Product Type: Baby Bjorn baby products
Newest Review: ... somewhat and means this isn't the answer to all your problems just some of them. The Baby Bjorn is available from all good baby stores, ... more
Excellent hard-wearing baby carrier
Baby Bjorn Front Carrier
Member Name: worst_trip
Baby Bjorn Front Carrier
Advantages: Carries the baby securely against the adult's chest; no faffing about with prams, etc.
Disadvantages: What if you fall over whilst wearing the sling? Always a niggling worry with this sort of thing.
Baby carriers and slings are shockingly big business - you can pay what I would consider to be an absolute fortune for these things, and yet in many cases it appears that these bits of kit get little or next to no use: just look at the hundreds of variations on the theme selling second hand with barely or very little use on Ebay at any given moment....
Being a terrible cheap-skate, Ebay is of course where I got the one I used for my first child - and which I've looked out (from the bottom of the cupboard where it got deposited for a few years) now that I have a newborn. It's one of the older 'Baby Bjorn' models - so it comes in a slightly unfortunate, what looks to me like was at the height-of-style-in-the-early-1990s, dark blue tartan print, but it's still wearing reasonably well structurally, and the great benefit of my old sling over some of the newer types available today is that it's made from (or covered by) a cotton fabric, rather than synthetic, which makes it much more 'breathable' for both baby and parent. It's completely machine washable, which is of course handy for anything small-baby-related. The fittings that secure the baby into the apparatus - some heavy-duty push-stud metal buttons, a plastic toggle, and at the base, a push-in locking plastic circular 'key' arrangement - are all still in good to very good nick, and the whole thing is still completely sound - or else I'd have picked another one out off Ebay instead of using this. I think with these carriers because of the simplicity of the design and the type of security fittings, if you have a second hand one or have been given one, it would be pretty obvious to see if it's a badly worn one in need of replacement. The slings have printed instructions (and diagrams) for use sewn on to them, which is a great help.
The shape of the sling is similar to the newer 'Baby Bjorn' versions - ie the baby-holding part is 'ergonomically' shaped - like a baby's body - and there are wide, adjustable over-the-shoulder straps to attach it to the parent part of the adult-child conglomerate. These straps meet together and run through a weird 'X' shaped plastic guide thingy that, once the sling is in place should sit round at the adult carrier's back. I generally find it something of a faff to get the straps over my shoulders correctly, as my sling is quite elderly and the fabric there though still very strong has become quite floppily 'worn in'. Adjusting the position of the sling on one's body I find is best done with the help of another person; no matter how well-positioned the sling is on your body, it tends to move anyway once the weight of the baby is in, in any case, so some additional adjusting is usually necessary, to get the fit just right. Individually the fittings that tighten and loosen the sling are very easy to use. Once you find it is set up correctly for you and your baby, I think the general rule is to never move it, until the baby gets too big for that setting (or unless you find you've perhaps put on a little bit of excess weight round the waist over the Christmas period - but I think that's enough said).
As the sling can be used with the baby facing outwards or in against your chest, it can apparently be used from birth. I got the sling when my daughter was a few months old (well after she could consistently / reliably hold her head up) and at that age she refused to go in it unless she was facing outwards and could see what was going on - but facing outwards, it was generally a great success. I've now used it with my small to average sized new baby from the age of about one month and it seems to be working very well again - sprog #2 seems to like it and always goes to sleep when we're out on a walk. What's been a slight problem that's developed for us lately is that the sling seems designed to hold a certain....(maximum) girth of baby. No matter how I try to adjust it, something is going slightly wrong, and the child 'rides too high' in it. I think what's occurring must be this: the sprog, though still normal to - if anything - slightly under-sized, once wrapped up in multiple layers of thick, fleecy clothing to guard against the frosty weather becomes almost too wide to fit into the sling space properly, and the fit of baby into sling becomes a bit overly snug. Since this is an adjustable device that can be used with much older infants, I'm not sure exactly what the problem is, but it does seem related to all the excess clothing.
Still, I can wander out in freezing weather wearing just a light coat and a t-shirt if I've got the sling on - the baby at the front seems to generate quite a bit of heat. I get constant questions from relatives as to 'doesn't carrying the baby in that thing give you a sore back?' - but I certainly haven't had any problems of that sort myself. Wearing the thing does throw one's balance off slightly, but it's not too difficult to compensate for that.
One other point with Baby Bjorn slings is that for newborn babies, which don't yet have their arms through the arm-holes to hold them in place, there is a very real danger that the sprog will slide out the top of the carrier if / when you bend down whilst wearing it - something to be borne in mind at all times, and especially when you're putting your shoes on and off. I also vaguely worry about falling over in the street whilst I'm carrying the infant in it - but then I haven't fallen over while walking for years and years, and don't really intend to start doing it now
Summary: Useful solution for transporting babies without a pram