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Having a baby, whether your first or your third, means your hands will be full. Suddenly you have a little person that wants to be held all the time, making everyday tasks much more difficult. That’s where babywearing comes in and can be a life and sanity saver.
There are many kinds of baby carriers available from woven wraps to soft structured carriers and everything in between.
As a mom that baby wore whenever possible, I found that wearing my daughter was key. Even now, at 2 years old, my daughter still asks for uppies and still wants to be worn on a fairly regular basis. Not only did I wear her often at home and on errands, but I also brought her with me when I was working as a dance teacher and wore her each day there. Because of my extreme reliance on babywearing, I have tried and bought a variety of baby carriers including the Ergo 360.
I look for the following things when I try new baby carriers:
- Ease of Use
- Proper baby posture
The following review is based on my personal experience with the Ergo 360 along with the experiences of other parents. It also takes into account the Ergo’s selling points and matches them with these experiences.
What is the Ergo 360?
The Ergo 360 is a soft structured carrier manufactured by Ergo Baby. Soft structured carriers are baby carriers are modernized versions of an Asian carrier known as the Mei Tai. Soft structured carriers often borrow from hiking pack design and technology, offering features like adjustable, padded shoulder straps and buckle fasteners. The Ergo 360 has all of those features.
Unlike the other carriers that Ergo manufacturers, this carrier lets you wear the baby in 4 positions, giving you and the baby maximum comfort and functionality.
The 4 Carry Positions
The 4 positions are as follows:
- Front Inward. In this carry, you wear the baby so both of your chests touch. While this carry is the only carry suitable for a baby from 0-4 months of age in the Ergo 360, you can wear the baby like this well passed that age. My 2-year-old still wants this carry, particularly when she needs comfort when she is sick or over tired.
- Front Outward. In this position, you wear the baby on your chest. Instead of the baby facing you and touching you chest to chest, the baby’s chest faces forward and you touch your chest to the baby’s back. This carry is best for babies from 5-12 months who are curious about the world and only recommended for short durations of time.
- Back Carry. In this carry, you wear your baby on your back like a backpack with the baby’s belly touching your back. This carry can be used as early as 6 months and is recommended for long durations. Because this position is very ergonomic for the wearer, you can wear the baby like this until age 3 or until the baby weighs 33 pounds.
- Hip Carry. In this carry, you wear the baby off to one side so the baby’s legs are around one hip. This carry is great for doing things around the house like light cleaning and is perfect for babies and toddlers up 24 months.
The different carries allow you to have options that grow with the baby. Plus, some parents or babies may prefer a certain carry over another.
The Parts of the Ergo 360
- Structured Bucket Seat. The structured bucket seat is designed to keep the baby seated in the proper posture in each position.The seat is equipped with button adjustments so you can fit the sit to your baby’s size.
- Padded Shoulder Straps. The padded straps are designed to evenly distribute the baby’s weight on your shoulders.
- Wide Waistband. The extra wide waistband fits around your waist. The width offers you more back support than you narrower bands, allowing you to wear the baby for longer while staying comfortable.
- Sleeping Hood. The sleeping hood gives your baby extra support if the baby falls asleep while you are wearing him or her. It also offers shade for extra sun protection.
What Ergo 360 Says It Does
According to manufacturer’s website, the Ergo 360 touts the following features that set it apart from other soft structured carriers:
- Offers 4 Carry Positions. These positions give parents the flexibility to use this carrier in a variety of situations and for a range of ages.
- Maximum Comfort for Parents. The Ergo 360 offers a “supportive wide waistband and padded shoulder straps” for the parent’s comfort and to help evenly distribute the baby’s weight.
- Maximum Comfort and Proper Ergonomics for the Baby. The carrier promises a structured bucket seat to get the baby into an ergonomic frog-leg position. The seat offers the proper support to keep the baby’s spine in the “optimal C position.”
- Baby Weight Range from 12-33 pounds. You can start wearing your baby at 7 pounds with the optional newborn insert. Without it, you can safely and comfortably wear your baby from between 12 and 33 pounds.
- A Variety of Colors. The Ergo 360 comes in a few different colors. You can choose between black, gray, tan, green, and taupe.
Summary: What They Actually Do – Pros and Cons
Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of the Ergo 360.
- It offers the 4 carry positions. Many other soft structured carriers are only suited for wearing with the baby in the front inward carry. While this carry is great when the baby is a sleepy newborn or needs comfort, it is not the most functional carry for long wears or if you need to get things done around the house. The Ergo 360 allows you to easily transition to other carriers that let you have greater range of motion or longer, more comfortable wears.
- The Ergo 360’s padded shoulder straps and wide waistband are very supportive. Many parents find this carrier to be the gold standard in comfort.
- The Ergo 360 does keep the baby in the proper posture while wearing. Many other soft structured carriers have seats that are too narrow, leading to “crotch dangling.” This happens when the carrier only has a small piece of fabric in the seat to support the baby. Crotch dangling carriers can be very dangerous for the baby and lead to complications like hip dysplasia. This condition results from breech birth or improper wearing and leads to a malformation of the hip joint that may need a harness or surgery to correct. The adjustable seat allows you to keep the baby in a wide enough seat as he or she grows.
- The sleeping hood offers sun protection and extra support while the baby sleeps. This extra protection and support lets the baby sleep longer and more comfortably while still giving you the range of motion so that you can walk around, clean, or cook. Anything like this hood that helps a baby sleep longer is a huge bonus for the early days.
- It’s easy to wear bigger babies. When the baby no longer needs the newborn insert, it is very easy to wear. It’s a snap to put on and very easy to put the baby in the proper position.
- Little learning curve. Delving into the world of babywearing can be intense and confusing. There’s a fairly steep learning curve when using woven wraps. Well designed soft structured carriers like the Ergo 360 are much easier to learn how to use. However, back carries can still be challenging the first few times.
- It still may be a little awkward to wear the baby on your back at first. Getting a baby into a back carry no matter what carrier requires practice.
- The shoulder straps may be too wide for very petite shoulders. While the straps do adjust to be closer together, the straps themselves were very wide. If you have a very petite or narrow shoulder area the way I do, the Ergo 360’s straps may feel too wide for you. My personal experience is unusual but I always felt that the straps were dangerously close to slipping off my shoulders no matter how tight I adjusted it. This definitely took away from the comfort of this carrier for me. However, I know many other parents that use this carrier and swear by the comfort of it for long wears. I do recommend trying it on prior to buying it first if you are very petite.
- The cost. The Ergo 360 is a bit on the pricey side. On the manufacturer’s website, it retails for 160 dollars. This does not include the optional newborn insert, which is an additional 20 dollars. (Check out the latest prices and discounts.)
- The newborn insert. Not only is the newborn insert not included, but some users also find it awkward to use. Many people prefer to use a different carrier until the baby reaches the 12-pound minimum to use the carrier without the insert.
- The airflow. The Ergo 360 gets a little hot, especially when worn with the infant insert.
- The velcro. The velcro on the hip strap gets caught on clothing. Plus it causes a disruptive rip when it opens, which may wake babies that are light sleepers.
- Lack of color choices. Babywearing for some becomes a way of accessorizing and looking fashionable. Many babywearing enthusiasts feel limited by the lack of color and pattern choices.
Some Ergo 360 Alternatives
Boba 4G Carrier
Like the Ergo 360, the Boba offers multiple positions for wearing. This product is designed very similarly to the Ergo 360 but has a weight limit of 45 pounds. It also comes in more colors and patterns, making it very popular with fashion forward parents. Unlike the Ergo 360, the seat doesn’t adjust to fit the baby.
The Lillebaby Original is a soft structured carrier that allows for 6 different carries. This carrier fits petite shoulders better than the Ergo 360 because it has more options for strap position and adjustment. The Lillebaby Original also offers more selection of colors and patterns than the Ergo 360. It is harder to find the Lillebaby in stores so if you want to see it in person prior to buying you might have to do some searching.
Ergo 360: Worth the Wear?
The Ergo 360 is a great all around carrier for most people. Spending a little extra money to get a carrier that is comfortable to wear and puts the baby into proper position is worth it. However, beware if you are very petite that you might want to try before you buy.