Integra Baby Carriers are loved by parents and Carrying Consultants alike. Suitable for front and back carrying, Integra carriers are lightweight, easily adjustable, ergonomic and come in a huge range of gorgeous fabric designs.
They’re identical to the now-discontinued Connecta and designed by the same team – just a different brand name. Manufactured in the UK with impressive ethical credentials, we take a closer look at this fantastic carrier.
INTEGRA BABY CARRIER – FEELS GOOD AND LOOKS GOOD!
Integra carriers are lightweight and come in an array of fabrics and designs. If you love patterns and a bit of fun in your carrier, you’ll definitely find an Integra to suit your individual style! Their standard carriers are made from soft organic cotton prints, with special editions made from Harris tweed and woven wrap fabrics for a more luxurious feel.
The Integra is relatively unstructured with light padding in the shoulder straps but without a bulky padded waistband. This makes it lightweight and compact – perfect for folding away neatly into a bag or under a buggy. The lack of a structured waistband doesn’t affect the weight distribution or comfort of the carrier – the Integra waistband sits high into your natural waist and your baby’s weight will hug into your body in a natural ergonomic position.
They have a simple, stylish look when worn – no complicated engineering here! – and are soft enough to use indoors, whilst being supportive enough for long walks too.
EASY TO USE
We love how easy the Integra Carrier is to use. It fastens around you and your baby using three large buckles, which are very easy to find and clip together. There are few straps to adjust and so it’s super simple to set to your size, with minimal adjustments needed once you’ve got it set up.
The nice addition of dual-adjustable side buckles means that you can easily tighten the straps in both front and back carries. You can also adjust where the buckles sit on your body to avoid any digging.
The Integra is suitable for front carries from newborn, and you can also use it to back carry once your baby is able to sit unaided (around 6-8 months). Front carrying is really very easy, with the straps crossing comfortably around your back. Once your carrier is set up you can just click and go!
For back carrying you’ll need to use the separate accessory strap provided (rather than the integrated sternum strap that most back carriers now feature). It’s still very easy, and adjusting between different carrying positions is as straightforward as any other multi-position carrier.
Whilst Integra Baby Carriers are suitable from newborn (7.5lbs), we find they are best from around 2-3 months. For younger babies, you’ll need to cinch the seat of the carrier – using the accessory strap provided – in order to make the seat small enough. The soft fabric of the carrier does cinch easily, but it’s not always a perfect fit for smaller babies.
We do agree with Integra’s recommendation that the size 1 carrier is suitable for up to about 1.5 to 2 years. We also like their honesty about carrier sizing – their size 1 carrier is tested to hold a child weighing up to 24kg (about equivalent to an average 7-year-old!) – but they are open in saying that the carrier is most comfortable when carrying babies up to around 10kg (between 1 and 2 years).
Integra offers their carriers in 3 sizes (Baby/Size 1, Toddler/Size 2 and Preschool/Size 3) and so when your baby starts to feel too big for the Baby sized Carrier – i.e. the base of the body panel no longer supports them across the whole of their seated width – you can size up your carrier to stay comfy for the next stage.
So the Integra Size 1 Carrier is perfect for babies between 3-18 months, and can also be used before and after that so you get a good amount of use for a fairly inexpensive carrier.
Okay, so we really do love these carriers. They are perfect for families moving on from a stretchy wrap or sling and who’d like to keep that light, soft carrying feel, but need more support and versatility as their baby grows. We find that many people who love the idea of a woven wrap or meh dai but need something easier and quicker to use, really enjoy the snug fabric feel of the Integra.
Integra Carriers pack down really neatly, making them great for families who don’t carry regularly, or who need a compact carrier for a holiday. They are light to wear and brilliant in the summer when you don’t want to surround yourself in bulky fabrics or padding.
They fit a really wide range of mums and dads alike and most people find them light and comfy to wear.
THE SOLAR VERSION
The Integra Baby Carrier also comes in an ultra-light Solar version. This version is ideal for extra hot climates, as it’s made from quick-drying, UV protective fabric that is even thinner and lighter than the regular model. If you’re looking for a perfect sling for the beach or for use in 30-degree-plus heat then it’s a dream to wear. But for most people (and most British summers) the already-lightweight standard version will do just fine.
INTEGRA BABY CARRIER VS CONNECTA BABY CARRIER
The Integra Carriers look and feel very much like Connecta Carriers. So what’s the difference? To be honest, almost nothing. They are different brands and come in different designs. The only real functional difference is that Integra has dual adjust buckles. This means some wearers may find them fractionally easier to adjust and tighten than the Connecta , but the difference is very small indeed.
They don’t quite fit everyone. Despite their simple design, Integra Baby Carriers are actually very adjustable and we find that they can be adapted to fit most adults and babies. However, for some shapes of adult and some sizes of your baby (particularly under 2-3 months), this can involve a bit more help and tweaking to get right.
For some shoulder shapes it can be a struggle to get the straps sitting comfortably – on some parents the straps have a tendency to ride up into the neck, which can become uncomfortable. Again, there are ways to tweak and improve this, but if you’re unlucky enough to be experiencing it, then the extra pulling and adjusting can detract from the appealing simplicity of this carrier.
OUR VERDICT ON THE INTEGRA BABY CARRIER
If you love some fun and individuality in your carrier style; if you want to just click and go in light-speed time; if you love lightweight simplicity and you are moving on from a stretchy wrap then the Integra may be the perfect carrier for you. However, if you want something that will be super easy from day 1 then you may need a little extra help tweaking the fit to get you and your baby safe and comfy.
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Always follow the TICKS guidelines for safe babywearing.