Hands Free Baby? Yes, Please.
FYI: I was not compensated for this review. This is my honest-to-golly opinion. Oh, and you should also know that at the end of this review is an opportunity for you to win a free ERGObaby Carrier System, so you can form your own opinion and see if it matches mine. (And if it doesn't you can be all like, "Um, that Claire Bidwell Smith is soo crazy," and I won't mind at all.)
Anyway, let's talk about baby-wearing.
Now that we're six months in, it's pretty funny to look back on those first few weeks of parenting. Greg and I just didn't get it. She wants to be held ALL the time? Surely not. Here, change her diaper. No, stick this pacifier in the mouth. She spit it out? Is she hungry? I thought she just ate. Try just putting her down in the bassinet. Ohhh no, that doesn't work.
The only thing that kept Veronica happy was if we just held her in our arms and walked around the house. Seriously. I know you people without kids out there are thinking we must have been doing something wrong. But you people with kids are totally nodding your heads. You know. The girl would not let us sit down. We had to be walking. It was like some new-fangled form of Chinese water torture; all we wanted to do was sleep and all she wanted us to do was walk.
When she was about 6 weeks old we discovered that the only way to get her to fall asleep at night was for one of us to slowly walk around the darkened house with her in our arms. At first she would look every which way, turning her head to take in the shadows around her. And then little by little her body would grow heavier, her arms slack at her sides and then eventually her head would nod, her breathing slowly evening out.
We had to take turns at this walking around thing because she's kind of heavy. You might not think 10 or 15 pounds is a lot to carry around, but try doing it for 30 minutes when you're SLEEP DEPRIVED. It's like you're moving into your first post-college apartment all over again and you're too cheap to hire movers so you totally assumed you would be fine carrying the futon up 5 flights of stairs, but now you're stuck on the third floor with that thing, trying to maneuver it around the bend in the stairs, and all you can think is man, one day I'm going to be like an adult and I'll pay people to do this for me. Yup, just like that.
So anyway, we had to take turns because she was so heavy. And maybe we got a little resentful of each other in the process since whoever wasn't doing the baby carrying got to lay in bed with a book, looking up every 5 minutes or so as the baby-carrying parent walked slowly past the door with Veronica. Usually whoever was carrying the baby would try to catch your eye as they walked past, shooting you a death stare that loosely translated as, Yeah, you enjoy that book for like 5 more minutes and then this is ALL you. Oh, those were the days.
Oh, wait. Those are still the days. Even if we don't have to walk Veronica to sleep very often at night anymore she still prefers to be held above all other activities. And this is where I tell you that the ERGObaby Carrier just about saved our marriage and definitely saved our backs.
As soon as I got my hands on this thing, or rather got my daughter strapped onto me in this thing, I let out a sigh of relief. The horrible back-spasms that had begun to set in each time I carried her around were erased completely. It was like magic. The people who designed the ERGObaby carrier really knew what they were doing. Specifically, it's designed to distribute weight to your hips and shoulders, rather than your lower back (ouch).
The ERGO can be worn in three positions, front carry facing in, back carry facing in, and hip carry. There are two adjustable straps that help with the weight distribution, and also allow for any shape and size person to wear the ERGO. The lower strap, which goes around the waist is very thick and is adjustable, and the upper strap clips at chest-level to keep the shoulder straps in place -- all of this serving to lighten the load. Greg and I both wear it easily (The ERGO fits people 5′ - 6′5″ tall).
I was most nervous to try out the back and side positions. Most baby carriers are positioned in front so wearing her on my back or on my side was a completely new thing. I was also nervous about getting her into the back position without any help, something I knew I would end up having to do at some point another. I made my mother-in-law stand behind me just in case I dropped Veronica on her head in the process, but it was actually pretty easy. I followed the instructions in the ERGO booklet and voila, baby on my back!
I also took my friend Sarah's advice and stood in front of a mirror for a few moments so that Veronica could orient herself and understand where she was. She laughed at our reflection as I twisted back and forth and bopped up and down.
Next I tried the side position, which, surprisingly, I think might end up being the one I use the most. It was really easy to adjust the carrier to this setting and once on, it was really comfortable. Veronica seemed pretty pleased and I liked that she wasn't right in front of me but that I could still see her and make eye contact. I immediately made Greg try it. He approved as well.
One of my favorite things about the ERGO is that it comes with a little hood that you can pull up over your baby's head after she falls asleep, keeping out the light so she you can get some rest. How genius is that?? Oh, and another little detail that I love is that there is a little pocket on the front of the pouch just big enough to slip in a diaper and some lip gloss, because what else does a mom really need?
Like I said, Veronica still loves to be carried everywhere so the ERGO comes in really handy for things like shopping at Target:
Or even taking out the trash:
Other things I love about ERGObaby Carriers:
- You can use the ERGO until your kid is three or four! (Or 40 pounds, whichever comes first.)
- There is an infant insert so that you can also use the ERGO from day one.
- I think they look pretty stylish and they come in a bunch of different colors and fabrics, including organic.
- The carrier is surprisingly easy to put on by yourself.
- This is one of those products that was created because a mom needed it and it didn't exist (love those stories).
- ERGObaby is family-owned and based in Hawaii. (Who doesn't love something made in Hawaii?)
- ERGObaby is committed to fair labor practices in their factories in China and India.
- The company promotes attachment parenting and advocates for all the things I already like to do as a parent like co-sleeping and minimizing stroller use.
Overall, this is a product I am thrilled to own and one that I would recommend to anyone with a baby.
Now it's your turn to try one out!
Giveaway Details: ERGObaby would like to offer one of my lucky readers a HandsFree System, consisting of an ERGObaby Carrier, Backpack, and Front Pouch
To win simply leave a comment below telling me your favorite things to carry around with you (e.g. babies, lip gloss, books, small dogs, Grey Poupon).
Here are some rules:
- No duplicate comments.
- You may receive an additional entry by linking on Twitter and leaving a link in the comments.
- You may receive an additional entry by blogging about this contest and leaving a link in the comments.
- This giveaway is open to US Residents.
- Winners will be selected via random draw, and will notified by e-mail.
- You have 48 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
- Contest ends January 11, 2010 at 9AM, CST.
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**Jenny Hontz of Venice, CA won this give-away! Congrats Jenny!