(Photo from my daughter’s favourite book ‘Welcome, Baby’ – I think the parent on the left is wearing an Ergo 360 🙂 )
In her first year of life, I’ve really enjoyed carrying my daughter around in one of our four baby carriers. Once I figured out how to use them properly, I liked the ease it gave me when travelling, the confidence it gave me in cooler weather (to know she was warm against my body), and how they’ve enabled us to go places we couldn’t go with a stroller.
These are the four carriers we have and how we’ve used them (note: two of them are different versions of the Ergobaby carrier).
Chimparoo woven wrap:
We were generously given a Chimparoo Woven Wrap as a gift from my friends when I was pregnant. In terms of comfort and back support it’s my favourite.
Like the name suggests, it’s made from woven fabric so there’s no stretch to the fabric, I think helps evenly distribute the weight across your back and shoulders. There is a steeper learning curve to using this carrier than any of the other ones. It was harder to wrap her in it when she was a newborn (I felt she was so fragile and the fabric wasn’t very forgiving), but once you get the hang of it, it’s not hard.
Since the wrap is really long, I tend to use this one when I’m going on a walk and can wrap her in it at home and don’t expect to need to re-wrap her while we’re out. When I’m wrapping her in it the ends drag on the ground and fly around everywhere while I get it in place. I’ve read about other people who swear by this kind of wrap and it’s their primary carrier. I think there’s even a way you can pre-wrap it and plop the baby in it after but I haven’t mastered it. While writing this I’m kind of wishing I spent a bit more time figuring out how to use it because I think I could get a lot more use out of it.
I got the Baby K’tan when I was going to visit my parents in Florida and my daughter was two months old. At the time I had an Ergo carrier (see below) but still needed to use the infant insert and I worried she would overheat if I used it in the warmer climate. I got the ‘breeze’ version of the K’tan which is partially made of perforated cotton and it kept her cooler in the warm weather.
The K’tan was great for flying with my daughter when she was small. Unlike a long wrap the K’tan is already ‘prewrapped’ for you so you don’t have a long swath of fabric to deal with. It was really easy to get my daughter in and out of it quickly (super handy boarding the plane) and it comes with its own built-in bag too which made it easy to tuck in my diaper bag (it packs smaller than any of the other carriers here). I really liked using the K’tan while my daughter was small (I think I used it up until she was 6 months) when we weren’t flying I’d often use it around the house because it was so easy to quickly pop her in and out of it.
It’s a chunk of money to spend on a carrier that you’ll only use for a short period of time, but I got a good amount of use out of it and would have used it even more if I’d had it since birth. It definitely didn’t provide much back support so I wouldn’t recommend it for long walks; I switched to using our Ergobaby carrier at home when my baby got heavier. If you’re thinking of getting one, one thing to keep in mind is it’s sized like clothing (i.e. if you wear a medium t-shirt you buy a medium K’tan), so it’s not easily shared with a spouse which reduces its use a bit too.
We got the Ergobaby Original as a baby gift from my sister, Laura (thank you!). I have used it SO, SO much. For a period of time my daughter would only breastfeed if I was lying down or if she was in the carrier. Lying down was not always possible (i.e. anytime we left the house) so I had her in this carrier all of the time to feed her and even started using it at home when I didn’t feel like being horizontal. Then we fell into a bit of a trap where I was walking her around the house to put her down for a nap– my arms and back began to ache, so I used our Ergobaby carrier. To say she was in and out of the Ergo about 5 times a day for a good period of her life would not be an exaggeration.
The Ergo became a lot easier to use when I didn’t have to use the infant insert any longer (which was around 3 and a half – 4 months old for my baby). My husband also liked it a lot more than the Chimparoo because it was easier for him to get the hang of since he wasn’t wrapping her that often. This is still his favourite carrier even though we now have an Ergobaby 360 too. He like the softer fabric and waist-belt on this one.
The Ergobaby 360 is almost the same as the original one, but it has the added option of being able to carry your baby while they are facing forward.
We do a lot of outdoor activities and my daughter started to get a bit tired of being pressed up against us on a long hike. I thought buying the 360 would give us a bit extra happy-baby time on hikes because we’d be able to switch around her position. So far it works well. If we want to go on a long trip we keep her in the stroller until she wants to get out and then switch up her position in the Ergo according to her mood. I got the Cool Mesh version of this carrier since I thought it would be more comfortable in the warm months (and it was on sale).
Other than the additional position option there isn’t much difference between the 360 and the original Ergobaby carrier. I find this one has a bit better back support, but the fabric is more synthetic and stiff (I think the original is just made of cotton) and my husband finds this one a bit less comfortable.
Any other carriers you’ve tried and enjoyed? I’ve added links to the carriers in the text above, but there’s a huge secondhand market for carriers, I’d suggest you look there first and go to a store and try them out too!