Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Most useful baby items during the first 6 months: Ergo carrier

and the list continues. I had intended to post more than one recommendation here today, but I have such unabashed love for the Ergobaby original carrier that I'm dedicating an entire post to it.

5) Baby carrier -  Ergobaby

Carriers are great, when you have a baby who HATES her stroller
Truth be told, our little one was pretty cranky for the first four months of her life. She had reflux and was extremely colicky as a result. When I say "extremely" I am not kidding around. She would cry for 13 or more hours a day - uninterrupted - during most of her second month.

The word on the street is infant carrying eases colic. The idea is that much of the crying stems from indiscernible reasons and that being close to Mom or Dad is comforting despite whatever discomfort or oversensitivity the child is expressing. That might be true for some kids. It is very hard for me to judge, because our daughter was so uncomfortable with reflux and cried so much it was nearly impossible to leave the house. We, literally, could not put her in a carrier or car seat or stroller for the first 2 months. She would scream hysterically and unrelentingly. This meant that all tasks outside of the house had to be completed by one parent, while the other one sat at home holding the baby with both hands. However, once the reflux and colic started to ease up, the very first tool that let both H and I out of the door at the same time was the infant carrier. For that reason alone, I will always be indebted to Baby Bjorn and Ergo.

Around month three, we managed to get our little girl into a baby bjorn classic carrier. Once ensconced, she would travel with us to the grocery store and even sleep on my chest while we ate at a restaurant. We even used it to get her down for a nap, on occasion. I really liked this carrier because it had several easy to snap into place locks on the shoulder and waist that made it easy to slip and secure the baby into place - and, importantly, lay a sleeping baby onto a bed and release the carrier without waking her.

The baby bjorn classic carriers are a two piece structure of straps for parents and a separate pocket structure that attaches to those straps and carries the baby. The pocket attaches, with a number of locking mechanisms, chief amongst them a large plastic lock that forms part of the carrier seat. Around month 5 this large plastic lock became very uncomfortable for our little one. All of her weight sat on it and she would cry every time we put her in the carrier. At this time we moved onto the Ergo, a one piece cloth carrier, the seat of which is formed by a large cotton pocket that tightens against the parent's stomach via a large and well padded waist strap. While the baby bjorn places the baby's weight on the parent's shoulders and between their shoulder blades, the Ergo places most of the weight on a parent's hips. As a baby grows, this carrier becomes infinitely more useful, as the child's weight is carried by the primary weight bearing parts of a human's body. Weight placements and the over structure of an Ergo means that a child can be carried until a child reaches 45 pounds in this carrier - outstripping most other carriers by at 15 pounds.

We were introduced to the Ergo coincident with our discovery that our little girl hated being in a forward facing stroller (the only way our current stroller faces). Turns out, many children are not magically induced to want to face away from their parents the second they turn 6 months and can no longer be left in a bassinet stroller or a car seat stroller without danger of injury. Our little girl wanted to see us at all times. With the bjorn carrier too small, and the stroller too forward facing, we were a miserable bunch. All of our outings were marked with the anxious screams of a poor little girl who didn't want to face the world alone. The Ergo was such a life saver - again allowing us to leave the house without hysterical screams.

I would say, between the two, the Ergo is a the better deal. It retails for a little over $100 and can be used (with an insert) from infancy to 45 pounds. They are continually posted on craigslist for less than $100 and are easily washed.  It can be adjusted to hang off a parent's side (presumably accommodating twins if you have two carriers) and, when the child is older, it can be positioned on a parent's back.  If I could go back I would have used an Ergo with an infant insert from the very beginning. 

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