My Love Affair with BabyBjorn Carriers
- What: BabyBjorn Carrier
- When: Birth (8 lbs) to one year (25 lbs)
- Why: Easy to use, compact size
- Where: Amazon
I first used a Bjorn (pronounced “b-yorn” carrier in 2002 when my employers introduced me to it. They asked if I knew how to use one and of course I said yes, though I’d never laid eyes on one before. (I did know how to use baby carriers in general, I just hadn’t met a Bjorn at that point.) Our love affair blossomed instantly. One of the things I love most about Bjorn is that the company prints the instructions for use and sizing directly on the inside of the carrier. That means parents don’t have to keep track of user manuals or any other paperwork to use it properly and safely. Those printed instructions make hand-offs to other caregivers easy, with zero concerns about correct usage.
And boy did we put some miles on that Bjorn back in the day! I carried the baby everywhere, in every kind of weather. Because I could tuck him into my coat, we could go out in rain or snow. So we did. Because he could face forward for exploring, or me for snoozing, it fit our schedule all the time. Once he got older, he loved facing out and kicking and waving and enjoying the world from a close snugly position.
BabyBjorn offers super easy adjustments as babies grow taller, and comes with built-in head support for newborns. You don’t have to purchase or figure out how to use infant inserts, unlike with other popular carriers.
I loved that the front part of the Bjorn came off completely. That meant I could wear the straps discreetly under my coat or while driving, and that I could wash the straps and front separately. Unsurprisingly, the front made for an excellent drool catcher. The front detachable part folded over and fit into any diaper bag I’ve ever carried for work or personal use. Then all I had to do was attach the front at the bottom, load the baby, and head out.
Unloading a baby was equally simple, and didn’t require me to take off my coat to remove the straps (or hang on to a wiggly infant with one hand while trying to extract my other arm from a strap, then switching and repeating the entire process). Instead, I unbuckled the sides, and the front fell forward while I held the baby. It made for super simple transfers for sleeping babies with little risk of them waking up, as I could then bend over and lay them down.
I used a variety of other carriers with other kids as they grew in popularity, such as the Moby Wrap, Ergo Baby, and ring slings (which was the only one that ever came close to a Bjorn for me).
When I had my own kids, I bought a Bjorn in my favorite color before my delivery without a single hesitation. We moved it easily between two parents with dramatically different sizes, and the easy strap adjustment still made it work for us both. What’s more, I wore my Bjorn with ease during most of my second pregnancy. Unlike other carriers with a waist belt, it didn’t position my child right over my growing bump, nor did the straps go anywhere near my stomach, so I basically carried my toddler above my pregnant belly. (Beware the kicks though – both inside and out!)
If you try the Bjorn, take a look in a mirror or have someone help you adjust it the first time. The place where the straps cross on your back should rest just below your shoulder blades. If that point moves higher, it puts additional strain on your back, negating the awesomeness of the carrier. You’ll probably have to adjust as your baby gets bigger, but adjustments only take a few seconds. As long as you can reach the plastic crossover point, you will be able to feel when it’s in the correct position because it will relieve any strain on your shoulders and back. I never had to remove the carrier or my kids to make adjustments. Worst case scenario, you remove everything and move the back buckle around.
The only downside to a Bjorn Original is that the weight limit (25 pounds) is lower than other carriers, so it’s really only good for the first year. But oh what a year! And after 25 pounds, I didn’t want to be lugging my kids around on my front or my back. That’s what strollers are made for.
I never left home without my Bjorn. Now Bjorn makes many different versions, including an Air model with more breathable strap fabric, models with a waist belt, and several models that can be both front and back carriers for four way carrying. If you can, try them all, preferably loaded with a baby to see which one suits you best. If not, start with the original and you can still buy a second for the same price as some of the other carriers.