Motherhood

Babywearing in Japan – Carrier or Wrap?

Tokyo is the city of trains and subway systems so therefore I am CONSTANTLY babywearing when I’m out of the house. We have a stroller as well but I only use it for trips around the neighborhood. The carrier is just so much more convenient. On the train, you don’t have to worry about the wheels getting stuck as you get on and off, or finding the notoriously hard to find elevator that may or may not exist (which will hopefully improve by the 2020 Olympics…). Heck I even took baby home from the hospital in the carrier! Before you ask, yes it’s legal here (I was shocked too).

I’ve found that in Tokyo it’s not a question of whether or not you should baby wear, but which type of baby wearing device you should invest in, because they aren’t cheap! Read on to hear my two cents on the Ergo Baby 360 and Solly Baby Wrap!

Carrier: Ergo Baby 360 

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The benefits of the Ergo Baby carrier are many, and that’s probably why you see 95% of the Japanese parent population using this brand. It’s by far the most popular carrier and you can buy it in Akachan Honpo and Babies R Us, although it’s a bit pricier than in the States. I’ve been using the Ergo Baby 360 since Asahi was 3 weeks old because that’s when we bought it. I used the infant insert until he was about 3 months old and then took it out and just used the normal seat. Some of the reasons I like the Ergo are:

  • It’s easy to get on and off and you can walk around with the waist attached and it will not need adjusting when you put the baby back in
  • It feels quite secure for the baby and you know he will never fall out. The baby’s head is also supported by the back of the carrier
  • You can wear the baby forward facing, facing you, on the side, or on the back so there’s lots of options
  • The Ergo grows with baby and can be used until your baby reaches 45 lbs (20kg)
  • It has a hood you can pull over the baby’s head to protect them from the rain or sun or even just to limit distractions
  • You can breastfeed in it!

The only thing I don’t particularly like about the Ergo is it’s size. It tends to feel quite bulky, especially under a jacket. The straps tend to make you look like a linebacker, at least on me! I realize how you look is not the most important thing but when you wear something every day that covers your entire torso, it’s kind of impossible to not consider it! I also find that even with the breathable mesh, my back tends to get sweaty from the support panel. That doesn’t bode well for the hot summer months coming up! Additionally, sometimes I feel like the seat is slightly too wide for baby’s little legs. I know it will be fine as he grows but right now I’m not sure how comfortable it is for him.

Wrap: Solly Baby Wrap

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As much as I love my Ergo, I also love my wrap! I’ve only just started using it more since baby can now hold his head up consistently. Wraps are definitely not as popular here as I thought they would be. Some of the reasons why I love the wrap are:

  • You can use it from birth! I actually brought Asahi home from the hospital in the wrap.
  • It lies flat against your shirt so it’s not so intrusive. I feel like I can actually have personal style when I wear the wrap!
  • I feel more connected to baby when I wear it. He lies close to my chest and when I rub his back there’s only a piece of fabric between my hand and him which I love.
  • The fabric can be adjusted to fit his legs comfortably and I don’t worry that he is being stretched too wide.
  • It’s comfortable! My back doesn’t hurt when I wear it and I feel like it is more of a part of me than the Ergo since it is so light.
  • The fabric of the Solly Baby Wrap is lightweight so it will be perfect to use in the hot summer.
  • You can breastfeed in it as well!

There’s only a few things I don’t particularly like about the wrap. First, when Asahi couldn’t hold his head up, I didn’t feel like he was that secure in the wrap. When he was awake, I had to stabilize his head whereas the Ergo does that for you. When he was asleep, of course the wrap could support his head but while awake it wasn’t so convenient for going out and about as I couldn’t be hands free. Now that he can hold his head up without support this isn’t an issue anymore. Second, it is more difficult to put on than the Ergo because it simply takes longer. But, once you get the hang of it it really isn’t that much of a problem. Lastly, the Solly wrap is only recommended to be used for babies up to 25 lbs (11kg). However, my five month old is only 7kg so I can still use the wrap for a while!

Overall, I think both products are super useful if you are going to be baby wearing every day! They are both investment pieces and I’ve gotten so much use out of them in the last five months. I would recommend both of them fully! What are your favorite baby wearing products?

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