Before my son was born, we purchased a baby carrier. Very stupidly, I didn’t really do any research back then, and ended up purchasing a Baby Bjorn “leg dangler” carrier, which I now know to be the cause of hip development problems in some babies. When he was around 8 months old and getting too heavy for the Baby Bjorn, I decided to invest in a new carrier, and this is when I stumbled across the Ergo Baby Carrier. The Ergo Baby Carrier is ergonomically designed (hence the “Ergo” in the name), and I liked the fact that I could carry my son on my back to save myself any further pain as he grew heavier. Here’s a quick guide to the features of the Ergo Baby Carrier, and how you can use it to help stop your baby crying.
Ergo Baby Carrier The Good:
- Ergonomically designed to hold your baby in the correct “M” leg and hips positioning
- Allows you to carry your baby in 3 close positions
- Breastfeeding with your child still in the carrier is possible
- Suitable from birth to 20kg (approximately 4 – 5 years)
- Fits adults of most shapes and sizes
- Comfortable wide, padded straps
- Built-in hood
Ergo Baby Carrier The Bad:
- More expensive than some other carriers
- The newborn insert is purchased separately or as an add-on
- Difficult to get a younger child into the back position
Frog leg position
The main advice I can give you when choosing a baby carrier is to ensure that the carrier allows your baby to assume the so-called “frog-leg” positioning, also known as the “M” position. What this means is that when your baby’s hips and legs are supported in the carrier, they should create an “M” shape, rather than your baby just dangling from their crotch with their legs straight down.
This crucial piece of information is something which I either missed or totally disregarded when I purchased our first carrier, the Baby Bjorn. However, if you read all of the paediatric advice, you will find that all studies on baby and toddler physical development suggest that “leg dangling” carriers are bad for the hips of your child.
The Ergo Baby Carrier has been designed with this piece of advice in mind, and you will find that when you sit your baby or toddler correctly into the carrier, their legs are bent slightly upwards at the hip, and then bent downwards at the knee, forming that recommended “M” shape.
3 carrying positions
The Original Ergo Baby Carrier allows you to carry your child in 3 positions.
- Front carrying facing inwards towards a parent
- Back carrying
- Hip carrying
It’s worth highlighting here that there’s also the Ergo Baby 360 which allows for a fourth position: front carrying but facing outwards from a parent. But back onto the Original Ergo Baby Carrier’s three positions…
Front carrying – this is perfect for when your baby is younger and you require the extra closeness that carrying on your front brings with it. You will be able to easily see your child and communicate with them in this position. It’s also the position that’s required in order to use the carrier with from birth (see further detail below regarding the newborn insert). Once your child starts to get heavier, front carrying may put some strain on your back, however, I find the carrier to be much more comfortable for carrying even a heavier baby on your front than when I was using the Baby Bjorn.
Hip carrying – again, from the time that your child can sit well by themselves, you can use the hip carrying position on the Ergo Baby carrier. It’s also great for babies who want to look around whilst being carried, as although they are still facing in towards your body, they are positioned so that they can turn their head and look around you. I do find the hip carrying is less strenuous on your back than when you are front carrying, however, you should try to alternate the hip that you carry your child on so that you don’t start to strain your back in other ways.
The hip carry position is also a little tricky to get used to. It’s easier than back carrying to get your child into the right place, but I find that you have to really study how the straps should be attached to make sure you are carrying your child correctly. Back carrying – once your child can sit fairly well and has full head control, usually from around 6 months, you can start to use the back carrying position. The benefit of this position is that your baby will be able to see everything from your perspective since they will be facing forwards. I find that the position is probably a little bit too low down to offer the best view for my son, but that could be because I’m 5’9″ so have a fairly long back.
The best thing for me is that carrying on the back doesn’t give you backache! Even now that he is 13kg I can easily tote him around for an hour or so when in the back carrying position and I don’t get any kind of pain from it. From my experience of using the carrier since my son was 8 months old, I’ve not really had any difficulty in achieving the back carrying position, but I can definitely see how it would be a struggle by yourself with a younger baby.
To get your child onto your back, you basically sit them in the front position and then swivel them around whilst trying to hold them upright so they don’t topple backwards. It’s something you can practise until you master it though, and it definitely gets easier as both you and your child get used to what’s going on!
Something which isn’t actually marketed by Ergo Baby, but is definitely possible, is that you can breastfeed your baby quite easily with them in the carrier. As a newborn, you can use the newborn insert to position them sideways and loosen the straps to allow your baby sufficient space to latch on in a cradle hold position. As they grow older and are freely sitting upright, you can drop the straps down so that your child is lower down on your hips and allow them to latch on that way.
Obviously, you should always take care to ensure your baby is secure and comfortable when breastfeeding in the carrier, and always check that they have sufficient airflow whilst feeding. With a little practise, it’s not too difficult to do and can free up your hands for a big chunk of time that you would have had to sit holding your baby to breastfeed. This is something which I’m going to rely on heavily when I have a newborn baby and still have to deal with my 2-year-old son running around and no luxury of sitting down to feed for an hour!
Suitable from birth to 4 or 5 years old
The Ergo Baby is one of few baby carriers that can be used from birth, but there’s a catch. You have to use an additional newborn insert, which comes at an additional cost. In fact, you shouldn’t use the carrier until your baby has good head and neck control unless you use the newborn insert.
Aside from the additional cost, the newborn insert does turn this into the only carrier you should need for your child. The insert can be used in a few different ways depending on the size, shape and development of your baby, and then once they hit the 4 to 6 months stage when they are strong enough to go into the carrier without the insert, you have the full flexibility of babywearing in the three different positions described above.
The maximum weight advised for the carrier is 20kg, which would put the average child at around 4 or 5 years old. That’s not to say that your child won’t outgrow the carrier sooner though, once they are too big shape-wise, they won’t find the carrier comfortable, so the weight limit shouldn’t be your only guide as to when to stop using the carrier.
This carrier is comfortable to wear. Really comfortable. The shoulder and hip straps are really padded with foam, and the hip strap can be positioned perfectly so that you are carrying the weight of your child on your hips, rather than on your waist, which can be a common flaw of many baby carriers. The straps can be adjusted to fit most adults, with the waist strap extending from 66cm – 140cm (26″ – 55″).
If you have a particularly clingy baby, babywearing could be the answer you are looking for, and comfort is definitely going to be a major factor playing on your mind after holding your baby for 2, 3 or 4 hours at a time. We had a little boy with reflux and gastro-intestinal difficulties resulting from his allergies, and he just wanted to be held close and upright all the time. Further to that, we had a horrendous experience with him requiring surgery at 14 months old and had two days of nil by mouth when he was in the hospital.
With a young child, it’s quite difficult to explain why they are not being allowed any food or milk, and you can imagine the crying that this led to. It’s no secret that this carrier was the saving grace that my husband delivered to my rescue in the hospital ward when my arms felt like they were about to drop off from pacing the floor holding him.
Babywearing has also been found to reduce crying in babies with colic since the pressure on their tummy from being held close to your body can help them to work the wind out of their system. I can definitely recommend babywearing to reduce all the crying during the daily witching hour in those first 12 weeks or so.
A couple of extra bonuses of the Ergo Baby carrier:
- The built-in hood which can be folded away – great for when you have a sleeping baby or you are breastfeeding and want to cover up a little.
- Large zippered pocket – big enough to fit your mobile phone, keys and wallet in which is great when you just need to nip out of the house for a short while without having to take the full changing bag with you.
- Fully machine washable – as the carrier is made of natural materials such as cotton and linen, you can safely wash it, which isn’t possible with some of the sturdier carriers.
Ergo Baby Carrier Overall conclusion
Value for money: 4/5
Buy from: Amazon.com
As I said above, it’s an expensive purchase, but one that will last you for as many years as your child will want to be carried, and one which you will be thankful for paying a little more for the extra comfort factor. A baby carrier can definitely save your sanity and sense of independence when you have the freedom to move around carrying your baby whilst having the ability to use both arms. If you have a newborn who won’t stop crying, I recommend you try the Ergo Baby carrier for your babywearing and note the reduction in time that your baby cries and then comment on it below!
Please share this post with your friends with newborns with colic, reflux or anybody who’s struggling with those first few weeks. You may just help them to reduce their baby’s crying and to help them to realise that they CAN do this parenting thing!