Saturday, June 7, 2014

Ergo Baby Carrier Review

As if I didn't already have enough baby carriers... I recently got an Ergo Baby. They retail for over $100, but I managed to find a brand new one on Ebay for $70! (With free shipping). It's in their new "Galaxy Grey" pattern, which has embroidered stars on it.

Ergo Baby Original carrier in Galaxy Grey with infant insert. $135

The Ergo is a soft-structured carrier, similar to the well-known Baby Bjorn. It does not have a sturdy frame to maintain its shape like the backpack-style baby carriers, but is more structured than a wrap or sling (hence the term, "soft-structured").

classic Baby Bjorn

Osprey frame backpack child carrier

One feature of the Ergo is that it is ergonomical - it distributes baby's weight evenly on both shoulders and your back. It is one of the most comfortable baby carriers I have. I don't end up feeling as sore and achy as I do with my slings and wraps. It's also ergonomical and comfortable for baby - they are cradled in a natural sitting position with the correct hip alignment.

My husband showing how mobile the Ergo allows you to be!

It is very adjustable and in many different places. You can adjust the shoulder straps, the piece that goes between your shoulder blades (both where the strap sits and how tight), the waist belt, and the baby hood. One downside of this is that the straps are all really long if you are on the slimmer side. It was very annoying having the straps hitting me in the leg and back as I walked. At the end of all the straps are these black stretchy loops that I could not figure out. There was nothing in the manual about them either. I finally figured out what the were for as I absentmindedly fiddled with them while walking. At least, I think I did. You roll up the loose end of the strap and then flip the black tab over and around it to hold the rolled end in place and make the straps shorter.
Anyway, it being adjustable means that practically all sizes can wear it. My husband and I can both wear it (with very little loosening on his part, to my dismay. lol).

It is very easy to put on. Aside from my Balboa Baby sling, this one is the fastest one to put on and put baby in. (The Balboa is probably the fastest to put on, but the Ergo is probably the fastest to baby in). For the front carry, you just buckle it around your waist, hold your baby and put on the shoulder straps and buckle (this is the only difficult part for me. It's a little difficult to buckle the piece between your shoulders by yourself. Yes, you can move the height of the buckle, but it's still between your shoulders and on your back. (And I've yet to master hooking a bra on my back and I've been doing that over 10 years!) The hip carry looks slightly more complicated and I have yet to try that one. But I have tried the back carry, and that is relatively easy - using a mirror or an assistant makes it much easier.

The Ergo is versatile. There are 3 ways to carry baby in it - front carry, back carry, and hip carry. Plus, there are different ways of getting into the back carry. You can do it the standard way, or transition from a hip or front carry to a back carry without having to take it or baby off completely, and then there's the piggyback method, which is for babies/toddlers old enough to hold onto your neck. Unfortunately, you can't carry baby front facing outward in this Ergo. (Though I read recently about whether having baby facing out in a carrier is bad for them. I need to read up on it some more).

It allows baby to see the world as well as put them to sleep if needed. Once your baby is old enough to hold their own head up somewhat, then they can crane their necks around and turn side to side to see what's going on. But if they are sleepy, then you can pull up the adjustable hood which will both make it darker for them and help cradle their head. The hood is adjustable two ways: at the front where it is attached, the straps tighten or loosen the same way as all the other straps on the carrier. Then, on the unattached end, there are snaps on the straps that connect to the backside of the shoulders. When not in use, the hood can be stuffed into the front pocket. You can also just attach one side of the hood to block some sun but still allow baby to see out, or to cradle the back of their head while they look the other way.

It has pockets! There is one large front pocket, which the hood can go into when not in use, and a small zippered pocket. Great for keys and other small things. I tend to just let the hood flap around when I am not using it and put my phone or a couple pieces of mail into the front pocket. Nothing too uncomfortable for baby though, since it is on his back!

It fits babies of a wide range of sizes. With the infant insert, the Ergo will fit babies 7-12 pounds, and without the insert it fits babies/children up to 45 pounds. Which means that you can carry your preschooler around in this Ergo too! That gives this carrier a longer life-span than others.

You can be mobile in the Ergo. It frees up both hands and arms allowing you to do any number of activities and tasks. Unlike a sling, which limits the movement of one arm.

The buckles are at times hard to snap. My husband detests them. Especially the one behind your shoulders. It's like the "male buckle" is too wide for the "female buckle" (as the manual calls them) and sometimes you only can get one side of the buckle into the other piece. It can be frustrating. Also, sometimes you have to push really hard to get it to snap.

It takes up lots of space. It is certainly not my most space-friendly carrier. It's bulky and doesn't easily fold or roll up when not in use. When we go on vacation, this will not be the carrier I take with me for that reason.

The straps get in baby's face sometimes and they are not super soft. The shell is 100% cotton, it seems a bit industrial and coarse - which makes it easier to clean - but I don't really want baby's face rubbing on it. So I made some quick strap covers out of some minky material I had (backed in flannel with a velcro closure) so he could 1) have something soft to put his face on, 2) drool on it and I could just rip them off and wash them, and 3) have something to hold on to, which he really enjoys doing now that he can!

All in all, this has got to be one of my favorite carriers. If only it weren't so bulky, I'd take it with me everywhere!

The Galaxy Grey style I have is the Original model, which comes in a few other colors. The Ergo also comes in sport/performance models, organic styles, and a new Four Position model which is the only one that allows you to carry baby on your front facing outward (in addition to the other three carries). 

As with all carriers, be sure to read the safety guidelines and instructions before use. With the exception of the back carry, with the Ergo you should always be able to see your baby's face and kiss them easily. ("Visible and kissable").
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