TULA: A Love Story

Before you have kids, you have no idea the depth of products made for them, especially if you’re the first of your friends to have a baby. We went with the status quo when we made our baby registry- choosing things we heard about from family members, or that were recommended by employees at the big box stores we registered at. So, a Moby wrap (stretchy, long piece of fabric), and an Ergobaby (SSC- soft-structured carrier) ended up on our registry. I was confident that I could (and would!) wear our son everywhere, be totally comfortable, and take on the world with my kid strapped to me! Then the baby gets here and reality sets in- maybe what works for “everyone” won’t work for you. We used the Moby a few times- it was ok when he was tiny, but once he hit about 15 pounds, it stretched too much and became uncomfortable (I’ve since gifted it to my cousin who had a super-preemie and will get lots of use out of it!). I think I wore the Ergo once. My husband wore it a handful of times. It just wasn’t…right. Or comfortable. We’re both bigger people and couldn’t get the buckles and straps in the right place to make wearing it a joy and not a hassle. So it sat in a closet completely unused. Don’t get me wrong though- the Moby and Ergo are a great stepping-stone to the babywearing world, and, in my opinion, any (safe) babywearing is a good thing!



Once I stepped out of the big box stores and stepped in to Ju-Ju Monkey, I realized there was more to life than Moby and Ergo. There were ring slings! And woven wraps! And mei tais! Oh my! (Sorry, I couldn’t help it!) I joined babywearing groups on Facebook, talked to my new mom friends about what they preferred, and finally found several carriers that were pretty darn great. Then, my friends started getting Tulas. One by one, they all had this magical thing that I assumed I would hate because it was an SSC and had straps and buckles and an adjustable waistband that I was SURE would never fit me. They were wearing them everywhere- to the farm we were all members of, at playdates, at Ju-Ju Monkey, et cetera. There was a Tula around every corner! By this time we had our second baby, babywearing was no longer an option- it was a must to survive getting anywhere alone with two babies that are only a year apart. So I gave in to my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) of not having my own Tula, found a pattern I loved, and asked Sara to please order one for me in toddler size. Now, when Sara is on a mission to find something for a customer, she doesn’t quit. She found the Tula of my dreams at a shop in Alaska of all places! She spoke to the shop owner and had it shipped. It was in my hands not long after that!

So now I had this beautiful carrier (teal! and pink! with unicorns on it!), I had spent a good chunk of change on it, and I felt totally guilty even taking it out of it’s plastic wrap because I had no idea if I was even going to like it or use it but I knew I NEEDED it. So, like the Ergo before it, it sat unused, unwrapped, and unloved. One evening I decided enough was enough- I was going to use it. I opened it and had my husband spot me while I tried to do a back carry with our toddler. I got all the straps buckles to where I thought they should be (and hey! the waist strap fit me! with room!), put the carrier on my back (I wasn’t brave enough yet to try and get the kid on my back by myself), and had my husband put our son in it. I fastened the chest buckle and we were in business! It needed a few more adjustments, but I could immediately tell that it was going to be immensely more comfortable than the Ergo (or any other SSC I had tried on, for that matter). The following evening, I did a back carry with my husband just spotting me. The first time was awkward trying to scoot our toddler around my side and onto my back without dropping him, but I did it!



The next day the boys and I had to run an errand, so I figured I could test my independent Tula-ing. I didn’t have a spotter or a bed to practice over, so I used the bed of our minivan in case my big guy took a dive. We did it! With the big guy on my back, I buckled my little guy in the seat of the cart and we were on our way. Cut to us exiting the store (probably from Target with a cart full of things that we didn’t need!), and the Tula dismount. Again, I did it over the bed of the van, just to be safe. I scooted him around to my front, and the look on his face was priceless! It was like he was just on the coolest amusement park ride that he never knew existed and he wanted to go again and again and again! And that was the moment I realized the Tula was a game changer.

We Tula everywhere- Target, Lowes, and Ikea are some of our favorites (we just moved, so we make LOTS of trips!). We dance down the aisles and take goofy selfies in any mirror we come across. Little brother loves it too because he can be the “big kid” in the cart seat and watch his mom and big brother be goofballs (don’t worry, he’ll get his chance in the Tula too!). There have been instances I’ve worn the 27 pound toddler for 2 hours without any back pain on my part or antsyness on his part. My friends nurse their babies in their Tulas like magical nursing ninjas! And some of my baby friends have been known to nap for hours in their comfy Tula cocoon!


My favorite part of the Tula though? The big hug and kiss I get from my son right after I scoot him around off my back to put him down. In that moment, I am Super Mom. It’s indescribable.

So, if you’re on the fence about whether you should get a Tula, go try one on! Wear it around for a while! Rent it for a few days! Ju-Ju Monkey is the only retailer in the tri-state area that sells them.  Trust me, it’s worth it!


Tula review: where are they now? 

I wrote this several months ago, and my obsession has evolved!  I now own 6 Tulas- 3 standard tula and 3 toddler Tula.  I’ve learned to tandem carry, and it has saved my sanity many times!  If you’d like to see a video on how I tandem carry my 2 oldest boys, watch here:


Some Tula facts and figures: 

There are two sizes- standard and toddler.  Standard fits babies from 15 pounds (there is an additional infant insert for a newborn, or you can roll up a towel and put it under their bum). Toddler has a wider seat and is designed for babies from about 25 pounds, 32” tall (approximate age 18 months- 4+ years). Babies can be worn on the front or back (Tula recommends waiting until your child is a year old before moving him to the back). There is a removable hood, and a pocket on the waist belt. There are also suck pads you can purchase to keep your straps clean!  For more information on Tulas and the company as a whole, check out Ju-Ju Monkey's getting started with Tula guide.


Unforgettable Tula Memory: 

While waiting in the return line at Ikea customer service with the toddler in the Tula on my back, I felt a strange warm sensation wash over me. I thought it was maybe from it being a warm day and having a warm kid on my back.  Nope, it was pee. Lots of pee. And it was hilarious. There’s not much else you can do when you’re an hour away from home, just got to your destination, put your kid’s diaper on a little too loose, gave him lots of juice on the ride, and you get peed on. You just laugh. And you tell the Ikea customer service guy why you’re laughing. And he laughs too. And then you beeline it to the bathroom, change a diaper, and put your now pantsless kid back on your back!



About the Author

Andrea is a SAHM to 3 handsome boys, born January 2013, January 2014 and April 2015. She enjoys sewing, knitting, and rooting for the Phillies. Andrea has been using cloth diapers since her first son was 2 months old, and hasn't looked back since!

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