Babywearing, Motherhood

Wearing Ella | Tips & Thoughts on Baby Carriers

20 Comments 17 March 2010

No babies were hurt in the making of this blog post. Always follow this rule of thumb when wearing your baby: close enough to kiss/can see their face.

I love wearing my daughter Ella.

She likes it too, much more than bouncing along in the stroller. She sings and kicks her feet, rests her head on my chest and even nurses while we’re walking. This means less tears. And happy baby = happy mama.

Baby wearing is a lifestyle.

Mothers wear their babies not only for the emotional comfort, although that is a great reason, but for skin-to-skin contact, to regulate breathing and pass back and forth loving hormones.

The safety of wraps, carriers and slings has been in the news recently. It may be in your best interest to stay away from carriers like the Infantino, which carries a higher risk of suffocation due to bad positioning.

Some reports have advised mothers not to wear their babies under 4 months of age. This is not accurate. You’ll definitely want to carry your newborn. Just make sure your baby is upright and it’s face is visible!

I owned the Infantino carrier for a moment – literally, a moment. We tried putting Ella in it and she seemed so uncomfortable that we just took her out and stuck it right back in the box.

Having used 5 different baby wearing devises, I thought I’d discuss my thoughts on the matter and share some user-friendly information.

(All wrap & carrier info is in chronological order from newborn to toddler)

Wrap #1: The Peanut Shell

The first wrap I wore Ella in was a Peanut Shell – sent from a friend. I pulled out from the box of goodies she sent a big donut shaped piece of fabric and thought, “what the heck is this??” I read the friend’s card, checked the label on the sling and searched for more information online.

The Peanut Shell website was very helpful, providing explanations and “how-to” pictures.  I even looked up some videos on You Tube (thank you to all the moms out there who make instructional videos).

Do not wear the Peanut Shell as depicted in the photo to the right – make sure you can always see baby’s face and be close enough to kiss.

I only wore Ella in the Peanut Shell a handful of times. It didn’t look like she was comfortable, not being able to hold up her head or re-position herself. So I simply sat on the couch with her, (see top picture) which allowed some freedom and rest for my arms.

I think I like the Shell for toddlers – you can throw them on your hip that way. I’ve seen friends pop their 2 year olds on in and would recommend this wrap for that age group above newborns.

Wrap #2: The Moby Wrap

I have a love/hate relationship with the Moby and all other wraps that are essentially extremely long pieces of fabric.

On one hand, they’re very versatile. Wear your baby facing out, facing in, on your front, back or side – it’s up to you and baby.

Just learn how to wrap the thing around you before you have a wailing baby that wants to be picked up. Frustrating!

I will say however, that the Moby is a great wrap for infants. You can snuggle their little bodies up so close – right under your chin. Very cozy.

I finally got the hang of the Moby Wrap when Ella started feeling too heavy and kicking her legs seemed to mess up the way she was wrapped. Before I knew it, she was lop-sided, so I decided it was time to invest in a different kind of carrier – one that has snaps and buckles.

I went to a local baby boutique and tested out different styles of baby carriers interchanging Ella into several positions and walking around the store before making a choice.

Here are a few notes from my experience:

The Baby Bjorn wasn’t very comfortable. At all. It kind of laid funny over my breasts. I think it might be better for dads and have heard the same from a few friends. Yet I do see mothers wearing them out and about…so it could very well be personal preference!

The ERGO Baby Carrier was fantastic but Ella really liked to face out at the time. That position is not an option with Ergo. I was pretty bummed about that limitation because the Ergo Carrier was what I initially had my heart set on purchasing it.

The Cybex 2.g0 was new on the market. 5 positions and comfortable, including forward facing with 70% of weight distributed on the hips for babies ranging 8-40 lbs…

I ended up buying the Cybex due to the outward facing compatibility. It didn’t hurt my back, shoulder and waist straps were adjustable to fit Eric and I both.

I continued to wear Ella everywhere. To the grocery store, the library, the park and around the house while I clean.

But then…(oh yes, there is a but…)

One of the plastic rings that holds the straps together broke as I was tightening it!!

Big time bummer! Mad, mad mommy!

The good news: Ella didn’t fall out.

Bad news: She was no where near the weight limit and the 5 month old carrier should not have broken.

I wrote and email and made a phone call and within 3 days, (yes THREE days!) of my complaint, I received a phone call from Cybex and a full in-store refund. Yay!

Our Happy Ergo Ending

I used the Moby Wrap once again to walk down to the store and exchange the Cybex for the Ergo – the one I wanted all along, and we both love it.

Ella is just fine being carried facing me, riding on my hip or on my back, now that she’s getting bigger (it’s so bittersweet).

I think she’s just content to be close.

So am I.

Here’s an updated photo of my baby boy Lucan in the Ergo. We both love it!

Purchase ERGO baby carriers here


Cybex was prompt and very professional with my complaint. I deeply appreciate quality customer service and think highly of the company for their speedy response and care. This was the first carrier snap that had broken that was brought to their attention.

Your Comments

20 Comments so far

  1. Kateisfun says:

    Love babywearing, and great reviews! I used a Moby-like wrap a ton in the beginning, and now use my Ergo almost exclusively for my three-month old. I am wanting to get a ring sling as well in the nearish future, since they are so easy to put on and take off one-handed. Also, a great resource I found is http://www.thebabywearer.com for loads of info and resources from other babywearing mamas (there’s even an annual babywearing conference!). I thought I was pretty up on wearing Elijah, but then I went on thebabywearer and saw how moms were INVENTING wraps and holds and all sorts of cool stuff.

    The only think I don’t like about wearing Elijah: the stares I get from people here in Sweden when they see that I’ve got a human strapped to my chest. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I just get annoyed.

  2. Jessica says:

    This is a great article! I also found the Baby Bjorn uncomfortable, mostly because it does not offer any lower back support. I loved my Moby wrap when N was a tiny infant–it was like a swaddle with mommy inside, and he loved being so cozy and warm up against me. I also liked that the length of the fabric allowed enough material for Todd to wear N too.

    Almost as soon as N could support his head we switched to the Ergo, and it still works for us now (N is 15 months). It is comfortable for both of us and easy to get on.

  3. I also used a variety of carriers- a ring sling, a Moby, Gypsy Mama wrap, and a Mei Tai after my initial experiment with a Baby Bjorn that was way too uncomfortable and not good for my baby’s hips/back and posture.

    One thing I learned in the process of trying so many different options, and as my girls grew is that having more than one carrier just made sense. While Ergo (which I love) can be used from birth to toddler, it’s nice sometimes to use a wrap or sling in different situations.

    Also important to note: many experts now agree that babies should not be worn facing out because they can be over-stimulated. Wearing facing in (front or back) gives babies and toddlers the option of snuggling into mom when s/he’s had enough of looking around.

    Thanks for a great post!

  4. Tanashia says:

    Thanks! A friend mentioned the Ergo to me. I may have to try it out when my Baby Girl is a little bigger. Right now we are enjoying the Maya Wrap ring sling & Baby K’tan. She’s asleep in her K’tan right now! I’ve never tried the Moby. It has always scared me. All that fabric seems like alot of work. The Infantino made me nervous too. I received it as a gift with my last baby. We used it literally two times & gave it away!

  5. Sarah says:

    I love the fact that we all were uncomfortable with the Infantino. I wonder what the difference is between one of us, who decided it wasn’t safe/comfortable and a mom who decides to use it.

    I absolutely love our ring sling. My husband wears it too. I’ve used it since Em was probably a month old. At first she faced in, snuggling against my chest. (She had really good head control from the beginning.) Now she sits on my hip and can snuggle in if she’s overstimulated (which for her is rarely).

    I love getting the looks and compliments at the store. I’ve purchased three or four slings for gifts and given the name out to whoever will listen. The sling I have is by a Michigan mom. You can order through her site http://www.myspace.com/rossling. She often doesn’t have all her colors up on the site, so just email her if you don’t see what you like. She also will let you pick out your own fabric and mail it to her if you’re set on something specific.

    Anyway – YAY for babywearing. It hurts me to see it in a negative light in the news lately.

  6. Cindy says:

    Just wanted to share my babywearing experience too. We originally got the baby bjorn because it was the only thing I had tried while babysitting Erik’s nephew one weekend and he spent the whole time in there so it was the only one I knew of. My husband enjoys wearing it and I can for short periods of time, but it hurts my back and shoulders. I got a Maya ring-sling as a baby gift and have a hard time getting a comfy spot for baby on my boney hips. I bought myself a Hotsling when baby was a couple months old and loved using it while she slept and it comes in very handy even now for a quick store visit. My favorite now is our Babyhawk. Just today I wore baby (now 12 months) on my back for about a mile walk. We use it for a walk almost everyday with her facing me and she can still see just enough to keep her content and can nurse when she wants (without the whole world seeing either). Don’t even try to put my girl in a stroller, she just learned how to trow a fit and she will!! :) Needless to say, I love wearing my baby and she loves it too!

  7. Stephanie says:

    Great Post! I was JUST talking to hubby today about what to try next. I LOVE Moby so far, but my almost four month old is 17+ lbs (wahoo breastmilk. lol) and it is starting to feel too much for my shoulders. Will look into the Ergo. BBH, you nurse in the Ergo? Is it easy? With Moby, it takes lots of finagling and makes for a cranky baby. Thanks for the reviews!

  8. carmabella says:

    I loved my Ergo! It made wearing my son as easy and natural as breathing. For a migraine sufferer like myself, the way the Ergo reduced neck and shoulder strain really saved me! I also liked how easy it was to nurse him in the Ergo while wearing him on front. I wore my son to the top of Mt. Vesuvius, hiking in the Smokey Mtns. and on my weekly grocery trips just to name a few. He is four now and doesn’t require much carrying anymore (sniff). But, until I recently loaned it to a friend with an infant, he still liked to get in the Ergo and can still fit if I needed to carry him and still have free hands. I really recommend it for moms who need to reduce neck and shoulder strain. Works for Dads too of course!

  9. Adam says:

    Great Post! I was JUST talking to hubby today about what to try next. I LOVE Moby so far, but my almost four month old is 17+ lbs (wahoo breastmilk. lol) and it is starting to feel too much for my shoulders. Will look into the Ergo. BBH, you nurse in the Ergo? Is it easy? With Moby, it takes lots of finagling and makes for a cranky baby. Thanks for the reviews!

    • Nichole says:

      I used the Boba wrap with my son when he was smaller, and now at 22 months my husband and I use our Boba carriers with him.

      @Adam, here is a video that Boba Family did on tips for nursing while wearing your little one in a soft sided carrier (SSC). The tips should work with any SSC with similar adjustments available within the design.

      I hope this video offers you some insights on how you can nurse your little one while wearing. It was helpful for me. :)

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VN7P3kiu5U8&feature=relmfu

      Full Disclosure: After using their products with my son for 1.5 years, I began writing for Boba Family’s blog. I was a customer first, now a part of their team.

  10. Steven says:

    Thanks! A friend mentioned the Ergo to me. I may have to try it out when my Baby Girl is a little bigger. Right now we are enjoying the Maya Wrap ring sling & Baby K’tan. She’s asleep in her K’tan right now! I’ve never tried the Moby. It has always scared me. All that fabric seems like alot of work. The Infantino made me nervous too. I received it as a gift with my last baby. We used it literally two times & gave it away!

  11. Steve says:

    Love babywearing, and great reviews! I used a Moby-like wrap a ton in the beginning, and now use my Ergo almost exclusively for my three-month old. I am wanting to get a ring sling as well in the nearish future, since they are so easy to put on and take off one-handed. Also, a great resource I found is http://www.thebabywearer.com for loads of info and resources from other babywearing mamas (there’s even an annual babywearing conference!). I thought I was pretty up on wearing Elijah, but then I went on thebabywearer and saw how moms were INVENTING wraps and holds and all sorts of cool stuff.

    The only think I don’t like about wearing Elijah: the stares I get from people here in Sweden when they see that I’ve got a human strapped to my chest. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I just get annoyed.

  12. Dave says:

    This is a great article! I also found the Baby Bjorn uncomfortable, mostly because it does not offer any lower back support. I loved my Moby wrap when N was a tiny infant–it was like a swaddle with mommy inside, and he loved being so cozy and warm up against me. I also liked that the length of the fabric allowed enough material for Todd to wear N too.

    Almost as soon as N could support his head we switched to the Ergo, and it still works for us now (N is 15 months). It is comfortable for both of us and easy to get on.

  13. bringbirthhome says:

    Wonderful comments. Yay babywearing!

    @Adam – I do nurse in the Ergo. I just loosen the straps so they’re pretty long, pull the head cover, snap it in place, and we’re good to go!

  14. Pris says:

    I LOVE my moby (my son is still a newborn) and I love that he’s so comfortable in it while my hands are free. I also want to try some others when he’s a bit older. We were given an infantino and a MaiTai as gifts which I’m sure we’ll attempt to use when my moby no longer seems to do the job. Thank you for this post! I love hearing from other natural mommies!

  15. Cindal says:

    Great article! I also tried many different carriers. I tried the bjorn once, and hated it. So I used a sling from Amy Coe from newborn to about 15 months. I loved it. After that we got an ergo, and have used it up until about 3. We just took a trip to europe, and I brought it just in case, and at the airports, train stations, and ports she really wanted to be kept close (so much going on around her), and I put her in. She is small for 3 years old, but I couldnt have made that trip without my ergo. I cant wait to have another baby and babywear all over again :)


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