Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ergo v. Beco Gemini v. Ring Sling v. Mei Tai v. Kinderpack

Shortly after I had Emma I invested in an Ergo Baby Carrier. I remember the day I got it in the mail and immediately tried it on and put Emma in it. She loved it! I loved it!

...It was a match made in heaven! I used the Ergo up until I got pregnant with Molly and would often carry Emma in the back carry. She called it her "backpack". (Honestly, she would probably still fit in it if we let her--and had the muscles to do it).

Enter can't just throw an infant into Ergo. Ergo sells an Infant Insert for the carrier which I eventually purchased after Molly was a couple months old. Before that, I would roll a blanket up and stick her in that way. She was never a fan. I did use a Moby-like wrap with her in the mean time which she liked, but eventually she got too heavy for that and would sag further and further down the longer I wore her in it.

So...I was reading a blog one day and this blogger mentioned how she loved her Beco Gemini...and one of the main reasons she liked it was that you could adjust the width at the seat of the carrier for the baby to face out.

ding, ding, ding....we have a winner

That is exactly what I needed for Molly. A width adjustable seat so she can face out when wanting to face out and face in when she wanted to face in. When she was still pretty little, every time I would face her in she would want to facing her out was a good option so I wasn't sitting there trying to convince her she wasn't that hungry. Also, with a smaller baby, adjusting the width of the seat is good when you face them in. An itty bitty can't straddle very well and the width of the base of the seat in most soft structured carriers is very wide (which is a good thing when facing in).

So what's the point of this post...I want to compare the two carriers and tell y'all what I like and dislike about each--just in case somebody googles and is trying to make up their mind on which carrier to get (although I will tell you right now--if you are rich--just buy both, m'kay?).

Here is my best attempt at trying to get my thoughts on paper:
~Gemini is cuter as far as fabric choices, etc.
~Ergo is better for a bigger baby. The Gemini is just more petite all around.
~Gemini is better for a smaller baby
~Ergo's straps are better for when you are wearing the carrier and not carrying the baby in it (which happens when the baby just needs to stretch, diaper change, etc.). When the straps of the Gemini are un-done, they drag on the ground--which is also not cool when strapping the baby on in a public place and you don't want the straps to touch the ground--say in a bathroom or something. Yuck!
~Ergo has a pocket attached to it for keys, pacis, etc.--the Gemini has no pockets
~Gemini has a flap to cover the baby's head when she is sleeping--it's okay--it just sort of covers the back of the head. Molly does like to use it has a head rest and sort of lounge--so that is cool. Ergo has a big hood cover that covers the baby's head completely--that is more practical--and very handy when you nurse the baby in the carrier.
~While I like Ergo's straps better when you are wearing the carrier but not the baby--I like the Gemini's straps better when you are wearing the baby. I really like how they cross in the back. With the Ergo, you put the straps on and then have to reach behind your back to secure the clip so the straps don't fall off your shoulders--that is very hard!
~The main reason I got the Gemini was for the option to face Molly out. She went through a period where she really liked facing out and seeing the world around her. What makes that possible are the width adjusting flaps on the seat of the carrier. You can flap them in and snap them to face out OR to carry an infant facing in (wish I had this in the early days with Molly since she didn't like the Ergo insert). But, the bigger Molly gets, those flaps are starting to be a slight disadvantage. When they are flapped out, the base still seems narrower than the Ergo. I believe proper babywearing calls for the carrier to support the baby's legs up to the back of their knee. The Ergo provides full coverage up to the back of her knee so her knees are raised up higher than her hiney.

I can already tell that the Ergo is going to serve us more long term than the Gemini will. I am keeping the Gemini in my arsenal of Molly-things just for the fact that it will let her face out--although she is starting to get so long that my legs hit her feet with every step I take. Oh...and the cuteness factor--the Gemini is cute!

Here is my snuggle-bug in the Gemini. See how the straps cross in the back? LOVE it! See the flap--it's not so much a hood. See how the base isn't so wide even with the flaps flapped out? She will probably outgrow this carrier pretty soon.

But see how excited she is to face out? :) And look at that cute print!

Ha! This is the only picture I have of Molly in the Ergo--you can barely see it. I will work on getting a full frontal of Molly in the Ergo and another better one of her in the Gemini and will put them side by side--so y'all can see what I'm talking about.

I hope this post was helpful to someone! Like I said....if money isn't an issue--get both! You won't be disappointed with either!

**update 7/10/12**
I see this post has gotten lots of traffic.  That's fun!  Now that Molly is older I wanted to do a little update.  We no longer use the Gemini.  She is 14.5 months and just a little above average in size.  The base of the Gemini goes to just the mid-point of her upper legs--not the backs of her knees.  I can't believe how fast she outgrew it.  The Ergo is still going strong and she fits in it perfectly.  She is not a fan of the back carry and it gets a little hot to carry her on the front during the summer I invested in a ring sling.    LOVE it!  I have only done the hip carry.  Once you get a ring sling, it opens up a whole can of baby-carrier worms.  There are ring slings, wraps, wrap conversion ring slings (WCRS), etc.  The fabric is what makes it so amazing.  It is so soft, light and airy and perfect for hot summer days.  Molly gets all snuggled up and comfy in, it's pretty, huh?  I wish I had gotten one when Molly was smaller/younger.  Apparently breast feeding in one of these is so easy and convenient.  So right now my stash is the Ergo and the ring sling...both are great in their own respects.  The Ergo is fast to put on and put baby in for the quick trip into Target.  The ring sling is great for the hip carry and less hot for the summer days...and also pretty to look at! 

See how comfy she is?  Her bum is lower than her knees and she is close to mama :)  All is well in the world!

**update 12/4/12**
Alright...I'm thinking this will be the last update.  Ha!  
Since the Beco (Gemini), Ergo and Ring Sling (RS), my babywearing world has been expanded.  I was dabbling in it with the ring sling, but jumped feet first once I discovered all the other carrier options out there!  You see, Molly had outgrown the Gemini so we were using the Ergo and RS.  I joined a babywearing swap group on Facebook and discovered there were way more carrier options.  Most die-hard babywearers wrap their baby.  I wanted to find the wrap love so I figured I would start with a Mei Tai (MT).  Those have the body of a soft structured carrier (SSC), i.e. Ergo but the straps wrap and tie like a wrap.  I liked it in theory, but Molly and I are not patient babywearers/wrappers, so that didn't work for us.  It took too long to get her in and out of it--and when you have a busy toddler who wants to get down and play, it's not very practical.  Also, the straps are so long, they touch the ground as you're wrapping...that's a no go in public in my book.  Yuck!  I'm sure with practice, I would be able to do it without them touching, but again, I need immediate satisfaction.  So out went the Mei Tai.  I failed to mention that I sold the RS, Ergo and Gemini to fund the after I sold the MT I was carrier-less.  No fun!

After the MT experience, I realized Molly and I are SSC girls all the way so I just needed to figure out which SSC to get...there is a whole world of SSC's out there beyond the Ergo and Gemini.  After much research on the internet I finally decided to get a Kinderpack.  This is a work-at-home-mom which made me even more happy to support her and buy her product.  I ordered the standard size, but after getting it in the mail and taking it for a test drive, I decided to upgrade to the toddler size (she has a detailed description of her sizes on her web site here).  Melissa at Kindercarry was amazing to work with and provided wonderful customer service.  She swapped out my standard for a toddler no questions asked.  I was without a carrier for just a few days.

I can't say enough about the Kinderpack.  It is a top quality, amazing carrier.  It is functional for us, VERY comfortable--most comfortable carrier I've ever had, and comes in cute prints!  I had a hard time picking out which one they were all so cute.  This will be our one and only carrier and will last us until Molly doesn't want to be carried anymore--or until she reaches 50 lbs.  Yes....50 lbs.  That is the weight limit for all Kinderpacks.  Talk about a carrier that will last you forever!  Melissa at Kindercarry also has a preschool size carrier but I'm thinking the toddler is plenty big--and I don't plan on wearing Molly too long into her preschool years. 
This is Molly in the standard size.  We have upgraded to the toddler size and she has much more room to grow.
So...there is my carrier run-down.  I didn't think I would be updating this post so many times when I first typed it up...but like I said above, this post has gotten second to the most views on my entire blog so I figure somebody is reading it--and maybe even finding it helpful in their carrier decision making.  I wish I had the funds to have several carriers at my finger tips when deciding what to wear Molly in...but I just don't.  That's why the Kinderpack is such a great carrier for us.  One and DONE!  As you can see, carrier needs change as your baby grows.  If we ever have another, I would probably invest in a wrap because newborns don't need to be put down.  Just wrap that baby up and go!  There is also a newborn size Kinderpack--so I would probably go with one of those, too. 

Here's a little collage I put together to compare the standard KP to the toddler KP.  I would have found this very helpful in buying my Kinderpack.  This is me and my little girl.  She's in a standard on the left and a toddler on the right.  Both have standard straps.  In this picture she is 21 months, 26ish lbs and 31.5" tall.  As you can see, the difference isn't huge, but just enough.

Comment here if you have any questions!  I would love to help you in your decision making process in picking out a carrier for your baby :) 


GinH said...

I absolutely agree with everything you said about these two. I also have the Butterfly in addition to these two and I looooved it for teeny tiny baby. I'm eager to try the Gemini with a tiny baby. Another thing I dislike about Gemini compared to the other two is that it doesn't wrap up easily. The straps are so long an awkward just in general. Have you tried side carry yet? We do that a lot.

(LOOOOVE the new layout! I want to do a bunting in my next header!)

cara said...

Thanks for taking the time to write out your thoughts and experiences! This post was super helpful in trying to figure out which carrier to try next for my baby :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this-- I have been looking for a really good comparison review of the different carriers! I love my Moby but it gets too hot to wear and my husband won't use it (he's intimidated by it). I like the idea of the mei tai and ergo. I'm definitely going to check out the kinder pack.t

Profesora Tonda said...

Great post! I would love to try that kinderpack... Just wanted to mention that there is a way to use the Beco Gemini without the straps dangling down. I used to think the same thing about how dirty it was when they fell down, so I investigated how to use that elasticky band. This kinda helped me:

Laurel Moring said...

This post was REALLY helpful in my deciding between the Beco and Ergo. Thank you!

Roxana Dinca said...

Thanks for your info. super helpful

Bella Barrows said...

Just curious, did you like the standard or toddler KP better? I wasn't sure based on how you wrote that.