Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Product review: Ergo baby carrier

I loved my Hug-a-Bub wrap when Baby A was tiny. I even liked it as she grew bigger and could face the world (although it put a bit more stress on my shoulders). But now that my little terror is grabbing and reaching for everything in sight, it is just no fun having her strapped to my front. I don't need her grabbing knives off the counter or, G-d forbid, reaching for a pot on the stove.

Enter the eighth--yes eighth (more on that later)--baby carrier of my parenting life, the Ergo Baby Carrier. This frameless pack can be worn on your front or back, but its strength is really as a backpack. Unlike our unwieldy REI frame baby backpack, this one is soft, machine washable, and small enough to roll up into ball (or fit into a diaper bag). It holds your baby or toddler against your back, which is nice and snuggly for both of you. So comfy, in fact, that Baby A fell asleep in it on Sunday, which gave me the chance to try out its sleeping hood.

The Ergo is recommended for babies 6 months and up, but you can purchase an infant insert for it. I can't see wanting to use it for newborns since small babies are perfectly comfortable in a tidy little wrap or sling and the Ergo is so much bigger and bulkier. I also probably wouldn't feel comfortable putting a child much smaller than Baby A (an 18lb 8 month old) in the backpack position. She fits in there comfortably, but looks like she has a lot of room to grow.

Anyway, so far I'm delighted with my purchase. At $92, it wasn't cheap, but I'd seen it in action on a couple of moms lately and they both had nothing but praise for the Ergo.

Still reading? Here's a quick rundown of my baby carriers, past and present:
Baby Bjorn Original: a gift from my co-workers, this front carrier was Z's favorite place to be during the so-called witching hour. Josh wore it for hours, placing a cloth diaper over Z's head so he could eat dinner. I hated wearing it as it made my shoulders and back ache.
Baby Bjorn Active: this much improved version of the Bjorn is on loan from my best friend. It is still the only infant carrier Josh can manage, but he's going to have to learn to use the Ergo because Franny's due in 9 weeks!
Over the Shoulder Baby Holder: a padded ring sling I purchased when Z was born and have used with both my babies. It's fine.
Mei Tei Carrier: Oh, how I wanted to love this beautiful back carrier. But Z hated it and Josh was convinced I'd drop her trying to get her into it. I ended up selling it on Craigslist to a former coworker.
REI Tagalong Child Carrier: I like this backpack a lot, but I have a tendency to knock people and objects with the bulky metal frame. It is great for hiking, airport travel and long walks, but not so good for cooking and cleaning house.
Hug-a-Bub: Love, love, love it!
Mod Mum Sling: I won this stylish one-piece sling in December and I've gotten a lot of use out of it, but Baby A is starting to outgrow it.