The Beco Gemini is a comfortable, intuitive 4-position carrier for babies 0-18 months. The straps can be crossed (great for petite moms) and the Gemini can be used for front carry facing in, front carry facing out (especially valuable for babies 3-6 months, who often want to SEE ALL THE THINGS and will fuss if faced in), hip carry, and back carry, making it very versatile.
With the Beco Gemini, you can wear a newborn or carry your baby facing forward by narrowing the base...two flaps at the bottom of the carrier fold back and snap into place to narrow the seat.
The Beco Gemini is shorter and narrower in the body than the other carriers, and has no sleeping hood (just a headrest), so it's not ideal for use with toddlers or very tall/heavy babies, but it is one of my top picks for newborns due to its comfort and versatility. You can use your Gemini up to 35 pounds, but you will probably find it a bit short by about 18 months and you will want to switch to a bigger carrier by then.
The Pikkolo is sized bigger than the Gemini, but does all the same positions and has a full sleeping hood and detachable waistband.
4 Different Carries, one Carrier
The Beco Gemini is all about flexibility and simplicity. There are no detachable accessories, everything you need is built into the carrier. The Gemini converts from one form to another by folding and securing various parts of the carrier with snaps. With one carrier you can do:
Checklist for a Perfect Fit
1) Where does the waistband go?
The waistband is worn by most people at the top of their hipbones, resting on the pelvis. Do not wear it up around your natural waist near your ribcage, and do not wear it down *on* your hips so that it knocks against the front of your thighs when you walk.
Start at your natural waist, then loosen up your carrier and push it down on your hips a little, like a pair of low rider jeans. Make sure the waistband is under your belly, not over it. Then tighten the waistband back up to keep it there. Make sure that the waistband is EVEN front to back. You don't want the waistband high on one side and low on the other.
For example, in a back carry there is a tendency for the buckle on the waistband to ride up above the belly as the body of the carrier sinks down on the opposite side from the weight of the child. Nope! Push it down so that the buckle and the black nylon webbing go *under* your belly (your belly is useful here! ;-), and the waistband is more or less even front to back.
Curvy moms might find that the waistband feels better a little higher. That's fine. Basically you want the baby's legs to come around you at your narrowest point. By wearing the waistband several inches BELOW the natural waist, the baby's legs go right where they should, and you both get a nice comfortable fit.
2) How tight should the shoulder straps be?
If the shoulder straps are too tight, they will actually lift your baby's weight up and support it with your shoulders. You don't want that. You want your baby's weight to drop down and be supported at the hips. The shoulder straps just serve to pull your baby in closer to your body. If the padding of the shoulder straps feels like it's chafing your armpits, or you feel pressure on your shoulders, you might have the shoulder straps too tight.
If your baby is sagging outward, or sagging downward, or you feel like your baby is not snuggled closely into your chest or back, then straps are probably too loose and you should tighten them up a bit. But if you feel the weight shift to your shoulders and cause aching, or get armpit chafing, back off and loosen back up.
3) Chest strap placement and armpit rub
The chest strap (connecting the two shoulder straps) should be at the base of your neck (in front carry), or just below your collarbone (in back carry). If not, slide it up or down the runners to be in the right place. Armpit rubbing can sometimes be relieved by wearing the chest strap placed *lower* on your body, so experiment with positioning and see if that helps pull the shoulder straps out of your armpits. Armpit rub is also typically caused by having your shoulder straps too tight. Try loosening them up.
4) How tight should the chest strap be?
People love to wear the chest strap cranked super tight. Most people need to loosen up.
Are the shoulder straps resting just inside your shoulder caps? They should not be resting *on* the ball of your shoulder, nor too close to your neck, but right in between in the sweet spot. If they are slipping out too far onto your shoulder cap, tighten up your chest strap so that it pulls them in. NOTE: If you have your shoulder straps worn crossed, you won't need the chest strap. The chest strap is for straps in backpack (aka rucksack) style, it connects them and keeps them from slipping off your shoulders.
5) I feel wobbly! or My back is sore!
If you are wearing your baby for the first time on your back, and your baby is older, then your core muscles will need to adjust to babywearing. Keep your babywearing sessions short at first and increase gradually as your back and shoulder muscles strengthen. Make sure your posture is good, stand up straight, and go for a walk with your baby instead of standing in one place.
6) What about facing out?
Babies need to be able to hold their own head upright before facing out in the carrier. Facing out is much harder on the wearer than facing in. When facing in, a baby's heavy, dangly parts (head, arms, legs) are leaning toward your body and/or wrapped around your body. Your center of gravity doesn't change so much. When your baby is facing OUT, the head is angled away from your body, the arms and legs are hanging out away from your body. You have to work harder to maintain your center of gravity, so you arch your back farther backwards and clench your muscles tighter to do so. Personally, I think 16-17 pounds is about the comfort limit for front carry facing out, 20 pounds for front carry facing in...but listen to your body.
Please also note that the facing out position is not optimal for the baby's spine. While the Gemini allows for a slightly seated position (as opposed to dangling suspended by the crotch, as with the BabyBjorn and other carriers), the ideal ergonomic position for a baby's spine is to sit with knees spread at the level of the seat. Prolonged use of the facing out position is not recommended, but it is fine for short periods.
You might also hear that babies cannot stand to be facing out, as they become easily overwhelmed and overstimulated. Frankly, each baby is different. The majority of babies between 3-6 months LOVE to face out in my experience, and practically insist on it, fussing like crazy when you try to face them in. Other babies might be used to facing in and are OK with it. Your own baby will let you know what he/she prefers at various stages of development.
The only downsides to facing out that I have found are a) a baby that falls asleep facing out has no head support, b) facing out position is hardest on the wearer's back
A good compromise is to use back carry. Then baby can see what you see (especially if you turn sideways) but still nap comfortably with good head support, or turn away if overstimulated, and baby can be in close physical touch contact with the wearer. Back carry is also the easiest wearing position for long periods, and puts the least stress on the babywearer's body.
7) When should I switch to back carry?
If you are adept and confident in your baby wrangling abilities, you can put your baby on your back once your baby has good head control. This means that if your baby's body is vertical, he/she can hold her head upright without it flopping over. Back carry is almost always more comfortable than front carry. Humans are built to carry weight on their backs, not on their front. If front carry doesn't feel good, then give back carrying a try. If your baby is 20 pounds or over, you should be *primarily* wearing your baby on your back, both for the baby's sake in being able to see what you see, and for your own ergonomics. .
I personally GREATLY prefer back carrying to front carrying, except with very young babies. I don't like having my shoulders pulled forward, and I don't like not being able to see my feet. I had my second baby on my back at 2.5 months and it was great! Much easier on the back, neck and shoulders overall. Pulls your shoulder back so you can stand up straight and tall with good posture. If you have an older child to take care of, then you won't have the baby between you every time your older child needs a hug or some attention.
When you switch from front carry to back carry you use an entirely different set of muscles, so there might be a new period of adjustment for you as your core muscles strengthen and adapt. I've been babywearing for years, and it still happened to me when I went from primarily front-carrying to primarily back-carrying my babies. Adjustment should not take longer than 3-4 days at most though.
8) My baby doesn't seem happy in the carrier
Make sure that you are trying the carrier with a recently fed, changed, happy baby. Don't try the carrier for the first time with a hungry, cranky baby. This will frustrate both of you. Also be prepared to walk around a LOT when you are trying to carrier for the first time. If your baby is not used to being worn in a carrier, he/she might need some soothing walking motion to get used to it and feel reassured. Above all do NOT put your baby in and then just stand around like a statue. It's best if you can put your baby in the carrier and then go for a walk. Even walking around your house is fine, if that's all you can manage. Just keep moving.
Babies go through phases. They may hate being in a carrier at three months (especially facing in), then at six months they LOVE it. I have had dozens of parents return carriers because "I love it, but my baby hates it!", and then they turn around and buy the same carrier months later because they tried again with a friend's carrier and now the baby adores being worn. So keep that in mind, especially if you have a print that you love...it might not be available at a later date.
Warranty is provided by Beco Baby Carrier for one year from the date of purchase. For warranty issues, please contact Beco customer service at http://www.becobabycarrier.com/contact.asp and let them know what is wrong with your Beco Carrier. They will be happy to help get your carrier repaired or replaced.
What is covered under the first year warranty:
-Parts and materials including flawed or irregular printed fabric, webbing, buckles and snaps.
-Defective workmanship i.e. unraveling seams or missing snaps.
What is not covered under the first year warranty:
-Damages which arise from negligence, misuse or use not in accordance with the product instructions
-Beco products purchased from unauthorized retailers, or as second hand items
-Fading color due to sun or washing.
Washing instructions: Machine wash with mild detergent on delicate cycle. Air dry carrier. Spot clean as needed. Please avoid frequent washing.
WITHIN USA: Beco Baby Carrier warrants the products against defect in material and workmanship. We stand behind our products and will either repair or replace for free products purchased from our authorized retailer during the first year. Proof of purchase necessary.
INTERNATIONAL: Beco Baby Carrier warrants the products against defect in material and workmanship. We stand behind our products and will either repair or replace products purchased from our authorized retailer during the first year. Proof of purchase necessary. Shipping fees both ways are covered by a customer.
Returned products must have an RMA number issued. Please contact Beco's customer service at http://www.becobabycarrier.com/contact.asp and let them know what is wrong with your Beco Carrier. They will be happy to help get your carrier repaired or replaced.