Having already written and raved about the Baby Bjorn (AWESOME: Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier Synergy Review), one must wonder why in the world we would need another baby carrier.
But in the case of the baby carrier, our daughter simply outgrew the Baby Bjorn as it maxed out at 26 lbs / 19 kgs, or about 19 months in our case. We like using a baby carrier when traveling since we do not have to deal with a stroller through security, stairs or crowds, it leaves our hands free to carry other items and keeps our child nice and secure.
The need for a baby carrier is greatly reduced once your child starts walking or if you live in stroller-friendly places, but our main use of baby carriers was for traveling and we were now focused on a backpack style carrier. This ERGObaby carrier made for a perfect travel companion.
Choosing the ERGObaby
The ERGObaby was a finalist when we were first choosing a baby carrier, so it was a natural choice when we went looking for a back carrier.
There are a handful of different models, including the Original, the Sport, the Performance and the Organic.
We chose the ERGObaby Performance Carrier because it was light weight (1/3 the weight of the Original model) and made of blend of polyester/cotton shell, with cotton wicking lining together with a 100% polyester mesh straps for more comfort and less heat. The Organic seemed liked a good choice at first, but the all cotton build seemed like it would be really hot in summer.
Getting your baby on your back takes a little getting used to, especially if doing it unassisted, and ERGO does a nice job of providing some instructional videos on their website. Once you get the hang of it, it’s relatively easy to do. Best to try sitting down at first. On an airplane, you can have your child just stand on the seats and hop on. The back carry position is explained in the video below:
We got a chance to try out the ERGO during a recent trip that included airports and sightseeing. We purchased the ERGO to be used as a back-carrier with our toddler, 2+ years old and 27 lbs / 12.25 kgs at the time, so the review is focused on that.
We found the ERGO to be quite comfortable with our two year-old on. Kids love piggy back rides and this was pretty much that. She was happy. We were happy.
As a sign that she was indeed quite comfortable, she fell asleep while going through customs. There’s a little hood that you can snap on to cover the head and keep it from bobbing too much.
My wife and I took turns with the carrier. She’s 5’4″” / 163cm tall and I’m 5’10” / 178cm. Given our size difference, the shoulder straps fall at different spots relative to the child. She was slightly more comfortable on my wife’s back than on mine as her arms had more freedom of movement. You should experiment with the strap adjustments and body positioning to find the most comfortable setup.
Unlike the Baby Bjorn, the ERGO holds your child directly against you, whether in the front or back position. So while the ERGO Performance is made of light weight material, the body-to-body contact does create a bit of heat and my back definitely got a bit sweaty during the outing. Just something to keep in mind.
The ERGO was very useful navigating through the airport as well as the historical sites where the cobble stones, huge crowds and stairs would have been the end of any stroller-powered adventure.
What’s going on back there?
One difference between the front and back carrier positions is that you don’t always know what’s going on behind you. Special marks to me for pointing out the obvious, but part of the benefits of the front carriers is that you full control as to what’s going on. People always seem to have a burning desire to touch babies (in the nicest of harmless ways) but… you know what I mean. At the same time, two year olds can get up to all sorts of things, and while were walking around we suddenly found our daughter holding an ice-cream cone (see evidence in photo at the top), care of the very kind ice-cream vendor standing a few feet away.
So why not buy the ERGO two years ago?
The next logical question is “Why did you not just buy the Ergo two years ago and be done with it?” That is a perfectly valid question, and many people have, but as I look at the two strollers in our house and the multiple sippy cups, I’ll just move on.
But product marketing induced urge to splurge aside, the ERGO – while excellent – did not perfectly cover the entire age range for our needs. You need to purchase the “infant insert” for use from birth until 4-5 months. This padded and specially shaped cushion adds a lot of heat to the equation and may prove uncomfortable in a warm climate. We liked our Baby Bjorn a lot, and have been quite happy with it. If you are purchasing your first carrier and your baby is already a 4-5 months old, however, then going straight for the ERGO might make a lot of sense.
Value: Fairly valued
Lifespan: Up to 40lbs/18kg
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