Comparison of The Ergo Baby Carrier to The Maya Wrap and Other Slings
1. You love your sling, but your child is now getting too heavy.
I have had many customers who have loved their slings when their babies were small, but find it just too much weight on their shoulders to carry their toddlers in them. In my experience, most sling wearers enjoy their slings because they are light and fold up small, support the baby in a natural position, keep the child close to their body, accommodate several wearing positions, allow for discreet nursing, are washable, and serve other purposes e.g. a blanket and changing cloth.
With that in mind, I will now tell you how the Ergo compares. It might be important for you to know that when I think "sling" I think of the Maya Wrap, because that is the one I have the most experience with. Anyway, the Ergo is also very light (about one pound) and it folds up relatively small (15"x5"x4" when rolled up tight) so it can easily fit into the bottom of a stroller or a knapsack-sized diaper bag. The Ergo, like a sling, supports the baby in a natural, seated position which does not put strain on the crotch or spine. And because there is no frame, the Ergo keeps parent and baby in close contact, whether worn on the front or the back. As for nursing, The Ergo, like the sling, does allow for discreet (using the sleeping hood) nursing for young babies. As the child gets older, he will likely not like to have the sleeping hood closed and, though nursing him in the carrier (with the shoulder straps lengthened) is possible, it may not be as discreet as the Maya Wrap which offers that long "tail" of fabric. I should mention here, that I do not have personal experience nursing while wearing the Ergo, but since I am currently pregnant, I hope to be able to write more about it in the future. The Ergo is machine washable and works great as a changing cloth. The only thing that it really is lacking, in comparison to a sling, is that you cannot face your child outward. Oh, and it doesn't really serve as a blanket either, but you can't have everything! The Ergo does, however, allow you to carry heavy babies and toddlers more comfortably than in a sling, because the weight of the child is distributed on your hips and both shoulders. Additionally, it has built-in storage which accommodates a couple of diapers, wipes, and a snack (in the back pocket) and a credit card, some money and keys (in the hip belt pocket). A very good friend of mine absolutely loved her Maya Wraps (she got one for each of her two children and she and her husband used them constantly both at home and away). Now that both children are toddlers and over 20 lbs., they are Ergo converts. Her son is now almost 3 years and her daughter is 18 months and she has been using the Ergo for almost a year. I asked her to write her impressions of the Ergo vs. the Maya Wrap - you are welcome to read her unedited letter to me.
2. You have tried slings and don't feel they work for you.
I have had several emails and phone calls from mothers who have tried slings and for whatever reason did not feel comfortable with them. I can understand their frustration, because that is exactly what happened to me. When I was pregnant, I researched the world of slings. Through my reading I had become very interested in attachment parenting and feeding on demand, so a sling seemed to make the most sense to me. I had also read people's concerns about the design of the Baby Bjorn causing the baby to be suspended by his crotch. Some people think this position can cause compression of the spine and could even cause problems for male children down the road. Anyway, the slings I was most interested in were the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder, because it got a lot of favorable reviews, and the Maya Wrap, because my friend really loved hers. I tried out the Over The Shoulder Baby Holder in the store with a weighted doll and found it to be bulky and hard to adjust. I actually bought the Maya Wrap, but again, had great difficulty adjusting it. I also didn't feel very secure with a sling - I was afraid my baby was going to flip out of it at any moment, so my hands were never free. And the kicker was, my baby didn't seem to like it. She wasn't a baby who liked to be swaddled and would always kick frantically till her feet were free of blankets and booties, so being wrapped in a sling just didn't seem to be her thing. Now I didn't have The Ergo Baby Carrier when my toddler was an infant, but I am pregnant now, so eventually I hope to be able to speak from experience regarding that age as well. The way the infant insert works, however, the infant is not so "lost" in the carrier as in many slings and baby's feet, though together, are somewhat free, because the are sticking out the side where the fabric ends. I look forward to nursing my next baby in the Ergo. I don't feel like it requires all the adjustment that a sling does, it facilitates the closeness needed for attachment parenting, and it is completely secure allowing me to use both hands. Additionally, it is designed to accommodate a baby of any age and the padded hip belt and shoulder straps on the Ergo distribute the weight of the baby comfortably onto the parent's hips and shoulders, making it one of the most comfortable carriers available.
I am guessing that if you are reading this, you are either expecting your first baby or looking for a shower gift and are trying to figure out which sling or carrier to buy. To me, the most unique aspect of The Ergo Baby Carrier is that it is the only carrier you will ever need. It can be used with your newborn (using the infant insert), older baby, and toddler. On top of that, it is Ergonomically designed for both mother and baby. If you look on any message board where there is a discussion about carriers, you will see that mothers who have loved their slings and Baby Bjorns are complaining that their baby has gotten too heavy and their neck, back, and/or shoulders are really aching. The padded hip belt and shoulder straps on the Ergo distribute the weight of the baby comfortably onto the parent's hips and shoulders, making it one of the most comfortable carriers available. Additionally, you might come across some discussion regarding infant carriers and spinal stress. The Ergo was designed to support baby's spine and hips in a healthy, seated position while he is being carried - many people don't hear about this debate early enough to consider it when buying a carrier. Additionally, The Ergo Baby Carrier folds up small, is light, easy to use, and promotes a harmonious parent-baby connection. As you can see there is a lot of information for you to sift through and decide what makes sense for you. In my opinion, you can research and ask people all you want, but you will never know for sure what works for you without trying it out. This is why, if you decide you are interested in the Ergo, we offer a 90 day money back trial.