Elizabeth Antunovic from Nap, Inc., or better known as the babywearing mom who developed the BOBA carrier recently gave Nurtured a few minutes from her busy schedule with NAP, Inc and sponsoring babywearing flash mobs to answer a couple questions.
Thank you so much, Elizabeth, for creating an innovative design on the structured carrier! It’s great to hear you’ve taken it all over the world and we’re proud to have it join our carrier lineup at Nurtured.
Q: When did you first learn about babywearing?
E: When I was pregnant I read the book about instinctive care for your child. Nine years ago slings seemed to be the way to go, so I got an unpadded ring sling woven in Guatemala and wore my daughter everyday in Slovenia, whether walking through the fields to the market, or to the farmer to get fresh milk, or in the posh Ljubljana.
Q: What inspired you to create the Boba?
E: After my son was 20 months old he wouldn’t go back into the Sleepy Wrap. The Sleepy Wrap was ideal when he was little. Now I was pregnant with my third and my macho Yugoslavian husband wouldn’t wear a wrap. The soft structured carriers out there either seemed too small, feminine, or low backed. We decided to improve on the existing soft structured carriers out there and make one that would fit bigger babies/toddlers, one that dad would love, and one that was more high backed, enveloping and supportive.
Q: Were footstraps always a part of the plan when you began designing it?
E: Yes. Coming from a manufacturer of baby wraps that offer total leg support, we wanted to figure out a way to offer this in a soft structured carrier. Since the fabric in a wrap should be pulled to the back of baby’s knees footstraps were an awesome and practical solution offering the same support. Instead of long toddler legs hanging down, it gives them a place to rest, turns the pelvis under, and reduces the arch in your little one’s back. Some kids don’t like their feet strapped in, while others love it!
Q: What is your favourite feature of the Boba?
E: I love the wings on the side. Instead of peekaboo sides (with a straight body of carrier with webbing at a hard 90 degree angle) the curves on the side make it more enveloping. There is not a straight line of pressure across your little one’s back. This was a little physics experiment, making the curves so that it would offer upper, middle, and lower back support to your little one.
Q: What questions do you ask potential customers when they are deciding what type of carrier will work for them?
E: Unfortunately, I don’t get to interact with many customers as we don’t have a brick and mortar location! But for the moms I meet at the park, or at the market looking for advice I ask:
Are you looking more for comfort or convenience?
Long hours baby wearing or short spurts?
Something your partner would wear or made just for you?
Then I usually just give them mine!
Do you have a question for Elizabeth you would like to ask? Feel free to add a comment!
The Boba Story:
We are a big advocate of baby wrap carriers for infants and small babies and our son virtually lived in the Sleepy Wrap for his first 16 months of life. As he became bigger we started looking for something more practical to be able to continue carrying him.
Soft structured carriers were new to us. We experimented with a few different carriers available on the market. It wasn’t so much that they were digging into our shoulders, but more the feeling of our son not being secure and leaning away from our bodies in the back carries. He also complained that his legs didn’t feel good even when seated facing our back in a wide seated carrier.
So for one year he refused to be carried. Most would think that a blessing. Well, the problem was that he still wanted to be carried, but only in our arms. We started toying around with the idea of creating our own soft structured carrier for toddlers after successfully launching Sleepy Wrap more than 3 years ago.
We were always brainstorming and trying to figure out how to make our design better and ended up first adding a safety buckle so there would be no spontaneous releases. Then a light bulb went on. We just had the best idea- foot straps- to get that digging fabric off of little hamstrings, prevent bigger legs from just hanging and just give them a place to rest- just like the rungs we rest our feet on when we sit on a bar stool. After eleven different prototypes and almost one year of going back and forth, we finally got it right. Our son turned 3 by the time our final prototype was made and although he’s a big guy, he loves it.
We couldn’t compromise; we had to get it right. They had to be butter soft and we even took the extra step of making them with only certified organic cotton. To top it all off, we decided to make them right here in our home town of Boulder, CO with the help of local mountaineering professionals.
And the Boulder Baby carrier- the “BoBa” was born.