With my second baby, I knew I’d need a carrier that would be an absolute work horse. With a busy toddler to chase, I needed both hands and a lot of freedom of movement.
The Ergo baby carrier had been raved about by several of my friends, but it was a spendy carrier, and I knew it would have to be an investment. Would it be worth it? Would I use it often enough to warrant the expense? After using it only once, I knew the answer to both questions was yes!
I went to New York City on my own with both kids and decided against bringing a stroller, as I’d be relying on public transit and didn’t want the hassle. A friend of mine offered to let me borrow her Ergo to test it out and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. After five straight hours of wear and no back or shoulder strain, I knew I had a winner, and ordered one for myself. It arrived packaged simply with an instructional DVD so that you can practice the correct positions with and without your baby and not hope that you’re correctly interpreting illustrations in a paper manual (which is has as well). The Ergo feels extremely secure because it has so many ways in which it can be adjusted. Both shoulders, the waist, and the chest buckles are adjustable and there is an elastic loop to slip the male end of the buckle through so that even if the buckle were to pop open, it would catch on the loop to give you enough time to react without your child falling out of the carrier.
With just a couple of dry runs at home (which I would highly recommend) I felt very comfortable switching from the front to back carrying positions and back again. Going from back or front to hip-carry is the only change that requires actually switching the configuration of the straps on the carrier.
There is no fabric between you and your baby, so you get close contact and also avoid feeling over-heated as can happen with some of the other carriers that have a foam or cloth inner section. Your baby sits in a position that is ergonomically correct and prevents them from ‘hanging’, allowing them to have their weight in their bottom so that they’re almost in a seated position. I have heard criticism that the child is not able to sit in a forward-facing position when being carried on the front of the parent, but that is the entire point of this design. It would not have been possible to maintain that ergonomically correct seated position were the child facing forward.
In addition to the basic model, there are accessories that can be purchased separately such as an infant insert so that your baby can be carried in the Ergo from birth, a backpack that attaches right to the carrier, a waist extender to accommodate a larger parent and more.
I purchased the waist extender, as I needed about one inch more than the standard carrier allowed for. The only drawback that I think larger parents should be aware of is that if you’re purchasing this to be primarily a hip carrier, beware; I did not feel, when I tried to adapt it to the hip-carry position, that there would have been any room to put my baby in. The fabric was fairly snug to my body and would have been uncomfortable for my child; if he even fit.
The straps are very well padded with both the shoulder and waist straps being very wide, which helps to distribute the weight of your child more easily to prevent fatigue far longer than other carriers. I now have 28 and 40 pound children and can carry both in the back-carry position. I don’t think I’d carry my 4 year-old long-term, but there have been times that he still likes to be carried and it is possible. My younger child can still easily be carried in both the front and back positions without my feeling strain on my back.
The fabric options are still fairly limited, but are very gender neutral, so it’s definitely a carrier that both mom and dad would be comfortable wearing. There is also an option to purchase an Organic Ergo.
All things considered, this has been the best money I’ve spent on a piece of baby gear for carrying, travel and day-to-day use to date; and I’ve spent my fair share over time!
SHOP Ergo Baby Carrier
– Sara, Contributor