Just recently, Lenny Lamb released their toddler sized onbuhimo. As I have a toddler myself, and wear him often, I thought it would be an awesome carrier to get my hands on to review.
Luckily for me, New Zealand stockist Woven were happy to send one my way, and Ziggy and I have been wearing our new Lenny Lamb toddler onbuhimo everywhere.
So what is it? The onbuhimo is a style of toddler carrier that originates from Japan. The term ‘onbu’ translates to ‘back carry’. The main feature that sets the onbuhimo apart from other buckle carriers out there, is that there is NO waist strap! So, it’s perfect for pregnant women (like me), or anyone who dislikes the feel of a waistband and what it does to their belly.
The Lenny Lamb onbuhimo range is stunning. They have pattern and colour combinations that make your eyes sing and your wallet open. There is bound to be a design for everyone. There are at least three designs I want! If your favorite is not showing on the Woven website, they can quickly order it in for you no problem at all. The pattern I am wearing for this review is called Colours of Heaven.
The moment I took this out of the courier package, I was struck was how beautiful and soft it is. The pattern is beautiful. The 100% cotton wrap conversion fabric is blissful to touch.
It’s always a daunting thing when you take a brand new carrier out of packaging. All the straps and buckles are done up as tight as they go. You look at it and wonder; How do I get this on? What goes where? Which do I tighten and what do I leave loose? My best advice is to take a moment to get familiar with it. Where are the buckles and clips. How does the hood attach. Can I slide the chest clip up and down. How do I roll and tuck the straps away. Play around with it. Unroll everything, get a feel for the buckles and ties. It’s much easier to do this sitting down with the carrier on your knee, than halfway through trying to get a toddler up on your back
One thing that stood out straight away was the shoulder padding this carrier has. Ample. Much more generous than the previous standard size (which still has a good amount of padding, but this is next level). This is important when your carrier is not much more than shoulder straps and a body panel. The body panel also has padding along the sides where your toddlers legs sit which is a thoughtful touch.
The hood is nice and large, with long ties at the end, making it a lot easier to reach than some brands I have worn. And, like the standard size, it has a ‘seat flap’ which you bring between yourself and your toddler to create a nice seat.
You can also cinch the base on this carrier. This is a common Lenny Lamb feature and allows one to make the base of a carrier narrower to get the perfect knee to knee fit. I am unsure if this feature is actually needed on a toddler carrier as most toddlers are large enough to fit without cinching, but the option is there.
Before I started wearing this type of carrier- I had heard a lot about them, and reviews were very mixed. Some people love the onbuhimo. Some cannot get it comfortable at all. There seems to be a common ‘it makes my shoulders sore’ complaint, regardless of the brand or style.
I have to say, after wearing different brands and different sizes regularly over the past six or so months, there is a knack to them. They do take some adjusting to find the correct spot. But, once you find it – well then you’re 36 weeks pregnant and off on a 4km walk with a 2 year old on your back!
For me, to get a comfortable carry in any onbuhimo, I need to get Ziggy high. If his shoulders are lower than mine, then I feel the strain on my shoulders and after about 10 minutes they burn. The higher I can get him, the longer I am able to comfortably wear him. As the Lenny Lamb onbuhimo has 3 options to tighten, this took a bit of working out.
The first time I wore this carrier I left the pfas loose, and only tightened the main shoulder straps, and it wasn’t high enough. The pfa is the buckle of top of the shoulder strap that Ziggy is playing with. It stands for Personal Fit Adjusters.
The next time I wore him I tightened the pfas before putting the carrier on (the design of the straps doesn’t allow them to be easily tightened once you are wearing the carrier, so it’s best to do beforehand), and then tightened the main shoulder straps as far as they would go. This was a lot better. He was higher and I was much more comfortable, but, still after about 30 minutes I had achey shoulders.
So I had a good look at the straps.
One feature of Lenny Lamb is that their straps tighten in two directions. Some of the slack you pull up, some of the slack you pull down. This works great for a carrier like a full buckle SSC where you switch between front and back carrying. But for a carrier that you are going to wear 95% of the time on your back, it’s a bit awkward as the ‘pull up’ is the biggest strap to adjust.
When I took the carrier off and had a look at it, I saw that there was a little more I could tighten up on the ‘pull down’ that I just wasn’t able to do with Ziggy already on my back. So, the third time I wore him, before I put the carrier on, I tightened the pfas and I tightened the bottom half of the shoulder straps. Then, once he was up, I finished tightening the rest of the shoulder strap.
Perfect. We had found our sweet spot.
I did find that the buckle placement was a bit diggy under my arms. Because I need it tightened so much, it brings the buckle right up near my armpit. It would be nicer if the buckles were on the padding. If you don’t need it as tight as me, then you can play around with the straps and adjust them to a position where the buckle is in a spot that is comfortable for you.
Ziggy is nearly 2 years old. I have no idea how much he weighs, or how tall he is, but I would put him at ‘average toddler size’. I am a size 10 – 12. The Lenny Lamb toddler carrier is a big carrier. I would say that we are just at the edge of it fitting, although if you are a fluffier size mum or dad, then the fit is easier to manage. Being such a big carrier, it is going to last us for many, many more months. If not years.
I know there is a temptation at times when babies gets to around a year old . . . ‘can I save money and just go to a toddler carrier now?’ No. Please don’t. Because if you do, you will probably find it hard to get a good fit. This is a carrier that says ‘toddler’ and means it. In this instance, it would be worth checking out the standard range, which is very similar to the toddler version, just smaller, and with less shoulder padding.
So if your toddler has outgrown your standard SSC, maybe you’re pregnant and want something without a waistband, or maybe you just need another carrier, then check out the Toddler Onbuhimo range by Lenny Lamb.
We’re sure you’ll find one you love.
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* * * * This Lenny Lamb Toddler Onbuhimo is from Woven. In return for this review, we were gifted the Onbuhimo.