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Onya Baby Carrier Product Review

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There's a kid onya :)

Aleshia, from Onya, came across my blog and sent me this sample Onya baby carrier months and months ago.  She seemed super friendly and it turns out that she used to live and surf right near where we live now!  How cool!

Onya baby carrier is considered to be a soft structure carrier (SSC) and it has won a couple awards for its design. The company is a small family run business from California and the product itself is manufactured in the Philippines.  The manufacturing procedure is ensured to be ethical and fair to all employees, you can read more about the ethical production of the carrier here.

The Onya sample has been making it’s rounds amongst the baby wearers of the Gold Coast and Norther New South Wales.  As far as I know, there are no Onya retailers in Australia yet.  So, it’s pretty new on the scene here.  I’ve had a few of my friends borrow it for extended periods of times and I also bring it along sometimes to our baby wearing meet ups.

To be honest, I haven’t used the Onya as often as some of my friends.  I’m really into using woven wraps at the moment.  So, aside from my own opinions, I’m going off of a lot of feedback from my husband and friends who have borrowed or tried the carrier. There are a few things I really like about the Onya, and a few things that maybe could be improved.

Things I liked

Great for tall toddlers

When I first tried the carrier, my little one was 3 months old and was absolutely swimming in it!  She’s 10 months old now and still doesn’t really like it because she’s not tall enough to see over the top of it… Although, you can roll a towel up under a small baby’s knees to boost them up a bit.  She’s very used to be arms out and being able to look around in the wraps that I most frequently use, so for her, it’s not what I like to use.  BUT, my three year old (who was 2 1/2 in the picture above), fits in the carrier beautifully, and let me tell you, three years old is not too old to be carried around.  We always take two baby carriers when out and about.

Good for the dads (they love buckles and straps)

Guys like things that are simple… (ok, so do I).  Onya has minimal things to ‘do up’ and adjust.  It’s really a matter of doing two clips and you’re on your way.  Also, the straps seem to be best for people with broader shoulders, so again, a win for the dads.

The straps are very easy to adjust

One thing that I really love about the Onya is how easily the straps are to adjust.  They really just glide and slide so easily and fast.  I’m comparing it to other soft structured carriers, like the Ergo, which are not as easy to adjust.  Something about the material of the strap makes adjustment really smooth, and I liked that… I liked it a lot.

Bomb-Proof

The material and design of this carrier makes me think it could withstand a serious beating.  It’s really sporty and made for sweaty and rugged use.  It’s got this breathable mesh on the inside of the padding (aka the sweat zones), which makes me think it would actually be great in hot weather.  A friend of mine used it to climb a popular peak around here, Mt. Warning, in the middle of summer and she loved it.

Mt. Warning trek, sweaty sleeping baby on back.

Mt. Warning trek, sweaty sleeping baby on back.

Portable Baby Chair

This is one pretty cool feature that I haven’t seen on any other baby carrier, is that it’s a portable chair that tucks into one of the external pockets!  I’m sort of bummed that I don’t use it more often, because it’s a cool feature!  I could imagine myself using it at some cafe somewhere…  I don’t know why, but that hasn’t happened.  So, all I was able to do was stick my daughter in it for a little giggle at the kitchen table.  Cute, huh?

Silly Goldie trying out the chair accessory

Silly Goldie trying out the chair accessory

Things that could be improved

Waist Band

One feature on all soft structured carriers that I’m not too crazy about and doesn’t have much to do with the Onya specifically, is the waist belt, which digs into my tummy when I do a back carry… it gives me rolls where I never had them before!  There’s really no way around this one. I guess you can try wearing it lower or higher to avoid the tummy roll it gives you.  Some of my other hardened baby wearing friends report the same with all carriers that have a waistband.  Again, not much to do with Onya itself, I find myself constantly adjusting myself when I wear a carrier with a waist strap and feel like I can never get it comfy.  My tummy is pretty flat, even after two kids (ok, not rock hard abs or anything), but the waistband just digs in no matter what I do.

The Material

My older daughter complained that the material should be softer (obviously, I know that the material is that way because of what it’s meant to endure).  But, she is right, compared to a wrap and other carriers, the synthetic fabric is not the softest out there.  Great if you’re planning on getting really gross and sweaty, but for just around the house or the shops, it almost seems like it’s a bit excessive.

A Little Bulky

It’s a bit on the heavy side, in terms of weight, and a little cumbersome when not in use, like when it’s hanging off of you, or packed in a bag.  Also, it doesn’t really squash down very easily because of the padding and material.  Of course, the padding and material have benefits too, like comfort and durability, but it just seems a bit excessive.

Can They Make One in Pink?

Onyas only come in two or three colour options… they’re very earthy colour combinations and a bit conservative in my mind… I would love to see one in pink… or maybe one with a skull in cross bones?  But, that’s just me 🙂

Overall

From what I found, in general, people who are into occasional baby wearing, for things like hiking, traveling, little town outings, or those who have bigger toddlers seemed to like the carrier best.  Hardened baby wearing people like myself, who have a freakish obsession with buying expensive and hard to get woven baby wraps, just thought the carrier was ok.

Amendment to the review (December 31, 2013)

Now that my daughter is 16 months, I’m sort of disappointed with the dimensions of the carrier.  The width between the legs is really the size for an infant, so at 16 months, my daughter’s legs are already too long!  However, the height of the carrier is really more like a toddler height!  It’s a little disproportionate!

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