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April 23rd, 2014

Ergobaby 360: A Review – By Steph de Silva

By Steph de Silva
Former babywearing blogger and online forum administrator (Baby Carriers Downunder & Babywearing Buy Sell Swap), mother-of-three

Review for general newcomers to babywearing

Who are you as a parent? Have you got it all figured out yet?

Maybe you don’t have it all figured out. Maybe you’re finding that with each passing week it’s different. Maybe you’re not doing too much in the way of forward planning, you’re just working things out as you go along. If that’s who you are as a parent, then I think the Ergobaby 360 is a carrier to consider.

I’ll describe the Ergobaby 360 in three words: simplicity, flexibility, longevity.

Simplicity. The Ergobaby 360 is a classic buckle carrier. No ties, nothing too fiddly. Getting a basic carry right is simple. If you’re new to babywearing or you just want something that works, then a classic buckle carrier should make it to your shortlist. You can learn how to use the Ergobaby 360 correctly in minutes. Your mum can learn how to use this carrier.

Flexibility. Most classic buckle carriers have front and back options with, possibly, a hip carry option. Most of the time, the hip carry isn’t a stand out feature of the carrier, however. In the case of the Ergobaby 360, though, by changing the strap configuration from what’s commonly used and improving the waist of the carrier, it’s fully functional and comfortable.

The addition of the facing out carry for older babies gives you the option to try that if it’s something you’d like. However, it doesn’t impinge on the functionality of the other facing-in carries if that’s not something you want to do.

Unlike many carriers with a forward facing option, the back carry can be done unassisted in the Ergobaby 360. The reality of our lives as parents is that we spend a lot of our time alone with our children: a carry or carrier you need help to use isn’t one that you reach for often. The Ergobaby 360 is fully functional, just add baby (or toddler).

Longevity. The problem with most buckle carriers (there are a few exceptions) is that it’s one-size-fits-insert-age-here. If you have a toddler and a newborn, then either someone is too big or too small.

The Ergobaby 360 has an adjustable height body, however. With the infant insert, it can fit newborns safely and comfortably. Without the insert and with the back extended, it fits my 3.5 year old preschooler with complete coverage over her head under the sleep hood. On our test run with the Ergobaby 360, my preschooler fell asleep in the car. I pulled her out of her seat, tossed her on my back and she snuggled right down and went back to sleep.

This is a carrier you can use from the time they arrive to the time when you no longer need to worry about inconvenient naps and supermarket tantrums. (Please note: my kids are pretty small. If you have big and tall babies, then using this carrier well into preschool may go over the weight limits- but in general, this is a carrier that can be used for a long time.)

I enjoyed the Ergobaby 360. It was my kind of carrier: simple and useful in lots of different situations. If you’re looking for one baby carrier, then the Ergobaby 360 should be on your short list. If you’re new to baby wearing, the Ergobaby 360 gives you all the options.

Many people want one carrier that can do everything they need to. They don’t want multiple carriers (or pricetags). The Ergobaby 360 can be that carrier.

 

Review for more experienced babywearers

I got to test-ride the new Ergobaby 360 and there were some features that I really liked and wanted to geek out about. I really liked the carrier. So, let the baby wearing geekery begin!

The Velcro waist. The Ergobaby 360 isn’t the first carrier with a Velcro waist, but it is the first one that will be widely available in Australia. The Bondolino by Hopp was the only other one I’m aware of. The functionality behind this feature is that it is thin, light weight, sits individually on every wearer and is easy to adjust. This is the standout feature of the carrier in my opinion. It distributes weight very well and is very comfortable without bulkiness. It also looks better compared to thicker, more structured waists, which can draw attention to the fact that after three kids I don’t have (and never did, alas) the physique of the super model mum. Combined with the structured and adjustable bucket seat, this waist distributes weight very well and is extremely comfortable. The only draw back is that you should remember to store it with the waist closed if you’re wearing something delicate!

The adjustable size. A buckle carrier which can adjust size depending on your child’s age gets used for longer or with kids of different sizes. It’s that simple. I’m glad Ergobaby have bought a carrier into their range that has this feature. It’s a significant improvement in the usability of the carrier.

The hourglass shape. Again, this carrier isn’t the first to use this shape in the body, but there aren’t too many widely available carriers that do this. This is another feature that gives the carrier longevity. Newborns can’t spread their legs as widely as a preschooler: the hour glass shape allows the child to sit comfortably after the insert has been outgrown until he or she is ready for the full width and support. Some clever stitching and reinforcement means that even quite large children will have a good seat. I also really liked the fact that the width of the carrier is also adjustable. This gives significantly more flexibility when moving out of the infant insert age.

What about forward facing? Typically, the baby wearing community objects to four things when it comes to a position which faces baby outwards: (1) inadequate provision for hip support (2) impact on the baby’s spine when not supported in a rounded c position, (3) overstimulation and (4) support for the wearer.

To address these in turn:

(1) Hip position. Again, the Ergobaby 360 isn’t the first of its kind here. The Catbirdbaby Pikkolo created a forward facing out seated position about six years ago. The Ergobaby 360 also provides a position where the baby is seated rather than dangled.

(2) Spine not supported in the c-shape. This is true. But it’s worth mentioning that the forward facing out position is not recommended for babies under six months or until babies have adequate neck, head and body strength. In other words, until babies are at or very close to sitting themselves. Using the position too early or too much could place pressure on the very young spine, but this is an example where, as users, we should be following the advice we’re given.

(3) Overstimulation. Babies get overstimulated in lots of places, not just forward facing out baby carriers. Adequate parents respond and react. Sometimes they miss a cue and get it wrong, it’s true. But this isn’t an issue with a carrier, it’s an issue of being human. As parents we make those mistakes and we learn from them.

(4) Support for the wearer. It is absolutely true that when carrying a baby forward facing out, the center of gravity of the wearer is thrown off and it’s just not as comfortable. The waist of the Ergobaby 360 distributes weight beautifully, but I do find facing–in positions much more comfortable for long term wearing. We should be listening to our babies needs and our own. When it’s not comfortable: it’s time to change.

Many babywearers won’t use the forward facing out position. Personally, I find a back carry more comfortable and functional. However, for new babywearers there is a very real concern about back carrying. The hip carry makes a good alternative, but many will want to try the front facing out option for short periods. The Ergobaby 360 allows them to do that… and to decide what positions are most comfortable and functional for themselves and their baby.

Unlike other popular front facing out carriers, the front facing out position does not reduce the functionality of the carrier in other positions. This is a carrier that is viable from birth well into the toddler days: and comfortably so. It’s a significant improvement on other easily available carriers that offer this position.

 

Tips for Using the Ergobaby 360 (Intended for the new babywearer)

The best tip I can give for baby wearing in any carrier, any time is: it shouldn’t hurt. A well-designed carrier should not be uncomfortable for you or your child. Sure, after an hour or two you might want a break, but you should be comfortable wearing your baby for an extended period, even when your child is well beyond 12 months old.

However, sometimes getting comfortable takes some tweaking. Often, it’s not the carrier that’s the problem, it’s how you’re wearing it. Most of the time, there’s no need to give up on baby wearing or buy a whole new carrier. A few simple tweaks make all the difference.

There are two places new babywearers often complain of pain: back and shoulders.

Shoulders: Are you getting a dull pain in the muscles of your shoulders? There’s usually a simple reason for this. Slide a hand between you and baby. Is there space between you? Baby should be pressed up against you comfortably but firmly, you shouldn’t be able to slide your hand through with any space to spare. If so, try tightening those shoulder straps or your chestbelt. This should solve the problem. Sometimes it can take a little experimentation to work out how you like it: but once you do, you’re set!

If you’re still finding this uncomfortable after awhile, then it might be time to switch to another carry. If you’re forward facing baby, try facing in. If you’re already facing in, try a back carry. As baby becomes heavier and older, back carries distribute weight more evenly and comfortably.

Don’t switch to a back carry before baby is ready, though. Baby should have good strength in his or her torso and great head control. He or she should be big enough to sit comfortably in the carrier. In general, about 6-9 months is a good time to start back carrying in the Ergobaby 360 if baby has good core strength.

Back: Baby wearing is designed to protect your back, not cause injury! If you’re feeling sore in the back, there can be a few reasons. Often, this kind of pain is caused by baby sitting too low on your body. Ideally, baby should be close enough to kiss without you bending your head down too far. If baby is lower than this it can throw your center of gravity out. Remember how you felt at 9 months pregnant? You don’t want to try being 15 months pregnant! Bring baby further up your body.

Alternatively, if you’re in the front facing out position, you may want to interpret this as your body’s signal to turn baby to face inwards where the distribution of weight will be more natural. If you are finding pain in the front facing out position quickly, try moving the waist belt a little higher and tighter to support you. As baby gets older, switching to a back carry sometimes will help even out the weight distribution on both sides of your body.

Still struggling? Sometimes I hear babywearers say their carrier “isn’t working for them”. It’s true, we all have our preferences. But before you give up, try coming along to a slingmeet. There’s one in every capital and most regional centers. There will be lots of other babywearers around to help you troubleshoot or just to chat. Make friends and meet people! You can find your local meet at www.slingmeetsaustralia.com

 

April 17th, 2014

Ergobaby 360 Carrier Review by Dr Amy Giannakis

Ergobaby 360 Carrier Review
Dr Amy Giannakis
Chiropractor, babywearing advocate and mother-of-three – reviewbabycarriers.net

My Rating :

 

Ergobaby has come up with an ingenious design that allows for an ergonomic carry for both baby and wearer in all four positions! The great features of the Ergobaby 360 Carrier are an ergonomic bucket style seat that easily adjusts in width so you can either face baby outwards or inwards, a velcro waistband that gives a snug, comfortable fit and a height-adjustable backrest.

My Chiropractic Opinion on the Ergobaby 360 Carrier: 

Firstly, I should say I was surprised when I heard that Ergobaby had designed a baby carrier that allowed for a forward facing option that was completely ergonomic but when I tried it with my 5 month old facing outwards I was very impressed! This new revolutionary carrier allows you to carry your baby in four different positions, all while remaining ergonomic for you and your baby.

In the Ergobaby 360 Carrier the baby is well seated in the “M” posture with their knees held higher than their pelvis and their spine is supported in the “C” curve that babies naturally have.  For more information on this, please refer to my page on The Importance of Ergonomics. In the forward facing position the “C” curve is not maintained but since this feature is only recommended for babies over 6 months, that’s not as important as their postural curves have already started to develop from tummy time/crawling/sitting etc. In the forward facing option the “M” posture is maintained which is important, as their body weight is distributed well as they are in the seated position with their knees higher than their hips.

While the carrier is an ergonomic option if you choose to forward face, you must also read your baby’s cues and know when they are feeling or acting over-stimulated.  Forward facing allows the baby to face outwards and see what is around them but at the same time, if they get overstimulated or tired then they may want to turn and nuzzle into the wearer. Ergobaby suggests that you only forward face for a maximum of 15-20 mins and I would tend to agree. I only wear my baby forward facing when he has just woken from a sleep or is happy and not grizzly or tired.

The forward facing position

Please watch the video for correct positioning when forward facing your baby in the Ergobaby 360 Carrier to ensure it is worn correctly and ergonomically.

My Highlights

  • Easy to put on. With the wide velcro waist band, you get a snug fit and it makes it easier to swap between wearers as there’s less adjusting
  • Easy to adjust the seat for the baby with two big buttons
  • Ergonomic and comfortable seat for baby when forward facing
  • Feels very compact when worn
  • Height adjustable backrest for when baby falls asleep or for taller and older babies

The Negatives

  • None to mention

A Day In The Life Of…

A review of the Ergobaby 360 Carrier in my daily activities

Getting baby into carrier in the car park. It is quite easy, first put on the velcro waistband and fasten the safety buckle then take your child out of the car and put them in.

Is it easier to put it on before leaving the house?  No, it’s easier to put on after getting out of the car.

How supported is the baby in the Ergobaby 360 Carrier?   Very. The extendable back rest means baby’s head is supported when sleeping.

Is it easy to carry my baby bag with the carrier on?  Yes.

Can I hold my older child’s hand with the carrier on?  Yes.

Does it feel hands-free?  Yes, especially with the headrest up.

How supported is baby when they fall asleep?  Very, the headrest supports baby’s head very well.

Can I breastfeed while wearing the baby in the Ergobaby 360 Carrier?  I have found this a tad tricky as I would normally lower the waistbelt on the carrier but you can’t do this easily with the velcro waistbelt.

Can I bend down to pick up toys, laundry etc?  With the headrest up yes you can.

Can I sit down while wearing it? Yes.

How does it feel after 30 minutes?  Feels very comfortable. I have worn it for long periods.

Does it pass the late afternoon/dinner time test? ie; the witching hour! Yes, the Ergobaby 360 Carrier gives you your hands back!

Can it hold a toddler?  Yes I can carry my almost 2.5yr old in it.

Features and Benefits of the Ergobaby 360 Four Position Carrier as taken from www.ergobaby.com

  • 4 carry positions front, back, hip and outward-facing front carry
  • Outward-facing front carry position recommended from 6 to 12 months
  • Aligns with the recommended carry position from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute
  • Ergonomically structured seat supports baby in an ergonomic seated position
  • Adjustable seat width and carrier height grow with your baby
  • Velcro adjustable waistband can be worn high or low for maximum comfort
  • Highly adjustable carrier suits wearers from 153cm – 195cm (5’ to 6’5”)
  • Safety tested and certified design (JPMA Certified, ASTM F2236)
  • SPF 50+ hood allows for sleeping baby, discreet breastfeeding, and sun/wind protection
  • Naturally breathable 100% cotton fabric and filling

 

March 19th, 2014

Wrap Ambassador: Fields Of Sage

Our second Ergobaby Wrap Ambassador is the gorgeously divine Anna, an early childhood teacher currently on maternity leave.

Fields of Sage – @fieldsofsage

Anna is the proud mama to a darling little girl, Sage Mila Wren, who has just celebrated her second birthday, and a precious little boy, Alby Fox – who was born on the 5th day of this month. And of course, she’s married to her beloved Simon (you can catch all their adventures on Anna’s blog here).

Since the first week of Sage’s life, Anna and Simon have worn her close. In her first 24 months she has spent her days in an Ergobaby Organic Carrier {using the infant insert during those early weeks} and a variety of silk and linen ring slings.

When we asked Anna why babywearing appeals to her, she told us: “Our babies grow so very quickly, seemingly before our eyes. The haze of newborn days is fast replaced by tiny, independence-seeking toddlers, before the whirl of school life begins. Never has the common motherhood saying “The days are long, but the years are short” been more true — blink and they are grown. Baby wearing allows the opportunity to keep your baby, a baby for just that wee bit longer as, like in the womb, your most cherished becomes an extension of your very being. Wrapped in the softest of fabrics and cocooned close to your heart, you can wander and explore the tiny corners of this vast earth, each wholly immersed in the presence of the other.  And together, you learn the true essence of what this life is all about.

When not following Anna on Instagram, you can read her regular blog, catch her pins on Pinterest and find her on Facebook page.

 

March 15th, 2014

Wrap Ambassador: Mumma Tells

Over the next few weeks we will be introducing you to our Ergobaby Wrap Ambassadors. Enjoy their journey with their bub and wrap on their instagram.

Mumma Tells – @mummatells

Oh hi there. I’m Bec. A twenty-something wife, and  Mumma to one terrifically illogical toddler {2.25 years} and one deliciously squishy newbie {3 months}. What once was a life filled with marking English essays, and debating current events is now one of scrubbing coloured markings off walls, and debating the existence of fairies in rose gardens. And I’m journaling my tales from the Mumma Front Line along the way, at Mumma Tells.
I discovered the art {and benefits} of babywearing while still wearing my first baby in utero. I have since acquired a stretchy wrap, soft structured carrier, ring sling, as well as a woven wrap. There is nothing quite like the comfort and calm that babywearing affords both Mumma and babe. Nine months in the womb. Nestled safely. Securely. It makes sense that holding them close is a welcomed relief. Quiet time. Away from the hustle and bustle. Breathing in new experiences while surrounded by familiarity. Body to body. Face to face. Heart to heart. Close enough to kiss. We sing this song because these years are short, and babies be babies. And babies need their Mummas.
March 15th, 2014

In Profile: Gold Dust Baby

A huge welcome to Gold Dust Baby – www.golddustbaby.com.au who have just launched their retail store in Kalgorlie-Boulder, Western Australia. Run by the fabulous Lynette van den Elzen, a mum of three gorgeous children: Elissa (5), Harrison (2) and Jackson (8mnths), Gold Dust Baby will be offering Ergobaby carriers and Wraps, Full Buckled Baby carriers, , Wraps, Ring Slings and accessories including Kangaroo-care breastfeeding/teething/baby wearing jewellery to the local area in store and Australia wide via their online store.

Lynette began her babywearing journey when her youngest child, Jackson, was diagnosed with Developmental Hip Dysplasia at birth. She  began researching effective ways to carry him and through her research discovered the benefits of ergonomic style carriers. She searched for an ergonomic carrier in Kalgoorlie only to find that NONE were available.  She discussed this with other Kalgoorlie Mums and discovered that everyone bought online but were going in blind with no access to other knowledgeable babywearers or sample carriers to help them make an informed decision when it came to carriers.

Lynette took a proactive approach to this dilemma and set up the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Babywearers group.  The group provided staff with a forum to seek advice and be able to try products before going online to buy it – ensuring that they had found a comfy carrier.  Lynette’s group now has 81 members after starting in October, 2013!   However, this still didn’t address the lack of products available directly to locals in the area. Lynette developed the idea of Gold Dust Baby which she has just launched.

Gold Dust Baby profides Goldfields parents with the opportunity to try on products before they buy and save money on shipping (so they have a well deserved coffee with the money instead!). She offers a price match guarantee of 5% for locals too. Lynette is firm that her goal is to make carrying your baby using quality and ergonomic products affordable and achievable to the people who live in her community and empower them to make choices that will keep them and their children comfy and safe when baby wearing.

Lynette will also be offerining one on one babywearing consultations  to Kalgoorlie and local surrounds customers via appointment.

Check out the Gold Dust Baby Facebook page for the latest news, offers and events.

March 9th, 2014

Birthing Wisdom: Share your knowledge and you could WIN!

Preparing for birth these days requires an understanding of the birth process, deepening your trust in your body and reframing your attitude to functional pain. It also needs an understanding of the birth culture and the necessity for wise choices in regard to birth place, care-givers and birth support.

Rhea Dempsey’s Birthing Wisdom, with its emphasis on supporting normal physiological birth, explores all this and more.

An educator, speaker and birth attendant with experience at over 1,000 births, Rhea Dempsey is a respected birth practitioner with a reputation as one of the foremost thinkers on the topic of working with pain in childbirth and its connection to normal physiological birthing.”

We are very excited to offer you the chance to WIN a copy of Rhea’s latest book “Birth With Confidence: Savvy choices for normal birth” and our NEW Ergobaby 4D-Stretch Wrap.

Simply follow the prompts below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 16th, 2014

Ergobaby Wrap – Video Instructions

Babies want to be close to their mamas or daddies—the scent, voice and familiarity of parents keeps them happy and at ease in their new world. The Ergobaby Wrap is the perfect companion in those first months and beyond. Soft, stretchy cotton makes different carrying positions easy both for you and your baby—refreshingly simple.

Instructions Ergobaby Wrap – Basic tie for a newborn (3 – 5 kg)

Instructions Ergobaby Wrap – Front Wrap Cross Carry Tie (3 – 8 kg)

Instructions Ergobaby Wrap – Basic Tie Infant (5 – 14 kg)

Instructions Ergobaby Wrap – Hip Carry Tie (6 – 14 kg)

Instructions Ergobaby Wrap – Back Carry Tie (6 – 14 kg)

Instructions Ergobaby Wrap – Pregnancy Tie (about week 30 of pregnancy)

 

 

February 16th, 2014

Instructions Ergobaby Wrap – Basic Tie Infant (5 – 14 kg)

Babies want to be close to their mamas or daddies—the scent, voice and familiarity of parents keeps them happy and at ease in their new world. The Ergobaby Wrap is the perfect companion in those first months and beyond. Soft, stretchy cotton makes different carrying positions easy both for you and your baby—refreshingly simple.

February 16th, 2014

Instructions Ergobaby Wrap – Hip Carry Tie (6 – 14 kg)

Babies want to be close to their mamas or daddies—the scent, voice and familiarity of parents keeps them happy and at ease in their new world. The Ergobaby Wrap is the perfect companion in those first months and beyond. Soft, stretchy cotton makes different carrying positions easy both for you and your baby—refreshingly simple.

February 16th, 2014

Instructions Ergobaby Wrap – Back Carry Tie (6 – 14 kg)

Babies want to be close to their mamas or daddies—the scent, voice and familiarity of parents keeps them happy and at ease in their new world. The Ergobaby Wrap is the perfect companion in those first months and beyond. Soft, stretchy cotton makes different carrying positions easy both for you and your baby—refreshingly simple.