Ergonomic World Facing Review

As an infant carrying consultant and librarian I have always been very interested in the forward or world facing debate in regards to the professional stand point and also that of parents who use the slings day in and out. I wanted to compare the two big ergonomic carriers that offer this and let you know my thoughts (bear with my spelling and grammar it’s not good most days but we are surviving on very little sleep here at the moment 🙂

Ergobaby 360

Starting with the Ergobaby 360 a worldwide brand that has a huge following and awareness. Ergobaby are a hugely popular choice across the globe and have a big research team that put lots of money and energy into discovering and testing what parents want from their carriers. They have always been very popular with their slings being regularly hired by parents with very good reviews.

 

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Ergobaby were the first brand on the market to offer an ergonomic seat forward facing. What this means is that their seat has been developed to allow the infant to sit in a position that supports the natural curve of the spine (‘C’ position) and tilt of the pelvis so that babies knees are higher (in the M position) than the bottom. This is the most natural, comfortable and developmentally/physically supportive position for infants to be in when being carried. In this position the weight of the babies legs are being spread across the thighs rather than the legs hanging down on a narrow seat, whereby the weight of the leg would potentially put pressure on the underdeveloped soft hip socket (more relevant for babies that are not crawling walking yet).

Ergobaby suggest this position for approx 5 – 12 months. This is because the baby needs adequate neck and head control to be placed in this position – so most often under this age baby will not be ready, and on the top end at 12 months (like Jay is here) as your baby becomes a toddler and gets heavier the weight of their legs/body in this outward facing position becomes a strain and weight distribution is not at its best. Which can cause discomfort for parent and baby.

The approx (me with my tape measure) dimensions of the Ergobaby are as follows:

Seat Width (in world facing): 35cm

Carrier Body Length: 45cm

Official Dimensions and limits:

Weight Limits: 12-33lb

Time limit: 30 minutes

Cost

Approx RRP £130.00

The Pao by We Made Me

The Pao (previously the Pao Papoose but is I believe in the process of rebranding due to cultural appropriation issues) was the second ergonomic sling to come onto the market. I remember very well having their lovely rep coming into Born where I was working at the time and getting a very early preview of this sling before it’s release. I felt then just using a demo doll that it was very comfy. As a company they have thought hard about what parents want and need from a carrier and spent a lot of time on the marketing (potentially too much time as I actually found the instructions very hard to get my head around). This carrier just like the Ergobaby360 offers all 4 ergonomic positions for baby.

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Designed to carry babies aged 0* to 36 months (3.6*–15kg | 8*–33lbs)

The Pao has shoulder straps that cross at the back, which can for some parents be a more comfortable option than rucksack style shoulders (this is something you will need to try for yourself so do go to your local sling library).

The approx (me with my tape measure) dimensions of the Pao are as follows:

Seat Width (in world facing): 35cm

Carrier Body Length: 40cm

Official Dimensions and limits:

Weight Limits: 12-33lb

Cost

Approx RRP £89.00 – making this the least expensive

Our Thoughts

I am a big fan of the Ergo360 and feel it works very well for many of the parents that we see. However in our case and at the stage we are (12 months max for the slings) I didn’t find it as comfortable as the Pao in world facing. Jay also after a while did not want to be in this position in the 360. I felt that in comparison that the Pao offered a deeper seat and I didn’t feel I needed to support Jay’s legs, where I did with the Ergo (although wider, which for us was fine but might need to be considered if using with a younger infant to make sure that positioning is as comfortable as possible). The Pao’s comfort for me was far superior to the Ergobaby 360. What I dislike about the Pao is the bright blue buckles that are the same on every colour way – this puts me off. Also that the adjustments of the straps are quite tricky, the fabric doesn’t always pull through the webbing as easily as the Ergobaby which glided through making putting it on much easier and faster. Both slings have padded shoulder straps and three point weight distribution.

What else should you know about world facing?

Finally just some professional thoughts about world/outward facing. These ergonomic carriers have come along way to support infants to be in the best and safest position. I hope to see more and more improvements and advancements as time goes on. We must think lastly about the hyper-stimulation debate. When young babies are placed into this outward facing position, they have no way to move out of it or to retreat from the very fast paced environment that we live in. This must be considered and as Ergobaby have stipulated a max time of potentially 30 minutes should be observed when using it. From working with families I am aware that there are babies that are very well equipped to be outward facing and are happy to be in this position for longer. Where as there are some infants that should not go into this position at all. You as the parent will know your baby the best and can judge this by being reactive to your infant. If they are crying or fussing this is a sign that they are not happy and should be taken out.

If you have any questions about this or would like to come and try these carriers for yourself, side by side, then contact us on hello@carrymeslings.co.uk