Honestly: The Ergobaby 360

It’s been a while since I last blogged, and life has been such a whirlwind. All of these great things are happening around me. Friendships are blossoming, business partnerships growing, and we are taking Atticus’ eating one day at time. For the most part, it has been an incredible journey. We set the MommyCon and Beco Babywearing World Record in Los Angeles with 1003 babywearing parents, grandparents and even siblings! Watching the record happen was a highlight to my year. If you would have asked me on January 4, 2013 if the world record I told Alex (Marketing Guru at Beco Baby Carrier) about was going to take place just 9 months later, and have over 2200 people in attendance, I would have told you to shut up. 1003 set the record; that’s over 2006 bodies. That’s incredible. I’m floored. All those babies, all those awesome carriers, and I was withholding one of the biggest babywearing secrets ever.

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1003 Babywearers!

All while this big record setting was taking place, I knew about a big secret. I stayed quiet, I didn’t tell my blog sister, and I didn’t even tell Kevin. They would all just have to wait for one of the newest baby carriers to be released a week after our event. It’s now safe to announce the news, and I want to introduce you to a carrier that is a tad-bit controversial. I know what you are thinking, how can a baby carrier be controversial… well let me tell you, the moment I posted an image of it on our Facebook account, the internet was buzzing. Some slammed it, others praised it, and here I was; posting a single photo of a carrier that I had only felt twice prior, and only because it was a prototype.

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I am wearing 6 month old Penelope in this photo

Ergobaby opted to launch the Ergobaby 360 at 9AM on the first day of the ABC Kids Expo. They debuted the Ergobaby Wrap (it’s awesome and deserves its own post), two embroidered carriers; the Chai Mandala and Blue Lotus in addition to the fan-created anchor print entitled Sea Skipper, and let me not forget about the gorgeous Pink Chevron that will be exclusively released to Babies R Us spring 2014.

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Ergobaby Wraps in front and Chai Mandala and Blue Lotus in back

So the 360 – everyone has an opinion about it. Few have tried it. I was skeptical, actually my original opinion of the carrier was that I wouldn’t even try it. You can call me stubborn and stuffy, but my initial reaction was not a pleasant one. The moment I stepped into the Ergobaby office I knew that one of the new carriers was going to be facing out… I just knew it. The creative team behind Ergobaby has really pushed in recent months to come out with things that are better, and that will make our lives as parents easier. I just knew they would figure out a way to do forward facing better even if my opinion of the practice is a negative one.

I have never liked forward facing. The thought of it makes me nervous. When I push Atticus in a stroller he faces me 90% of the time, or thanks to the awesome Orbitbaby stroller, he sits off to the side so he can look around, and I can see him. I am part worry-wart, and partially obsessed with always looking at my kid. Forward facing and I do not go hand in hand. My feeling is; I want my child to face me, look at me, be protected by me, and feel the closeness of me. Typing that may me look crazy to those that are fans of forward facing out, and I get that, but as an attached parent my relationship with my son is very much about the bond we share that is all about Atticus and me.

With that being said I choose not to judge those that forward face out, I have approached parents and given them alternatives such as a high back carry, but when it comes to wearing their child, there shouldn’t be a bad way to do it. As long as the child and parent is comfortable, there is no wrong way to babywear. Parents who choose to forward face aren’t the enemy. The current state of the babywearing “community” is hyper-focused on one of a kind carriers, and only wearing your child one way. They demonize parents for facing their child out or wearing them in that dreaded “crotch dangler.” It makes my skin crawl, and I used to be one of those parents who used that term. I have now focused my efforts on educating about the benefits of babywearing, and by being gentle with my suggestions have even convinced a few non-babywearers to join the darkside and start wearing their future children. I could write a novel on my stance of regaining community within the babywearing world, and probably will do this come winter time. This post however is about the carrier.

The 360 as the name suggests faces baby in just like the standard Ergo, it can be worn on the back, on your hip and facing forward. This is quite the departure from the classic Ergobaby line, but what Ergobaby found was that some parents were going to forward face, and the best thing they could do as a company was to create an option that allowed the wearer to be comfortable, and for baby to sit in an ergonomic position. They created something that was better, and whether I agree with forward facing or not, what the 360 does is a good thing.

The Drama Llama’s of the Babywearing Board may shoot me, but what Ergobaby has done is better. I’m not saying it’s right or that I would be caught wearing my child facing out, but their new carrier fixes the issues that other forward facing carriers have not been able to accomplish. The knees are supported, baby is not being propelled forward, and the wearer is not being strained by 15-30 lbs of child dangling off of them. The child literally sits in the carrier. Their knees are up, their butt is seated in a nice little cushioned pocket, and the child’s weight is equally distributed on the wearer’s hips or waist. If we were talking about front facing in, this would all be nice and dandy, the accolades would be pouring in, and I probably wouldn’t need to dedicate an entire blog to forward facing out in the Ergobaby 360.

I have never done this in a review, and this may be the last time I let you into my inner geeked-out-babywearing-obsessed-psyche, but here it goes! Here is my list of all of the things I thought about before trying on the carrier.

1. Will I still be able to have my hair pulled (in a back carry), kiss my baby in a front carry and give my cute baby all the love he desires?
Yes. Here is picture evidence of all such activities occurring.

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Hair is being successfully pulled.

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Kisses are happening.

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Snuggles are occurring.

2. Baby is going to get hit in the face.
Yes, that was my first reaction. Once you actually try the carrier on you will know that if baby was going to get hit in the face, you probably shouldn’t be babywearing at that moment.

3. Baby is going to wind up in my plate of food.
Again, maybe you should take the carrier off in this instance.

4. His knees are SO far in front of me they are going to kick someone while waiting in line, and then I’m going to look like a jerk.
When worn, babies knees aren’t that far in front of you, they actually feel less intrusive than you would think. Trust me.

5. The Velcro waist is going to come undone, and my baby is going to die.
Back to reality, probably not going to happen. Actually, guaranteed not to happen. There is a safety buckle for those just-in-case paranoia folks like myself, but it’s also super strong Velcro. Like, I’m nervous that if my hair gets trapped it in it, my head might be attached to the 360 for life.

6. One of the buttons (used to adjust the carrier) is going to fall off, and like every other button in my house, they will get lost in my button drawer and then my carrier will be useless.
Again, drink some coffee Xza, they aren’t going to be popping off anytime soon. The construction is quite sound.

7. Is it cute? Is it ugly? It is…
Honestly, the jury is still out on it. The black and khaki Ergo was one of my least favorite color-ways so hopefully they come out with something new… and cute.

8. What’s with the bib?
This seems to be a common trait of forward facing out carriers, babies little chin sits on it and said baby drools, I guess it’s better than drool getting on the entire carrier?

9. The babywearing world is going to hate me if I endorse this carrier.
Probably. Oh well, until they try it out they shouldn’t knock it. Gasp, here come the pitchforks…

10. Why on Earth did Ergo do this? They pioneered the way modern babywearing is done, they turned their back on us, ergmergherd, I don’t know what to say, do, think, sheeeeeh!
Yeah, about that…

 

Now here are five reasons why this carrier is better. Remember, the Babywearing Drama Llama’s already hate me, what do I have to lose?

1. It’s comfortable. Like, so comfortable that I need to use my best Valley Girl voice and spaz out about it.

2. The waistbelt is innovative, those that attend ABC will know that this is the word you normally run from, but I mean it in every sense of the word. This is totally different, and I don’t know why this hasn’t been done before. I love a thin waistbelt like that of the Catbird Baby Pikkolo, and absolutely abhor padding. This waistbelt is genius.

3. If using facing out the baby sits in the carrier like a seat. This solves the “crotch-dangling” comments. Done, bam, never again to be heard and cannot be used when talking about the Ergobaby 360. Don’t even try it.

4. It can be worn four ways, so even if you are like me, and will not wear a child facing out, it’s a super comfortable carrier on the front and back (I skipped a hip carry).

5. It will be widely available. I love boutiques and local businesses so much, but what I hear day in and day out is the things I recommend to people are not available in their community. Until we have babywearing stores in every town across America, each parent needs a solution they can get their hands on. Ergobaby has distribution across the country in Target stores, Babies R Us, and Buy Buy Baby. People will be able to get this carrier and therefore wear their baby in a better way, IF they choose to face out.

Screen Shot 2013-10-18 at 2.08.48 PM …and with that, here is a photo of me wearing Laney’s daughter Penny, in the 360 facing out. Drop the pitchforks y’all, it will be okay.

IMG_4816Baby survived, my back didn’t hurt, and no, I did not break the baby. 

 

About the author

Xza
Xza Louise Higgins is the founder of MommyCon, creator of The Mommy Dialogues, and punk rock mom to two year old Atticus in the great city of Chicago, IL. She is incredibly passionate about birth options, human rights, and promoting gentle parenting practices.

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