Which Soft-structured Baby Carrier is Better: Ergo or Beco?



I have an Ergo and a Beco Butterfly II, both of which I love and use regularly. I often get asked by friends and family which carrier is better. More specifically, I often get asked, if I only could have one baby carrier, which one would I choose: the Ergo or the Beco?

The truth is, I bought the Ergo and Beco at the same time more than 4 years ago with every intention of keeping one of them and returning the other. But soon after my purchases, I got pregnant again and was very sick, which prevented me from test driving either carrier with my one-year-old. Months passed and my husband kept asking me when I was going to return one. I never did. And many years later, I'm glad I didn't. Because in some situations, I prefer the Ergo, and in others, the Beco.

But what if you really can only afford to purchase one? Which one is better?

Honestly, I can't make that decision for you, but I can tell you how they are different, and when I prefer to use each carrier. If you have almost no experience with soft structured baby carriers, try watching a few of these videos first to familiarize yourself with the Ergo and Beco so you'll know what I'm talking about:

Beco
Ergo

And now on to my description and comparison of the Beco and Ergo baby carriers.




Beco Butterfly 2 Baby Carrier

Has an an internal harness, which means an additional piece of fabric between you and the baby that the Ergo does not have. 

Takes a little longer to put on and take off than the Ergo. 

Narrower and higher bodice: supports neck of young babies well, but makes it difficult for older baby to have arms out and over back of carrier (this can be a pro or a con). 

More comfortable, especially during long carries - this is related to the internal harness, I believe, which helps keep the weight very close to your body, and also makes the carrier more adjustable (you can adjust the depth of the pocket where baby sits as well as how tight that little pocket is to your body). Sometimes when using the Beco instead of the Ergo for the first time in a month or more, I am surprised by how much more comfortable it is than the Ergo, particularly for a front carry with a heavy baby.

Easier back carries for beginners for two reasons: 1. The internal harness, which holds baby securely as you switch baby from front carry to back carry; and 2. It is possible to put the baby in the carrier first and then put on the baby like a backpack. 

Comes with infant insert, but I find I can wear baby comfortably without it at a few weeks old. Because of additional piece of fabric, baby does not have to open legs wide in order to use the carrier without the insert. Baby can put legs straight down (similar to how legs hang down in the Baby Bjorn) between your body and the waist belt until she is comfortable using the side holes.

A little trickier to transfer a baby from the carrier to a bed or car seat than with the Ergo. You can take carrier off and lay baby down still within carrier on a bed. Since I swaddle my young babies, I almost never lay the baby down in the carrier. And, of course, leaving the baby within the carrier does not work when you need to strap the baby into a car seat.

Comes with removable narrow hood. I almost always leave mine attached (attaches with very strong snaps) so that I don't lose it, but the carrier does look cuter without it. There is a small little pocket at the base of the carrier (back of waist belt) where the hood can be stashed. I usually use that area for shoving my keys, although the little compartment is like a tube open on both ends so I make sure whatever I put in there (socks, hat, tissues, keys) is wedged in securely. The hood is narrower than the Ergo hood. This means less protection from sun and inclement weather, but also means that my babies are more likely to let me use it to protect them from the sun when they are awake because they can still see easily out both sides. This is important because it is quite difficult to put a hat on a baby while she is on your back, and my babies often take off their hats and toss them on the ground.

A little warmer. I am almost always hot when I'm nursing. When I'm nursing, my favorite temperature is 60. The Beco is not significantly warmer, but that additional piece of fabric between you and baby does make is a bit warmer, and on days above 80, that does factor into my decision about which carrier I'll use.

More stylish. The Beco is definitely cuter, sleeker, and less bulky than the Ergo. Cuter fabrics too. Just a better looking design, in my opinion.

Made in USA and China. Made of regular or organic cotton with polyester fill.




Very fast on and off.

Shorter and wider bodice. Not as much neck support for young babies, but allows older babies to have arms above and outside bodice. This also means that baby/ toddler sometimes leans way back away from your body, which is not comfortable.

Not as comfortable as the Beco, especially for long carries. But still far more comfortable than the Baby Bjorn and many other carriers.

Infant insert sold separately. The Heart 2 Heart infant insert essentially holds baby in swaddle position and allows baby's legs to hang straight down like the Beco. You can also use Ergo without insert for infants by letting baby sit on legs froggy style, but my babies have not liked being in this position for extended periods.

Easy to transfer baby from carrier to bed. With the infant insert, I would often swaddle the baby first, then put the baby in the infant insert, then in the Ergo. Once the baby was asleep, I would take off Ergo and insert while supporting baby and then lay her on the bed. You can also lay the baby down on top of the carrier and/or insert (without taking her out of carrier and/or insert) while swaddled.

Large non-removable hood. The hood can be tucked into a pocket on the back of the carrier when not in use. The large hood provides excellent protection from sun and rain, but it is so large that my babies do not like to have it on when they are awake. Which means if it is sunny and they are awake, I usually put on a hat with a strap.

The Ergo also has a pocket that zips closed on the back of the carrier (same location but separate compartment from where you store the hood). This pocket is extremely handy for carrying keys and other very small items. But it also makes the carrier bulkier and less attractive. The Ergo also has a bunch of accessories (pouches, backpacks) that can be attached to the carrier for additional storage capacity. Personally, I've never felt the need for additional storage. If I need more than my car keys, I most often wear a small over-the-shoulder purse over my carrier.

Also can be used for a side carry. I tried this once while trying the carrier at a store. But it requires switching around the straps in such a way that it is not convenient to switch back and forth between the regular front/back carry and the side carry, so I never use this. Also, I imagine the side carry is kind of hard on your back.

Easier to nurse in. Truth is, I never nurse my baby in a carrier. My babies just seem to be too long too soon for this to be comfortable for me. You can nurse a baby in either the Ergo or the Beco, but the additional piece of fabric with the Beco makes it a bit trickier, and also harder to pull back down your shirt when you are done. If you pull down your shirt to nurse, or have openings for nursing, I imagine there would be no issue.

Perhaps better for larger frames/ dads. Although I have several very petite friends who use Ergos without any complaints.

Made in China. Made of cotton or organic cotton and filled with cotton batting (body), EVA foam (waist strap), "premium" foam (shoulder straps). Ergo's straps are more padded and bulkier than Beco's. I have no strong preference as far as comfort goes. However, I am not a fan of polyurethane foam, period, and prefer the polyester fill that Beco uses. I haven't found anything definitive on whether Ergo's foam has flame retardant treatment (although I happened upon this while googling). As a general rule, I assume foam has been treated. Your baby probably will suck on your straps (mine have). I try to remember to use sucking pads with the Ergo. The base of the strap, where baby is most likely to be sucking, has no padding.


So,
  • Going for a walk or just working around the house with a newborn baby: Beco
  • Wearing a young baby for a nap: Beco
  • Back carry with a 5-month-old: Beco.  Life gets so much easier when you can put the baby on your back. To me the Beco is worth its weight in gold just for those 2 months (5 to 6 months) when I feel comfortable using the Beco but not yet the Ergo for back carries. The Beco is less scary to switch front to back because the baby is sandwiched between two pieces of fabric and the taller bodice also provides more neck support for a still slightly wobbly baby.
  • Long hike: Beco
  • Shopping with a 4-month-old: Beco
  • Shopping with a 9-month-old: Ergo 
  • With any aged baby, rocking/ walking the baby to sleep in the baby carrier with the intention of transferring the baby to a bed once completely asleep: Ergo
  • Older baby at the park, with many possible ins and outs for swing ride, diaper changes, eating: Ergo
  • Going to the park, and may need to nurse baby to sleep and then immediately put baby into carrier to sleep: Ergo (nurse with carrier already fastened around waist, and then you only have to pull straps up and clip once baby is asleep and positioned correctly)
  • Dad will be wearing baby: Ergo

In a nutshell: 
  • The Beco is more comfortable and more secure (especially for back carries), but a little more time-consuming to put on and off. For the first 6 months, I always grab the Beco, except for a brief carry to get the baby to sleep before laying her on the bed.
  • The Ergo is a little less comfortable than the Beco, particularly during long carries, but faster and simpler to take off and put on. I usually grab the Ergo from 9 months onward for anything but the long (hour-plus) carries. And the baby goes on my back whenever possible. 

Of course, there are lots of other carriers out there. I love the Moby for carrying a newborn, but find it too bulky and hot, as well as time-consuming to put on most of the time. I have ring slings and pouch slings, which fold up so compactly and can be stowed so nicely in a diaper bag, but could never make them work with my chunky babies. Lots of folks love the Baby Bjorn. I found mine to be totally uncomfortable when my baby was just a few months old. Some people say their babies refuse to face inward (Ergo and Beco Butterfly II both face baby inward), but, in my experience, if you never face the baby outward, she doesn't know the difference and doesn't complain. Note that Beco also has a new carrier called the Gemini, which allows for front outward facing and side carries, in addition to the regular inward facing front and back carries. I have no experience with this carrier. Ergo also now sells a Sport carrier and Performance carrier in addition to their Original carrier. They appear to have minor differences related to length of straps, pocket and hood. 

Other useful comparisons of soft-structured baby carriers:
Carrier Comparison Chart by The Portable Baby
Compare Baby Buckle Carriers by Carry Me Away


What is your favorite  baby carrier?



10 comments:

  1. I still prefer and would suggest a sling, particularly a woven wrap, that you tie yourself on your body, giving you a perfect feel of the baby and balance needed, having your attention to age specific details. I think it is also more natural way of carrying a baby, and you can tie it in many varieties- front, back, hip, cradle carry, closer ties for very young babies, easier ties for toddlers preferring going in and out of the sling. Since it is not pre-tied and has no nonadjustable or hard parts, it's healthy for your back and correctly tied healthy for the physical and emotional development of the baby.
    Thinking of environment I believe slings are very eco friendly, especially if you choose the organic option. It serves very well and for very long time and uses comparatively less resources than other baby carriers.
    Have you tried using a sling instead of a carrier?
    All the best from us on green carpet!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your input, On Green Carpet. Never could make the sling work for me. Soft structured carriers do mimic certain traditional carriers (mei-teis and other Asian fabric carriers), but are easier to put on and off for those who don't have carriers as part of their cultural traditional knowledge, I think. I'm not convinced that a sling could ever be the most comfortable for me since it's only over one shoulder. I really like having the weight distributed over two shoulders. I think any all-fabric (no plastic) organic wrap -- whether sling or mei tei style -- is probably as eco-friendly as you can get.

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  2. Hi again! Thanks for your prompt reply!
    mei-tais and ring slings are on one shoulder and since I have serious back problems since my teenage years I'd never use them. I'm convinced that carrying is better distributed over two shoulders definitely! That is why I use the wrap.
    A wrap is a long piece of fabric wound around you and the baby. There are a ton of different lengths, types and ways to use the wrap, and the idea is to balance the baby weight equally on your body rather than just one or two pressure points.
    I have one of Natibaby slings, take a look on their offer, there are also pictures of parents carrying little ones- http://www.natibaby.eu/category/woven-wraps .
    Many of the slings on market like Natibaby come with detailed, pictured, step by step instructions. My culture is also not the one of babywearing, in Latvia and even UK you won't see that many mothers babywearing, but the trend is slowly growing now. So I can vouch that it doesn't really matter where you're from ;)
    http://ongreencarpet.blogspot.com/2012/10/green-travelling-for-us-and-baby.html here's me with Emily on my back while cycling, for example.
    I hope it will encourage you and other moms to give it a try too :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, that sounds like what a Moby is like. I love the Moby for a newborn -- so feel so snuggly and cozy in there (very womb-like), but they are a little hot for me. I suppose I could look into a lighter-weight fabric. I have a good friend still using her Moby around 1 year, but she is from a tropical country and almost never feels hot.

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  3. I've been wanting to get an Ergo, having never heard of a Becco until now. I'm torn! LOL! I used a sling with my first, which was great until he got over 20 lbs.
    The Becco sure does look nice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Honestly, either one is great. But having used both, I would find it difficult myself to pick just one...Comfort or convenience???

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  4. I have both an ergo and a moby. When my babes were very small, I always used the moby, and then when my oldest started getting bigger I put her in the ergo. My younger went into the ergo earlier than my older - perhaps because I needed to be able to grab any running toddlers, and a back carrier is easier for that :-) These are the only two carriers I have ever used, and I love them both!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely agree. Baby carriers (and esp. back carries) have made taking care of the older child so much easier. I'm grateful I didn't have to chase after my little boy while negotiating a stroller -- I never would have been able to take him for walks. So much easier to put my older ones in and out of the swing at the park with a back carry.

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  5. I had a Beco and I tried an Ergo, and I preferred the Beco. However, my favourite was really the mei tai. I have several, and even made and sold them myself for a time. With my son, though, I mostly reached for my Kozy. It has a nice tall body, which you can roll up for little ones but which will work well for toddlers. Plus, it's more affordable than either the Ergo or the Beco.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you feel like the mei tei was warmer? They kind of tie on like a Moby, right? I'll have to check out the Kozy. More affordable sounds good : )

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