Excellent Construction, Though Hard to Use
November 11, 2014
I am a new baby-wearing dad (he's 6 months old now), and I have experience with wraps (moby and home-made), the Infantino 3-way carrier, and the older regular Ergo. Here's what I think of this after having the Ergo for a couple months now. We wear baby A LOT. We have lots of work to do around the house, and my wife works from home. While baby is happy to play by himself for a time, he does get fussy. In the carrier, though, we can get 2-3 hours (between feedings) of uninterrupted work done. It is a game changer. PROS High Quality Components The construction is very high quality, it has had no trouble standing up to the rigor of parenting. If I were to make a bet on the first thing to fail, I would say that it would be a button, since they take the most stress during use (more on that in the cons). It is nice that the buttons aren't particularly structural, and if they did fail it wouldn't be catastrophic. The straps even come with attached elastic bands to manage excess length. The integrated shade cover is awesome, and also works if baby is overwhelmed by the environment (shade from chaos as well as UV). The Infantino, by comparison, is much more likely to fall apart under heavy use. Comfort This is by far the comfiest way to wear a baby that I have found (front or back). It feels very secure and sits well on my body as well as my wife's (even though our body types are very different). She has been able to breastfeed from the front-wearing back-facing position. It's great. Good Baby Posture The Infantino carrier didn't keep baby in good posture while front-facing (and was only passable rear-facing). The Ergo 360, however, keeps baby's legs at the right angle to the body for healthy posture. It's hard to describe, but while the baby was "hanging" from the Infantino, he is "riding" in the Ergo. Much better. SO/SO Buttoning/re-buttoning the leg pads to change between rear and front-facing is annoying. I understand why it is necessary, but clips would have been easier. Basically, you should be able to do any adjustments to your carrier one-handed, and while that is theoretically possible here, it's not easy. It also seems to be a perfect case for clips since you don't even need to change the length... Front-facing front-carry, baby can't hold her hands together or reach her face if her arms are under the arm-straps. If they are over the arm-straps, then it seems less safe for baby. The downside is that if you want to give baby something to play with or to interact with him while you are doing something (teaching is great!), he won't be able to get very hands-on with it. This isn't a deal breaker, but I do wish that the front were narrower somehow to allow baby more ability to grab things and/or put them in her mouth. CONS The Ergo360 is rough on people who aren't flexible - The safety strap clip is directly behind the carrier, so you have to reach all the way around yourself to clip it if you are front-wearing. It's VERY HARD when it's behind you. If you bought this carrier, you intend to use it front-wearing (or you wouldn't have bought the 360!), so this happens a lot. As a result, I forget to clip it and it becomes a trip-hazard. While you can also do it before baby goes into the carrier, it's easy to forget. - Same problem with the arm-strap connection clip, only this one *CAN'T* happen before baby is in the carrier. You need to somehow get to the clip in between your shoulder-blades while the baby is pulling down the carrier on your front. You can lay baby down on a bed to get some extra reach, but for those who are very inflexible, you will need to use a bed to rest baby on, let the strap out really far and clip it in front of you, then put your head through and tighten it. It's not awesome. - Same problem with the shoulder straps. You have to reach behind your armpit and grab the strap to tighten it. You can't do it cross-body because the angle is wrong and it won't tighten. - This is less a problem with baby on your back, but that is a trick all its own. The instructions use a balance, lean, and twist maneuver for getting baby on your back, but if you are a new mom who is still sore from birthing, this will be terrifying and perhaps impossible. Back carry is the best carry for getting work done, and if you can get baby used to it, you will be much more productive. We have found that using a bed is the only way to do a back carry without fear or falling. However, this isn't mentioned in the guide (IIRC), but it should be. It seems kind of tone-deaf to have a product that requires so much flexibility in a user that just had major physical hardship. The safety clip should have been on the side, and rethink the arm-strap clip location. Ultimately: it's easiest if you do it together, so if you can find a carrier-buddy to help get baby in and out, that works best. Other than that, the only negative is that it's expensive and Ergo doesn't do any kinds of coupons or rewards to help lower income people get access to (potentially) a life-saving tool.
* This product review was collected by the manufacturer.