Are you looking for the best baby carrier that can be used from birth until your child is a toddler? In this extensive Tula Free To Grow review you’ll learn everything there is to know about the Tula Free To Grow baby carrier.
This post is written based upon my own experiences with this excellent baby carrier that I’ve been using for many years.
This post contains affiliate links.
Please read my disclosure policy for more information.
Tula Free To Grow Review
My baby Tula carrier review
This Tula review is based upon my own personal experiences and this post isn’t sponsored in any way. I bought our Baby Tula free to grow myself and have been using it for years.
I’ve carried both my son as well as my daughter for hours and hours and I love the closeness a baby carrier gives compared to a stroller.
Reasons to wear your baby: benefits of babywearing
As a mom of two kids, I can say from personal experience: babywearing is wonderful! Not just for your baby, for you as a parent as well.
A baby carrier offers your baby a sense of security and comfort. In a baby carrier, your child is close to you. He or she can feel your heartbeat and smell your familiar scent.
For babies suffering from colic, being carried around in a baby sling is especially beneficial. The (ergonomic) M-position stimulates baby’s digestion which in turn relieves their cramps.
As a parent, wearing your baby in a carrier frees up your hands to do some chores around the house, such as folding laundry.
Or go for a walk in the woods or on the beach. You’ll be able to take trails that are impossible to navigate with a stroller.
Finally, our baby carrier is one of the first items I pack when preparing for a family trip. It doesn’t take up much space and you can easily take it as carry-on when traveling by plane.
Once you’re at your destination, carrying your baby in a sling or baby carrier will make strolling around picturesque villages with narrow stairs and cute (but bumpy) cobblestoned roads so much easier.
Altogether there are plenty of reasons to purchase a good baby carrier!
Tula Free to Grow vs Tula Standard Carrier and Toddler Tula carrier
The Baby Tula toddler carrier is perfect if you want to continue carrying your child after he or she outgrows the Tula Free to Grow or the Tula Standard.
In the table below you can see the differences between these Tula baby carriers.
|Tula||How to use||Weight|
|Tula Free to Grow||Inward front carry and back carry||7-45 lb. / 3.2-20kg|
|Tula Standard||Inward front carry and back carry||15-45 lb. / 7-20kg|
|Tula Toddler||Inward front carry and back carry||25-60 lb. / 11-27kg|
The biggest difference between these baby Tula carriers is the weight of the child for which the carrier can be used.
Important: if your child is preterm or weights less than 7 lb. / 3.2 kg, the Tula FTG is still too big.
Wait until your baby weighs at least 3.2 kg before using the free to grow Tula. Until then, use a soft bamboo wrap such as this one.
Baby Tula carrier review
Why is the FTG Tula such a great baby carrier? What makes the Tula Free To Grow newborn-proof? What materials is the baby Tula carrier made of? And does the Tula carrier have some drawbacks as well?
In this Tula free to grow carrier review you will get answers to all these questions and more!
I have enjoyed using our Tula carriers for years. They are high-quality carrier and easy to use. What’s more, our kids love being carrier around in their Tula baby carriers.
Here are several excellent reasons to opt for a Tula baby carrier.
The Tula baby carriers Free to Grow, Standard and Toddler provide ergonomic positions for your child and ensure a healthy posture when you’re carrying you little one.
For all baby carriers its important to make sure your child sits in an M-position, see the image below. This ergonomic position promotes healthy hip and spine development for babies.
As you can see in the picture, in a proper ‘M‘-position your child’s buttocks are lower than the knees. In addition, the legs are supported from the back of one knee to the back of the other knee.
Furthermore, the back of your child has a natural curve when he or she sits in the baby carrier.
Of course, safety is very important when it comes to carrying your baby. All Tula carriers have a large label with clear safety instructions (see photo above). Make sure to read the instruction in your carrier carefully before using it.
On this label you’ll find information about the weight for which the baby carrier is suitable. There is also an important note about keeping a close eye on your baby when you are wearing him or her.
Especially with newborn babies it’s very important that the neck is well supported. Also make sure that your baby can breathe freely and support your child’s head when you bend forward.
Here are some more tips about safe babywearing.
As your baby gets bigger and stronger, he or she will get better at keeping his head upright. Your baby will be able to look around and get to know the world while feeling safe and protected because he’s so close to his mommy.
Adjusting the Tula Free to Grow: Tula free to grow instructions
If it’s your first time using a baby carrier, allow yourself plenty of time to figure out how it works. Don’t rush or worry, you’ll get the hang of it!
In the official Tula video above, you can see how to use and adjust the Tula Free to Grow.
If you adjust the baby carrier properly, the weight of your baby is evenly distributed and you should be able to wear your baby for hours without experiencing discomfort or pain.
When you start using the Tula Free to Grow it’s easiest to ask for help from your partner, mom or friend. This enables you to focus on properly adjusting the baby carrier so that it fits perfectly while your partner holds the baby.
He or she can also help you to secure the buckle on your back. I’ll be the first to admit this can be a bit difficult to manage this on your own.
You can easily adjust the Tula carrier so that both you and your partner can use it to carry your baby and enjoy being so close to your little one.
Tula free to grow positions
On the waistband of the Tula FTG, there are three press studs. These studs can be used to adjust the width of the seat panel.
The width is adjustable from 5″ – 15″ wide, making the free to grow Tula carrier suitable from birth until your kid is a toddler.
Tula baby carrier newborn
Tula baby carrier baby
Tula baby carrier toddler
Adjusting the back panel
You can also easily adjust the height of the back panel using the straps attached to it.
Which position to use for your child?
On average, the newborn position is suitable for babies up to 6 months. The middle position is generally used for kids 6-12 months and the widest position for children aged 1 year and older.
Just pay close attention to your baby and you’ll notice when he or she is starting to outgrow the Tula position you’re currently using.
When your baby’s legs or back is no longer properly supported it’s time to adjust the seat and back panel.
Guidelines for babywearing
An important rule is that you should be able to give your baby a kiss on the top of their head whenever you’re carrying him in a front carry.
As I mentioned before, it is very important for young babies that their neck is well supported. When my kids were young, I would roll up a burp cloth and put it behind their neck for additional support.
Alternatively, you can roll up the sleeping hood and tuck it behind their neck for support.
Finally, your baby will make himself heard when he’s not happy in his carrier. Try, adjust and readjust until both you as well as your baby are comfortable.
Wearing a baby carrier shouldn’t feel uncomfortable or hurt anywhere. When the baby carrier is properly fitted to your body you should be able to carry your child for hours without pain.
Keep in mind though that babywearing takes some getting used. Practice regularly and give yourself a break if your baby doesn’t want to be carried all the time.
As your child gets heavier you probably won’t be able to carry him or her all day. But by that age, kids aren’t too happy hanging out in a baby carrier all the time anyway.
Also keep in mind that all kids are different, some love to be carried and other less so. My son absolutely loved to be carried around. During the first 12 months of his life, I carried him almost every day.
My daughter on the other hand was pickier about when she wanted to be carried. She preferred sitting in her stroller or exploring on her own two (wobbly) feet.
Tula free to grow front carry
Because you can easily adjust the Tula FTG using the various buckles, straps and clips, this carrier is suitable for both a front carry as well as a back carry.
Important: until your child can sit independently, you can only use carry him or her in a front carry facing you.
Also note that a forward-facing front carry is not an ergonomic position for a baby and something I strongly advise against.
I find the front carry position very cozy and intimate and loved having my newborn babies so close to me.
You can keep a constant eye on your baby which is especially important when they are so teeny tiny. You can kiss him or her on the head, pat your baby softly on the back or just snuggle up.
What’s more, you can actually sit on a chair or couch using a front carry, something that’s pretty impossible with a back carry.
The main advantage of the front carry is that you can see your baby’s face and monitor him or her. Also, your baby can see you and only you, without too many impressions from the big and sometimes scary outside world.
It’s easy for a newborn to get overstimulated, everything is new to them!
Finally, a front carry (baby facing towards you) is a wonderful and safe way to use the Tula Free to Grow from birth.
With the Tula Free to Grow you don’t need an infant inset. Instead, you just use the smallest position of the carrier. Keep in mind that your baby must weight at least 7 lb. / 3.2 kg.
The main disadvantage of a front carry is that, as your child gets older, this way of babywearing can be quite heavy and potentially cause shoulder and backaches.
Tula free to grow back carry
I switched to a back carry once my kids were able to sit independently, that must have been around 9+ months if I remember correctly.
Carrying your child on your back takes some getting used to, as it can be tricky to position the Tula carrier properly while simultaneously making sure your baby doesn’t fall out.
That being said, once you get the hang of it, I actually like this way of babywearing even more than the front carry.
On the downside: it’s a bit less intimate. However, it makes life much easier (try washing your hands with an 11-month-old baby on your stomach without it turning into a water ballet).
Also, as your baby gets bigger and heavier, carrying your baby on your back is just easier on your body and something you can do for years (if you and your kid enjoy it).
I still sometimes carry my 34 lb. son in our Tula, but only in a back carry. He’s talking my ear off, so even though I can’t see him that well, it’s still nice and intimate.
In conclusion: the Tula Free To Grow carrier can be used both for front carry (baby facing you) as well as back carry.
Both ways are comfortable in my experience and it allows you to use the Tula FTG from birth until your toddler is a little chatterbox.
A quick note before we move on to the gorgeous prints Tula offers: there is another way to safely carry your baby called the hip carry.
The Free to Grow Tula isn’t suitable for this type of babywearing, but there are many beautiful slings that you can buy if you want to try wearing your baby like this.
Personal note about the hip carry position: I’ll be honest, wearing my baby on my hip was my least favorite way to carry my kids.
I’ve had a sling for a while and while putting it on is fast and easy, my shoulder always started aching after a while.
Instead of distributing the weight evenly over both shoulders, all the weight pulls on one shoulder and my shoulder(s) didn’t like that too much.
That being said, a quality baby sling suitable for a hip carry can be nice for short periods of time or when you quickly need to run an errand and want to bring your baby along.
Tula has all kinds of beautiful prints and colors from which you can choose. There are a few prints that are always available, these are the:
- Tula free to grow Discover
- Tula free to grow soar Soar
- Tula free to grow Play
However, all the other prints are limited editions. Which is great because everyone can pick their favorite and we don’t all end up with the same print.
I absolutely love my Tula Navigator print (unfortunately it’s is no longer available). This Tula design fits our family perfectly as we love to explore our Phenomenal Globe.
Be sure to check out Tula’s latest prints and let me know which one is your favorite!
The Tula Free to Grow has a wide padded waistband as well as padded shoulder straps which feel nice and soft.
Tula baby carriers are usually 100% cotton, but there are also a number of versions with a mesh back such as the Tula Coast carrier. I’m not sure if there’s a Tula free to grow coast available (I couldn’t find it in the Tula store on Amazon).
A mesh back is great for ventilation, making this carrier very suitable for warm climates or an escape to a tropical island.
An indispensable Tula accessory is the sleeping/sun hood. I believe all Tula Free to Grow baby carrier come with this cap, but in case yours doesn’t (or if you accidentally lose yours, you can easily order a replacement).
This convenient little cap can be attached to the shoulder straps and not only protects your baby against the sun but also ensures that he or she can sleep peacefully.
I find myself using this cap often, especially during our family travels. Our little one can sleep while we explore a pretty town or go for a hike.
Baby carrier review: Tula Free to Grow pros and cons
Things I love about the Tula Free to Grow
- Can be used from birth until toddler
- Suitable for front and back carry
- Beautiful and unique prints
- Very comfortable and durable
Things that could be improved about the Tula Free to Grow
- The top buckle is quite difficult to close by yourself when using the front carry
- The small pouch under the back panel doesn’t close very well (don’t put anything important in here!)
Free to Grow Tula review: conclusion
I hope this Tula free to grow baby carrier review will help you decide if the Tula FTG is for you. If you have a question, leave a comment below or send me a message, I’m happy to help!