As a Paediatric Physiotherapist and mum to be I was very keen to find a baby carrier that best supported my new baby and also looked after my back. When looking at the features of baby carriers, I wanted to get something that ticked all the boxes and had a forward facing capacity. At the time Ergobaby did not have a forward facing carrier and so I looked past it. I was therefore very excited to hear about the Ergobaby 360 and was able to trial this carrier and provide review.
After trialling the Ergobaby 360, I would highly recommend it from both a Physiotherapy and a ‘New Mum’ perspective. I will continue to use the Ergobaby 360 as my carrier of choice and will also recommend it to other Mums for its multitude of benefits.
Paediatric Physiotherapy Perspective on the Ergobaby 360
The Ergobaby 360 comes with a newborn insert which is very important when trying to position a newborn baby well in a baby carrier. Babies are born with a very flexed posture, due to their position in-utero, as they grow within a confined space. They maintain this flexion through their whole body for the first few months and this is important for muscle development and early developmental milestones, such as getting their hands to the mid-line and bringing their feet up to their hands. It is also what babies ‘know’ and so they are more settled in this position. Babies are also born with a very immature hip joint. They naturally keep their hips in a flexed and abducted position – this position promotes a well located hip joint. The newborn insert of the Ergobaby 360 therefore allows your baby to maintain this natural, flexed overall posture with flexed and abducted hips. Encouraging this position is especially important for babies who may have some mild hip dysplasia or ‘clicky hips’. For babies who are born with low muscle tone this is also an ideal position – the Ergobaby 360 would be an ideal adjunct to a positioning program provided to these families. For babies who have no concerns it is also very important to use the newborn insert, supporting your baby’s natural posture, rather than trying to stretch a baby out into a more extended position, before they are ready for this.
OLDER BABIES – INWARD FACING
Once babies reach around 4 months of age they are generally becoming more confident on their tummy and spending more time awake between sleeps and feeds. This tummy time, allows them to practice pushing up onto their hands and gain more extension through their spine and hips. Their head control is often still improving and so an inwards facing position provides the best support for this. The Ergobaby 360’s design supports this transition in posture gradually. It allows for a naturally flexed spinal position and has an adjustable level head support, which I found particularly useful for when I wanted my baby to sleep or have some quiet time in the carrier. In regards to hip positioning, the Ergobaby 360 supports the flexed and abducted hip position, with the baby being supported with their knees higher than their hips, to protect their hip joints. Their weight is taken through the structured seat of the carrier and wide leg supports, which again protects baby’s hip joints. I found it easy to get my baby into and out of the carrier at this age. I found that when I positioned my baby in the carrier, his weight pulled down on the shoulder straps, making him quite secure in the carrier and I could then adjust his bottom to make sure he was evenly positioned at his hips. The ease of adjustability to make sure he was comfortable was a highlight for me.
Having a forward facing feature to the Ergobaby 360 makes this carrier not only ideal for newborn and young babies, but for older babies also. It is important for babies to only be forward facing once they have developed the head control to support this position, with the normal movement they experience while in the carrier – generally this is from around 6 months onwards. This is also around the same time as when babies are ready for the stimulation and arousal provided when being in a forward facing position. This position makes babies work to control their posture, compared to an inward facing position and so is definitely for older babies. The Ergobaby Blog provides a wealth of information regarding this and I would encourage users to read this.
Again, I found that the position of baby’s hips and spine when forward facing was well supported by the Ergobaby 360. The height of the chest support was ideal, allowing my baby to relax in the carrier in a well supported manner. He then only needed to be able to control his head, which allowed him to stay forward facing in the carrier for reasonable periods of time.
LOOKING AFTER MUM TOO
The Ergobaby 360 was comfortable to wear and well designed for ergonomic support. The Velcro waist strap is easily able to be custom fitted to any waist size and shape, making it secure and comfortable. It can be positioned where it is most comfortable for each individual. The wide, padded shoulder straps are well designed to spread the weight taken across the upper back and shoulders. The shape of the structured seat of the carrier means that once baby’s weight is in the carrier, the shoulder straps become firm. This means you have your hands free to adjust baby easily within the carrier, rather than trying to make adjustments, while still holding baby secure. The carrier is also very cool to wear, leaving the back area open. I therefore found it rewarding and comfortable to wear the Ergobaby 360 for extended periods of time, knowing it was safe for both myself and my baby.
New Mum Perspective on the Ergobaby 360
From a practical new mum point of view, I loved the Ergobaby 360 and will continue to use it. The highlights for me included:
- Ease of getting my baby in and out of the carrier (inward and forward) – I always felt that my little boy was safe in the Ergobaby 360 while I was getting it on and off. I had struggled with other carriers in the past, trying to secure straps while holding him at the same time, however this was not the case with the Ergobaby. This makes quick trips to the shops much easier for me!
- Newborn Insert – the carrier I previously used did not have a newborn insert and I found it very difficult to get my little man in and out of it, without him getting upset. The newborn insert and the Ergobaby 360 made this easy for me as well as comfortable for him.
- Baby Comfort and Settling – my baby boy loves being in the Ergobaby which makes me confident in using it for short and extended periods of time. I find that we use it lots when going out and about and I can raise and lower the head support quickly and easily, for when he is awake or asleep. I also use it a lot when he won’t settle for daytime sleeps – I find that walking around with him in the carrier relaxes him and he then goes down for a sleep more easily.
- My Comfort when wearing Ergobaby 360 – I found it comfortable to wear and a big highlight was that it was cool to wear. As we use the Ergobaby lots when we are outside, I found it much cooler than other carriers I had trialled, especially having the back region open without lots of straps.
- Inward and Forward facing – I enjoy using the carrier in both positions depending on what we are doing during the day. We more often use the carrier in an inwards facing position, because my little man is often ready for a sleep when going into the carrier and I know he will always be happy inwards facing. When we are going to the beach, markets or play group and I know he will enjoy watching what is going on, we will use it in the forwards position. Being able to decide at the time which way to use it, without having to adjust anything makes it easy to use ‘on the go’.
What was your overall impression of the Ergobaby 360
We both loved it. Comfortable, practical and easy to use.
What did you like most about the design of the Ergobaby’s new 360 carrier
It was cool to wear and easy to get bub into – I didn’t have to secure straps until bub was well positioned which made it easy to get him comfortable quickly and easily.
What did you like least about Ergobaby’s new 360 carrier
If the carrier was slightly more lightweight I would be more easily able to take it in a bag with me when not in use. However, the structure to the carrier is also what I love about it, so it isn’t really a bad point.
How do you feel about forward facing in a carrier
I like having the option of being able to use the carrier in a forward facing position. However, I did find that I didn’t use the forward facing feature as much as I thought I would. I think the practical use of taking bub out and about in the carrier, was that we used it more when I wanted to make sure he was happy or if he needed a sleep, so we used the inward facing for those times. I also didn’t ever have him facing forwards for as long as what I had him facing inwards, so inwards is often better from that point of view. However, for the times I do have him forwards and interacting with his environment, it is great!
What would you like to see Ergobaby do to educate consumers about forward facing in the carrier
I think it is very important to new Mum’s to be aware that forward facing requires more postural and head control for bub. So, as well as being aware of their level of arousal and cues, it’s important to be aware of their developmental stage and whether forward facing is appropriate. It also means they often can’t stay forward facing for as long, due to the muscle control required.
Would you use the Ergobaby 360 Carrier
Would you recommend the Ergobaby 360 Carrier to all parents
Yes – it gives lots of options and is easy to change between users and positions with little adjustment needed
Thank-you for the opportunity to trial the new Ergobaby 360 and provide my review.
Reproduced with permission from Babes In Arms