As a Mommy Blogger who focuses on natural parenting, I love to bring you reviews of Baby Carriers. If you are one of my regular readers, you’ll know that I’m disabled and use a wheelchair. I babywear using various baby carriers out of necessity, and sometimes the waist belts can get uncomfortable. My able-bodied husband has also expressed that he would be more comfortable while using a carrier that didn’t use a waistband. He prefers back carries and for these reasons, I started looking into Onbuhimo carriers.
I did some research online and approached Soul Slings about doing a review of their Soul Onbuhimo Carrier. To my great excitement, they agreed and offered to sponsor a Giveaway! My husband and I have both thoroughly tested this carrier and I am excited to share both our disabled and able-bodied experiences with you all.
Disclosure: I received this carrier at no cost to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own: honest and uninfluenced. This post also contains affiliate links, where I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you use the links to purchase a carrier. Your support helps keep this blog running and enables me to bring you more posts like this one.
About the Soul Slings Onbuhimo Carrier
The Soul Slings Onbuhimo carrier is primarily used as a back carrier, but can be worn forward facing as well. This unique, and convenient, style of carrier originated in Japan and is made without a waist belt! It is lightweight, breathable, and very portable. The baby’s legs go through the bottom of the straps (with thigh padding) and then you form a seat by tucking up the bottom of the panel between yourself and baby.
An Onbuhimo is best suited to “arms out” carries, and the Soul Onbuhimo will work from the time baby is self-sitting and 15lbs, right into toddler-hood with a max weight of 40lbs. It’s quite adjustable, and is a popular choice for caregivers of any size and shape. I’m a plus-sized gal (size 18/2XL) and my husband is a husky, broad-shouldered dad. This carrier fits both of us, with a few adjustments for myself that I’ll mention below.
- Fits 15-40lbs (7-18kg)
- Suitable for front and back carries but primarily used as an arms-out, back carrier
- Adjustable Hood for protection from sun and wind and to offer support while sleeping
- Back/chest strap with firm, supportive padding for optimum weight distribution
- Loops to roll up and secure excess straps
- Sturdy clips and fixtures and ample padding on the shoulder straps
- Perfect Fit Adjusters (PFA’s) easily adjust the straps before and after tge shoulder padding to each individual caregiver’s needs
- Contoured Linen body panel, with leg padding, provides a snug and airy fit with a supportive, wide seat
My perspective as a Disabled Babywearer
Because I am normally in a wheelchair, I used this carrier primarily in a front carry. I initially found the straps to be quite uncomfortable in the front carry position and had to make some adjustments. The padding does not extend far enough on my body to avoid pinching under my arms. With adjustments to the straps, and raising up my baby up higher to get the padding as far back as possible, I achieved moderate comfort.
I did use the Soul Onbuhimo as a back carrier around my house while not in my manual wheelchair (I use an office chair in my small kitchen and other areas that my manual wheelchair doesn’t fit). In this position, it was very comfortable for me. I cannot carry my 3 year old on my back anymore but my 11 month old infant was up often, and enjoyed himself. I also am able to safely back carry in my electric power-chair (without the risk of tipping backwards like with my manual wheelchair) and, again, found the Soul Onbuhimo ideally suited to this back carry position.
It seems to me that the shoulder strap padding is designed to primarily accommodate the more popular use of this carrier: back carries. This, of course, is ideal for typical able bodied wearers, but not quite what I’m looking for while front-wearing as a wheelchair user.
Other carrier types are available from Soul Slings
Soul Slings also makes a widely popular Buckle SSC (Soft Structured Carrier) and Meh Dai carrier, which are styles of carriers I have used successfully in the past for front carrying in a wheelchair. They have wraps and ring slings as well, all in a very affordable price range.
I believe that babywearers who use manual wheelchairs would be more comfortable front-carrying in Soul Sling’s SSC or Meh Dai carriers.
My husband’s perspective as an Able-bodied Wearer
My husband is a broad-shouldered man who loves to carry our children on his back. He has commented many times before that he would like a “backpack” style carrier that had no waistband, because they are uncomfortable to him. When I told him the Onbuhimo has no waist band, he was immediately on board. The day we got it he wore both children around our home, and several times wearing one of them out shopping or for walks. This carrier has officially become “his carrier.”
I learned a tip online for this carrier, and it especially helped my husband. Get the baby’s shoulders higher than the caregivers shoulders for the optimum comfort. The manual also suggests to raise baby up higher if you experience initial discomfort.
My 11 month old Littlest absolutely loves high back carries- so he can see the world and chat away to daddy. He has always been curious while being carried, and so this Soul Onbuhimo is a perfect match! I was shocked that the width of the carrier, which provides padded knee-to-knee coverage for my 18lb infant, also fits knee-to-knee on my 3 year old. My husband enjoyed carrying him as well, although our Little is only 30 lbs and wears a size 3T clothes (which small for the average 3 year old). Daddy agreed that the carrier would probably still be comfortable at heavier weights as well.
A Note about Wearing over Outerwear
We have the most success with this carrier while wearing regular indoor clothing. When wearing over a loose-fitting jacket, my husband noticed the carrier slipping down. This was not an issue while wearing it over, say, a T-Shirt or regular shirt. As Canadians, with long winters, we need to consider this aspect. Wearing over his coat, he had to often bounce baby up higher again while re-adjusting the straps. Not that a big deal, but good to know. I do think this carrier would be a great choice for underneath a babywearing jacket.
The final Verdict
My overall opinion of this carrier is very positive! While it did not work out as a long term front carry solution for me personally (quick ups are no problem!) due to my unique situation, it has more than satisfied my able-bodied husband as a back carrier. We both feel very confident to recommend this carrier for back carries.
What we Love
We definitely love this carrier and are happy to have it as an addition to our collection. But in the interest of saving space, I’ll try and highlight a few of our main points!
- The price is right! At $108 (Canadian), with some of the other styles even cheaper, this Soul Onbuhimo is an affordable babywearing option
- The materials are great quality: the buckles feel strong and secure and the linen fabric is gorgeous
- Both my children love being up high on the back, to look around, and this carrier accommodates that perfectly
- The Soul Slings company itself has put much consideration into their product. They are a pleasure to deal with, and believe in the babywearing community.
What we Love Less
In the interest of fairness I like to present any issues I encounter during a review right here for quick reference. I appreciate that my own issues may not affect the average user, and really- we were able to rectify everything.
- While in a front carry the strap’s padding didn’t reach very far back around my shoulders, but I suspect most people will choose this as a back carrier
- The carrier did slip down a bit over loose jackets. I don’t believe this is a flaw of the carrier as much as a situational issue with our outerwear.
Where to Buy
You can grab one of these amazing carriers at my trusted affiliate retailer, right here in Alberta, Carry Me Mommy with free Canada Wide shipping!
Soul Slings is a growing company based in Bangalore, India, and has many retailers around the world including Canada and the USA. You can learn more about the Soul Brand and follow them socially on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram as well as their website. This company has been embraced by many baby-wearing communities for their ethics and openness within the baby-wearing world.
Enter the Giveaway
Soul Slings has sent us an extra carrier, giving you the opportunity for you to win your very own! The prize is one Soul Onbuhimo carrier in the stunning green and yellow “Sparkle” print.
There is only one mandatory requirement to enter this giveaway! You must submit your entry on the following “widget” below and be a member of the Soul Family facebook group to be eligible. Also, be careful to spell your name and email address correctly on the entry form! Completing the mandatory entry gains you access to TONS of bonus entries. Bonus entries give you more chances to win this amazing prize by completing different tasks and interacting with us bloggers!
All entries are verified if you are chosen as the winner, so be careful not to claim any entries that you haven’t actually completed. Good luck! Closes October 16th 2017 at 12pm mountain time.
Disclaimer: This giveaway is Open to Canadian Residents only. Prize Sponsored by Soul Slings and Hosted/shipped by The Mama Knows. The winner will be notified by email and must respond within 48 hours to claim prize. All entry requirements must be met, and each entry will be validated. This giveaway is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. The Mama Knows, Soul Slings, and participating bloggers are not liable for any injuries resulting from the use of this item. All instructions should be carefully followed when using a baby carrier.