A few months ago I shared with you about “Why I’d Never Put My Baby In A BabyBjorn Carrier.” My site traffic went through the roof. Yes, the title was a bit provocative, but I really wanted to get people talking about optimal positioning when baby-wearing. And it worked. Parents who read my post contacted BabyBjorn – then BabyBjorn contacted me. They said that the new carrier they were just launching, the Baby Carrier One, “has been developed reflecting the advise of the International Hip Dyspasia Institute in order to secure an appropriate position for the baby.” I was genuinely surprised at this revelation from the company who’ve ‘dangled’ more than 30 million babies since 1973! Anyway, I said, “Great. Send me one and I’ll review it.” And that’s what they did.
What You Need To Know Before Buying A Baby Carrier
Because of the medical nature of the previous discussion around safe baby-wearing, I once again brought in the help of Dr Vanessa Harrington, a Family Chiropractor and Baby Wearing Consultant here in Sydney, to review the Baby Carrier One. Before buying a carrier, she encourages parents to take a look at the TICKS baby-wearing guidelines and the guidelines given by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute for healthy hip positioning. These guidelines will help you understand how to position your child when baby-wearing. A carrier that supports your baby properly will support their growth and development and the health of their hips.
The Arrival Of The Baby Carrier One
Joshi was really excited when the postman delivered the carrier to our front door. He had no hesitation in rating the box 5 stars. He opened it. Ah, a box within a box – as far as Joshi was concerned, it just doesn’t get any better than that. For me however, it was a disappointing moment. The pictures on the box revealed that the Baby Carrier One provides an outward facing ‘crotch-dangling’ position which is not in accordance with the guidelines recommended by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
Unwrapping The Carrier
When I took the Baby Carrier One out of it’s wrapping, there was quite a strong synthetic smell. The smell soon went, so if you’re greeted by that ‘new car’ aroma with yours, a good airing before initial use should do the trick. The material is a cotton/polyester blend. I’m not sure if the smell was the polyester or the plastic buckles. The literature does confirm that “All fabrics are kind to your baby’s skin and safe to taste. Guaranteed free from health hazardous substances and approved according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100, class 1 for baby products.”
A Closer Look At The Baby Carrier One
The rather clever thing about this carrier is that it offers 5 different wearing positions …
- Your newborn (0-4 months/min 3.5kg) faces inwards, with their legs dangling.
- Your baby (4-15 months/max 12kg) faces inwards, with their legs dangling.
- Your baby (4-36 months/max 15kg) faces inwards, with their legs wide.
- Your baby (5-15 months/max 12kg) faces outwards, with their legs dangling.
- Your baby (12-36 months/max 15kg) is carried on your back, with their legs wide.
You can switch between these positions by adjusting various zips …
- There is a zip inside the carrier which can be attached to one of two points to set the height for either your newborn or your baby.
- There is a pair of zips above the waistband. When these zips are open, your baby’s legs dangle. When they’re closed, your baby’s legs are wide and well supported.
What BabyBjorn have managed to achieve through these different configurations is a carrier that can be marketed towards both those who demand a carrier that supports their baby’s legs in a wide position as well as those who will still place greater emphasis on choosing a carrier in which their baby can face outwards. From a business point of view, they were never likely to wave goodbye to outward facing carriers overnight when such carriers have been so successful for them and are so identifiable with the brand.
… Any colour, as long as it’s black. If Batman was into baby-wearing (and he totally would be!) the Baby Carrier One would really compliment his wardrobe. I personally feel that a few colour options wouldn’t go amiss.
A bib is available as an optional extra to provide added protection for the upper part of the carrier.
Getting Strapped Up
The Shoulder Straps: Putting the Baby Carrier One on is a somewhat different experience to the other carriers I’m used to. Instead of slipping each arm through the shoulder straps and clipping them together behind your back, the shoulder straps on the Baby Carrier One are permanently joined together. So you slip this carrier over your head. I can see this is a big advantage for a lot of dads whose big arms and limited flexibility make if difficult for them to fasten a clip between their shoulders. Anything that gets more men wearing their babies can only be a good thing, right! There’s definitely a knack to slipping it on and off gracefully. My first couple of attempts looked more like Houdini on an off day than the Olympic baby-wearer I normally consider myself to be. Remember – always remove your big hat before putting on this carrier.
The Buckles: The buckles were also unfamiliar to me. A lot of work has gone into designing these to be very secure and in that regard they’ve succeeded, but both myself and Dr Harrington had some difficulty positioning and fastening them.
The Waistband: Unlike some of BabyBjorn’s other carriers, the Baby Carrier One features a waistband. A waistband is an absolute must if you have a big toddler or a tendency towards back problems. Distributing the weight onto your hips offers much more support for your back. The waistband was belt loops to tuck away the loose ends of the straps, giving the carrier a tidy appearance.
One of the things I love most about baby-wearing is that I can breastfeed Joshi at the same time. I was disappointed to discover that the straps in front of the shoulders cover your breasts, making it very difficult to breastfeed while wearing the Baby Carrier One. We just managed, but it was uncomfortable and gave no privacy.
Is The Baby Carrier One Really ‘All You Need’?
In the promotional video and the owner’s manual the Baby Carrier One is described as “all you need,” catering for newborns through to approximately 3 years. ‘Approximately’ in this sense is taken to mean up to 15kgs/100 cm. So the Baby Carrier One is ‘all you need’ providing you intend to stop wearing your child as soon as they’re over 15kgs. This is not a particularly high limit and therefore not a particularly unique selling point. Many other manufacturer’s carriers cater for newborn through to 20kgs. I should add though, that while this was the case with Joshi’s first carrier, we still chose to buy a toddler carrier for him once he reached about 12kgs as the old one was getting too snug and his legs were getting long.
The First BabyBjorn Carrier That Enables You to Back Carry
This is the first ever carrier from BabyBjorn that enables you to carry your toddler on your back. To get your toddler onto your back you first have to put them on your front and then do a very nifty manoeuvre to slide them onto your back. (I’ll leave it to the youtube clip to demonstrate it (@ 5 minutes) rather than describe it badly here). In my opinion, this is the Baby Carrier One’s best innovation – your baby remains really secure during this manoeuvre whereas other brands leave a lot to careful balancing and gravity.
So Does The Baby Carrier One Carrier Meet The Guidelines?
So what of BabyBjorn’s work to meet the Internal Hip Dysplasia guidelines and how does this carry rate against the TICKS guidelines?
Having tried her nearly-6 months-old daughter in the Baby Carrier One, Dr Harrington agreed that BabyBjorn have made some changes that work towards meeting the International Hip Dysplasia Institute’s guidelines. However, as with BabyBjorn’s previous carriers, she said there are aspects of it which don’t meet the guidelines.
Which Guidelines Doesn’t The Baby Carrier One Meet?
1. A Carrier Should Support Your Child’s Thighs All The Way To Their Knee Joints – Hip Dysplasia Guideline
Here Dr Harrington felt that the Baby Carrier One has gone some of the way towards meeting the recommendations for healthy hips because the base support in this carrier is wider compared to their previous carriers. However, this support is only provided in the two configurations where the leg zips are fully closed. The other three configurations, which leave the leg zips open or face the baby outwards, will not support your baby in accordance with the guidelines. Dr Harrington reiterated that your baby should have:
- A wide base of support under their thighs, ideally from knee to knee
- Their legs in a supported squat position with their knees slightly higher than their hips
- Their hips at 100 – 120° inflection and 45° abduction
Of particular note, the newborn configuration is one which doesn’t meet the guideline. According to Dr Harrington, in terms of hip development, this age is the most important age to provide optimal support for your baby’s hips.
2. Your Baby’s Head Should Be Close Enough To Kiss – TICKS Guideline
When Dr Harrington put her almost 7kg daughter in the carrier, facing inwards with the height adjusted to the older ‘baby’ setting, she was unable to kiss her head. Dr Harrington then adjusted the carrier to the smaller ‘newborn’ setting. Even though her daughter is of average size for six months, she was still too low to kiss.
Dr Harrington commended BabyBjorn on the improvements that they’ve made their previous carriers but said she’d really like to see them continue to develop their carriers to better meet the previously mentioned guidelines and transition away from designs that don’t.
And overall I’d echo that. It’s great to see BabyBjorn starting to take note of the guidelines. Although something of a compromise design that still incorporates their earlier styles, it’s a move that needs to be applauded. And so, as long as it’s only used in either of the 2 configurations which support a wide-legged position for your baby or toddler, I can recommend this carrier.
You can buy the Baby Carrier One on Amazon for $128.99 using the button below.