Monday, February 12, 2007

Baby Carriers Revisited





*******Updated on June 24, 2008: I used both the Beco and the Ergo constantly until my son was 16 months old and over 25lbs. Then, we moved to Seoul and with all the hills and my son's increased wildness, I prefer to use my stroller. I still used my carriers in the airport for the flights and on shorter walks, but I like having a stroller to hold my bag as well when I am out and about. I will also use the carriers in places that are not accessible by stroller. After almost a year and a half of use, I have to say that both carriers are great and worth every penny. I liked the Beco better for smaller framed people and the Ergo better for larger framed people, but only slightly. I like the zippered pocket on the Ergo, but I think more recent models of the Beco have a zippered pocket, so just make sure you know what features the model you are buying has. The new Beco Butterfly has a built-in piece to be used with small infants. The model I have (4th Generation) and the Ergo require an infant insert to be used with babies less than three months. The current Ergo collection has a wider variety of pattern choices than before making it a little more exciting than before. I mentioned before that Beco has had some growing pains as a company as they transitioned from a WAHM business to being manufactured, but they always make things right and I think they've worked through eveything at this point.

Original review:

Last month I wrote about trying to use my ring sling and making a tube sling. I took both slings and the Baby Bjorn on the Nile Cruise and the Bjorn won hands down. The slings just don't work for Ian because he likes to stand. He stands up in them and then is thrown off balance. The baby's weight needs to be in the butt for the slings to be stable. Now that he is 5 months old he fights to stand up and I just can't get them to work. I think the tube would work for hip carries as he gets a little bigger, but why bother because now I have both the Ergo and Beco baby carriers!

The Ergo and Beco are soft, structured carriers that can be used for front, back or hip carries. In the front and back carry positions, the straps are over both shoulders. I like this better than one-shoulder carriers. I may try my slings again with my next baby for the first month or two, but I like the Ergo and Beco better.

Why buy an Ergo and a Beco when I already had a Bjorn, you ask. Well, the Bjorn performed pretty well, but it doesn't have a waist strap so our backs were strained. Also, the Bjorn can only be used in the front carry position, facing out. I think the back carry position will be better for when he is heavier and also make it easier to get things done. The Ergo and Beco have the baby facing in which gives the baby the ability to turn away from stimuli, nurse, sleep better, hear your heartbeat and keeps them safer from the prying hands of strangers poking at them. My son loves to watch everything, but was very happy to face inwards. He can still see, but feels more comfortable. Adults tend to think that facing outwards is better, but once you try it, in is much better. Both the Beco and Ergo websites have a more detailed explanation of why inward facing is better.

O.K., so why buy BOTH a Beco and an Ergo ?

Well, because I wanted them. I couldn't decide between them and didn't want to wait for shipping. Sometimes the APO is quick and sometimes it is not. Also, the Becos are a lot more feminine, so I got the Beco for me and the Ergo for my husband. Both carriers have optional infant inserts that you can buy to use with newborns. You could probably just use a blanket, also. I didn't get the insert because Ian doesn't need it.

If you have the option, I think you should try on different carriers before you order. If you have an experienced wearer show you how to properly use it, you can make the best judgement about whether it is right to you. I didn't have that option, so I ordered both.

My Beco came first. It only took 7 days to get here from Florida. My Ergo took 8 days to arrive from Hawaii. So far, the Beco is lighter, more expensive (most are $125) and comes in more exciting patterns than the Ergo ($92). Ergo seems to be more organized as a company and is less expensive. It is an attractive, but plain carrier, so much better for husbands or those who want a more classic look. The Ergo uses cotton canvas on the outside so it is more rugged than the Beco, but it also makes it a little heavier. The Ergo comes with an instructional DVD which is very helpful for showing transitions and proper use. Beco is growing through some growing pains as a company, but I think it is worth tracking down this carrier, or waiting for it. I think the Ergo will be better for strenuous sightseeing, hiking, etc. However, I just used my Beco in Jordan to see Petra and Jerash and it performed beautifully (the pictures are above show Ian in the Beco at Petra). I think my original plan for me to use the Beco and my husband to use the Ergo is what we'll do. Both of them are very easy to use with no learning curve, unlike slings. You can't mess it up.

I ordered my Beco from Ellen at http://www.sobebabies.com. She was the only authorized retailer with product in stock that didn't go directly through Paypal. I couldn't get Paypal to work. I think it was because of my IP address being overseas. She responded to questions quickly and also stocks the Ergo and several other types of baby carriers and accessories.

On a cultural note, the Egyptians HATE baby carriers. Everytime I wear Ian, no matter what carrier, I get a negative reaction:

"He doesn't look comfortable".--The carrier puts him to sleep with a few minutes of walking, if this boy was uncomfortable he would let me know.

"It isn't natural". --As opposed to what? A stroller is natural?

For the slings, they thought he was going to fall out. That is a more understandable response, because slings can look a little unstable, but the Beco and Ergo are very secure and look very secure, so I don't know why they don't like them. I love my Inglesina Zippy stroller, but without proper sidewalks and cars on both sides of the street with other cars speeding through, I just feel the carriers are safer.

14 comments:

Erica Spina said...

I've been trying to figure out which of these two carriers would be better for me (my husband said just get whichever you feel more comfortable with). I've tried both carriers on, and you're right, the differences are so slight (I kind of liked the pocket on the Ergo)... I'm smaller framed and found that the Beco didn't rub under my arms...

If you have a chance to comment on my comment - we're going to South America in a few months to visit family and the weather will be warmer... which carrier do you think would be best for the heat? Also, which carrier do you find best to wear for extended periods of time (up to 4 hours or more)?

Thanks!

Erica Spina said...

I forgot to mention that my daughter is 4 1/2 months (15 lbs) -and will be almost 7 months when we leave and almost 11 months when we return home.

Mama Seoul said...

Hi Erica,

When you are carrying a baby in the heat, it gets hot no matter what. In fact, it is hot without the baby on, but I was still pretty comfortable carrying in both carriers in very hot climates like Egypt and Cambodia.

There are some people who are so narrow framed that the Ergo slips off their shoulders and doesn't feel comfortable. Or, they are so short-waisted that the thicker waist of the Ergo is a problem. Conversely, there are some people that are so big chested or tall or long waisted that the Beco.
However, most people will feel comfortable with both.

Since I have both I tend to rotate the Beco and Ergo. I like the look of the Beco better so I tend to grab it more often. But, when I went to Cambodia this July with my 4 month old daughter, I took the Ergo. I hiked up the temples and basically wore her in it the whole time. I've worn the Beco for extended periods of time as well. In fact, I had worn her almost constantly in the Beco for the month before because we were moving so that contributed to the selection of the Ergo because I wanted the change.

If you are going to be mountain climbing or doing strenuous site-seeing, I'd give the edge to the Ergo because of the thicker padding on the straps. I also like the zippered pocket for holding passports and money. I have hiked around with the Beco as well and did fine, though.

If you are going to be hanging out with family at someone's house or a restaurant, then maybe the lighter and thinner Beco would be slightly more comfortable.

I carried my son in both all the time until he was 18 months old. Both carriers have a weight limit of 40 lbs or so, but I stopped routinely carrying well before my son reached the weight limit because I would have needed to switch him to the back to carry comfortably and I prefer to carry on the front. Either carrier would be fine for your daughter through 11 months for sure.

So slight edge for Ergo if you will be doing rugged things, for the pocket, if your baby is hefty and the price.

Slight edge for the Beco for your small frame and aesthetics, also the Beco has a built-in infant insert so if you are planning to have more children the price advantage of the Ergo decreases because you have to buy a separate infant insert to use it with really small babies. However, I prefer to use a wrap with really small babies. Your daughter at 4.5 months won't need the infant insert anyway, but thinking about future kids.

I think you will be happy with either so let price and aesthetics be your tie-breakers, or, be like me and get both: pretty Beco for you and sportier Ergo for your husband!

I don't think I have been very helpful in this reply comment, but that should also be comforting to you because they are so functionally similar.

Let me know which one you buy and have a great trip!

Erica Spina said...

Hello!

(I had to post the comment it two parts - it only allows comments with so many characters)

Thank you so much for taking the time to write back! I wasn't certain if you would see the comment I posted.

Your review was very helpful!! Better, I think, than a lot of reviews I've found on the internet (beco vs ergo).

I wish someone would have told me more about babywearing and carriers before haphazardly coming across the Ergo and Beco online (a good friend bought me a Hotsling wrap for the baby shower, which I used with my daughter when she was a newborn, and loved... another friend lent her Baby Bjorn, which I wasn’t sure about since baby’s legs dangle in the air – and when I wear it now with a 15 lbs baby, it kills my shoulders). I use the stroller to carry the diaper bag and prefer to have my daughter on me – especially when we go away in a few months.

I have tried on both carriers, and attempted to judge them both fairly by wearing both for the same period of time/same activities. I’m 5’4” and about 140 lbs (more hourglass shaped, for reference, with a longer torso and short legs - laugh). I found that the Ergo fit me well, it was quite comfortable. I really liked the hood on the Ergo (a lot better than the Beco, which isn’t as wide and I thought needs more buttons on the straps) the zippered pocket, and found I could easily adjust the straps to “pull” my daughter in closer to me, but, the waistband is wider and I found it rubbed on my legs no matter how I wore the Ergo – who knows, maybe I had it on wrong – I also found the shoulder straps rubbed underneath my arms/armpits a bit (I didn’t wear the Ergo with short sleeves, it’s winter here). I personally like the look of the Beco more (I was trying not to be too vain when deciding on a carrier), and found the shoulder straps didn’t rub under my arms and the waistband wasn’t as wide, which felt better on me. The Beco comes up higher on my daughter’s back which is nice, but I can’t seem to “pull” her in as closely as with the Ergo... I could go on about all the similarities and differences... I really also just want a carrier I can carry my daughter in for many hours without having sore shoulders/back – and a carrier I can use for a few years (if she’ll let me carry her that long) – if we have another baby, I think I’ll try the moby wrap during the newborn stage...

Erica Spina said...

Oh! And as you said about your son – you preferred to carry him in the front – so do I... another reason to want a carrier that isn’t going to cause shoulder/back strain (it’s hard to imagine how it’s going to feel when she’s 20+lbs).

When you mentioned about the types of activities we might be doing and suggested that the Ergo might be better for more strenuous activities and the Beco more for family visits/outings, I started thinking the Beco might be a better option. We're really going to Bolivia just to visit family/walk around the cities, more than a lot of strenuous activity (like hiking). I hesitate to put her on my back in Bolivia – I would prefer to see her in front of me... Part of the difficulty in my decision came with the weather - we live in Calgary, Canada where the weather is quite cool right now (haha, never mind, quite cool all year long) but will be going to Bolivia in the summer... and then by the time we return to Calgary it will be late spring... I think if I was buying the carrier just to use in Calgary, I would opt for the Ergo, since it’s a bit thicker (padding/material), but going to Bolivia in the summer and coming back and the weather will be nicer, I think the Beco might be a better choice (since the material seems lighter and not as much padding). I’m thinking I can manage to sew a backpack like device to attach to the Beco, in lieu of the zipper pocket on the Ergo....

I would love to purchase both carriers! Right now, being on maternity leave and going away for such a long time, I can’t monetarily justify having two.

Well, after talking your head off, I must say I’m glad I came across your blog. I’ve read some of your other posts and quite enjoy them! Have you always lived abroad? The next venture for us might be elimination communication – I didn’t know there was a term for it – something my husband and I have been talking about :)

Thank you again,
Erica

Mama Seoul said...

Go for the Beco! It will make you happy every time you put it on. I can get my Beco as tight as my Ergo. Are you trying on a new one? A couple years ago they made some carriers for larger people and I had a friend who accidentally bought one. It did not come tight enough across her back, especially. If you get a new one, a Butterfly II, it shouldn't be a problem, though.

When it gets cold, no matter which carrier I am wearing, I either pull my coat around my baby or put blanket over them. You can also get something like the Peekaroo Fleece Babywearing vest for when you go back to Canada.

http://www.tummywear.org/proddetail.php?prod=mw-nori-vest

And go for it on EC! I have done very little research and it is working great for me part-time. I am going to get a book so I can refine what I am doing, but it is a lot of fun and she already knows what to do on the potty. I almost always catch the poops so dirty diapers are very rare!

Erica Spina said...

It was the Butterfly II that I was trying on - when I was out and about today, I wore it, and readjusted the straps a bit, which made the carrier fit more tightly. My daughter loves it! (I meant to mention that in the previous post).

I saw the Peekaroo Vest on one of the various sites I was looking at - I think that might be a good option - especially since you can wear it with baby on your back - and you're right - a good option for here! In the meantime, I also just use a blanket.

If I could catch the poops - that would be awesome!!

ling02 said...

I'm still undecided whether to get a Beco or Ergo. The Beco cost slightly more than the Ergo but I don't want to consider the price factor.

I'm 6 feet tall. My baby is 10 months old weighing 24 pounds, and about 70 inches tall. I plan to use the carrier as often as I can to spend time alone with my baby, a stroll at the park or shopping at the mall. I wonder if the Ergo will be too short for my baby and me to feel comfortable. Also, I stay in the tropical country Singapore so I need a carrier that provides good ventilation to me and my baby.

As I don't have a chance to try before buy, I appreciate if someone can advise me which carrier is better.

Thanks.

Mama Seoul said...

Hi Ling,

I went to the Ergo website and there are a few stores in Singapore that carry the Ergo. I copied a few of their addresses but check the Ergo website because there are a couple more. You can try it on there.

http://www.baybsupplies.net/

Mummy's Cove
18 Jalan Jambu Batu
588737 SG

Telephone: 65-9382-6752

My Baby's Need
Blk 632B Punggol Drive #14-665
822632 SG

Telephone: 65-91775732

The Beco website is down right now, but I am sure the Beco is carried in some stores. Just go and ask to try. One of the stores I linked to has classes and events and I bet they will help you decide.

Or ask to try the carrier on from someone who has it in your mum's group. Singapore has lots of mum's groups.

I am actually going to visit next year, but you need to get your carrier before I'll be there.

OK, so if you cannot try them on, I recommend that you get an Ergo instead of the Beco because you are tall and the baby is older. In my experience, tall people seem to prefer the Ergo and short people the Beco, if they have a preference. Also, the padded straps are thicker on the Ergo which can be better for a heavier child.

The other thing you might want to consider is a wrap. Moby Wrap is all cotton (some styles have a silk panel) or Storkeinweige or Maya or Didymos that are all woven wraps. Wraps take a bit of getting used to to put them on but can be very comfortable.

Good luck!

Erica Spina said...

I didn't want price to play a factor either in the decision...(I have to post this in more than one comment since I wrote so much).

I ended up buying the Beco carrier (we live in Canada where the weather is freezing right now), but will be traveling to South America at the end of January for a few months to visit family...

I really liked the Ergo, and might have bought it if we weren't going away - the material is a bit thicker (a bit more padded too), thus warmer, however I use a carrier cover and a blanket when I take my daughter out for walks here at home and that does the trick with the Beco (but don't get me wrong, the fabric on the Beco is heavier too, just not as heavy and I was also using a light blanket with the Ergo too).

I'm only 5'4" - so I can't conpare with height...but I did try both carriers on for a week each before I purchased the Beco...

Here's a comparion:

Straps: on the Ergo they're a bit wider and more padded than the Beco. When I tried to do a back carry I found the straps on the Ergo got in the way of my underarm area (not being able to cross your arms for example) and when I carried my daughter on my front, the Ergo straps rubbed under my arms. Some people say they like the extra padding and width, it didn't work for me.

Waist belt: on the Ergo, 25" to 43" - I think the Beco went a bit smaller and the legth is a bit longer (I couldn't remember exactly and the site is down for maintenance) - however, you can purchase a waist extender strap ($8) if needed, which allows up to 51". The waist belt on the Ergo is a bit wider than the Beco (same thickness) - I found that the waist on the Ergo dug into my legs a bit, especially when sitting (but I'm shorter). The waist belt on the Beco has a "sleeve" for the removable hood (I've never used the sleeve, I just undo the hood and let it hang down). The buckle on the Ergo waist is on the side, whereas the Beco buckle is on the middle of back/tummy (depending on front or back carry - I found the Beco buckle easier since you don't have to reach to one side).

Hood: Hands down, the hood on the Ergo wins (in my opinion) - it's not removable, but there's a "pocket" you can tuck it into at the top of the Ergo - it has many more buttons on the straps than the Beco (so you can adjust the length) and the Ergo hood also has straps at the bottom of the hood that can be adjusted (essentially you can either have a long hood or a much shorter hood).
On the Ergo, the material for the hood is lighter and a lot wider -it covers baby's head much better than the Beco, and I found the Ergo hood actually offered some support. The hood on the Beco is attached by three buttons/clips at the top of the carrier and then the hood straps that attach to the arm straps only have three clips (not nearly enough clips and I ended up tying a knot in the strap to make it shorter). Although the Beco hood is removable (a nice feature, but I have yet to take it off), I wish it was designed more like the Ergo hood. My daughter is only 5 months old right now, and I wonder how much of her head the Beco hood will actually cover when she’s older...

Erica Spina said...

Pocket: Another great feature on the Ergo. The pocket is large enough for a few diapers/wipes/small wallet, car keys... the Beco needs something like this! The pocket on the Ergo is easily accessible, a vertical zipper on the side allows for access and the hood would over this if you’re worried about back carrying and someone trying to open the pocket.

Body of carrier: Beco. There’s an infant insert (which I never got to use since I bought the carrier when my daughter was 4 months.. . and I think I would just use my sling when we have another baby). Have a look at some of the videos on youtube on how to put the Beco on – this will give you an idea how it attaches to you and how baby goes in it – easier than me explaining... however, that said, it took me and my daughter a bit getting used to doing the clips up (it’s a two handed method... really easy to figure out, it took my daughter more to get used to having my arm across her face to do and undo the clips. There is a piece of fabric/webbing between you and baby in the Beco... as long as baby is positioned properly in the Beco there won’t be any slack on the webbing – my daughter likes sucking/licking it. The Beco body is a bit narrower... you can choose a fabric print, which was a nice idea (I’d rather have a better hood and pocket)...if baby is a lot bigger (my daughter is 17 lbs), the Ergo might fit better...

Ergo. Need to buy infant insert (I’ve read many mixed reviews about this insert – too hot, not really needed, use a wrapped up blanket instead...). There are also videos on how to put this carrier on... you attach the waist belt to you, put baby around your waist and then the straps/body of carrier pull up around baby and over your arms and then the harness clip does up behind your head. If you don’t have good arm flexibility, this might not be a good option (practise trying to reach with both hands behind your head/neck to do a clip up – I had some trouble with it – the clip has to be in the right place). Less complicated to put on than the Beco, but once you practise with the Beco a few times, it’s super easy. I haven’t tried a back carry with either, but apparently the Beco is easier, since baby is secured in the carrier (see online videos to explain better).. Ergo back carry is easy too (supposedly), but practise over a bed. The Ergo body has darts in the seat, so baby “sits” a bit better, better for bigger babies... baby’s head can come closer to your chest in the Ergo (by how you adjust the straps).... the body length of the Ergo is a bit shorter than the Beco, but to be honest I don’t know how much support the extra inch or so in the Beco offers – the material is just rounded (see a picture to see what I mean) – there’s really no extra “support” here. Oh, and with the baby secure in the Beco, supposedly it’s pretty easy to undo the carrier from one person and pass to another (something else I haven’t tried, since my husband isn’t fond of wearing a carrier, he just holds her in his arms). Hmmm, what else?
If there’s anything else you want to know from my opinion, just let me know  Again, I went with the Beco because I’m hoping it won’t be too hot –fabric seems a bit thinner (Mama Seoul said she wore the Ergo in hot weather and didn’t find it to be too bothersome), if I do a back carry it looks easier to do than the Ergo, and like Mama Seoul mentioned in a comment to me – if you’re just using it for the city/walking around the Beco is nice (another reason I went with the Beco), but if you’re doing more rugged activities or lots of traveling (we’re just going to visit family) the Ergo might be a better choice.
Anyhow, after all of this, I hope it helps. Also, check out this website: http://www.thebabywearer.com/ I found it helpful. All the best!

Mama Seoul said...

Erica,

Good comments. My Beco doesn't have the webbing. I think if you daughter outgrows it, you can just put her in the same way as the Ergo so there is nothing between the two of you.

ling02 said...

Mama Seoul, thanks for the links.

Erica, thanks for the very detailed comparison of the two carriers based on your experience.

I don't know anyone who has either of the carrier for me to try on, so I'll see whether I can get that from the sellers.

If it is true that Ergo is a better fit for tall people and bigger/heavier babies, then my baby and I should be more comfortable in it. I'm nearly sold on this.

However, the features on the Beco that got my attention are that:
1. A longer body which others feedback allow closer contact with the baby and hence better support for the adult.
2. A thinner fabric/padding and hence more cooling and less bulky. But on this point, I'm not sure whether I should go for this or the more padded Ergo which should give better cushion to the adult.

I think it just boils down to these few factors for me.

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