28.3.16

SLING REVIEW: THE BUCKLES - ERGO 360 VS CONNECTA

I covered a little of my first foray into babywearing here and declared my undying love for the Close Caboo. Now, I'll always love the Caboo, but there comes a point when you want a little more structure to your sling. For me, that point was when Annika hit around 14lb, which was something like... 3.5 months? Ish? Baby brain is real. 

I was so prepared for this. When I was pregnant I'd read up on the best structured carriers out there and had parted with £140 for a brand spanking new Ergo 360. It's designed to be ergonomic and comfy for mama and baby, and doesn't put any nasty strain on your little one's hips (I'm looking at you, Baby Bjorn). It also does 4 positions - parent-facing (front), outward-facing, hip carry and back carry. It feels very secure and well made, with a system of buckles and buttons to transform it for the different carries. Sounds fab, right? Not so much for me.

I'd tried Annika in the Ergo when she was tiny (about 7 weeks) and she hadn't loved it, so I'd waiting until she was older to try again, and in the meantime had fallen in love with the Caboo. I tried Annika in the Ergo a few times once she got to about 3 months; I found she didn't get on with the infant insert - it seemed to keep her legs too much together, even with the popper unfastened, but she seemed a little small for the carrier without so I persevered and she didn't hate it. She even fell asleep in it, and stayed that way almost aaaaaall the way around Ikea (which, as we all know, takes an ETERNITY) so it got the thumbs up from baby. 


For me, it's a thumbs down. Maybe it's my dodgy back (I have a tendency to hold a lot of tension in my neck and shoulders) but I found it really uncomfortable. The straps are like a backpack, so they seemed to pull my shoulders forward, which was super ouchy. I need something with straps that cross at the back. I also found it quite difficult to put on alone - I could do up the waist band but getting the straps onto my shoulders, and getting them to stay there while I buckled the almost-unreachable back strap, all with a stone of baby balanced on my front required more coordination than I possess. 

So back to the drawing board I went, and it seemed like every Mummy friend I spoke to or blog I read talked about the wonders of the Connecta. I'll be honest, at a first glance I wasn't uber impressed. I mean, it's just a panel of fabric (albeit in some very pretty prints) with some buckles attached. How was that going to support my precious little darling? But I caved to peer pressure and bought one - I scoured second hand Connecta sites for what felt like aeons, weighing up different prints and trying to justify the £70 price tag for a lovely new Liberty print one. And then I threw caution to the wind and bought a brand new Woven Wings Dream Geo wrap conversion, for £120. Oops. But I'd sold my Ergo for that so we'll call it quits. 

From the second I opened the packet, I was in love. I ADORE the print - it's my favourite colour (green) and my favourite type of pattern (geometric) so really it's like it was meant to be. At that point I didn't actually give a damn whether it was comfortable or not because I loved it. 


Thankfully for my bank balance and my sanity, it is every bit as good as the hype. Sooooo easy to put on alone - simply clip the waist belt (do it up high, just under your bra), pop the baby onto your front, give her a little wiggle so her seat is nice and deep, then flap up the fabric panel and it's as easy as clip and clip and you're good to go. Annika and I both love it - she's close to my body which we both love and the fabric isn't stiff, so she can still wriggle about without feeling constrained. She'll happily fall asleep in it and I can wear it for HOURS and it never ever puts any strain on my back. Ever. And it's really well made so I don't worry about Annika being unsafe. It's totes amazeballs. The only slight negative is that I don't think I'd feel comfortable putting a tiny baby in there - I'm sure it's fine but I felt Annika needed reasonably good head control for me to feel comfortable with her in it. Call me overprotective, because I am. 

So, the obvious verdict is: the Ergo 360 is probably amazing if you don't have back issues (I have friends who love it), but for me it's a no. The Connecta gets all the stars from me, and I intend to use it forever. Or at least until A gets too big, at which point I'll probably buy the toddler version and just keep on keeping on. 

At some point I'll get around to reviewing my ring sling - but first I need to get more confident with using it and actually venture outside the house with it on! 

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