By peoplestaff225
Updated October 22, 2008 06:00 AM

If you wear your baby as much as I do or simply have a heavy baby, you’re going to love the ERGObaby Carrier ($105). Choose from three different ways to wear your child — either a front, back or hip carry. The ergonomic design puts the baby into a correct sitting position for hip, pelvis and spine growth — no hanging from the crotch like other front carriers. It’s also way more ergonomic for the parent as the baby’s weight is balanced onto the parent’s hips and shoulders instead of just the shoulders. It’s also one-size-fits-almost-all as the wide waist belt adjusts from 25 to 43 inches and the shoulder straps can accomodate parents from 5′ to 6’6".

Several improvements have recently been made to the design. In this new version, the chest straps are now permanently attached to the shoulder straps — this way the chest straps are kept in the desired location for buckling and don’t slide all around when not in use. The hood straps (to protect the baby’s head from the sun or cold) are now shorter and snap directly onto the shoulder straps. The hood has elastic on the sides and cups around the baby’s head. Organic and regular cotton fabrics are available in a variety of colors. Other features include soft padded shoulder straps and a front pocket with a side zipper pocket.

How to Use: For the front carry, attach the waist strap buckle, then put your arms through the shoulder straps, place child in the carrier (facing you) and then attach the chest straps behind your neck. I felt a difference while using the ERGObaby, my little 17 lb baby girl actually felt lighter than in other types of carriers and there was no back strain. I was even able to easily wear my 28 lb three year old in a front and back carry.

Additional Accessories: To go truly hands free, you can add on a backpack and a waist pouch from ERGObaby. The backpack ($37), sold separately, actually snaps onto the ERGObaby Carrier or you can wear it on its own. It easily zips open for quick access and comes with two pockets with velcro closure, plus a bottle holder. The inside held a lot. The pouch ($21), also sold separately, attaches to the waist belt of the carrier with velcro and and has shoulder straps (if you don’t want to attach it to you). You can also get a coordinating changing kit that folds up into its own bag.

Pros: This is probably one of the most comfortable carriers that I’ve ever used (and I’ve used many). You can use this from newborn to toddlers up to 40 lbs. The hood is great for covering a sleeping or cold child (and snaps onto the carrier).

Cons: Reaching around behind my neck to connect the buckle straps was difficult. Also parents used to a Baby Bjorn may miss the child facing-out position in ERGObaby’s front carry.

Celebrity fans of the ERGOBaby Carrier are Julia Roberts, Keri Russell, Bridget Moynahan, Amanda Peet and Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

— Nancy