ISARA Baby Carriers is the passion of Monica Olariu who began her company after having difficulty finding a carrier to fit her and her son in her home of Romania. After visiting the United Kingdom and seeing the options available, she was energized to begin a new step in her babywearing adventure. The name of the company is Filipino for close. The main mission of the ISARA carrier is to give parents the ability to maintain a close bond to their child. The product line includes stretchy wraps, ergonomic soft structured carriers in both standard and toddler size, custom conversions, cold weather SSC covers, and babywearing accessories.
The ISARA soft structured carrier is available three styles, Organic, Cotton, and Wrap Conversion. The Organic carrier line features an all decorative cotton layer and organic cotton inner layer. The Cotton carriers feature decorative cotton layers with decorative panel and matching print for legs out padding with twill body panel and inner panels. The Wrap Conversion carrier is sewn from two layers of soft twill in solid colors of 100% organic cotton woven wrap fabric from the French company Colimaçon & Cie. The attention to detail for the stitching and comfort of the wearer and the baby is evident. The carriers are available in two sizes, standard suitable for babies between 8 and 40 pounds, and toddler up to 44 pounds. We tested the Wrap Conversion in Raspberry and the Standard size.
The standard size carrier arrived in a vibrant pink color called Raspberry. The stitching was neat, coordinated to the color of the carrier, and nearly invisible. The waistband is contoured, angling up at the hips with the buckle resting on a padded section of the waistband. This prevented the buckles from resting against the skin of the wearer and ensured that this weight bearing section of the carrier insulated the wearer from discomfort. Padded lightly in the waistband, the contouring gives a good distribution of baby’s weight and fit to the hips. The waistband expands from as narrow as 27 inches up to 58 inch waists, making it a good fit for the petite figure. Seat darting, legs out padding, and detachable hood only begin to round up the amenities of the carrier. The waistband features a narrowing option, allowing the carrier body to be reduced in width by an additional three inches on both sides. This allows an adjustable seat to accommodate a newborn up through a toddler.
The Personal Fit Adjusters (PFAs) are adjusted prior to getting baby in the carrier and while the webbing measures a full 10 inches, the cinchable section is no more than four inches. The shoulder harness buckles feature a fine adjust with nine inches for personal fit in addition to the full 18 inches of webbing for tightening. This allows users of many different builds to wear the ISARA comfortably.
The body panel measures 14 inches wide at center and top so there is mild contouring from the 14.5 inch seat to the middle but the carrier body is mostly rectangular. This provided a full coverage side, without opening for baby, closing off the usual open side design seen in most soft structured carriers. The shoulder harness is a straight strap which allowed multiple wearing positions including front, back, and hip carry. With straight straps the front carry can be worn in crossed position, making an X over the wearer’s back, and giving extra lumbar support to the wearer. The hood is secured with a paracord loop and hook to the shoulder harness. The hood is detachable, securing to the inside of the carrier body with heavy duty snaps providing functional privacy or sun cover.
As with any soft structured carrier, it is important to make sure your baby can sit unassisted so that they can reposition their heads and protect their airway from suffocation. While not currently compliant with the new Consumer Product and Safety Commission and ASTM compliance standard F2236, the company is seeking testing before the end of the year to expand their sales market.
What I loved about this carrier
I have loved the soft feel of the Colimaçon et Cie fabric for quite some time. Having purchased many meters from the company, quite a few of my DIY wraps and ring slings are from this very soft fabric. This is one of the characteristics I loved from first feel of the ISARA. This means that right out of the box the carrier is extraordinarily soft requiring no time to wear in. The carrier is not stiff but pliable like a woven wrap and comfortable for both wearer and baby. The ISARA is comfortable, not over padded causing pressure on the shoulders or hips. We could easily wear the carrier for more than an hour without the need to readjust or feeling unwanted pressure in the hips. Distribution of weight was great, the 29 pounds of my two year olds not an issue for this carrier. The rectangular body allowed the girls to feel enclosed, as they would in a wrap, and thus more relaxed, as if being hugged and held in arms.
Hip carries in an SSC are usually not my favorite, the use of the shoulder harness around the back and across the neck usually leaves the carrier adding pressure on the neck. The ISARA did place high on the neck in a Hip Carry but the lightly padded shoulder coupled with the amazingly soft fabric made this more comfortable than in other carriers. I enjoyed that once we had completely tightened the shoulder harness there was still an extra nine inches to adjust in for a snug fit. This is also a point where the harness could be loosened to lower for breastfeeding. Likewise the crossed shoulders for an additional front carry option was a comfortable fit for us. This allowed me to wear the ladies once asleep with more support for my back. Usually the SSC front carries utilize lower back and hip muscles for support of baby’s growing weight. The crossed straps allowed the use of the large muscle groups from the shoulders through the lower lumbar taking most of the pressure and weight off the hips.
I am usually not a fan of sleepy hoods. I do have to say that the ISARA is an exception to the list of two other carriers at the moment. The connection for the hood is on the inside of the carrier body and sunken five inches below the top of the carrier body. This actually allowed the hood to fully extend and use the pressure of the body as tension to keep my sleeping baby’s head from lolling back while she was worn. This means she was comfortable, shielded from the watchful eyes of the octogenarian crowd at the grocery store and I was truly hands free to continue our shopping. The carrier was lightweight, being two layers of wrap fabric without internal liner made it airy and breathable. The fevered baby did not sweat nor cause me extra heat or discomfort from wearing.
What I am looking forward to seeing in the next release
I would love to see a PFA that pulled toward the body of the wearer. Frequently the PFA can make the difference between comfortable wear and a dismal experience for the baby and wearer as they continue to adjust what they can reach. Once the baby is in the carrier, adjustment of the PFA in any position of wear becomes a task you need an independent person to help you adjust. Adjusting it prior to adding baby to the carrier makes it a guess as to where you would likely be comfortable. If these were adjustable while wearing, the personal fit for each wearer would be complete. I enjoy a little more padding at the waistband of the SSC as I lack the hips to support the weight of my babies. The extra padding gives me a little extra cushion for their increasing weight when I want a quick uppy in an SSC. Perhaps a closed cell foam with higher density would be more comfortable without changing the width of the padding in the carrier.
Overall the ISARA carrier was comfortable and the details included in the carrier show that the design is from the point of view of the wearer with comfort in mind. The carrier was extremely friendly for the petite wearer with the smaller waistband and extra cinching in the shoulder harness for a fine fit feeling usually only seen in custom carriers. The bright, cheery colors are appealing and the incorporation of soft wrap fabric makes it ready to wear out of the box with no wearing in needed.
Babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding twin Momma sharing my insights.