Saturday, September 11, 2010

Zephyr Art PA: Beco versus Ergo ( The gift of HANDS!!!)

The Beco Butterfly 2 that my friends gave me.
Olga and Carol Spaulding didn't quite realize the gift they were giving me when they gave me my Beco baby carrier.  I was with Olga when she insisted on buying it at the Jillian's Drawers open house in Ithaca, NY... and I tried to talk her out of it.  It seemed a little expensive for something I might only use once or twice.  What I didn't realize was that she was actually giving me the gift of my HANDS.
After Anyka was born I immediately had reason to try out my new carrier.  I had open mic to host with Jakob's Hollow, art projects that needed to be completed and various things that required the use of both hands.  I was delighted to find that using the infant insert in the Beco allowed my baby to ride snuggly and safely strapped to my belly... and she LIKED it.  

The Ergo baby Carrier for Kristina.


I used my carrier to keep my baby close during several of our summer concerts, strapped onto friends and family while we played and then strapped onto myself in between stage times, and was very glad to have it during the summer art camp that Olga and I taught.  The Beco was so useful in fact, I decided my sister in law, Kristina, needed one for Anyka's 'twin cousin' Enoch.  (Enoch is just a few short weeks younger than Anyka.)  Yesterday I happened upon this Ergo baby carrier though and thought... 'Hey, I wonder if this works as well as my Beco.'  I couldn't resist getting it and comparing the two... and then I thought some of you busy, always on the move, hand needing moms might be interested in my findings.

Back of the Ergo
Back of the Beco
Both carriers hold my baby safely and securely.  As you can see, the back straps position themselves differently. The Beco strap sits higher across the shoulder blades and, if not adjusted properly, can cause some discomfort after several hours of carrying.  The Beco is fully adjustable though and most problems are solved by adjusting it differently.  This could be a negative for some users... you definitely need to watch the videos demonstrating how to use your Beco.  The Ergo seems to be something you can just throw on and go, after a quick peek at the written instructions or a glance at the illustrations.  
(Written instructions and videos can be found on each carrier website. or )
Also, if you can see in the photos, the Ergo's waist buckle hooks on the side and the Beco's hooks in the back.  I found it easier to hook the side buckle and wish that my Beco had this feature.  Overall, the Ergo probably gets higher marks in initial ease of use.  I find both carriers allow you quite an array of adjustments though, for those of you that have 'little mamas' that always want to hold the baby.  I would feel comfortable strapping either on my almost eight year old daughter.
Secure holding time.
  One of the best features, of course, is that both of these carriers are absolutely hands free.

  Depending on your baby you might also be able to use your carrier 'insert free' by their second month.  Anyka is two months old now and riding without her insert.  (A quick note, the Beco comes with the infant insert and the Ergo infant insert needs to be purchased separately.)  The Ergo has the top of her body exposed from her armpits up and the Beco still cradles her against me.  She seems to be more secure in the Beco at this age and still falls quickly asleep. (She has always, so far, fallen fast asleep in her Beco, making me think it is quite comfortable.)  The Ergo carrier makes her feel more adventurous.  She can see out better and she is less restrained.  She doesn't seem as apt to go to sleep in it.  As she gets older I think the Beco will have the same results.  The head rest folds down for older babies...

Head rest up...
Head rest down...

Both carriers have rain/sun/nursing hoods.  You can see the Ergo's in the photos, tucked into the top of the front pocket.  The Beco has a slit in the front of its waistband that you use for storage and it is hidden away.  Both carriers say that you can use these hoods to nurse discretely but I have not tried that.  The style shirts I wear I need to lift up and they are always tucked so tightly into the carrier it would be ridiculously difficult to nurse.  I think it would be MORE difficult to nurse out of the Beco though because there is a fabric panel between you and your baby- put there to make it possible to transfer baby from person to person without removing the baby from the pack.  A nice feature, by the way.  I think if you didn't have to pull your shirt up to nurse you might actually be able to nurse out of the Ergo without much difficulty.  (Does anybody have any experience with 'carrier nursing' and do you think that one carrier makes it easier than another?)
I have to mention, because I have wished for such a thing on my Beco carrier, the Ergo has a storage pocket, on the front, that zips .  It is underneath the rain/sun/nursing hood pocket and is a nice size.  You could tuck your wallet and a burp cloth into your carrier and go.  I think you might even be able to fit a spare diaper.  I will have to ask Kristina what she is able to carry once she uses it a while.  I can barely tuck some spare cash into the slit on my waste band and I am always afraid it is going to fall out.  A pocket would be nice.

The Beco carriers are, in my opinion, beautiful.  The Ergo carriers are not unattractive, they are just not designed in as visually pleasing a way as the Beco.  Many artists, I am sure, choose the Beco over the Ergo just because the Beco looks better.  It is truly a fashion accessory.  The Ergo is a little more utilitarian in appearance and would probably be the first choice of the male parent. :)  Here's the front of my Beco...
I guess I would have to say, in summation, I really like both of these carriers.  They are both safe, secure, attractive, high quality, durable packs and either would be worth the $150 odd bucks they might cost.  It's my opinion they are worth the investment, especially if you could use them for multiple children.  They feel just different enough it might be nice to have both and use them at different times... maybe one for mom (Beco, or a particularly cute Ergo) and one for dad (Ergo, or Beco in black).   If you have the option to give them a test drive (some stores, like Jillian's Drawers, allow you to try out different carriers then purchase the one you like) it would be worth the time.  I hope this has all been helpful.  The Ergo is easier to use, easier to get in and out of and easier to figure out, is less restrictive to baby, has the little storage pocket and might be more comfortable between your shoulder blades.  The Beco is more streamlined, prettier, there is more of a selection, it seems to be more adjustable, can curl up to make a 'shelf' on your hip for a toddler (check this out on their website), and you can transfer baby between two people while baby remains in the carrier.  The nicest thing is that both carriers leave your hands free while they snuggle your baby close to you, leaving his or her little head kissably close and right where you can smell their delicious baby scent!  
Eppie and Anyka using their Beco baby carrier.


  1. love it. the lilababy (or however you spell it is great too

  2. Is the lilababy a sling? I actually think the slings can be as beautiful as the Beco carriers. I have never tried one but think I would like them.
    By the way, don't I look like a giant next to my tiny fridge, little door and low ceiling? :)