Disclaimer: I was provided this carrier for review purposes however all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post contains affiliate links, that give me a bit back for sharing with you at no extra cost to you!
Lillebaby's COMPLETE carriers offers so many amazing features: 6 carrying positions, a lumbar support, and dual adjusting straps. I own 4 of them because I love them so much! At $120+ they are an investment piece but I use mine with my 1 year old and with my 4 year old so really, it's a piece that will last me for years.
Lillebaby recognized that not everyone needs all the bells and whistles of their COMPLETE carriers but still wanted to offer an amazing 4 position carrier at a price point affordable to all! Enter their newest carrier, launching TODAY, the Lillebaby Essentials!
The Essentials offers many of the amazing features of a Lillebaby in a perfect compliment to their higher end line. At under $90 (by a penny!) they are offering every family the ability to afford an amazing carrier. The carrier can be used from 7 lbs (with an infant insert coming early 2016) to 45 lbs, which is the same as their current COMPLETE model. Without the infant insert, they are recommending 15lb+ or 6 months+.
It also offers 4 carrying positions: front carry, with the insert early next year, or for 15 lbs+, a back carry, or a hip carry. Having NEVER used the forward facing carry in my COMPLETE carriers, it's nice to not pay for a feature that I am not using!
What is new about the Essentials, is that it offers Personal Fit Adjusters, or PFAs, that allow you to play with the straps even more! I could shorten them to get a good high back carry while apple picking last week! I love the super large pocket that allows me to carry around my phone and my keys, plus it's lumbar compatible so I can use any of the lumbar supports I already own, or I can purchase a separate one just for it!
I've used a few types of carriers, ranging from full mei tais, to structured carriers from other companies, but since I've been a devout Lille-er for a while, I reached out to my friend Palestina, who owns Instinctive Parent (find her Facebook page here!). She has an aamzing "shop" but instead of being a store front, she brings her various carriers to you, let's you try them all on and helps you find the perfect fit in all of them. While I've used a Tula before, I've never had the chance to try out the harder to find carriers, like Lenny Lamb and Kinderpack. Palestina brought them all to me so I could do a through comparison of all of them. I made this chart for those who really want to see the differences in the carriers.
My little guy is 17 months old, 32 inches tall and about 23 lbs. You can see how he fits in each of the carriers. I have never been able to wrap. I can say it, I am constantly petrified that my little guy is going to fall out, crazy, I know. I prefer something with structure because of that. I like the buckles and the thicker fabrics-- I feel more secure but it's a personal preference.
Out of all of the carriers, the COMPLETE is my absolute favorite. It has so many wonderful amazing features and is literally the one carrier you buy for your newborn to 5 year old.
The Tula offers the structure I like but without the extra hip carrying position and no pocket, I'd prefer to spend less money on the Essentials. The Essentials offers more at a lower price.
I will say that the Lenny Lamb wrap conversion was super super soft and floppy, but because I prefer the structure and support in "stiffer" fabrics I had a hard time getting comfortable with the Lenny Lamb. I didn't like how it felt "loose".
The Kinderpack was a comfortable carrier but because of it's sizing, I would have to purchase two of them to work from 7 lbs to when he outgrows it. It felt the closest to the COMPLETE but lacked many things I loved about the complete: no lumbar support, only 2 carrying positions, and the hood stowed in the top of the panel made it bulier than I liked.
The COMPLETE is by far the best carrier out there. Lillebaby created an amazing product that works for parents from birth until they outgrow it, and my daughter, who is 4 ( 35 lbs and 41 inches) still fits!
The Essentials is a perfect compliment to the COMPLETE. Maybe you want a second carrier but don't need to be able to forward face? Maybe you love the company and customer service behind Lillebaby but a $169 Embossed just is out of your range. It offers so much with such a small price tag. While it offers less than the COMPLETE, it still offers so much more than other carriers!
I'm so excited we got a chance to try it out and would LOVE to hear your thoughts! Some other mamas had the chance to test it out so be sure to say hi and see what they think!