When my oldest was about 3, I remember taking him to an indoor play place for a few hours. My second baby was about 2 months old. I lugged the car seat inside but, of course, he woke up. So I pulled out my Moby Wrap and spent a few minutes wrestling with the 18′ long piece of fabric, magically turning it into a baby carrier.
As I was putting my baby into the Moby, I noticed a mom with two boys that look to be about the same ages as mine. She took her newborn out of the car seat and I took note that she did not have a baby carrier with her that I could see. But I quickly found out that she had something better…
She quickly and easily slipped her baby into her shirt. Her baby looked snug and comfortable. I approached her and told her I had to know what this shirt was and why I didn’t know about it sooner.
The basic premise of the kangaroo shirt is to allow skin to skin with your newborn while also doubling as a baby carrier. The concept really is genius. No wrapping, clipping, buckling, tightening, positioning, or wrestling with wraps or carriers. You simply slip baby into the three panels built into the shirt and done!
Vija Design Skin to Skin Kangaroo
Vija Design was developed by a mom who took her own experience with skin to skin with her premature baby and worked with ergonomists and neonatal care specialists, nurses and pediatricians to design these shirts.
I was fortunate enough to be sent a shirt from Vija Design to try. I was given the shirt in a beautiful coral color which I am completely in love with. Since I was due to give birth at any moment with my third baby, I was thrilled to be able to take the shirt with me to the hospital and have on hand for those first few months.
Per Vija Design’s Site, the Skin to Skin Kangaroo is:
A skin-to-skin babywearing shirt from newborn up to 15lbs (that’s about 4 months on average), a discreet nursing top, and it offers a postpartum support for your belly! Use this shirt for hands-free Kangaroo Care in the hospital or at home! It’s especially helpful when you have older children! Shirring on both sides keeps baby in the correct position and is flattering & supportive for mom! Wear on it’s own as a cute shirt, use as a discreet nursing shirt or slip your baby in for soothing, skin to skin contact. It’s a great shirt to calm a crying baby.
If you want the closeness of a wrap, but don’t want the hassle of tying, wrapping, buckles or velcro, this is the shirt for you!
My Adventures Wearing the Vija Design Kangaroo
Despite how impressed I was with the shirt when I first got it, I had a few concerns about using the shirt with my baby. I thought that one, I might get really hot because it is a heavy shirt, and, two, my back would start hurting due to lack of support.
I first used the shirt when my daughter was about a week old. The shirt says that it can be used for babies up to 15lbs. Putting her in the shirt for the first time was very easy once I figured out which panel goes where. Which was not hard to do since they send you all kinds of diagrams and pictures with your shirt. I am a visual learner so I appreciated this. It really is dummy proof, though.
My first go around using the kangaroo was just wearing it around the house. I would have liked to use it in the hospital but we were honestly there for such a short period of time that I never took it out of my bag.
I have two other kids, so having my hands free while my newborn slept soundly was really great! I folded laundry, made school lunch, poured cereal, unloaded the dishwasher, got two kids dressed and teeth brushed all while wearing her.
To my surprise, I was not hot or in pain… To be fair, this was the middle of December and the weather was quite chilly.
I decided to put it to the test further and wear it to the kid’s museum the next week. I walked around for several hours wearing her in the kangaroo. My baby was only about 8 pounds at the time and I did start to feel some pull in my upper back. I was surprised that I didn’t feel the pulling sooner, however.
I do think that the shirt held up really well in this scenario but I don’t think I would have lasted that long in it if my baby had been heavier, however. While it is sturdy and comfortable to wear, I am not sure it is the best choice to use when walking around like I did at a museum or theme park, etc. A sturdier, ergonomic carrier would be better suited for that, like the Ergo or Lille Baby carrier.
But what this shirt lacked there, it made up for in the ease of use. I loved being able to just slip my baby into the shirt. No fussing with straps, buckles, snaps, etc.
Now I did start to feel rather warm in the shirt while walking up and down stairs, going exhibit to exhibit, and running after kids. I might have felt the same no matter what I wore since going to the Children’s museum is like running a marathon… But the shirt is heavy and I would liken it to wearing a heavy wrap. A bamboo wrap or breathable baby carrier work better in warmer weather and situations where you are moving around a lot, in my opinion.
Despite that, I really love the Vija Design Kangaroo. Having realistic expectations for the shirt is important. This really is a great way to hold and cuddle your newborn close to you while having your hands free. It is not a replacement for a wrap or baby carrier, in my opinion. Long term wear does pull on your back if you are doing something strenuous.
It is perfect to wear around the house, to a casual party or get-together, a trip to the park, a brief walk, a shopping trip, etc. I know I have grabbed it more than once for those occasions and appreciated not having to fuss with a carrier or wrap and felt comfortable in the shirt the entire time.
My baby is now three months old and she still fits into the kangaroo. The shirt tops out at 15lbs so I would suspect we will hit that weight in the next month or so. I have found the shirt a great nursing top as well and plan to continue to wear it even after I stop using the kangaroo. It is extremely easy to nurse in and provides some great coverage.
I was pleased that I will have a use for the shirt even after my baby outgrows it.
Here is a great video that shows how you can breastfeed in the kangaroo shirt. You will also see that there are shirts made for men too. Great way to get Dad involved!
How to Use the Dija Design Kangaroo Shirt
This video shows how easy the kangaroo shirt is to use. It really is so simple…
Considering the Vija Design Kangaroo Shirt?
I am tall and wear a large in shirts typically and I am large chested, especially while breastfeeding. I ordered a size large in the T-Shirt style (there is a long sleeve, halter, tube top, Twin style, and men’s style as well). The large fit me snug but not too snug. It was actually perfect.
The length is something I read can be on the shorter side as well. I am wondering if those comments are geared toward the halter more than anything. I did not find the T-Shirt style to fit short at all. So, I think if you order the current size you wear in t-shirts or larger, you will be fine.
I also would consider the season you will be using the Kangaroo. My baby was born in the winter and I actually didn’t mind the shirt being a little heavier since it was chilly outside. If my baby had been born in the warmer months, the halter or tube top might have been a good choice.
If you would like to purchase a Vija Design, I found Amazon has the best price. Click here to see more!
Have you used the Vija Design Kangaroo shirt? Drop me a comment and let me know what you thought or if you have questions!
(Thank you to my model and her adorable newborn for rocking the Vija Design Kangaroo for this article!)
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