How did I come upon this wonderful contraption? We were given a hand-me-down Baby Bjorn from a friend. The one with lumbar support. (snort) The Monkey had breathing issues when he was younger and the only way I could get him to sleep for more than 10 minutes at a time was to hold him upright, which gets tiring on the arms and confines you to the couch.
I was sick of the couch.
So I put the Monkey in the Baby Bjorn. And he slept. Faboo
! But only for 20-30 minutes. Then he’d wake up and demand to be released. And sometime during that 20-30 minutes, my back would snap, crackle, and pop
and I’d be walking like the Hunchback of Notre
Dame for days. It hurt my lower back. My shoulders ached. My upper back hurt.
I started to loathe it. And the more I looked at it, the more evil it looked. Even from the baby’s perspective: You put the baby in there, and they just … hang. They’re completely vertical. Which means all their weight is … gentlemen, care to guess? YES. All their weight is supported in the crotch area. NO WONDER the Monkey could only stand it for 30 minutes. That’s how long it took for his weight to squish his nads. And it wouldn’t exactly be comfortable for the girls either.
There had to be a better way.
So I started researching other options, and this ERGO thing kept coming up. It was designed to be ergonomic for BOTH mom and baby.
For moms, it balances the baby’s weight between the hips and the shoulders, not the back. For the baby, it holds them in a sitting position, which is better for their spines. It has an infant insert so wee ones (which the Monkey was at this point) could be held sideways and not slip out. (See the first photo. I called him my Taco Baby when he was in the infant insert. They have a NEW insert now — the heart 2 heart — and I’m so freaking jealous that I never got to use it. How weird am I?)
The ERGO itself can be worn three ways: On your front, with the baby facing you; on your back, like a backpack; and on one hip. It can carry children up to 40 pounds, and is weight-tested up to 90 pounds. So when the Monkey’s too big for me to carry him on my front, I can carry him on my back. The versatility was mind-boggling.
I wanted to test it out in person before buying it. But I couldn’t find it anywhere. Babies R Us had never even heard of it. (However, they had Baby Bjorns up the wazoo.) In the end, some boutique baby shop had it. So I dragged the Hubbs and Monkey there so I could see it in person. Maybe even try it on. And while I was standing there, looking at it, a mother came in with her baby in it. Now, this woman was TINY — and her baby was CHUNKY. A Buddha baby.
And the mother saw me holding the ERGO and she walked over and said two words: “Buy it.”
Me: “Really? Is it THAT comfortable?”
Her: “Oh yes. I can carry her (Buddha Baby) in it for hours and my back doesn’t hurt. The other carrier killed my back.”
Her: (nodding) “HOURS.”
I was sold. If a tiny mommy could carry her Buddha Baby around for hours in the ERGO, it could totally work for me. And it did. And I tell anyone who asks me about it. I’ve even walked up to pregnant women in Babies R Us who are looking at the Baby Bjorns and tell them about the ERGO. It’s just that great.
When he was smaller, the ERGO was in the house, in the car, under the stroller, EVERYWHERE. We didn’t go anywhere without it. It mostly lives in the car now.
I use it to go grocery shopping. I use it when we take the Monkey to baseball games (you can nurse while the kids are in them too — I did, while in line waiting to get into the ballpark and nobody was the wiser). We take it to parties. On walks. Shopping. Wherever. And the Monkey will sleep for AT LEAST an hour when he’s snuggled in there.
When he had a cold a couple of months ago, I strapped the Monkey into the ERGO and settled into a chair for the night. He slept for 6 hours.
The Hubbs will use it occasionally, but he’ll probably use it more as the Monkey grows and we start putting him in it backpack-style.
And now you’re saying, yeah, whatever. You got it at a boutique shop, Monkey Momma. You probably paid a ton of money for it. Nope. The base Baby Bjorn will run you about $98.99 (I just Googled it). I got the ERGO for $105.99. The infant insert was $30. So $135.99 — if you get the swanky Baby Bjorns, they range from $129-$169. So really, its a wash.
The Hubbs always tells me I should work for ERGO. Or that they should at least cut me a royalty check every time I spout off about how wonderful it is to other women. I’ve probably sold between 4-8 carriers for them. Mostly to strangers. Who stop ME and ask what I’m wearing.
It just looks comfortable. And you know what? IT IS.