It’s New Baby Gear. . .Ergo, I’m Frustrated. . .

We purchased an Ergo baby carrier last week.

And so far, I suck at it.

I REALLY REALLY REALLY wanted a new baby-wearing tool.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE our Sleepy Wrap baby carriers and I use them a LOT.  Every day.  So does my Husband.

However, with Mac’s increasing size and squirminess, I was discovering the Sleepy Wrap had some limitations. . .

For one thing, he is smack on my chest and stomach – front and center.  This isn’t necessarily a problem when we are in a level, climate controlled environ strolling around while he naps.  It is a problem when he’s wide awake and I’m trying to actually do something.  Or when we are hiking.

The Sleepy Wrap is also, well a wrap.  So there are several layers of heavy-duty cotton knit jersey type material wrapped around you.  That means in addition to having the kid right up against you, you have a lot of extra layers on.  Kinda’ uncomfortable in hot weather.

As best as I could tell the Sleepy Wrap didn’t have a way to place the kid on your back.  And the heavier Mac becomes, the more keen I am on shifting his weight to my back (or even hip).

I knew we needed a new baby carrier to address these new concerns as Mac was getting older and I had heard over and over and over again how much folks loved their Ergo.  A lady even unsolicited suggested one to my Husband the last time he was out and about with Mac in the Sleepy Wrap.

So last week, armed with an REI gift card, we headed to REI to purchase a Sleepy Wrap.  We also stopped at McDonald’s and used a coupon for a free frozen coffee-type drink which I nearly immediately spilled on a shelf at REI because apparently, I’m subconsciously driven to create a mess anywhere I go.  However, despite my best efforts, no carpet or merchandise was harmed during the spill.

I opted for the Ergo not only because I had heard only rave reviews but also because I knew you could wear the baby in a variety of ways (front, hip, back).  I also liked the idea that it was still a completely “soft carrier” with no metal supports or hard frame and the baby didn’t sit up too high near the adult’s head when worn in the “back” position.

Coffee disaster remedied, we left REI with a $120 “standard” Ergo baby carrier, color black and camel.  I opened up the box and started to read the manual on the way home.

It looked pretty daunting.

But I was keeping an open mind because I recall feeling slightly intimidated by the Sleepy Wrap until I used it for a few days.

When we got home, I put all my reservations aside about its resemblance to a Kevlar vest better suited for military action than dragging a baby around the house, and I tried wedging Mac in it.

I put him in the “front” position because it looked the least intimidating to master.  However, I quickly realized I either have way short tyrannosaurus rex type arms, or I’m lacking the gymnastic ability necessary to get the final strap and buckle secure. (It goes across the back near the shoulder blades.)  Chris clicked me in and I was feeling optimistic about our prospects.

The following day I did a little more reading while Mac was eating his lunch.  That’s when I realized, the manufacturer didn’t recommend routine machine washing.  No machine washing!?  For something a toddler uses regularly?!  In a house with so many pets?!  I knew that black carrier was going to look like it had been to hell and back after 3 days in this house.

However, I really really wanted this to work so I promised myself to try not to feed Mac anything messy while he was in it.  And I promised myself I wouldn’t just throw it down any old place in the house.  I’d ALWAYS put it away properly in its original packaging in the closet in an effort to thwart the pet hair problems.

Later that day, Mac was being a little needy while I was getting dinner ready.  I saw my first opportunity to put this sucker to the test.  While he was napping, I had studied up on the mechanics of clicking all the buckles, etc to wear baby on the hip.  I figured I’d put him on my hip and whip up a salad and some fish for dinner. . .

Except it was uncomfortable as hell.

In order to wear the a baby at your hip, one of the two main support straps comes across the front of your chest and neck similar to a seatbelt.  Maybe I didn’t have something adjusted properly but the entire time I was wearing it, I felt as if the strap was sliding away from my shoulder and cutting into my neck.

This is not a good feeling for freaks like me who have a fear of suffocation and are claustrophobic as hell.  

I managed thwart a panic attack until my Husband arrived home so he could see the thing in action, hoping he would confirm I wasn’t just being nuts.

He didn’t say much but he at least pretended to listen to my concerns.

Later that evening when the house was quiet I pulled out the instruction manual again and I practiced the hip wearing manuevers a few more times.  It still felt off.

Then of course, I began to wonder if it was me.  Was it my excessive sweater meat that was a problem?  Was it my height?  Maybe I’m too short for the straps – even adjusted – and that’s why they weren’t lying properly across my body?

We left town for the weekend and although we took Ergo with us, the Sleepy Wrap still got all the attention.  Ergo sat lonely in its box on my Mom’s dining room floor.

Ergo is currently in time out in a dark closet.  That’s how time out works, right?  I’m going to give it a second chance later today.  However, if we can’t love it out in the next week, Ergo will have to be returned and I’ll be left looking for something that can make me as happy as a Sleepy Wrap. . .

And that’s no small feat.

Anyone have any relationship counseling for Ergo and Me?

If you recall from a previous post where I sang the praises of the Sleepy Wrap, they are now branded Boba Wrap.  Same product, different name.

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9 thoughts on “It’s New Baby Gear. . .Ergo, I’m Frustrated. . .

  1. I feel guilty because I know I told you that they work well, lol! And it can, but in all honesty, it took me some time to feel the love, too. I find the back carry is easiest but you have to get the hang of the chest buckle as it can ride high and choke the life out of you if you don’t also pull down on the shoulder straps. Once I used it for a few days, it did get better. Now it is awesome and Jonah is a 20 month old beast and I get go hiking all day with him in it, no probs. But I did have many a bang my head against a wall/pull out all my hair in frustration moments with the dang thing.

    The truth is, some carriers work well for different things. Some are better for front, some are better for backs an some are better for sides. I now lust after a BabyHawk – not the least because I like playing with the “build your own” button on their website.

    You may have a sling library in your area – I can’t imagine there isn’t one. You can try a bunch of different carriers and get help and advice from trained experts (yes, you can get a qualification in baby wearing – who knew??!!).

    Good luck!

    • Don’t feel guilty! I wrote this post in advance so I tried using it again yesterday afternoon. This time just wearing Mac on my chest while I got dinner ready and walked the dogs. I figured out a way to “pre-buckle” a few straps and get them adjusted almost completely before I actually put Mac in it. That helped A LOT. And he LOVED it. He was clearly very comfortable.

      As with anything new, it will take some getting used to but I haven’t given up on it yet. I am excited to try wearing him on my back this weekend when we go birding.

      Meanwhile, yes, we do have places that will assist you with baby-wearing locally. I purchased the Ergo at a place that has a wonderful return policy. I figured if it didn’t work out, I could return it and go to one of the baby boutiques for more help. That’s a fabulous suggestion and I’ve recommended that route to others curious about baby-wearing.

      Now I must ask because I’m fretting over it: Have you ever machine washed your Ergo? Was it ok?

  2. I was a Baby Bjorn person for the first year. I think what I liked most is that it didn’t have excess straps and fabric hanging everywhere and, truthfully, I was intimidated by the wraps. I never worked up the courage to give one a go, which I sort of regret. Anyway, I used the Bjorn ALL THE TIME when we went for walks or when I was running errands and didn’t want to bring the stroller with me. But then Bubby started to get too heavy and it started to hurt my back, so I bought the exact same Ergo you described in this post. I found it was MUCH more comfortable than the Bjorn as it didn’t hurt my back. But I have only ever worn her in the front position in it. I did try the side position once, and stupidly went for a walk right after snapping her in, and I found it REALLY uncomfortable. And I have never tried it again. As for the back position…I just couldn’t figure out how to get her into it without the assistance of my entire extended family. If you figure it out, please let me know as I may dust it off and start using it again once the weather cools down.

    I can understand your frustration with the silly strap at the back when you are using the front position. My trick was to loosen that strap completely every time I took it off so that I could easily snap it together once I put it on, and then tighten it. I found I didn’t have a problem unbuckling it – it was just putting it on that was an issue.

    I remember reading the same thing about not laundering it too much, and it kind of put me off. I think I’ve washed it about 3 or 4 times in total (haven’t used the thing in months) and I didn’t notice any issues. Just make sure not to put it in the dryer.

    Funny – I’ve never worn the Bjorn or the Ergo around the house to get stuff done. Well, maybe a couple of times when I was testing to see if the vacuum still scares the bejeezus out of Bubby (yup, still does) or when I desperately needed to steam the floor, but she has no interest in being in that thing unless we’re out and about. So if you can get this (or something else) to work and continue being able to carry him around with you, that would be awesome! I’ve just resigned myself to doing everything when she’s asleep, which means we eat pretty much the same meals every day. Oh well!

    • Mac can’t stand the vacuum either! He used to sleep right through it. . .Now it’s a major undertaking to clean.

      Thanks for the tips! I drafted that post in advance so I did try wearing Mac on my chest yesterday afternoon while I got dinner ready and walked the dogs. And I figured out the back buckle/chest strap EXACTLY as you described. And I was able to adjust a few straps before putting him in it – which helped a lot. It was still not as comfortable as the Sleepy Wrap but I’m hoping with more practice and continued use, the materials themselves will soften up a little and that will help too.

      Meanwhile, Mac LOVED the thing. So I guess it’s here to stay whether I like it or not. (Seems to be a recurring theme around here – ha!)

      I’m planning to wear Mac on my back this weekend while we do some birding/hiking and visit a museum. I’ll have my Husband there to help me but I definitely want to be able to do it myself. So when I figure it out – which will likely be about the time Mac needs orthodontic work – I’ll be sure to share!

      Thanks for letting me know it laundered ok. I was really fretting about it since we are just soooooo messy in these parts.

      I’ve been wearing Mac around the house for a little bit every day ever since we brought him home. At first it was just to help keep him comfortable and asleep. Now, he’s soooooo nosey he wants to watch everything we’re doing. . .Cooking and toothbrushing seem to be his biggest faves the past few weeks. You know how lazy I am so wearing him gives me an opportunity to talk with him a lot and discuss things like colors and counting, etc. I’m REALLY lazy about playtime – mostly I sit there and let him do his own thing. Poor kid is one bad baby carrier away from being completely unprepared for pre-school. Ha.

      • I confess I bought a black ergo so I didn’t have to wash often (just have to live with all the dang dog hairs, lol!). Since I live in the Godforsaken UK, I do not have a dryer. I find that most things wash ok if you hang them out to dry.

        As for the back carry – I can get my 5 month old, Jago, into the back carry thanks to a Youtube video I watched. I buckle the waist belt and stick him in like a front carry. Once his legs are in place, I spin him slowly towards the back and once he gets to my arm pit, I bend over, keep spinning and once he’s on my back, I slide one arm in, then the next one. It takes a couple of tries to get it down, so do it on a bed or over a couch at first. With Jonah (20 months), belt it at the waist and then just pick him up under his arms and swing him over my head to my back and then I pull up the carrier one arm at a time. I’ve now gotten really good at it 😉

      • Yeah! Thanks for the tips. I think I might be able to accomplish baby wearing on the back thanks to them.

        I got black since it seemed the lesser of all evils but I have a huge pet hair problem too.

      • Alright, I just tried the back position. With my ongoing need to clean this place, I figured I would see if I could get her in and steam the floors. I’m such an exciting individual, aren’t I?! Anyway, I sat on our bed, put her in a piggy back position, and somehow managed to get those straps on. I did have to walk, all bent over like an 80-year-old, to a mirror to figure out why the straps weren’t cooperating, but I eventually got it. So I assume it would get easier if I did it more regularly.

        But here are my beefs:

        1. The strap that you do up in the middle of the 2 arm straps (so, the one that goes between your shoulder blades when you’re carrying in the front position) was literally at my neck. And I couldn’t seem to tighten the arm straps any more, so that was mighty uncomfortable for me. Maybe you aren’t meant to use that buckle in the back position?

        2. My child spent most of the time pulling at my hair. I had to put it in pigtails so she couldn’t get a good grip, but she still grabbed the back of it, so I was forever saying, “ow, stop it!”

        3. She wasn’t overly thrilled to be in it, but I doubt I’d want to be on my mother’s back right after breakfast while she cleaned either.

        Now I wonder if the whole experience would be more exciting for her if we were out and about. My guess is that she wouldn’t be focused on my hair as much, and I would be better able to handle the strangulation piece if I weren’t bent over trying to clean our floors. So once the weather cools down and I can put her in long sleeves, I’ll try it again.

        Next I’m going to try the hip position again.

        I’m so glad you posted about this as I had virtually forgotten about the Ergo. This may just be the thing I need to help me pick this place up at a moment’s notice when people want to come in and see the place!!!

        Let me know how your back position weekend goes (muahahahaha)!

      • I had heard from Katie (in one of the other comments in this thread) that the specific strap you found uncomfortable can take some getting used to. I sometimes have trouble adjusting any of the straps one I get the kid in it. I tug and tug and tug and they sometimes don’t want to budge.

        Maybe to keep Bubbs out of your hair (literally) you should get a goofy hat to amuse her? LOL. I’m picturing a hat with a bunch of baby toys and crap attached to it – with a stacking toy sticking straight up at the top like a horn or antenna. Hideous. Can you imagine running into one of your former officemates at the grocery in that get up? GAH!

        However, if Bubbs will tolerate being in it long enough for you to just get a few chores done quickly, that’s something. Is Bubbs into music yet? Mac just really started liking music. Maybe she’d like it if you played music while she’s along for the ride while you do chores?

        “Back position weekend.” LOL. It sounds MUCH more enticing when you put it that way. Ha. I’ll keep you posted.

      • Ha ha – I have visions of me with a Dr. Seuss-type hat on my head! How appropriate! She does love music, so I will try that tomorrow – thanks! I am going to try the hip position again too. I’ll look up some YouTube videos as I find that easier than reading that damn manual!

        I must have been doing something wrong with that strap today as there’s no way it’s supposed to be at neck level. It just doesn’t seem right to me.

        Ah, “back position weekend”. Funny how much the meaning of that has changed over the last couple of years! 😉

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