You don’t have to have read Jean Lidhloff’s “Continuum Concept” to get the benefits of “wearing” your baby. Still the norm in many tribal cultures, baby wearing is of particular benefit to newborns—it mimics the cocooned closeness a baby feels in the womb and helps her to transition more easefully into our world—especially in the first three months, or what is often also called the 4th trimester. From a baby’s increased sense of security and contentment when held close to your heart beat, her ability to observe everything you do, and the close bonding that occurs for the baby wearer and the baby, no baby accessory is as essential for a new mama as a well designed baby carrier.
Choosing one, however, can be daunting! Do you purchase a structured, or unstructured carrier? Which one can you use easily with a newborn? And why can’t you just carry your baby in your arms. Of those questions, the last one is probably the easiest to answer. As a new Mama, your arms become multitasking experts and you need them to be free, which is where a good carrier comes in. It allows you to be close to your baby and still be able to use both your arms – our ancestors who all practiced this – did not sit on a couch and feed their baby all day. They walked, or tilled fields and sowed grain; you get the idea.
Of the structured carriers, this Green Mama loves the Ergo Baby Carrier (original style), which as its name implies is ergonomic. Designed by a mom who was looking for a carrier that was easy to use and provided support, especially for the shoulders and lower back, the Ergo straps on quickly, easily and distributes your baby’s weight evenly making even a 25lb baby feel light. While it is probably one of the more costly carriers available, you can use it with (the infant insert) for a newborn baby all the way up to a child of 3 or even 4 years old, increasing its longevity, and making it all the more economical.
Ergo carriers are available in organic cotton, come with extra accessories such as little backpacks, weatherproof covers – so you can use them in the rain or snow – and are perfect for travel. Now, Ergo also offers slings, front-carriers, and other versions, but our favourite is the original style (in organic fabric of course).
What’s to love & not to love?
- The carrier snaps on very easily and you can do it by yourself.
- You can wear the baby in various positions, in a front heart to heart carry, a backpack position on your back, as well as on your hip when the baby is still quite young.
- The ergo is ergonomic. Seriously! You will feel no strain on your spine, lower back or shoulders, when you are wearing your baby in the right position and the straps are snug. It is also supposed to be more ergonomic for your baby whose legs wrap around you rather than dangling down as with some carriers.
- It’s durable. We have a hand-me-down ergo that looks just like new, especially when freshly washed.
- Easy to clean – as mentioned earlier, you can toss it in the washer and it comes out clean!
- Lightweight and easy to transport.
- Allows you to have complete freedom of your hands, so you can do all the things you would normally do, but this time with your baby on you. This Green Mama often does lunges while wearing my baby in the ergo, which I definitely feel the next morning!
- The ergo (as well as other carriers) is wonderful for rocking a baby gently to sleep. You will not need to take the baby for a drive, just strap on the ergo and rock gently from side to side or go for a walk. Your rhythmic heart beat, closeness and motion will put your baby to sleep in a gentle, peaceful way.
Can seem a bit challenging to put on in the beginning, especially with a newborn in the newborn insert. I felt I had to practice it a few times before I felt comfortable wearing my baby. Help from an experienced babywearer is always recommended!
Why buy versus go without?
If you are going to invest in just one baby carrier, get this one. You can use it from birth to toddler-hood, it distributes your baby’s weight evenly, offers the correct alignment of baby’s pelvis and sacrum and is easy on your spine. Plus I love the option of wearing your baby on your front, back, or side.
Available in organic fabric, especially designed for the ergonomic comfort of your baby and you: this is a great carrier.
Add about $130, the Ergo isn’t the cheapest carrier on the market, but parents love it. I’ve now had my Ergo for seven years and while it looks every bit seven years old, it still works great.