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Baby Bjorn vs. Ergo Baby Carrier - a comparison
, September 26, 2009
This review is from: BABYBJORN Baby Carrier Original (Baby Product)
We have a Baby Bjorn (Original) as well as an Ergo baby carrier. I think both have their advantages and disadvantages, which I will try to explain below.
We purchased the Ergo carrier before our daughter was born based on the recommendation of a friend. However, we found that she could not sit in it comfortably at first. Before your baby can straddle your torso (until about 4 months/15 lbs), you have to put both legs on one side. I watched the instructional DVD several times and tried to place her into the carrier as comfortably as possible, but she did not like it at all. It didn't look comfortable either with her back twisted and body squished. This is when we decided to try the original Baby Bjorn carrier.
Our daughter loved being in the Bjorn (facing in or out). This carrier is easy to put on and take off and quite compact. However, it was not very comfortable for me (especially as she got heavier) since it put a lot of pressure on my back and shoulders. The fact that there is no waist belt and little padding on the shoulder straps probably contributes to this. The newer Baby Bjorn Active carrier with lumbar support may alleviate some of these problems. (I haven't tried this product though, so I'm not speaking from personal experience). We used the Bjorn until she turned 4 months (about 15 lbs).
I was so relieved when she could finally fit into the Ergo properly (with one leg on each side). It is so much easier on my back and shoulders. With the Bjorn, I could maybe last 15 minutes (at 15 lbs). With the Ergo, I can comfortably go for an hour or two (at almost 20 lbs now). I go grocery shopping and on longer walks this way. She seems very comfortable in it now. She's happy whenever I put her in it and will even go to sleep in it. (Sometimes, this is the only way I can get her to sleep). It looks a lot more comfortable than the Bjorn since she's sitting in it as opposed to being suspended from her crotch. I also don't have any trouble nursing discretely in the Ergo.
Around 6 months I also began carrying her on my back in the Ergo, which was even easier on my back. I have found this to be really convenient when doing things around the house such as vacuuming, doing laundry, cooking etc. It's also nice for outdoor activities like apple picking, strawberry picking, hiking etc. I find these activities somewhat more difficult when carrying a baby in front. While it is easy to put your baby in the front carrying position by yourself, it takes some practice to wear your baby on your back. At first, I needed somebody to help me get her situated on my back, but now I can easily do it by myself. Some may not like the fact that you cannot face your baby outward in the Ergo (and some babies may not like facing inward). This has not been a problem for us. While our daughter loved facing outward in the Bjorn, she did not object to facing inward in the Ergo. Rather than being pressed up against me, she's sitting in it, so she can still look at things to the sides. One more thing about the Ergo - I would recommend purchasing the sucking pads (ERGO Sucking Pads - Cream). Our daughter loves sucking on the straps and it's just much more convenient to wash the sucking pads rather than the whole carrier.
In summary, I think that both, the Bjorn as well as the Ergo, are good carriers, each with some drawbacks. The Bjorn is wonderful for a newborn up to about 12-15 lbs. Being able to have your baby facing in or out is a nice feature. Because of the strain on your back however, I would not recommend using this carrier with older/heavier babies. The Ergo is great for babies starting at around 15 lbs or when they are able to wrap their legs around you. It is much easier on your back and being able to carry your baby on your back can be convenient. For us, the Ergo was not very useful before our daughter turned 4 months as she was not comfortable with her legs on one side, but this probably depends on the baby.
I would rate the Bjorn 3 stars (because it's so hard on your back and we could only use it for a few months) and the Ergo 4 stars (because we couldn't use it with our newborn). My recommendation would be to get one of each if you can. We bought a gently used Bjorn for less than $10, and I have seen a lot of these on Ebay as well as Craigslist. Maybe you could even borrow one from a friend. It just seems like a lot of money to spend on something you aren't going to use for very long. However, I loved carrying my newborn around in it, so I wouldn't have wanted to do without it.
UPDATE July 2011:
We went on a trip overseas and I was able to carry my 25 lb toddler on my back in the Ergo at 6 months pregnant for about an hour at a time if she got tired.
UPDATE January 2013:
Loved using the Ergo for baby #2 as well. He didn't want/need to be carried around as much as his sister (around the house), but it was still nice to have for grocery shopping and when we were out and about. I actually didn't use the Bjorn at all this time, so I think I'm going to get rid of it at this point. Instead, I got a moby Moby Wrap Original 100% Cotton Baby Carrier, Black and a k'tan Baby K'tan Baby Carrier, Black, Small. I mainly used the k'tan from 0-4 months (it's similar to the moby, but "pre-wrapped" so you're not dealing with 5 feet of fabric), then switched to the Ergo. I loved having a soft carrier for my newborn! So my NEW RECOMMENDATION would be to get a soft carrier for the first few months and the Ergo. The moby is nice if several people need to use it since it is one-size. I personally found the k'tan more convenient, but it is sized, so another caregiver may not be able to use it.
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