ERGObaby Carrier FAQ

Please note that this FAQ is my knowledge and opinion only, not that of the ERGObaby company.

 

 

Technical Overview of the ERGObaby Carrier

Health & Nurture
The ERGObaby Carrier ensures carriage in the ergonomically correct spread-squat-position. This position avoids bruising the genitalia or straining the baby's spine, which can arise with baby carriers that do not guarantee a spread-squat-position. The ERGObaby Carrier is NOT designed for the front position with the baby facing outwards since, in this position, the spread-squat-position is not possible. The ERGObaby Carrier uses flexible, strong material to support your baby's body next to his parent ensuring close and direct body contact between the parent and child. This physical closeness is very important and the key to your child growing up to become a confident, open, and happy person.

Ways of Carriage
The ERGObaby Carrier enables you to carry your child on your front, on your back, or on your hip. You and your child will enjoy freedom of movement as well as the closeness you both need and enjoy.
Front position: More than anything babies love body and eye contact with their mother. They want to be near the mother's warmth and smell - this makes them feel reassured and protected - which is very important for the baby's mental and social development.
Back position:As soon as the neck of your child is strong enough to support his head, your child can be carried on your back. When going for a walk, shopping, or hoovering at home - your child is near to you, soothed by your closeness, enjoying your company and safe. It gives you more freedom in your everyday life, and simultaneously strengthens your vital parent-child relationship.
Hip position: This position is perfect for temporary carriage since your child can see everything and still enjoy close body contact. (The Ergo carrier is absolutely fabulous at carrying on the front and back. For the record, I (Jackie) don't think that the hip carry is one of the Ergo's strengths, but rather something that it "can" do.)

The ERGObaby Carrier has been designed to support you and your child for a comfortable, secure, and healthy way of carriage. These are some important design features:
- The Ergo has no rigid frame, packs down to a small size and is lightweight
- Your child is supported in a comfortable sitting position, with padded support for his bum and legs all the way to his knees
- The ergonomically formed shoulder straps are comfortable and mould to the shape of your body
- The extra wide waist belt balances the weight of the child from the on the waist/hip and away from the shoulders
-The unique chest strap keeps your shoulder straps securely on your shoulders
- A zippered storage pouch on the carrier means you can store your keys and phone and really enjoy Hands-Free carrying
-The indispensible sleeping hood supports your child's head when sleeping in the ERGObaby Carrier

Material
With products for babies and children, using harmless materials is vital. For this reason, all materials used in the ERGObaby Carrier and the accessories are tested regularly by independent testing centers. These tests always produce a very good result regarding the absence of contaminates and carcinogenic substances. Moreover, the ERGObaby Carrier has undergone a series of standardised tests.

 

I don't know which version of the ERGObaby to choose!

Help is at hand with this new (Sept 2012) video from ERGObaby. It shows the differences between all the ERGObaby styles and also compares shoulder strap length and waist belt width. Very nice video to help you make your decision!

 

What is the difference between an ERGObaby SPORT and a Classic ERGObaby Carrier?

An ERGObaby Sport carrier is a version of the ERGObaby carrier offered from Feb 09. It is built to be lighter-weight, more breatheable, and with an adjustment range to fit a wider range of sizes, from normal sized mums all the way up to big and tall dads. The special features are longer shoulder straps and a wider padded waist belt. Made from a very soft material (65% cotton, 35% polyester), this makes it comfortable, lightweight, breathable and sporty. The Sport shares the same unique features as the whole ERGObaby Carrier range, like the ergonomic design, the 3 different carrying positions and the smart padded waist belt. The ERGObaby Sport does not have an integrated pocket (as the Classic Carriers do), but still accomodates the use of all the ERGObaby accessories. The SPORT waist belt fits waists from 29 inches - 50.0 inches.

 

What are the differences with an ERGObaby Performance Carrier?

Here is what ERGObaby say: Made of durable, lightweight, and breathable fabric, the ERGObaby Performance carriers are made to accommodate all active moms and dads. The Performance carriers feature a high-performance polyester exterior, ideal for outdoor activities in all climates; a breathable mesh lining, keeping babies and parents cooler and more comfortable; and a cooling panel for extra wicking. The attached sleeping hood stores easily in zippered pocket. This sleek, streamlined design offers a smooth, supportive fit for parents and babies of most sizes, and can still be used to carry babies from newborn to toddler on the back, front, and hip positions. Of course, ERGObaby's Performance line supports the correct ergonomic position for both babies and parents.

Here is my take on the Performance: The Performance is new as of March 2011. It has a zipped storage pocket which is a great move, very, very handy. The sleeping hood comes in its own zippered pocket (brilliant!) to keep it out of your way when you aren't using it. I really like this improvement. The biggest difference with the Performance are the fabric choice and the contoured shoulder straps. The material used in the Performance is Polyester outer and Breathable Mesh lining. The shoulder straps of the Performance Carrier are different than the Classic or SPORT, as they are contoured/shaped to fit your body. Also the padding on the shoulder straps and waist strap of the Performance is thinner (this is meant to be sleeker without losing any comfort).  In my experience trying this carrier on myself and on a larger person, this contoured, slightly rigid shoulder straps will work just fine on a normal sized person, but did not sit properly on a larger-framed person. The Performance also has the chest strap on a nifty little slider, which seems to be easier to adjust than the other models, but it will not adjust down as far as the SPORT, for the larger-framed wearer. The Performance waist belt fits waists measuring 28 inches - 54 inches.

 

What are the differences with an ERGObaby Stowaway Carrier?

Here is what ERGObaby say: Comfortable, compact, and amazingly convenient – the Ergobaby Stowaway Navy Carrier features a shell made with 100% recycled materials that folds into its own front pouch for easy storage. Stow it in a stroller or stash it in your car. You can even wear it on your wrist, thanks to the handy strap. When it’s folded, the Stowaway Carrier is about the size of a clutch bag or an Ergobaby Travel Pouch. As with all Ergobaby Carriers, it holds your baby in an ergonomic, natural sitting position. The padded waistbelt ensures baby’s weight is evenly distributed between your hips and shoulders while the adjustable, cushy padded shoulder straps provide you with ultimate comfort. With Ergobaby’s Stowaway Carrier, you and your baby can travel everywhere in style.

Here is my take on the Stowaway: The Stowaway is very cute that it folds down into its own storage pouch. Beyond this, there are some big differences between the Stowaway and the Classic, however, and I will share my thoughts with you. The fabric is recycled plastic, which feels light and airy (it is!) but I am not convinced that it will stand up the the durability that you can expect with the sturdy cotton fabric of the Classic. The waist and shoulder straps are very flimsy in comparison to the Classic (it has to be to pack down so much) and leave me questioning the comfort of the carrier if you are wearing a baby for a long time period. The Stowaway has shorter chest strap adjustment on the shoulder straps, which will mean that it may not be a good fit for tall people. I tried it on with my three year old for a short spell (3 min) and while it felt OK support-wise for that short time, the chest strap adjustment was not able to move into the perfect spot in the middle of my back (I am 5' 10") so I would say I am too tall for this carrier. I am a bit confused about the audience that ERGObaby is trying to target with this carrier, as wearers of small babies will need as much support as an ERGO can offer due to possible long-periods of babywearing, and so will the wearers of toddlers, who are heavy! The Stowaway wouldn't be my recommendation for optimum support to the parent. However, if you are keen on having lots of options (pushchair + carrier) and want a carrier which can pack down and is lightweight, the Stowaway does tick these boxes.

"How to Fold the Stowaway" video here.

 

The ERGO seems expensive...

PLEASE BE AWARE THAT CHEAPLY PRICED ERGO'S ARE COUNTERFEIT COPIES! I only purchase from ERGObaby and sell only GENUINE, BRANDED, GUARANTEED ERGOS!

Well, I agree that ERGO's are not exactly cheap, but then, do you want a cheap carrier or a really good one that will be comfortable and last for years?  Let's discuss... When I tried my friend's Ergo on for the first time, I knew that it was a really good carrier and that I wanted one, but the pricetag did put me off.  I ended up buying a really inexpensive, second hand, framed backpack instead, and finally forked out the money for the Ergo a year later (oh, the wasted time!).  So, when I finally bought one, my "baby" was already nearly two, but it was still REALLY worth it!  At that time, I used it mainly for shopping, walking, and days out.  Well, then my second child arrived, and I tell you no lie that it has been with me wherever I go with either of my children.  When I don't have it, it is because I have forgotten it, and I am probably panicking!  :) Now (2012)I am using the ERGO with my third child, who is now nearly 3 years old... I still rarely leave the house without it!

So, the cost that I paid for my Ergo 7 years ago seems insignificant, considering that it has been a reliable, practical, comfortable, and best -used of all the baby products that I own.  I have probably gotten more use from the Ergo than our children's car seats, and definitely more use than our pushchair, (all three of which cost about the same initially!!)  Beyond that, I am still using it to carry my 3 year old on a daily basis and have no intention of giving up anytime soon... I reckon I still have another 2+ year of Babywearing with my trusty Ergo ahead of me! 

One final thought on the price vs. value of the Ergo is that the cost is also reflected in the quality of the carrier itself.  It is really well made, with sturdy materials and webbing, as well as extra little safety features and excellent quality buckles, which some companies may have downgraded to keep costs low and profits high...

 

I have an infant front carrier (Baby Bjorn, Tomy), how is the Ergo better?

Well, I do like the infant front carriers and I have used a Baby Bjorn myself with 2 of my children.  Using the Baby Bjorn was my first babywearing experience and I loved it.  The problem was that I didn't know of another carrier to use as my baby got bigger... so I continued to carry her in the Baby Bjorn until she was WAY too heavy... and it was really digging into my shoulders and hurting my back.  I tried on a friend's Ergo and immediately wanted one (the pricetag put me off) but used a framed backpack for a year instead.  When I finally bought an ERGObaby carrier, I loved it... With my second child, I used the Baby Bjorn (because I already owned it) from birth until 3 1/2 months, when she was able to spread her legs around my waist.  From that moment on, she was in the Ergo carrier.  So, this time, I have enjoyed babywearing with no sore shoulders, back pain, or problems with my baby outgrowing the carrier.  With my third child, I used the ERGObaby Infant Insert and ERGO carrier from birth. I tried her in my old Baby Bjorn only once and thought it was too uncomfortable as it pulled on my shoulders too much. (And that was when she was still really tiny!)

Two benefits that the Ergo definitely have over the infant carrier is how long you can use it (birth to 5 years) and also that you can carry different aged children in the same carrier.  When I am out and about, I know that I can carry any of my children in the one carrier.  I love its flexibilty.  These make the Ergo a much better investment (Ergo with longevity of use versus five months of comfortable usage with an infant carrier). Infant carriers are great... the problem is that the mass market isn't aware of comfortable ways to babywear once babies have outgrown them! 

 

My Baby likes to face forward in her carrier... but the ERGO doesn't let her!

Well, it is true that we parents and our babies can get quite attached to the way an infant front carrier lets our child have a commanding view of the world while dangling from our fronts...   but I am afraid that the ERGO does not let you face your child forward.   I think that this is a good thing for the child's development.  Firstly, they are sitting comfortably in the ERGO, not dangling by their crotch.  Second, they can look up and see YOU, their much loved parent!   When a child wants to look around in the ERGO, they simply turn their heads to see, and invariably, the wearer will help the child see what is directly in front of the wearer by turning sideways now and then.  Remember, you can use the Hip carry if you want your Baby to see forward.  See further information about why ERGObaby Carriers are better for your baby's spinal / hip development on this page.

 

I have a framed backpack, how is the Ergo different?

I did use a framed backpack with my eldest daughter for a whole year before I invested in my Ergo.  I am sure that I was the only one using a framed backpack to walk down the high street and in grocery stores...  Needless to say, once I purchased my Ergo, I did not use my framed backpack again.

Firstly, a framed backpack holds your child higher and further away from your body than in the Ergo, which means that your centre of gravity is thrown off much more than when you are carrying with the Ergo.  As my daughter got older, she was able to stand up in the framed backpack, as well as lean out to the sides when she wanted to see something, which put my balance out even further.  The Ergo holds your child just as close to you as when you hold them in your arms, and with their weight resting at the same level as your waist / hips, your centre of balance is preserved. 

Secondly, you can't carry the same wide age range in a framed backpack.  You can't put an infant or very small baby in a framed backpack due to their neck stability, and, due to their weight, I doubt that anyone can carry a 4 / 5 year old, either.  The Ergo (with the infant insert) offers you and your baby comfortable babywearing from birth, and because of the weight distribution and closeness of the carrying position, you can really carry your child when necessary until they are 4 or 5 years old...

Thirdly, children can't sleep very well in a framed carrier, as their heads aren't supported and if / when they do fall asleep, their heads bob all over the place... which is awful and inevitably makes any nearby adult offer to help you prop your sleeping child's head with a nappy, jumper or other suitable objects.  In the Ergo, babies simply rest their heads on either your chest or back, both very comfortable for them.  In addition, using the sleeping hood, you can keep their heads from lolling about, while covering them from the sun.

Fourthly, the Ergo is much more portable than a framed backpack.  It takes up less space and is easy to take along with you even if you are unsure if you will use it.  We have all seen Dads at the zoo carrying empty framed backpacks around while their little ones walk... they are way heavier to carry (even when empty) and they take up lots more space in the boot of the car.

Lastly, the Ergo is a much more flexible carrier than a framed backpack... I never used my framed backpack to carry my child in the house, while making dinner, or hoovering (though I did suffer it for grocery shopping).  Additionally, you can breastfeed your baby when you are wearing them in the Ergo.

My ERGObaby Carrier isn't as comfortable as I had hoped....

The golden rule regarding ERGO's is... adjust, adjust, and re-adjust!

If you (the adult) are not perfectly comfortable when you are carrying your child, then chances are that your Ergo is not adjusted properly for you. A well-adjusted Ergo will let you carry comfortably for hours and will not cause any pain. Let us look at some ideas which should help your carrier adjustment.

Firstly, is your carrier fastened snugly around the top of your hips? The waist belt needs to be very snug around your waist/ top of hips. If your baby is under 1, start with the carrier on your waist and move it down towards your hips if baby's head is too high and in your face space. As your baby gets older, you will probably wear the carrier's waist belt just above your hip bones. We want the ERGO's fabulous waist belt to be fitten very snugly to you, so it can take the full weight of your child and not put any strain on your shoulders.

Next, put your baby in the carrier. Make sure that his bottom is sitting as far down in the seat as it can. When you put him in, jiggle him down, reach in and help move him downward whilst pulling upwards on the top of the ergo to make sure that baby's clothing / the Ergo's fabric is not holding him up. When you feel his bum from the outside of the carrier, there should be no folds in the carrier material under his bum - we only want to feel a cute little bottom sitting down firmly in the bottom of the carrier pouch.

Now, how much room is in between you and your baby's chest? There should be enough room for you to fit only your flat hand between you and your baby. If there is enough room for your clenched fist, he is too far away, which will pull your centre of gravity out of balance (making you lean a bit forward or backward to compensate). So, pull your shoulder straps a bit tighter to bring your baby closer to you and even out your centre of gravity. You should not really feel that you are leaning forwards or backwards if you have your carrier adjusted properly. Have a look in the mirror to check your posture.

Next, check that the chest strap is located half way between of your bra strap and the nape of your neck (when wearing baby on your front). If it is too high or low, it will be uncomfortable... and you will need your chest strap to be relatively snug, so it keeps your shoulder straps securely on your shoulders.

Lastly, after you have adjusted the whole carrier, place your hand on your baby's bottom on the outside of the carrier and lift him up about 1 inch... and pull the strap to snug up your waist belt again. Usually you can tighten it a bit more, and this will really help the waist belt to be in the ideal place to take all your child's weight. This little trick will really take even more of his weight off your shoulders and onto the waist strap. I have found this to be a very good way of making the Ergo even more comfy, especially when carrying a 3 year old!

Remember, if adjust your ERGObaby Carrier properly, you will not be in any pain. With a small baby, you should not even feel your baby's weight in the Ergo when it is well adjusted. With a toddler this won't be true, but you will still be able to carry for long durations without pain or discomfort.

Again, you will have to keep re-adjusting the carrier straps each time you put it on... one day you will be wearing a thicker fleece, or baby will be wearing a jacket, and the next time you will both be in a T-shirt... so keep re-adjusting for maximum carrying comfort!

 

When I carry Baby on the front, it's tricky to reach the chest strap on my back to buckle it...

When you are wearing baby on your front, it can be difficult to reach the chest strap (which should be located on your back, half-way between your bra strap and the nape of your neck). The trick to getting the chest strap fastened and in the right spot is two-fold.

Firstly, adjust the chest strap so that it will be in the right place. To do this, you will need to have your baby in the carrier and adjust the carrier so the shoulder straps are comfortable for you. Ideally enlisting the help of a friend, position the chest strap so that it is adjusted on your shoulder strap to be in that hard-to-reach spot on your back half-way between your bra strap and the nape of your neck.

Secondly, you should begin the loading of your child into the carrier with your shoulder straps adjusted very long. This means that you can load your baby on your front, put the shoulder straps on your shoulders, and holding each strap with one hand (to ensure that baby is safe in the carrier while you are still adjusting), move your hands up the straps to the nape of your neck, where you should easily be able to buckle the chest strap behind your neck. Then you can snug down the shoulder straps, moving your baby close to you and your chest strap into the proper position. During the first part of this baby loading, your child will be sitting lower in the carrier and further away from you than normal, but should still be safely held by the carrier.

To take your baby out of the carrier, reverse this process by loosening the shoulder straps, unbuckling the chest strap, then safely removing your baby.

 

What is a Heart2Heart Infant Insert?

The Heart2Heart Infant Insert is an accessory which swaddles your baby from the age of birth until they are old enough to spread their legs around your body and be carried in the normal Ergo "spread/squat" position (around 4-6 months old). The infant insert helps hold your baby in a comfortable position for you both while baby still needs head/neck support and more of a swaddle.  It is basically a shaped, thickly padded peice of quilted cotton, which is used to support your child's head and neck, and to give your baby's body support where it is needed for being carried in the Ergo.  There is also a removable pillow in the bottom which raises your little infants bottom a bit, to leave room for their legs to sit astride the pillow in a comfy position which doesn't put strain on them. There are instructions below on how to use the insert, which will give you more of an idea what to expect. 

Do I need a Heart2Heart Infant Insert or is my baby big enough to Ergo without it?

Beyond cocooning a tiny infant in a cozy blanket, the infant insert offers a newborn head, neck, and spinal support, as well as comfortable positioning for their little legs. The infant insert will be used with the Ergo (as a guide) from birth until approximately 5 months of age, depending on the baby's size.

With a newborn, he will need the extra head, neck, spinal support / cocooning of the infant insert to be carried in the Ergo. After your baby develops his head / neck control and strength and may no longer need this extra cushioning, he will most likely still need the help that the infant insert provides for their leg positioning. At this point, to the delight of the parent, you may be able to cease using the bulkier top part of the infant insert, and simply use the insert's removable pillow on its own until your baby is capable of spreading his legs around the adult's torso and sitting unaided in the Ergo.

To test if your child is big enough to sit in the carrier without an insert, you will need to check if the baby can spread his legs around you. To do this, simply sit yourself down and lay your baby on his back on the legs, with his bottom touching your belly. Move his legs apart so that his feet and knees are heading in the direction of your underarms, then fold your baby forward to you, so that you are holding him belly to belly with you, with his pelvis tilted forward, so his legs are still pointing upwards towards your underarms. If baby is able to sit comfortably in this position, then go ahead and try him in the Ergo without the insert. If your baby is not crying and is acting in a normal manner when you try this position, you will know that he is comfortable. (Put it this way, you will know if he can't do it or if he is in discomfort!) When you are sitting smaller babies in the Ergo without an insert, they will be better able to spread their legs around you with their pelvis tilted forward / legs pointing upwards. Even my two-year old still finds it more comfortable for me to pull her legs upwards if she is not sitting comfortably in the carrier for some reason.

If you are on the brink of being able to go without the infant insert, you may be happy to use a rolled-up hand towel or similar to prop your baby's bottom up slightly just for a week or two until he can sit unaided in your Ergo.
Once your baby is big enough to sit in the Ergo carrier without an infant insert, you will be pleased to lose the extra bulk and hassle.

 

What other accessories are there for the Ergo Carrier?

There are many different accessories for the Ergo Carrier.  You will find most of the official ERGObaby accessories and some other babywearing products on my order page.

 

Can I read the Ergo Baby product user guides?

Sure! Use the following link to find the downloadable user guides for the ERGObaby, Infant Insert, and Sleeping Hood - So, Click here to find them all! Enjoy! You can also see online demonstrations and instructions on my videos page.

 

If you have a question... email me or follow me on Facebook for ERGO Tips and Tricks

 

See also Ergo Videos and Links Page

For helpful, friendly assistance contact: Jackie Fewtrell

 

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