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.
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.