This blog post is LONG overdue. Since my daughter Addie was born just over a month ago, I have had many moms ask me about the baby carrier I use. Sometimes I take information for granted, I thought everyone knew about this amazing product that makes “mom life” so much easier! In my defense, I lived in South Korea for 5 years, where baby carrying is second nature, and the stroller is somewhat of a novelty. I can honestly say I could not imagine life as a mom without a baby carrier; it has truly been a “life-saver” for me.
I am not affiliated with Ergobaby in any way; I just LOVE this product so much.
I first heard about the Ergobaby carrier from a friend when I lived in Korea. She absolutely LOVED her Ergobaby, and raved about the “ergonomic” design, (which is one of the selling points of this particular carrier).
I have to admit, I was a little nervous about using a carrier, especially when my daughter was a newborn. I had this irrational fear that she might fall out of it somehow. I know I am not alone in this fear, others have confessed to me this concerned them. I can assure you that once you use it, and you are wearing your baby, you will see how safe it is. My daughter has never fallen out of it, as a newborn or a toddler. (Yes, you can use this carrier when your child is a toddler, though there is a weight limit).
Before using the Ergobaby carrier, I watched a video on youtube a few times, to make sure I did it right. I didn’t have a doll to practice with, so I used a few swaddling blankets, and put them in the “infant insert”. The hardest part was clicking the strap over my back. To do this maneuver, you first hold the baby close to you, then run you arms up the strap, follow it to the back, and click it. (It has become second nature to me now, so I had to stop and think about how I do it). If you are nervous, watch the video, and have someone assist you the first few times. It does not take too long to become comfortable using it.
I know there are a lot of baby carriers on the market right now. I can’t review them because this was the first and only carrier I have used. I fell in love with it right away; and never felt the need for another carrier. I do know one of the selling points is the ergonomic design. The carrier distributes the weight evenly on the mom, which prevents back pain. (I can honestly say that I have never experienced back pain from wearing my baby or toddler). The benefits of the design is for baby and mom. The orginal baby carrier is “Ergonomic for baby with deep seat to ensure natural frog-leg seated position, aligning with the recommended carry position from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute – See more at: https://store.ergobaby.com/baby-carrier/original-collection/natural-linen#sthash.gyDC1rbq.dpuf.
My Ergobaby carrier is the original, there is no”forward-facing” option. In the past I had read that the “forward-facing” carriers can put stress on the hips. Now I see that Ergobaby offers a carrier that allows the baby to face forward, and is also supposed to be ergonomically designed. I have no experience with the newer “4 position 360 Carrier“, I purchased my carrier over 4 years ago. Some parents do not like the original Ergobaby carrierbecause the baby can’t “see what is going on”. I know a few moms who opted for a carrier that allows the baby to face forward. I am not sure which forward-facing carriers are truly ergonomically designed for babies, so please do your research before purchasing one of the these carriers, (especially if hip dysplasia runs in the family).
Why did I “wear my baby” inside the apartment? It is part of the attachment parenting lifestyle that I sort of stumbled into. I never expected or intended to be this type of mom. (Honestly, it was very surprising to me that it happened). Breastfeeding, co-sleeping, baby-wearing, you are pretty much ATTACHED to your baby all day long, (hence the name). If someone would have told me 5 years ago that I would be an attachment parent I would have laughed at them. But, it happened. Some moms wear their baby at home to keep them from fussing. That was not the reason I wore Lily. Overall she was actually a very happy baby and was not terribly fussy. (Especially once I eliminated dairy from my diet). Baby wearing is just something that sort of happened. It felt so natural to have my baby close to me, I really enjoyed it. I could get my chores done while snuggling with Lily. It was pretty awesome.
The only chore I would not do when wearing her was cooking. Prepping, cutting, and cleaning was O.K., but cooking was a big NO NO for me.
So I can’t say I wore my daughter because of something I read. I did not know about all the benefits at the time. However, I later read about the benefits of “kangaroo care”. Baby wearing is supposed to make the baby feel safe and secure, (which makes sense). If you think about it, a newborn just spent around 40 weeks being inside the mother’s womb. Being a newborn must be scary for the baby. I would imagine it would be comforting to be held close to the mom. The sound of her voice, her heartbeat, and her smell are familiar to the baby. I can understand how this would help this tiny person make the transition into this world less stressful.
Baby wearing is also supposed to be good for the newborn’s immune system. I am not sure why, but I do know that stress can weaken the immune system, so logically the baby’s immune system will be stronger simply by not having to spend energy dealing with emotional stress.
Baby wearing benefits go beyond “kangaroo care”. I found that the Ergobaby carrier was easier than using a stroller. In fact, I hardly used the stroller with my daughter Lily. In her first 2 years of life I probably used it less than 10 times. I am sure this was partially because I did not drive a car in Korea. I walked a lot. I also used the subway sometimes, and it was easier for me to take the escalator than to look for elevators. It was very good exercise for me, to walk with the extra weight on me. I lost my pregnancy weight very quickly, and I think this extra exercise definitely contributed to that.
In the winter, I found a life hack that made baby wearing even more convenient. (It was not my idea; a friend recommended this to me). I used an oversized jacket, (my maternity jacket), to keep my daughter warm. I would put Lily in the Ergobaby carrier and wear my jacket OVER her. Since Lily was a winter baby, (born in January), this made life a lot easier for me. I never worried about her being warm, my body heat kept her nice and toasty. 😉 With my second daughter, I am thinking about getting a winter cover for the carrier, which might be easier. (Then I can use my regular winter jacket when I wear the baby). I did find a winter coat once for a mom that has an opening for the baby carrier. (I can’t find the same coat now).It looked really awesome. If I lived in a colder climate, and planned on having more kids, I would probably consider getting it. For me, it was too much of an investment to use for such a short period of time.
Another obvious benefit is the portability of the carrier; it is a lot lighter than a stroller. However I do wish it came with some sort of carrying case. I recently made my own, using a sack I had at home.
Some carriers allow you to breastfeed an infant while “wearing” him/her. You can’t do that with this carrier while the baby is in the infant insert. I was able to breastfeed Lily in it when she was older. I actually remember the first time I nursed her in the carrier. My husband and I went on a LONG walk, and she woke up hungry. I frantically looked for a place to sit down, but we were not in a good location for nursing at that moment. Out of desperation, I tried to nurse her in the carrier, and it worked!! I was so thrilled, because I often worried about being stuck in situations like this. (Breastfed babies eat every 2-3 hours, so the chance of being caught somewhere where nursing was difficult was pretty high). The Ergobaby carrier has a cover on it that can go over the head, making nursing a little more discreet. I have nursed Lily on a busy subway, and even while walking at the zoo. It was a pretty good feeling, to be able to nurse my daughter almost anywhere, when I could not stop and sit down for 20-30 minutes.
The Ergobaby is not very expensive, especially compared to a stroller. In hindsight, I wish I would have purchased a smaller, less expensive stroller, since I did not use it very much. The Ergobaby carrier is available on Amazon, but I bought mine on Ebay, (because I found a seller who would ship internationally). I bought mine new, but you might be able to find one that is used that is not as expensive. I am glad I bought mine new because I used it A LOT. My carrier is a different shade of brown than the infant insert because it faded so much from sun exposure. It is still in good condition though, so I hope it lasts another 3 years.
So yes, I said 3 years because it can be used with a toddler.The positioning is a little different; you wear the toddler on your back. I went on hour long hikes/walks while wearing my 3 year old. The weight limit on the original carrier is 45 lbs.
When using the Ergobaby carrier, you are not limited to paths, sidewalks, or streets. When wearing your baby/toddler, you can climb stairs and hills. I remember one time my mother in law and I went to a historical pagoda in South Korea. There were a lot of steps, and not many paths to get to the top. We would not have been able to climb up the steps with a stroller. I truly feel like with the carrier I have so much more FREEDOM!
Right now I have a 3 year old daughter and a young baby to look after. I could not imagine doing this without the carrier. I need to stay active; my oldest daughter is at the age where she does not stay in one place very long. 😉 She is also a little too enthusiastic about being a big sister sometimes. When I wear my daughter Addie, I don’t have to worry about my 3 year old bothering her.
I should also mention the zippered pocket the Ergocarrier has on the front, it is very handy. I used to stuff a few diapers, wet wipes, and a change of clothes for short trips to the grocery store. You would be surprised by how much stuff you can fit in there.
The Ergobaby was the smartest investment I made with regards to “baby stuff”. (Cloth diapers might replace that eventually, it is too early to tell how long I will survive the cloth diapering lifestyle). I am so glad my friend recommended it to me.
Did you use a baby carrier with your little one? Was it a lifesaver for you too?