When one of our favorite rugged, stylish stroller brands, Mountain Buggy, announced they were getting into the baby carrier business, I was definitely intrigued. I knew that keeping up with a baby and a six-year-old of my own was going to require some kind of super comfy carrier, especially with my neck and back issues. So I decided to put the Mountain Buggy Juno baby carrier through the ringer for a few months then report back on my real-life use experience.
Turns out, this high-end baby carrier has a lot to offer. It won’t be for everyone, but what it does, it does well.
The main benefit of this multi-functional carrier is four carry positions (rear, front, side, and back) that are designed to takes you from newborn to toddler stage. (No judgments if you want to wear your 40-pound four-year old; you can actually do that but there’s no way I would.) Also, dads can easily get in on the baby carrier game too so yay for that!
Right off the bat, I was impressed to see that the carrier actually comes with an infant insert, which is typically an additional cost. There are certainly some other wonderful features I like about the Juno too. First, I appreciate how lightweight it is while still feeling sturdy and strong. The 3D mesh padded shoulder straps and waistband provide good weight distribution, and some truly awesome relief if you have any back problems like I do.
I love how soft the fabric is, and it’s reassuring to know that the carrier fabric is certified free of harmful chemicals and other stuff that you I’d rather not have near your baby.
Also, it has pockets, which I love! There is a nice deep one meant to store the hood cover (yes, there is a hood cover) but you can also use it to store a few small back-up items like a small pack of wipes, a few diapers for those unexpected blowouts, or your smart phone. This definitely adds to the hands-free experience if you want to leave your bulky diaper bag at hom — though I’d probably feel more comfortable with wipes or diapers in there as opposed to pointy keys. General nervous new mom over-precaution, there.
Additionally, there are low outer pockets that are so smartly designed for comfort holding; just slide your hands in to support your baby from the bottom (aw, don’t you love feeling those cute little baby butts?), and you can still keep your hands warm when it gets nippy out.
Pro tip: Go for the darker colors. Trust us.
So let’s talk front-facing. Having only had rear facing carriers in the past, I was excited that this carrier had both options. I found a big caveat here however, while testing it out: I noticed that the fabric and shoulder straps on the carrier is cut pretty high, which is awesome when your baby faces you for naps and snuggles. However when my baby was old enough to reverse, I admit I was a actually nervous about the placement of my baby’s face which was partially obscured by the fabric.
Outward facing babies are generally 6-18 months, but we all agree that there should be a height recommendation here too. This won’t be an issue for most parents, but if your baby has strong, early neck control and you want to turn him around sooner, I think this carrier could be limiting in those early weeks.
As for the back carrier function, you can start that at six months too but I admit I haven’t gone there yet. I have seen good reviews about that from other users.
My only other small complaint is with the main waist clip, which takes some serious muscle to undo and re-clip. No idea if that was just my early press model I received, but hopefully it will loosen up with additional use.
Overall, the Juno is a well-made baby carrier that is built for real living, and is a welcome addition to the Mountain Buggy family. I’m really enjoying mine, and I’m a tough customer. I’ve even recommended it to friends.
Just be prepared for sticker shock: The Mountain Buggy Juno Carrier retails for $179.99. And yes, that’s a lot more than some other carriers cost. I’d say it’s most comparable to Lillebaby or Ergobaby 360 in terms of both expense and construction if you’re in the higher-end carrier market, so be sure to compare them all and see which feels best for you. Then see if you have some generous friends who’ll go in on it for your baby shower.
But one thing definitely worth considering is that you get that free infant insert included with the carrier; that’s another $25-38 you’d be spending with Ergobaby, which actually makes the net price of the Juno more affordable.
See why we do this research for you? Our backs are at your service.
You can find the Mountain Buggy Juno carrier in four neutral colors – beige, nautical, black and charcoal on the Mountain Buggy website or at your local baby boutique. Thanks to the company for sending one to CMP for review consideration.