Front Carriers – Let baby see the world from your eyes
Front baby carriers, such as those manufactured by Baby Bjorn, Ergo and Snugli, allow you to carry your baby upright on your body, either facing you or looking forward out. These carriers consist of a cotton or nylon fabric seat with holes cut in the bottom for baby’s legs. Straps are built in to hook around both shoulders. Most models have straps that are easy to use and adjust, and some models, such as the Ergo, can be modified to place baby on your back or your side. They look similar to backpacks, and, not surprisingly, most husbands prefer the look of a fashionable front carrier to a traditional sling! (I know I do.)
Because baby will be sitting instead of being cradled, front packs are perhaps more suited to infants about three months old and over. By then baby can hold her own head, and the spine and pelvic muscles are more fully developed. Manufacturers suggest babies be at least 8 pounds and 21 inches high, and they should face inward to easily rest their head on your chest.
The Ergo – A Versatile Front Carrier that can be Converted to a Hip or Back Carrier!
Most parents use their pack until baby is 20 pounds, though some models, such as the Ergo, can be used both on the front and the back. The back position is to be used for older infants who can easily hold their head up. Since the Ergo has a waist belt as well as shoulder straps, baby’s weight sits on your hips, allowing you to easily carry a heavier baby with little shoulder or back stress. The Ergo also allows infants to sit and straddle your body rather than simply hanging from the pouch, which is a more natural position.
I myself used the Baby Bjorn until my baby was about 18 pounds and I started getting lower back pain. I switched to the Ergo after lots of research, and found it a lot more versatile and comfortable – if I had the choice, I would have started with it, since you can by an optional infant insert for babies less than 3 months old.
Popular front carriers include:
Features to look for:
- Adjustable straps so mom, dad, and other caretakers can use the same carrier with a few simple adjustments
- Padding around the leg and arm holes for baby’s comfort
- Firm head and neck rests for younger infants, with the ability to fold the head rest down so an older baby can look around and see the world
- Wide, padded straps for your own comfort, especially if you’re carrying a heavier baby
- Easy to remove – some models allow you to unbuckle the carrier from the harness, so you can move baby and the seat together without waking him up
- Machine washable fabric (yes, babies can be messy!)
The Classic BabyBjorn Front Carrier
Baby Bjorn carriers are the best front carriers on the market. Parents rave about them, celebrities carry their infants in them, and their simple, comfortable and supportive design is often imitated. The carriers have been time tested and backed by 25 years of development.
The classic carrier is designed to carry rear facing newborns and forward facing infants. As soon as your baby is 21 inches long and weighs 8 lbs she can ride in the carrier facing you. The carrier provides head and neck support; leg straps reduce the size of leg openings (they should always be used for babies under ten pounds). Once your baby can hold her head up, she is ready to face forward. The carrier will adjust (using a sliding buckle) to fit your child up to 25 lbs (about 2 1/2 years). Suggested modifications based on weight and height are enclosed with the Carrier. You’ll be able to manage all of the adjustments by yourself, which helps when it’s just you and the kid. Color coded latches simplify putting on and taking off the Original. Also, you can easily move a sleeping child from carrier to crib without disturbing her. The Original’s design makes it easy to assemble, adjust, and wear.
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