Updated on April 6, 2017
Babywear Through The Winter with Viva La Mama!
I received this item at no cost in order to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.
After all the snow that flew through Calgary last week, there’s no denying that winter is here. Just because it’s winter and the weather has cooled off doesn’t mean you have to stop babywearing! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: babywearing is the answer to everything. I mean that! As a mom of two, there’s simply no way around it. I need both my arms for The Heir, I need to be able to prepare meals and snacks for him (and myself) throughout the day, I need to grab groceries with both kids in tow, and I need to be able to get out of the house in a relative hurry when the parks and playgrounds are calling The Heir’s name. Let’s not forget preschool drop off and pick up! All of this is made possible for me through babywearing. I did my share of babywearing back when The Heir was an only child too! Winter didn’t stop me then, and I don’t plan on it stopping me now. When I was still wearing The Heir on a regular basis, winter meant layers. Layers upon layers, not just for me, but for The Heir too. Half the time I was pretty sure he was so heavily dressed he wouldn’t even fit properly in the carrier. He did, but just. This winter I’m doing things differently thanks to Viva La Mama‘s fabulous Milchshake babywearing line. Forget bundling each of us up in a multitude of thick layers before attempting to squeeze into a carrier! This winter we’ll be bundled up cozy and warm together inside our Viva La Mama Milchshake Bosco babywearing coat. You may have heard of babywearing coats before, and you may think you can do without. I’m going to convince you that not only is a babywearing coat a must when you live in a cold winter climate, but that Viva La Mama has hit it out of the park with the Bosco coat!
Viva La Mama is a maternity, nursing, and baby wearing apparel shop located in Berlin. Started by two moms who wanted beautiful and practical clothing to wear when they were nursing their babies, Viva La Mama has grown to have a huge variety of pieces in their collection and even opened their first brick and mortar store in Berlin this year. Every item sold by Viva La Mama is handmade in Europe (in both Germany and Poland) of high quality materials. From maternity tops to nursing dresses to baby wearing outerwear, Viva La Mama has nothing but the best for moms!
Let’s get right into the details of the Viva La Mama Milchshake Bosco babywearing coat, shall we? The Bosco babywearing coat is a 3 in 1 coat designed to be worn during pregnancy, while babywearing in a front or back carry, and as a regular coat. The outer material is a stretchy softshell fabric that is water repellant, windproof, and breathable. At the end of the sleeves there’s a stretchy ribbed knit cuff that covers your hands and has a built in thumb hole. There are two pockets on the front of the coat for storing your phone, keys, and even a snack for you and baby. The back of the coat has a zipper that runs down the centre. This is where you can attach the babywearing panel for when you want to wear baby in a back carry. There are toggles at the bottom of the coat to cinch it up if desired. The hood is detachable, and removes easily with a zipper. On either side of the coat you’ll find a hidden zipper. Open these zippers up and the jacket expands to accommodate a growing pregnant belly. Inside, the coat is lined with fleece through the body. The hood is lined with a super soft jersey material. The hood can be tightened with toggles so it doesn’t get blown off of your head in the wind.
The Bosco babywearing coat comes with one babywearing panel. This panel is completely removable so the coat can be worn as a regular jacket when you’re not wearing your baby. The babywearing panel is made of the same softshell material, so it too is water repellant, windproof, and breathable. The outside of the panel has three horizontal pleats that expand open to accommodate larger babies or toddlers underneath. There are two toggles, one near the top of the panel, and one near the bottom. These toggles allow you to cinch the panel up snugly around baby to block out the cold. The zipper on the panel is a two-way zipper to make it easy to get it on and off when you’re wearing your baby. The inside of the babywearing panel is lined with fleece, just like the coat itself. The panel can be zipped all the way up for extra protection from the elements, or it can be zipped level with the upper toggle and folded back so baby can easily see out of the coat. The uppermost portion of the panel is lined with a super soft jersey so it’s soft on baby’s face. The babywearing panel has a hood for baby that is attached with a series of snaps and is easily removable when it’s not needed. The hood is equipped with toggles so it can be tightened around baby’s face to prevent it from blowing off in the wind.
When the babywearing panel is zipped into the back of the coat, there’s an extra flap of fleece lined softshell material that hangs down. This flap sits between you and your baby, and it helps to keep your back from getting cold (or wet) when you’re wearing baby in a back carry.
How It Works:
A babywearing coat was at the very top of my wish list for this winter. Last winter I got by with a variety of fall/spring weather accessories, my regular winter coat worn open, and a whole lot of fleece layers for both myself and Petit Prince. I knew I wanted to do it differently this year. The solution had to be quick and easy to put on, warm without leading to one or both of us overheating, and it had to fit easily around any style of baby carrier. Does the Viva La Mama Milchshake Bosco babywearing coat meet my criteria? Yes, it totally does. Does it meet my expectations? No, it exceeded them. It’s love people! It’s LOVE!
First I want to talk about how this coat looks as just a regular coat. I adore the colour of this coat. It’s also available in black, but this blue is divine. The pictures really don’t do it justice. It’s a really nice navy blue, and it goes perfectly with not only the vast majority of my wardrobe, but it just might also match the soft structured carrier I use most often (that’s the Mountain Buggy Juno, in case you were wondering). The fit of this coat is great. I have it in a size small, and I’m 5’3″ and wear a US size 4 or 6. The length is great, and the fit through the body is perfect. There’s definitely still room to layer a heavy sweater or fleece on super cold days, but it doesn’t look large or slouchy with just a shirt on underneath it. I’m not pregnant, but if I were this coat would be a great pick. The zips on each side open up to give you enough room to keep that pregnant belly nice and warm through the winter. The Bosco coat is really comfortable on too. The fleece lining is really soft, and the jersey lining in the hood doesn’t make my hair all static-y (which if you live somewhere that’s cold and dry is of the utmost importance). If I opt to remove the hood, the top of the coat comes up enough to cover the back of my neck and keep it from getting a chill. The zipper in the front of the coat zips up and down smoothly, and it’s a two-way zipper. If you’re like me, you’ll like that because I hate that restricted feeling when I sit down in the car with my coat on. With the Bosco coat, I can just unzip from the bottom a bit to free my hips for sitting.
How does the Viva La Mama Bosco coat work for baby wearing? I’ll start with front carries. The first thing you do to get this coat on with a front carry is to put your baby in the carrier on your front. This may seem obvious, but just in case it’s not, you want all the straps of the carrier to be on and tightened as you like them before you put the coat on. In preparation of babywearing, I zip one side of the baby wearing panel into the front of the coat. Then I put the coat on just like I would any jacket. From there, I just have to reach down on one side to zip the open side of the babywearing panel into the coat. Once the coat is zipped closed around you and your baby, you can tighten up the toggles in the front. After the first time wearing the coat, I left the toggles tightened to where I like them to make it even faster to get on the go the next time. You can also adjust the toggles at the bottom of the coat (they’re located at the sides) if you prefer it to be cinched a bit around your legs/hips.
Once we are both in the coat, it’s really comfortable and cozy warm. In a front carry, I can easily adjust Petit Prince’s hood (or remove it completely). I can also adjust the zippers on either side of the panel to flip the very top section up in particularly cold or windy weather, or to flip it down if he wants to look around.
The one thing the babywearing panel doesn’t have when wearing baby in a front carry is a way to cover up your own chest. My way around this is to simply wear a scarf or a shirt/sweater that comes up high enough on my chest to keep me warm. In theory, if your baby is wearing the hood and happens to fall asleep on your chest, you’re going to be plenty warm anyway!
What about back carries? I can already guess what the number one question about wearing the Bosco coat for a back carry is going to be. Can you get it on by yourself? The answer to that is yes, eventually. The very first time I wore the Bosco coat with Petit Prince in a back carry was at the zoo. We were out for the day with a whole bunch of family, and I moved Petit Prince to my back part way through our zoo visit. I was not in front of a mirror. It wasn’t pretty, but I had lots of extra hands to help me get it on and get the toggles and zippers adjusted. I knew I had to try to get the Bosco coat on with Petit Prince in a back carry by myself. It had to be possible. The good news is that it is absolutely possible, but there are a few things I would suggest doing to make it easier to do. First, try in front of a mirror. It’s much easier to see what you’re doing and to see if your baby’s head is sticking out where it should if you can see your reflection. Second, before you put the coat on, zip the panel up to where you will want it to be once the coat is on. With a front carry, you’re starting with only one side zipped. With a back carry, you’re starting with both sides zipped. Third, keep the toggles tightened to where you liked them for a front carry. This way you won’t need to will your arms to twist in ways they just never will in order to tighten up the panel around baby. Now, how do you get it on? You’re going to lean your body forward a bit, and you’re going to toss the entire coat over your back. Keep your arms out of the coat when you do this. Think of it as doing a superman toss with the coat. Look to the mirror to check that the back of the coat has gone over baby and the carrier. Once it’s over baby, you can pull the shoulders close in over your back and baby’s head will pop out through the opening at the back. Now you can put your arms in and zip the front of the coat up. If you need to unzip the pregnancy panels to give yourself a bit of extra maneuvering room to accomplish this, go for it! I know it sounds like a lot, but I was able to accomplish this on my second try!
For a back carry, I don’t bother using the baby hood that came with the coat. If I’m on my own when I’m putting it on, there’s no way I could get the hood lined up and on Petit Prince’s head. To keep his head warm for back carries, I just put Petit Prince’s toque on (that’s Canadian for winter hat). The extra piece of fleece lined softshell material that hangs down between me and Petit Prince when using the coat in a back carry is awesome. It really does keep the wind off my back so I stay nice and warm.
Another nice thing about the way the babywearing panel zips in for a back carry is that it leaves a good sized opening for baby up top. When zipped all the way up, it’s like a warm and toasty cocoon for baby, but zipped down just a bit to be level with the top toggle and baby can easily get his arms out of the jacket if he wants. Petit Prince is big on having his arms out of the carrier and out of the Bosco coat these days. He does this primarily to rip the hair out of the back of my head, I’m sure, but some days he is satisfied for much longer in a back carry when his arms aren’t restricted. I love that this is even an option on the Bosco coat!
Can we talk about cuffs for a moment? I don’t know about you, but a snug fitting cuff on a winter coat is key. What makes a snug fitting cuff even better is when it’s long enough to cover most of my hand and it has thumb holes. Thumb holes! Who knew such a small detail would be so very important? Moms, that’s who. It’s cold, it’s winter, and there’s snow. I may be “hands free” by babywearing, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have things I need to be doing with my hands (like putting The Heir into his winter gear after preschool). Long, snug cuffs with thumb holes keep my sleeves from sliding up my arms and exposing my precious wrists to the cold! When it’s 20 below zero, the last thing my wrists need is to be exposed, trust me.
How about the warmth of the Bosco coat? You know, I think it’s pretty darned good. The thing to keep in mind when babywearing is that you’ll be walking around wearing a pint sized furnace strapped to your body. If the coat is too warm, you’ll both overheat and then the babywearing coat won’t be of much use. The good news is that the Viva La Mama Milchshake Bosco coat is just right when it comes to its warmth factor. On brisk days where the temperature is hovering just above freezing, it’s plenty warm with just a long sleeved shirt on underneath. Once the temperature starts to dip below freezing, I’ll want a sweater on underneath this coat. That’s easy enough to accomplish, and you absolutely do not need another babywearing sweater to layer with this coat. You can simply dress yourself in a warm sweater, and baby in the number of layers you think he needs, and then top both of you with the Bosco coat. Keep in mind that the jacket is fleece lined, and it’s going to block out the wind quite effectively. Don’t overdress so you don’t overheat! Another bonus of the Bosco coat is that it’s just the right amount of warmth that it can still be worn in the fall and the spring (if you live somewhere that has seasons other than summer and winter). That it’s water repellant makes it a great choice for rainy climates too!
- Made in Europe
- Softshell is water repellant, windproof, and breathable
- Can be worn through pregnancy, babywearing, or as a normal coat
- Accommodates front carries AND back carries
- Can be used for back carries without an extra set of hands to help put it on
- Hidden zips expand to accommodate pregnancy belly
- Fleece lined
- Includes a hood for baby
- Both hoods are removable
- Easily adjusted for a customized fit
- Long cuffs with thumb holes
- Pockets for your belongings
- Babywearing panel is pleated to fit larger babies and toddlers
- Panel opening allows baby to be arms in or arms out
- Not so warm you’ll overheat
- Becomes a coat you’ll actually want to wear when the babywearing panel is removed
- Getting it on for a back carry takes some practice
- Baby hood is on the small side and won’t fit a toddler
- Does require an extra layer underneath in freezing temperatures
The Viva La Mama Milchshake Bosco babywearing coat has exceeding my expectations! I love it! Everything is great from the colour of the blue to the small details like the thumb holes and the extra panel of warmth for my back. The zippers on this coat are all two-way zippers, and they’re all sturdy and smooth to zip. I don’t know what it is about winter, but for some reason it seems like zippers become increasingly difficult to do up the colder it gets outside. This is not happening with the Bosco coat! With a little practice, I’m now able to get the coat on with Petit Prince up in a back carry all by myself! This is really key for me. I do the bulk of my babywearing during the week when King Dad is at work, so I need to be able to get this coat on by myself. It’s totally possible, and pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Everything about the Bosco coat screams quality. I love that these coats are handmade in Europe. Everything is done perfectly! The babywearing panel adjusts easily to both block out the cold and fit babies and toddlers of all sizes. Wearing a larger toddler and need a little extra room? Just unzip the pregnancy panels on both sides, and you’re set! No detail has been missed by Viva La Mama with this coat. The hoods are lined in a super soft jersey material that doesn’t make your hair all static-y in winter, and that jersey lining is soft and gentle on baby’s skin. The softshell outer material of this coat is water repellant, windproof, and breathable making it perfect for winter! Don’t overheat this winter by bundling yourself and baby in an excessive number of layers in an effort to stay warm! Pick up a Viva La Mama Milchshake Bosco babywearing coat instead, and keep on babywearing all winter long!
The Viva La Mama Milchshake Bosco babywearing coat retails for $270 CAD and can be purchased directly from Viva La Mama. For a winter coat that’s going to take you through pregnancy, babywearing in both front and back carries, and turn into a regular coat, it’s well worth the investment!
How would you like a chance to do some shopping at Viva La Mama? One lucky reader has the chance to WIN a €50 gift card to Viva La Mama! Spend it on some of their fabulous maternity and nursing wear, or put it towards your very own Bosco babywearing coat! Just scroll down to the giveaway and get your entries in for a chance to win. This giveaway is open worldwide, 18+, and closes on October 28th, 2016. Sponsor is responsible for prize fulfillment.
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