Seven years ago I traveled to rural Alaska to visit my friend Amy and be in her wedding . One day, Amy’s sister-in-law came over to visit with her children. She was carrying her youngest child in a homemade sling – essentially a big piece of fabric tied around her body to hold the baby against her. I remember thinking how strange it seemed. I was shocked when she used the sling to tie the baby to her back for her drive home. Amy shared with me how normal it was for native Alaskans to wear their babies, even while driving. Now that I’m a parent myself I totally understand the desire to “wear” my baby – although I will always opt for a carseat for my little ones!

You may have heard the term “babywearing” floating around the past few years. Basically the idea is that parents wear their babies in a sling or other infant carrier as much as possible to promote bonding, increase infant health, support breastfeeding efforts, as well as a number of other benefits. Rather than dig too deep into it, I’m going to point you over to this article on babywearing for more information. (If anyone else has a babywearing site they think I should link to, please let me know.)

I was excited to try a sling with Alex. They were popular on the mommy message boards I frequented during my pregnancy and I wanted something different and more natural than the Baby Bjorn carriers that graced every Target baby registery I ever saw. I used a Hotsling because I wanted something simple and easy to use. It was a very hot summer when Alex was born, however, and he overheated easily if I kept him in the sling too long. When Alex was a few months old I was able to turn him so he could face outwards. He really enjoyed that position. I mostly used the sling for family outings and the occasional walk – I didn’t use it much around the house. Eventually he was too heavy to carry in the sling and my shoulders and back hurt. I didn’t have another type of carrier, so my babywearing days were over.

Until I had Avery. By this time I had heard of a new carrier on the market called the Ergo Baby Carrier. It was designed to be ergonomically correct for babies, allowing them to sit in a natural position for their hips and spine (unlike many commercial carriers that awkwardly compress babies’ spines). And it’s better for parents by redistributing the baby’s weight to the hips. A number of my friends raved about the Ergo, and I decided it was worth a try.

It was a great decision! The Ergo is awesome and I can’t recommend it enough. I started using it when Avery was about a month old and I had a difficult time carrying her for long periods of time due to back pain.
When I went back to work after three months, I read the book Nursing Mother, Working Mother to look for some new tips on breastfeeding and pumping successfully as a working mother. This AWESOME book suggested carrying/wearing your baby as much as possible when not at work. All of a sudden I made the connection (a ha!) that baby carriers aren’t just an alternative to a stroller on a trip to the mall – but in fact I could use it to carry Avery around the house whenever we spent time together – to make our time together more meaningful than if I were to just set her down so I could accomplish whatever tasks lay in front of me. I began using the Ergo daily, at home and out and about.

The Ergo allows me to carry Avery for longer periods of time, as well as LONG periods of time, without back pain. I managed to put Avery on my back with the Ergo (all by myself, yeah!) a couple weeks ago and she seemed to enjoy it. I’m going to practice it some more and see how well that will work for us.

One great feature I appreciate on the Ergo is the sleeping hood. It’s the fabric flap hanging down behind Avery’s head in the pictures. It can be pulled up and attached up on the shoulder straps to shield baby’s head from the sun – or for a little privacy if they are sleeping. Some moms breastfeed their babies using the ERGO and use the sleeping hood for privacy. I also like how well made the carrier is and its many other special features that make it a high quality piece of baby gear.
I don’t want to give anyone the impression that I carry Avery around for many hours every day. The most I carry her at a time is probably 2 hours, and the Ergo allows me to do that easily and comfortably. I really enjoy it and Avery does, too. I highly recommend all moms try to wear their babies as much as possible and limit putting their babies in bouncy seats, high chairs, exersaucers and swings for the times when you need to take a shower, or just take a break. Cuz we all deserve one of those, too.
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16 Responses to “A few thoughts on babywearing”

  1. DeuceMom says:

    Thanks so much for this review! I tried a (borrowed) bjorn and it was nice, but deuce quickly outgrew it. I will definitely put this on my list for (theoretical) baby #2!

  2. Rebecca says:

    LOVE babywearing, too. I tried the Bjorn the first time, and it was a bomb. We used it a few times but never really liked it. With the second baby we used a Kangaroo Korner sling, which was GREAT, and we are now learning to use the wrap-slings, like a Moby Wrap. They are versatile and distribute weight nicely. I think I saw the Ergo carrier in a store recently and was impressed. Maybe I’ll add it to our repertoire for (theoretical) baby #3 (thanks, deucemom). I’ll also let my doula clients know about the Ergo. Families are always looking for carrier ideas. Great product review. Great product review.

    Here is a link to great babywearing info from Mothering Magazine (a personal favorite): http://www.mothering.com/articles/new_baby/babywearing/babywearing.html

  3. The Cheap Chick says:

    My Big Brother and SIL liked the idea of carrying my nephew so much, they each got a baby sling. I have the cutest picture of my Bro and his son in the sling. So sweet.

    Also? How pretty are you in those pictures? So pretty!

  4. hippo brigade says:

    I loved wearing my baby, and somehow I acquired 3 slings. But I have never heard of the Ergo. I want one. Perhaps I’ll have to add it to my baby registry if I get pregnant again. The only problem I had with the slings is while I was out I had no where to put my stuff. I would always shove my key and my credit card in my bra, and that was no fun for my boobies. They need to come with a little parent pocket. Then perfection would be achieved!

  5. kristine says:

    I am totally on the same page as you with the babywearing.
    We definitely follow the attachment paretning way of raising our babies. We co-slept with graycen. I think i need to invest in one of the Ergo carriers, though!

  6. kristine says:

    quick thought….what happened to your “weigh in wednesday”

  7. Emilie says:

    I’m with you on the babywearing philosophy, though it’s harder for me to wear Ben around when my hip is sore and I walk with a cane. I LOVE our Ergo, though. I wore Daniel all the time in it – cooking, mall, etc. I will love it more with Ben when he gets big enough not to have the infant insert, which is kind of a pain. (I hope it won’t aggravate my hip too much.)

    I also have a Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch, which is cozy and easy, but a little warm in the summertime. It doesn’t top the Ergo, though.

  8. Rebecca says:

    Sold on the Ergo. Thanks, ladies!

  9. Stephanie says:

    “Everyone” says the Ergo is the best. I think I may have to look into getting one of those when we eventually get pregnant with #2.

  10. Beth says:

    This is a really great review for those interested in baby wearing. Very informative~

  11. Amy :) says:

    Can you believe it’s been *7* years since we got married?! I learned to carry my babies on my back in the traditional style as well – my kids love it! As the girls get older, it looks more like a standard “piggy-back ride”, and I’ll never be as good at it as my mother-in-law! Paige asked me just this morning to “umuk” her, so fun! I will never subscribe to babywearing while driving, however!

  12. Marketing Mama says:

    Rebecca – glad to hear we all sold you on the Ergo! Don’t think you have to wait until you have a newborn, though – you could totally still use it with Frank – I bet he’d like to be carried on your back!

    Kristine – my weight sucks, thanks for asking. 😉 Actually, I announced a few months ago that I was going to take a break from the weekly weigh-ins since I was on stress overload with the new job. Although just this morning I declared myself back on the diet wagon after I got on the scale and saw numbers higher than I thought possible. Grrr.

  13. April-C-A says:

    Missy, I have an Ergo too! It makes getting around with two kids so much easier!

  14. Monkeymama says:

    You know I really like the Ergo too! I’m glad it is working so well for you. Joe doesn’t get as much focused attention as Rebecca did at this age, so I really enjoy the time I’m wearing him. I feel like it gives us a chance to snuggle at times he’d normally be fussing or strapped into something else.

  15. Katie says:

    We love our sling too!
    I have a Moby Wrap and LOVE it. Great post and enjoy wearing your little sugar! 🙂

  16. […] and that’s her newest babe she carried in her Ergo carrier the entire time. (you all know I love the Ergo, […]



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