Whether you like to wear your baby all the time, or just when you’re out and about, there is a carrier out there for you. I personally prefer ERGObaby carriers because of their ergonomic support and comfort for both momma and baby (and ERGObaby just makes good products!), and used their sport carrier with my first son. So when they released the new 360 carrier when I was pregnant with my second son, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one and try it out. I often Instagram photos of me using the carrier and get a lot of questions: “Is it worth the price? Is it better than the old ERGOs? Should someone buy this over a wrap? Do you like it?” So I thought I would share an ERGObaby 360 review after using it for four months.
What is the ERGObaby 360?
In case you aren’t already familiar with ERGObaby and the 360, here’s a little background info. The 360 carrier is a soft-structure, lightweight baby carrier that allows you to wear baby in four positions (as opposed to the three positions of other ERGO models). It works from birth to thirty-six months of age, or seven pounds to thirty-three pounds (although you are instructed to use the infant insert for babies under five months or twelve pounds).
Unlike other ERGObaby carriers, the 360 has the added option of wearing baby forward facing (after five months of age). This was a big selling point for me, because while I love wearing baby inward and cuddling and being close, once my first son was around six months old, he just wanted to look around and constantly squirmed and fought being in the ERGO because he couldn’t do that. And unlike other carriers that allow a forward facing carry, this one also allows for inward facing, hip, and back carry, and all comfortably, they say.
So, is it worth the hype & price?
I say yes. Here’s why:
- Comfort: The design of most ERGObaby carriers helps evenly distribute baby’s weight so that you can comfortably carry baby. I find that both my lower back and shoulders feel supported. What I like even more about the 360 is the extra wide (and thinner) Velcro waistband. You can wear it higher or lower depending on your preference and activity, and it also hides a postpartum tummy. And the structured bucket seat holds baby in an ergonomic position comfortably in all four positions.
- Versatility: I’ve only been able to wear my baby inward facing so far, but the new 360 design has an extendable back panel that folds up for more head support or folds down so baby can see out the sides (it offers a better side view than my old ERGO sport). And then there’s that whole four position carry thing. I’m anxiously waiting for Calvin to turn five months or weigh over twelve pounds so we can try forward facing (even though he and I both really like inward facing closeness right now).
- Ease of use: I’m a visual person, so I always look for a demonstration video to learn how to put wraps or baby carriers on. ERGObaby has great video demonstrations for all of the positions, and it took me no time at all to get it down. I can easily get it on and off with baby by myself. I did have a hard time clipping the back clip that holds the shoulder straps together at first; I could not reach the top middle of my back where the clip is to clip it or unclip it. Then I realized I needed to loosen the shoulder straps before I put baby in so I could reach it. Then tighten to wear baby, and loosen again before unclipping. It’s actually super easy but just has a little learning curve. Otherwise, the carrier is extremely easy to wear and figure out. I’ve even learned how to nurse while wearing baby in it (although we’re still practicing at home, and I’ve yet to do it successfully while out and about).
- Wide availability: I like that people can find and buy this carrier regardless of where they live and what stores they have. It is available at Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Target, and Amazon, to name a few locations.
Yes. While very minor, there are a couple of things that I would change if I could. While I do love the Velcro waistband, I don’t actually love the Velcro itself. It is very strong (as it needs to be, obviously), but that also makes it very loud. If you need to remove the carrier while baby is sleeping, the noise will likely wake baby up (or it has for me).
It also needs a small zipper pocket somewhere besides where the sleeping hood goes. My old ERGO sport had a zipper compartment, and other carrier brands offer them as well. When baby-wearing it is hard to carry much else, and if you want to go for a walk or hike, or just need your phone or keys, it is nice to have a zippered pocket. You can use the pocket where the hood goes, but if you are using the hood you can’t zip the pocket up and keep your belongings secure. Plus, I don’t really like putting my phone behind baby’s head. So a small zippered pocket in the body of the carrier would make it just about perfect in my book.
Should you get the 360 if you already own a carrier or wrap?
That’s two separate questions, so let me address them separately. I’ve had people ask me, “Which should I get, a wrap [like the Solly Baby Wrap I use] or a 360?” Here’s what I said: “They are very different carriers and do different things, so if you have the budget for both, then get both. If you can only get one, I would invest my money in the 360 because it lets you wear baby the longest and in the most ways. So it will allow you to get more bang for your buck, especially if you plan to baby-wear past six to twelve months. But if you are looking for something to wear baby in from zero to six months only, the wrap works better for those cuddly early months (especially from zero to three months). You can technically wear baby in a wrap like the Solly Baby until twelve months, but Calvin already prefers the ERGO 360 to the wrap at four months. (He has a very strong neck and has always wanted to look around when worn—he isn’t a nuzzler/sleeper when in carriers, so the 360 works better for him.)
If you already own another soft structured carrier by another brand or another ERGO model, I do still prefer the 360 for the reasons I mentioned above. If you have the budget to get a new one, I would recommend it. I keep my old ERGO in the car, so I always have a carrier with me if I’m out and forget to pack the 360 (which I keep in our stroller inside our home so I have the option to carry even when we’re out with the stroller).
Additional tips for the ERGObaby 360:
- Watch instructional videos to get the hang of baby-wearing with the carrier. (I bookmark them to the homescreen of my phone.)
- If you are out and about in the car or with the stroller, keep the carrier with you, especially if you are going to be gone for the day. Having the carrier gives you the opportunity to change things up for baby and gives him a break from the car seat, stroller, etc. I did this during a recent all-day visit to Disneyland for my older son’s birthday, and it was a lifesaver!
- Practice at home and wear baby frequently for short periods of time to get him used to it, especially if he seems to fight being worn at first. Also, I find that if I wear him too close to a feeding, that makes him fussy as well (especially when he was in the zero to two month range), because he is in such close proximity to my breasts. It might be good to have your partner wear him if possible during those times.
- Try nursing while wearing baby in the ERGO. While I haven’t perfected this yet, I have practiced several times and my baby is getting better. He has only been able to latch well since he turned four months, so I think it gets easier as they get a little bit older. But a friend of mine has nursed her nine month old since she was four months and does it on the go all the time, and you would never know she is nursing. As the mom of two kids, it seems like such a deal breaker to not be able to nurse while baby-wearing, and I really hope I’m able to do the same. But I think trying and practicing is key. And you can find demos of this on YouTube as well.
All in all, I think the ERGObaby 360 is an amazing product, totally doing forward facing carry better than all of those “crotch danglers” out there, keeping baby safe and comfortable, and keeping parents happy and comfortable as well. Considering you are getting a very well made product which is essentially four carriers in one that you can use to carry your child for up to four years if you choose, I think it is well worth the $159 price tag. I would recommend it as your first/only carrier or as an updated addition to your baby gear repertoire. Put it on your registry.
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