I never really saw myself as a babywearing kind of mom until I became one out of sheer necessity. I needed my hands, my baby needed my constant touch, something obviously had to give.
When my first child was born, babywearing wasn’t yet very common, so the choices of baby carriers were extremely limited.
I started off with BABY BJORN – the #1 baby carrier at the time.
Let’s just say I wasn’t too thrilled. I wasn’t a fan of the way my baby’s head bounced back and forth and kind of flopped around every time I moved or leaned forward. Which was like all the freaking time because you wear your baby so you can get stuff done, right? Plus, I couldn’t say I was comfortable.
Eventually, my back started throwing a fit every time I laid my eyes on BABY BJORN, so I moved on and splurged on the SNUGLI baby carrier instead.
SNUGLI turned out to be slightly more comfortable for both of us (as long as it was used for a short amount of time) but still left my baby dangling a lot.
There HAD to be a better way?!
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After a quick babywearing research I immediately ordered an organic version of the novelty that is now sold as the ERGOBABY ORIGINAL BABY CARRIER. (AKA the “older Ergobaby carrier.”)
It was the most expensive baby carrier sold back then, but let me tell you… Best $148 I’ve ever spent! I’m pretty sure I heard the harp playing and the angels singing when I was first trying it on.
(Lucky for you, they’re much less expensive these days.)
Not only was Ergobaby Original easy to use and surprisingly comfortable to wear (and really cute!), it kept my baby safe and comfortable. It met everything on my wish list and more.
I used it. I used it a ton.
With one more child in the mix since then, I’ve been wearing my kids in this same carrier for 7 years straight as of right now. SEVEN!
Having had a TON of opportunities to test it out under various different conditions over the years, here is my take on the PROS and CONS of the Ergobaby Original baby carrier.
First, the good stuff.
— PROS OF ERGOBABY ORIGINAL
COMFORT FOR YOUR CHILD
This is the key for successful babywearing. You need your baby to be comfortable in a carrier, or babywearing isn’t even going to be possible, right?
Unlike the other two baby carriers I’ve had a chance to try before, Ergobaby Original is comfortable for babies and kids. Period. I’ve always had a hard time getting my kids out rather than in.
Every time I look at other kids being carried in an Ergobaby carrier, they just look super comfy, too.
Which shouldn’t come as a surprise because Ergobaby carriers are based on ergonomic babywearing.
How is ergonomic babywearing different?
The way kids are positioned in a baby carrier makes a big difference in their comfort level (as well as healthy development).
Ergonomic baby carriers are designed to allow kids to sit comfortably with their hips spread apart rather than dangle by the crotch (the way many other baby carriers work). This position is also supported and recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. It’s the best position for a healthy hip development.
There are many more brands that sell similar types of carriers today, but let’s just say that Ergobaby has been successfully making ergonomic baby carriers for a very long time now.
↓ How would you prefer to be carried??? ↓
COMFORT FOR YOU
Our comfort level may come second, but it matters, too!
The ergonomic design of Ergobaby carriers puts the weight of your child on your HIPS, not on your back. That makes wearing your kids comfortable – even for extended periods of time.
We love the outdoors and never pass up a good hike. Hiking with kids, however, has its challenges.
For a while they’re too little to hike, then they can only walk for so long, and sometimes the trail just becomes too strenuous for them to continue on their own. If you’ve hiked with small kids, you know what I’m talking about.
I love that carrying my child in the Ergobaby Original carrier feels no different than carrying a backpack filled with supplies. It’s like a talking backpack, really. (For the record, my 4-year-old weighs 35 lbs. and I can still wear her comfortably.)
In terms of details, the shoulder straps and the waist belt are padded, and all straps are adjustable for maximum comfort.
VERSATILITY OF ERGOBABY ORIGINAL
The Ergobaby Original carrier offers 3 CARRY POSITIONS – FRONT (facing IN), BACK, and SIDE CARRY.
Some people are convinced that when babies are worn facing in (facing your chest), they won’t like it because they’ll have nothing to look at. Which I’m sure is what prompted Ergobaby to start making the 360 ALL positions baby carrier which allows your child to also face out in front wearing. Ergobaby 360 is much more expensive than Ergobaby Original, and you’ll need to consider if you really need this one extra position that will really only be utilized for a short amount of time. I personally never missed it and would have not even used it.)
I want to assure you that babies CAN and DO look around when worn in the front and facing in. Plus, their sense of curiosity is backed by the feeling of safety, being so close to you (because they can feel and see YOU, too).
As for the individual carry positions, I can’t speak for the hip (SIDE) carry position because I haven’t really used it. I tried it, but it just wasn’t for me. I have enjoyed both front and back carrying equally though.
I carried my kids in the FRONT exclusively when they were little (for my piece of mind and their safety), and occasionally when they were older when it seemed more practical (like in a crowd of people).
BACK carrying has been awesome for hiking or long walks, especially as the kids have gotten bigger and heavier.
I’ve even tried carrying both a child AND a backpack (front and back – either ways). All I can say is that while it is doable, it can be a real doozy if you have significant weight on both sides. Expect to sweat like a pig.
ERGOBABY ORIGINAL IS EASY TO USE
I’m sure there are some people that have found using the Ergobaby Original carrier difficult. We’re all different, right?
I’ve personally found Ergobaby Original incredibly easy to use (can’t speak for other Ergobaby carriers sold since I’ve never tried them).
If I had to compare Ergobaby to the other two carriers I had used (Baby Bjorn and Snugli), Ergobaby was WAY easier to use.
FRONT WEARING is pretty straightforward. Buckle up in the front, turn the carrier around so the buckle stays in the back, should straps on, baby in, adjust straps, done.
BACK WEARING, while not being inherently difficult, should be practiced at home a few times before mastering unless you have someone with you that can help you put your child in safely.
There are several ways to tackle Ergobaby BACK WEARING. I found tossing my kids straight onto my back (while leaning forward) much easier than starting on my hip and then shuffling the whole carrier and my child around to the correct position. But then again I didn’t start BACK babywearing on my own until much later which makes back-tossing much easier. A soft raised surface (like your bed) will be ideal if you need to practice the back toss.
SIZE OF ERGOBABY ORIGINAL
Believe it or not, this Ergobaby carrier folds down to an impressively compact size. It even fit in my diaper bag!
QUALITY OF ERGOBABY ORIGINAL
Overall, the quality of the Ergobaby Original carrier seems to be excellent.
The fabric itself is thick yet very soft (mind you, we have the organic version which might be a tad softer than conventional cotton).
After 7 years of fairly frequent use and after multiple washings, not one buckle or a piece of an elastic has failed, and there are no rips in the fabric or unraveled seems. NONE.
Clearly, the baby carrier was made to last.
CLEANING ERGOBABY ORIGINAL
Can you wash Ergobaby carriers???
According to the manufacturer, spot cleaning is recommended. Ergobaby Orginal carrier IS machine washable though. (Thank goodness!)
I have washed ours quite a number of times (I’ve lost the count) and noticed that the color eventually started fading a bit after each wash. It’s not a big deal by any means though, and I’m talking a good number of wash cycles.
The Ergobaby Original carrier will hold up just fine if you wash it once in a while. (Line dry only.)
THE OPTION TO BREASTFEED IN THE ERGOBABY ORIGINAL CARRIER
I’m not saying that you HAVE TO breastfeed your child, OK? But if you ARE breastfeeding, you’re gonna love this carrier even more.
Ergobaby makes nursing on the go happen! How cool is that?!
Before you know it you’ll be strolling around a store, waiting at the checkout lane or boarding a plane AND nursing your baby without anyone noticing. Tell me that’s not awesome!
TIPS for breastfeeding in the Ergobaby Original baby carrier:
- You may need to loosen the shoulder straps under your arms to lower your baby down a bit to make nursing possible.
- For a sense of privacy and to limit distractions for a nursing baby, clip the carrier’s hood on. If you’re wearing the right clothes (a nursing top, a regular top with an undershirt on, a sweatshirt over the carrier, etc.), no one will see a thing.
DID I MENTION ERGOBABY ORIGINAL HAS A HOOD?
The hood is an excellent feature. It’s really helpful for when you nurse in the public or for shielding your baby from the elements. It’s also perfect for keeping a sleeping baby’s head contained. Ergobaby Original wouldn’t function quite the same without the hood.
The hood is lightweight and breathable, yet thick enough to keep the sun or light out.
BTW, if you need to support a sleeping child’s head and the hood straps of Ergobaby still seem too long on the shortest setting to be functional in head support, place the hood over your child’s head safely, cross the hood straps and snap them on the opposing sides. You can also try twisting the hood straps several times before snapping them close which also shortens them.
ERGOBABY ORIGINAL HAS TWO POCKETS, TOO.
The larger one is a zipper pocket that’s actually quite large for a baby carrier. It can hold a number of personal items like your keys, your wallet, a pack of tissues, things like that. [I wouldn’t recommend keeping your cell phone in the pocket, this close to your baby’s head.]
The smaller pocket is essentially what holds the hood when not in use, but it can also accommodate small items (like a pacifier). This is an open pocket, no zipper.
The small pocket is right underneath the striped fabric on the back of the carrier where the Ergobaby logo is on the picture below, with the zipper pocket covering the back of the carrier (zipper on your right but hard to see from the picture).
ERGOBABY ORIGINAL IS THE ONLY BABY CARRIER YOU’LL EVER NEED!
There is no need to switch to a different baby carrier to accommodate your growing child.
You’ll be able to use Ergobaby Original as long as your child isn’t over 45 lbs. Isn’t that awesome?
Now, let’s talk about the bad stuff.
— CONS OF ERGOBABY ORIGINAL
Truth be told, I had to think hard about what I don’t like about the Ergobaby Original baby carrier.
This is what I came up with:
- When hiking in hot temperatures (think 90+°F), I get really hot. But I have a feeling this comes with the babywearing territory and isn’t a fault of the carrier’s fabric or design. You are wearing another human being that’s generating heat. Guess what’s going to happen… Though Ergobaby does make a baby carrier made with a breathable soft mesh which allows for a better airflow and might technically be more convenient for, say, long hikes and such. I haven’t tried the carrier though, no idea how well it works.
- The Ergobaby Original carrier typically doesn’t come with a bag to carry or store the carrier in (some models do though). I found an easy fix for this. I keep the carrier in a lightweight tote bag which I place in the carrier’s pocket when using the carrier.
- The price of the Ergobaby Original carrier can initially seem high. But you do get what you pay for.
How should Ergobaby Original be used – DOs and DON’Ts
Ergobaby Original (AKA the older Ergobaby carrier) is intended to be used for children in the weight range of 7-45 lbs., with some additional guidelines.
According to the manufacturer, Ergobaby Original shouldn’t be used with children UNDER 7 lbs. (3.2 kg).
Babies in the range of 7-12 lbs. (3.2 – 5.5 kg) and 0-4 months can be worn in the FRONT CARRY position but REQUIRE the use of an infant insert (which I discuss in Ergobaby accessories).
FRONT CARRY position WITHOUT THE INFANT INSERT is recommended for babies weighing at least 12 lbs. (5.5 kg).
HIP and BACK CARRY wearing requires babies to reach at least 17.2 lbs. (7.8 kg).
Ergobaby Original can be safely used up to at least 40 lbs. (The current Ergobaby Original states up to 45 lbs. while ours says 40 lbs.)
My final thoughts on the Ergobaby Original baby carrier?
Ergobaby Original is a jack of all trades and an excellent option for all kinds of daily tasks and outdoor adventures. It has saved a ton of our outings, vacations, and road trips. I also like that Ergobaby makes at least some of their baby carriers organic.
The only regret I have is that I didn’t get it right away!