrying Babe at 8mos

Ergo Sport (soft structured carrier) this was a birthday gift for Papa when Babe was five months old. With Babe, he wasn’t into the stretchy wrap, but I wanted him to give babywearing a shot! We never had the newborn insert and used this only when Babe got older. We still haven’t used it for Bug. This carrier is easy to use, sturdy and not “feminine” looking like wraps might be. Papa rocked Babe to sleep in this carrier for ages. And it was my go-to carrier when Babe got too heavy for the stretchy wrap. Some people don’t like the way the Ergo fits on their body but it fits both of us perfectly and is easily adjustable when two people are using it. The weight is distributed “ergo”nomically. I wear Babe in it at 30lbs (on my back) and don’t feel her weight, except for I my legs, likely cause I’m it of babywearing shape since I didn’t do much of it while pregnant.

Me and Babe, 3 mos old

Me and Babe, 3 mos old

Papa carrying Bug at 1 month old

Papa carrying Bug at 1 month old

Mamakangaroo (stretchy wrap) I’d call this a newborn essential. It looks complex if you’ve never used a wrap before, but to get a basic carrier together is very simple. This was the first carrier I ever had (except for useless hand me down crotch-danglers). The fabric is super soft and cozy. I used it until Babe outgrew the weight limit. At 15lbs, I’ve pretty much retired it for Bug, too. It’s possible but not super easy to nurse in this wrap. Papa pretty much lived in the carrier for Bug’s first few months. He refused to just hold him. When in the wrap, Papa’s hands were free to use the computer, do the dishes, change Babe’s diaper or even practice drums! He gets the baby wrapped in this in like three seconds. Stretchy wraps should never be used for backcarries, it’s dangerous.

ring sling with 3month old Babe

ring sling with 3month old Babe

Maya Wrap (ring sling) This carrier gets quite a bit of use. The reason I don’t totally love it is that all the weight rests on one shoulder. A ringsling is easy to nurse in discretely. It’s a favourite when I have to go somewhere fancy like a wedding because it’s much prettier than my brown wrap. I’ll only use it when I plan to mostly sit cause a baby feels heavy on one shoulder. We do, however use it for Babe when we go somewhere like a museum. She mostly likes to walk but will eventually gets tired and it’s much easier to use a sling to have her on a hip then have her full weight in our arms.

backcarring Bug, 2 mos old

backcarring Bug, 2 mos old in  Mei Tai

Jul et Bulles (mei tai) my newest carrier. I got this because I wanted to wear Bug on my back. I felt he was still too small for the Ergo (and the company recommends backcarrying only when the baby can sit unassisted. Backcarrying makes life a million times easier, so I figured I’d give this a shot. This particular mei tai scores huge points for being gorgeous. I get the flower embroidered side and if Papa ever wants to use it he could turn it to the khaki side. It’s not just the reversibility that makes this carrier versatile though. I left the house with Bug on my back (I was able to get him on my back solo–this is hugely important) and when he was hungry, I had help switching him to the front. I was able to nurse him very easily and discretely at the park while playing in the sand with Babe. I don’t know how I went 2.5 years without a mei tai. I can’t imagine any carrier being more versatile.

bb1Chimparoo (woven wrap) I went to a La Leche League conference the other day and it was like a babywearing convention. The most popular carrier was probably the woven wrap. To me, this type of carrier means you’re serious  about babywearing. It’s not something I’ve ever gotten the hang of, but the people who use them seem to love them. I’ve only ever done it with help and personally found it to be frustrating. Because the fabric is so strong, however, this carrier can be used from birth all the way up to preschool age, so it’s an economical choice. I’m hoping one day I’ll get good at it