An Education in Baby Carrying: Enter The ErgoBaby

Baby carrier in action
Photo: Sarah Pinault

When my second son was born last year, I received that which I had coveted through my first son’s babyhood: A Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier. I was delighted with it. With fewer bells and whistles than its generic counterpart I was able to carry my baby with greater ease and for longer periods of time. Many GeekMom readers did not agree with my choice of carrier, and recommended alternative brands. They suggested that these alternatives would be better for both me and my baby. While I enjoyed the Baby Bjorn immensely, as my 9 pound baby grew at an alarming rate I found that it didn’t suit either his movements or mine as well as I would have liked. I went back to my old post, and to the more pleasant of the suggestions made to me by GeekMom readers.* I reached out to several of the companies mentioned, and so for the past month I have been carrying my now one year old in an Ergobaby carrier.

The Ergobaby differs from the carriers I have used in the past in several key ways:

  • It can be worn on the chest, the hip or back, something which my ever independent son is enjoying immensely.
  • It seats the child with more of a swaddling or natural hold, therefore exerting less pressure on his growing bones. Even without looking into the mechanics of the carrier, you can feel the child sitting differently.
  • The child never faces away from your body, but is always leaning into you, be it your chest, hip or back.

The Ergobaby presented an adjustment in prep time. For a good while, I required the assistance of a second set of hands to get my son up and running, something I never needed with previous carriers. However a few run throughs, a good look at the instructional videos – which tell you a second person is a good thing on your first few outings – and I was ready to go. There are step by step instructions in the manual too if that’s the way you learn. It’s still much easier with two sets of hands, but no longer feels impossible with one. I spoke to several people while at a toy store in Freeport recently, and they all said pretty much the same thing: Takes some getting used to, but works great once you’re used to it.

After it’s first full usage, a visit to several Maple syrup farms and the sledding hill, there were a few things I noticed about the Ergobaby:

  • My son was more comfortable facing me than facing away from me. His body hung more naturally against me, and his legs felt more relaxed. At thirteen months he has full control of his head, but in the Ergobaby I felt that he had more control of his own movements than he usually does in other carriers.
  • My son chewed on my Ergobaby like it was a giant Strawberry. Come to find out, this is a common thing and you can actually get teething pads that attach to your carrier, brilliant!
  • With it’s one waist strap, and one neck strap, it has even fewer bells and whistles, I’m definitely heading in the right direction for simplicity.
  • It is easy to make it comfortable or extremely uncomfortable with the position of the back buckle, if uncomfortable, it is very easy to adjust.

One of the things I have really enjoyed about the Ergobaby is the flexibility afforded by the multiple positioning system. I am still trying to master the side carry, but so far it’s a hit with my son, who likes to be involved in everything, see everything, touch everything. I’m holding onto his babyhood as long as I can, so I won’t be putting him on my back until absolutely necessary but I have witnessed it before. Friends of ours had used the Ergobaby while hiking last year and so I am eager to see how it holds up on our annual camping trip this year. He won’t be up for his own hike yet and so some carrying device will still be necessary. A quick jaunt around the internet shows the Ergobaby allowing mamas to carry their children for much longer than I had thought possible with a baby carrier. I am sorely tempted to put my three year old in the next time we go out.

While I am thoroughly enjoying the Ergobaby for this stage of my child’s life, I would still not be without my Baby Bjorn in those early months, as I can’t imagine using the Ergobaby for a newborn. Though in full disclosure, I never had the chance to try the Ergobaby with the infant insert. I will be hanging onto both carriers for future use.

I was provided with opinions from our great GeekMom readers, the chance to re-investigate baby carrying, and with an Ergobaby for the purposes of this review.

*Comments are missing from my previous post due to migration issues.