I have three children. I also have three baby carriers (babywearing contraptions, if you will). Like my children, each of the carriers has qualities that I love and other attributes that are, shall we say, challenging.
For any of you new to babywearing or in the market for a new carrier, here is how these three brands in particular compare from my perspective.
Five years ago I hovered my little registry scanner gun over the Baby Björn without thinking much about it. My one and only friend with a baby had the Björn, so I got what she had. I knew little about carriers, babywearing, or much else. Chocolate brown was the trendy neutral back then, so BEEP! that’s what I registered for.
- Easy and fast to put on and get baby into – which is key when baby is screaming
- Easy to figure out, take apart, put together, and wash – which are all key when you’re a clueless new mama
- Baby can face in as a newborn and out as an older baby
- Uncomfortable on my shoulders and back, especially when baby gets above 15 lbs or so
- I’ve carried newborns in the Björn and while the middle and bottom part of baby’s body feels secure, I’m not crazy about how baby’s head is positioned – if I need to lean forward I always feel the need to support the upper part of the carrier with a free hand
- There aren’t a lot of options for shielding baby from the outdoor elements other than draping an additional blanket over the whole operation – not ideal.
The Björn worked great for me with my first baby, but I didn’t wear her very much – mostly in the grocery store and airports, never at home, and once she could sit up in a stroller I stopped wearing her altogether.
With baby #2 came carrier #2 – the Moby Wrap. With this baby I knew a little more about the benefits of babywearing from a bonding perspective (and a general keeping-baby-happy perspective) AND I also had a two-year-old. For both these reasons I wore baby #2 WAY more. I wore him at home for a couple of hours a day at least, and often when out-and-about.
- Super comfortable, at least for me
- Baby is snug and secure and sleeps like a ROCK; fabric allows baby’s head to be shielded from the elements or more open if you choose
- Varying ways to wear the wrap according to baby’s age and developmental stage
- Price point is very affordable compared to other carriers (approx $45, compared to approx $80 for the Björn and $140 for the Ergo)
- Steep learning curve to learn to use the wrap. I have friends (very intelligent women, too) who gave up because they couldn’t make sense of the 20+ feet of fabric. I will say that Moby provides online instructions and videos that make it easier, but you really do just have to practice. Which isn’t always easy with a screaming baby who just wants to be HELD ALREADY MOM.
- Not ideal for outside the house, in my opinion, because it’s awkward and time-consuming to put on the wrap and get baby in. I’ve never pulled it off without the ends of the fabric dragging in the disgusting parking lot dirt.
I am a huge fan of the Moby for at-home babywearing – this single piece of fabric has allowed me to make dinners, change toddler diapers, work on the computer and be happy and hands-free for hours on end (yep, baby is sleeping in it right now as I write this post). But because it’s not my favorite to use outside the house, I wouldn’t personally recommend it as your only carrier.
My 3rd baby arrived in January and during this last pregnancy I decided to add the Ergobaby carrier to our collection. My main motivation for buying another (not cheap) carrier was that I found the Björn uncomfortable after a certain weight/age, and I knew the Ergo was meant to carry babies up through the toddler years. We’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks, so these assessments may change over time, but here’s what I think so far:
- Lots of shoulder and back support, something the Björn lacks.
- Option to wear baby on your front (facing you) or on your back (piggyback style) all the way up through the toddler years
- I LOVE the lightweight fabric you can snap over baby’s head to provide shade or shield baby while sleeping – it completely covers the baby without being suffocating.
- I also love that there’s a little zipper pocket right on the carrier for your phone or money or Starbucks card
- I am not in love with the newborn insert that we have. Ours is an earlier generation on loan from a friend, which has baby cradled sideways in the newborn phase. The current newborn insert positions baby differently, but I haven’t tried that one. I feel like my 6-week-old is already kind of big to be carried this way, but she’s also not ready for the traditional position either.
- I can barely reach the buckle behind my shoulders when putting on the Ergo – and when I do, I usually manage to snap my hair into it.
I’m looking forward to using the Ergo more with this baby and to seeing how it stacks up against the other two. So far I’m giving it a cautious thumbs up, and I have a feeling I will like it even better in a few months.
How the 3 stack up for me
Each carrier has its pros and cons, but if I had to pick a favorite right now it would be the Moby. I use it every single day and it’s most comfortable for me and for baby. The Ergo, however, will probably be in the rotation for the long haul and I imagine I’ll begin to love it as baby gets a little older. And even my trusty Björn still gets used now and then when the situation calls for it.
I love my mobu and ergo, but always wished the ergo had a forward facing option since my kids like to face out. I now have a third carrier, the lillebaby carrier. It is exactly like the ergo, except that you do not need an infant insert for newborns because it has an infant harness inside, and it also converts in seconds from a rear facing to forward facing carrier. It is also lighter weight than the heavy canvas ergo, which is great for summer. I love it! I bought mine online and have carried newborns through almost four year olds in it very comfortably.
Thanks Kristen! I know there are so many out there that I haven’t tried – thanks for sharing about the Lillebaby!
There is a brand called BabyEtte that is handmade by a baby wearing momma! I have her Babysoft Newborn Ring Sling and I could not go anywhere with my daughter without it!! I’d highly recommend checking her items out before purchasing anything. She provides the absolute best customer service and all items are custom made to your fit and with your preferred color combinations. You can even send her fabric and she will make something for you. She has wraps and mesh water slings as well. I have carried my 12lbs daughter for 4+ hours straight and my back and shoulders never hurt!
I tried all 3 of these with my first baby (my only for now). I like you loved the ease of the Bjorn but it was just too uncomfortable. It’s in my to get rid of pile. I borrowed a friends Moby & that thing made me cuss more than one should cuss trying to wear a baby. I COULD NOT figure it out and never felt like she was secured. I took it to church once because I had hoped to wear her during the service and I was ready to chunk it in the trash. A friend then suggested the Ergo when my little was closer to 6 months. I’m IN LOVE!!! I can’t wait to see how it works with a newborn to see if I still love it.
I tried the sling style carrier too and I used it the most, but still found it frustrating though not as frustrating as the Moby. 🙂
As an active mom in the babywearing scene, I think that it’s great that you reviewed three easy-to-access, mainstream carriers. What I’d like to see included is also a reference to Babywearing International or a larger community reference to point moms and dads to learn more about each option and safety benefits/ergonomic carriers.
I had a Bjorn and used it because I wanted to wear my son badly. I wondered why my back and shoulders hurt so badly but figured it had to do something with me and nothing with the carrier. I was so wrong. Since getting an Ergo, and another Ergo, and another… (you get the picture now that I love Ergos in every pattern and color), they are the most comfortable to wear. They take a little getting used to when learning how to adjust and put on, but once you do, they are WONDERFUL! I can still wear my now 6 year old lightweight child on my back comfortably in it, of course that is when my 2 1/2 year old isn’t wanting to be on my back. That being said, give it a little time to learn how to adjust and put on and you will be loving the comfort of it as well. I don’t even ask if the stroller is in my van anymore. I ask if my Ergos are!
Another great option is the Baby K’tan- it’s basically the same idea as the Moby but without all the wrapping and crazy-long fabric to deal with- it’s already done for you. http://www.babyktan.com With both the Moby and the K’tan you DEFINITELY have to watch the video and practice at home first though. One tip with taking the Moby in public is to put it on yourself before you get in the car and then once you get to your destination you just pop baby in and you don’t have the hassle of trying to wrap the thing in the parking lot.
In my personal research I found a lot of warnings against the Bjorn because it puts too much pressure on babys crotch and is an unnatural way for baby to have to “hang”. Make sure you look in to that before using it.
I swear my second daughter lived in the moby for her first 4 months! I love that thing. Just a tip on using it outside the house…I would tie it on me at home before we left (just make sure the knot is in the front or on the side so it’s comfortable when you sit in the car and buckle. Then whenever I would get to where we were going, it would be ready to just pop the baby in. If I had several errands to run, I would just keep it on and tighten if I needed to. I too was grossed out trying to put it on with the fabric dragging on the nasty ground until I started doing it beforehand!
I liked the Ergo baby carrier when my kids were little. Although I always wanted to try a baby sling I never had the chance to use one.
I like the ergo baby carrier because it saves my back! So much more comfortable=)
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I have the ergo and i’m not thrilled with it. We are at the stage where she isn’t ready to open her legs but the newborn position is out of the question. Any suggestions? Also, I have a boba wrap that is ok, a ring sling, and another sling. I have no had any luck with any of them. Getting her in, feeling comfortable, and just being able to do anything. Help!
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