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It's almost International Babywearing Week & here in New Zealand, it kicks off on 30 September - 8 October 2017.
There are many official babywearing events scheduled all around the country so check out your local community babywearing Facebook page for dates & times of events near you.
The theme for this year's International Babywearing Week’s celebration is Threaded Together. The inspiration for the theme comes from the many different threads that when combined through the weaving process form all of the carriers we use. All of these individual threads, once woven, create a material in the same way individuals and groups worldwide come together to create a global babywearing community.
We love, love, love this!
If you are new to the world of babywearing & wondering what this week is all about, well, it is about celebrating babywearing in New Zealand & around the world.
It is about spreading the word about babywearing and its many benefits for children and their caregivers and to share information about babywearing.
If you need convincing about getting started with babywearing, below are just some of the benefits:
Former babywearing blogger and online forum administrator (Baby Carriers Downunder & Babywearing Buy Sell Swap), mother-of-three
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.
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.
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.
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.
Reproduced with permission by Babes in Arms
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.
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.
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:
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
This is the carrier the world has been waiting for!! The Four Position 360 Baby Carrier provides four comfortable and ergonomic ways to wear baby: Front-Inward, Front-Outward, Hip and Back carry positions.