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Hands-on Gear Review
Tula Ergonomic Baby Review
Price: $149.00 List | $149.00 at Amazon
Pros: Comfortable, ergonomic, supportive, nice extras
Cons: Limited positions, infant insert
Bottom line: Easy to use & comfy that works for infant to toddler
The Tula Ergonomic Baby impressed us in our testing and earned one of two Editors' Choice Awards. Its supreme comfort and ease of use set it apart from other soft-structured carriers and its superb craftsmanship and beautiful patterns make it a mom favorite. While we gave our Top Pick for Use With An Infant to the Baby K'tan, it is worth noting that the Tula performed just as well in our tests with a small infant by utilizing the Infant Insert. Read on to learn how it performed in our tests and why we named it Editors' Choice.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Although Tula carriers first gained cult-like popularity through hard core babywearing clubs, they are now becoming more popular in the mainstream, and for good reason. The owners of Tula pride themselves on offering safe, beautiful, easy-to-use, versatile, and long-lasting carriers. In our article, How to Choose the Best Baby Carrier, we describe the "holy grail" of baby carriers as a simple product that works from newborn through toddler-hood, allowing you to seamlessly shift carry positions, all while maintaining comfort for both baby and parent. With its simple design, the Tula delivers on all of these fronts.
In comparison to other soft-structured carriers, the Tula was a stand-out, earning a 9 of 10 for Baby's Safety, matched only by the Onya Baby Outback and the Ergobaby Four Position 360. When testing the safety of the carriers we review, there are three major points we look at: the ability to maintain a clear airway, the security of the carrier, and proper ergonomics. Even with a newborn, we feel that baby is very secure using Tula's Infant Insert. The padding of the insert provides complete support for head and neck to help maintain a clear airway. The body of the Tula comes up a few inches higher than the other carriers we tested, and that makes a huge difference in security and keeps baby close and comfy. The seat is also much wider than others we tested, keeping baby's legs in a natural "frog" position, preventing leg dangle. For more on the importance of proper hip ergonomics, check out this article written by pediatrician, Juliet Spurrier.
The Tula was the top-scoring carrier in this category, earning a 9 of 10. The design is roomy at the top, and allows for a lot of wiggle space around your baby, while still providing plenty of support in the deep seat. The fabric is thin and pliable, yet strong. The thinner fabric makes it less bulky and more breathable than other carriers; it actually feels more like a thick t-shirt and is incredibly soft where it comes in contact with your baby. The leg holes come with a rim of padding on the edge for added comfort. Our testers had no trouble getting their baby to fall asleep and stay asleep in this carrier, a sure sign in our book that baby is truly comfortable.
The Tula was also the top scoring carrier in this category, receiving a 9 of 10 for Parent's Comfort. With extra-thick padding on the straps, and a comfy three-part waistband, it truly shines in this category. All of our testers agree that it distributes baby's weight well and there are no pinch points or back strain to speak of. We like the fact that the padded area on the waistband is wider than other carriers, not only because it's more supportive, but it also helps prevent the dreaded baby carrier-induced muffin top. The only drawback is that the Tula doesn't have the option to cross the shoulder straps in the back while in a front carry like the Onya Baby Outback and the Beco Baby Gemini, a feature we found to add even more comfort.
Ease of Use
The Tula also has a good-sized storage pouch on the waistband with a Velcro closure that can hold your cell phone, keys, and a small wallet. It did lose points in this category only because it doesn't offer the front carry facing out position. Tula claims that their carriers are "designed to be worn only in the most natural and ergonomic position for the baby, which is facing towards the parents, either on the front or back carry position." On that note, we don't expect them to add this feature any time soon.
Ease of Cleaning
The Tula received an 8 of 10 in this category. Like most of the soft-structured carriers we reviewed, it is machine washable with a gentle detergent but must be hung up to dry. This can sometimes be an inconvenience if you're in a hurry and need to grab your carrier and go.
The Tula Ergonomic is perfect for baby wearing around town, at a farmer's market, the zoo, or even doing chores around your house. It is best suited for use with older babies and toddlers; however, the infant insert makes it possible (and quite comfortable) to use with small infants as well.
At a list price of $149, the Tula is one of the more expensive carriers we reviewed, but we consider it an excellent value and worth the cost. It is hand-sewn using Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified cotton, and made to last.
Fun Fact: This particular baby carrier retains it's resale value very well. In fact, because of Tula's cult-like following, some have been known to sell for above retail value if they are a sought-after color/print. Talk about return on investment!
We awarded the Tula Ergonomic Baby one of two Editors' Choice Awards because, based on our testing, it is a product we would most recommend to a friend or family member. The craftsmanship, comfort, and quality are outstanding. Paired with its lovely prints and ease-of-use, you can't go wrong with this carrier.
Other Versions and Accessories
Tula offers one other soft-structured carrier - the Tula Ergonomic Toddler Carrier, which can be used with babies from 25 to 50 pounds (minimum height of 32 inches). In addition, they recently began making wrap conversions and ring slings.
It currently comes with a detachable sleeping hood and storage pouch but Tula also offers several accessories:
— Adrian Hogel & Juliet Spurrier, MD
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Most recent review: June 10, 2015
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