I've professed my love for babywearing over and over on this blog (and you've seen it on my Instagram) - and boy am I reminded of how great it really is when I have to push my huge stroller through the busy streets of Cambridge and its little shops (let's just say I gave up and set up camp at Panera that day instead lol).
With babywearing I can carry Liv with me everywhere I go and not feel limited to places with wheelchair access or wide aisles or double doors, and I have my hands free to sip an iced coffee or just rub her back and roam together as I so frequently do. But this post isn't to convince you all to become babywearers - it's for the many of you who are already convinced and just looking for the right carrier. I've used different carriers during Liv's first 6 and a half months of life, so I figured I'd review the pros and cons of each with you here and hope that it can help in your decision of which type of carrier is right for you and your little one!
A big part of comfort depends on the size of the baby you're carrying. I'd say for long periods of time (ie walking for hours and hours), the Ergo has proven to be the most comfortable regardless of how big Liv was. The straps are nice and cushinoned and there's lots of support for your lower back - somehow the weight of the baby is really evenly distributed so you don't feel it in any particular area at the end of the day. The Solly Baby was pretty comfortable for good chunks of time when Liv was smaller, but around the 4 month point it wasn't as comfortable (mind you Liv was in the 80+ percentiles for everything so she's a bit on the larger side). The Sakura Bloom isn't the best for very long periods of time. Because most of the weight is focused on one side or the other, you can start to "feel it" after a few hours (but I got through traveling and day trips with Liv at 6 months without much of a problem, we're not talking back pain or anything, just not as comfy as the Ergo). Although please do note, I have the single layer "pure" style, and the double layer is supposed to provide more support.
The Sakura Bloom wins here. I love the hip carry (and so does Liv right now), but you can do tummy-to-tummy, cradle, facing out (kangaroo), on your back, etc! Lots of different positions to try. The Ergo also has the option for back carrying (and supposedly hip carry, but I tried and all the straps get a little confusing), and the Solly Baby is pretty much just facing you.
I bought all 3 of these with the idea that N could wear Liv too, which he absolutely loves. So all 3 are adjustable and fit the both of us. I'd say the Sakura Bloom is the easiest to adjust, especially with baby on - just pull the fabric on one side or the other - it's perfect in its simplicity. The Ergo has a few more places to pull but it can also be adjusted easily, although sometimes I have to ask N for help if I've already got Liv in it (most of the straps are behind me). The Solly Baby can't be adjusted with the baby on, and if you need to adjust it you need to take her out and re-wrap the whole thing. Better to get it right the first time (I always just tied it tightly to me as the fabric stretches a little with baby's weight anyway).
Ability to Nurse on the Go
The Ergo and Sakura Bloom are wonderful for nursing on the go. This is probably my favorite feature of babywearing. Liv will just tuck her little head in and can nurse as I walk down the street (we actually do this) - and with the Ergo I can cover her head with the hood while with the Sakura Bloom I can just pull up the sling a little bit or cover her with the fabric tail of the sling. I never figured out how to nurse with the Solly Baby, which could be more of a failure on my part, but it just never worked out. The inability to adjust it with the baby on definitely could contribute too. Thinking back on it, it was also what I used most when I was just figuring out breastfeeding, I've seen many mamas doing it since, so I'm thinking it was all me!
Sometimes you just want to toss the carrier in the diaper bag for if you need it later, or take baby out for some playtime and put the carrier somewhere until you need it again (like we did on our recent flight). A compact stow-away size is definitely a plus. The Solly Baby with its light jersey fabric is definitely the smallest when rolled up completely, the Sakura Bloom follows close behind, and the Ergo is definitely the bulkiest. See the picture for the comparison (I didn't roll up the Solly Baby as tight as it could go, it can be a little smaller than this).
This part is all a matter of personal preference, but as far as "style" I always thought the Solly Baby and Sakura Bloom were just so beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. Look through any of the instagram feeds of these brands and you'll see what I mean. I love them both for that. The Ergo isn't the prettiest, especially with the bulky straps (what makes it so comfy), but with a light layer on top I never found it to be an issue.
I have yet to wash any of my carriers, but Liv has definitely thrown up on all of them. They all have been very easy to clean with a wet towel. Any mommas have experience actually throwing these in the washing machine? Would love to hear below.
Ergo Baby - $120 ($130 if you buy with newborn insert) at Nordstrom.
Sakura Bloom - $88 for linen pure (single layer), $148 for linen simple (double layer); more options like silk and two-tone available on their website.
Solly Baby - $65 on their website.
I hope this post can help some of you babywearers figure out what's best for you! At the end of the day I love all three for the simple fact that they keep Liv close, and they're all great for different occasions and different tastes!