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Ergobaby was created in 2002 by new mum Karin Frost and it’s quickly climbed the ranks as a brand to beat when it comes to creating excellent-quality baby carriers that parents love.
With its soft feel and straightforward design, the brand’s Embrace Carrier picked up Gold in the 2020 MFM Awards in the Baby carrier under £85 category.
Like the company’s other carriers, the Embrace is ergonomically-designed and is acknowledged by the international Hip Dysplasia Institute as being ‘hip healthy’. The soft structured carrier supports your baby in the natural sitting position and evenly distributes their weight. There are three carry modes and all are in the front position – newborn mode, outwards facing and inwards facing. It’s suitable from birth until 11.3kg, which is around 1 year.
It comes in four understated yet chic colours: Pure Black, Heather Grey, Burgundy and Oxford Blue. It also combines a couple of aspects from the brand’s other carriers such as the soft fabric and closeness of the Aura Wrap (£45.95 on Amazon) but the ability to carry an older baby in an outward facing position like the Omni 360.
And as with all Ergobaby Carriers, it comes with the ErgoPromise, a 10-year Guarantee to replace you carrier or parts without charge should you find a defect.
Freire and her partner tested the Ergobaby Embrace with their daughter from birth on walks during lockdown and later in art galleries, running errands, at home, trips to the shops and the park.
What are your first impressions of the Ergobaby Embrace?
It’s made from lovely soft fabric and has an easy three-buckle design that gives the security of a sturdy carrier but with the feel of a wrap sling.
How do other similar carriers compare?
At £79.90, the Ergobaby Embrace is in the same price range as the Sleepy Nico Baby Carrier, £83, which strikes a similar balance between structure and comfort, but the Sleepy Nico’s age range is much wider, as it’s suitable from 3 months to 3 years. The straps are slightly more structured than the Ergobaby Embrace and it has a built-in hood. It’s also made from 100% cotton compared to the Ergobaby’s stretch jersey fabric, made from a polyester mix.
The BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Mini (£72.67 on Amazon) is a slightly pricier option at £84.99, and it has a more conventional carrier design, but it’s available in a stretch jersey (as well as 3D mesh and cotton), which gives it a similar feel to the Ergobaby Embrace. It also has the same carry options as the Ergobaby and the same age range (birth to approx. 1 year). Both carriers cross over at the back to hold your baby in place, although the BabyBjorn looks a slightly simpler to put on – with the straps already crossed over, you simply hook them over your shoulders, in comparison to the Ergobaby, which is manually crossed over.
The Close Caboo + Cotton Blend Baby Carrier is another product that mixes the structure of a conventional carrier and the softness of a sling perfectly. It’s cheaper at £64.99, but its age range is slightly longer, with a weight suitability of 2.27kg to 14.5kg compared to the Ergobaby Embrace’s 3.2kg to 11.3kg, making it more suitable for smaller newborns. It has no buckles, but instead, features a wide strap that can be tightened.
What age can the Ergobaby Embrace carrier be used for?
The Embrace can be used from birth with a minimum weight requirement of 7lbs/3.2kg and minimum height of 20in/50.8cm up to 25lbs/11.3kg, which is roughly 12 months. It really excels at being used for your baby’s first few months – our daughter, although long for her age, fitted snuggly at the ‘kissable height’.
Do you think this age range is suitable?
Our daughter has grown into the carrier well, but it seems a little too snug now even though she’s still well under the maximum measurements at 8 months. This concern that the carrier feels slightly too small to accommodate bigger babies and those heading towards the maximum height and weight limit is echoed in a handful of online reviews for the carrier, from shoppers who wanted to be able to use it for longer.
How easy is it to put on and take off the Ergobaby Embrace carrier?
The Embrace is very easy to put on and take off with just three buckles to secure. You don’t need any other attachments to go between newborn to baby seating modes, you just need to fold the waistband in twice. There are handy visual instructions on the waist belt and on the inside of the carrier labelled A and B for the different seating modes to make sure that you have baby at the right height and that the shoulder straps are crossed.
If you’re still struggling, the Ergobaby website has all the instructions you need along with helpful video tutorials for each seating position.
The MFM 2020 Awards home testers really rated just how easy the Ergobaby Embrace was to use and pop on, with one commenting just how safe and secure her baby felt inside.
Is it easy to put your child into the Ergobaby Embrace carrier?
Yes. You can either put your baby in the carrier while you’re standing, or – if you’re feeling nervous – sitting. But either way, it’s very easy to handle the carrier and your baby at the same time. Once you’ve fastened the waist belt, you just need to keep one hand on your baby while the other puts the straps in place so you can buckle up.
What are the Ergobaby Embrace carrier shoulder straps like?
The shoulder straps are wonderfully lightweight. The design allows them to be spread out across your shoulders for more support when the carrier is in newborn and baby facing-in positions. With your baby is facing out you don’t need to spread the straps.
Additionally, support comes from the cross-shoulder design. The only glitch we encountered, and I wonder if this is because we are tall parents, is that the straps tended to ride up our backs instead of staying put, spread over the shoulders.
What are the buckles like?
With just three plastic buckles, the ease of use made the Embrace a very appealing carrier. You have a large buckle on the waist belt and then two small buckles at either side of the torso panel. The buckles are very sturdy, sliding into place and easy to release, you just need a little force to put the larger buckle on the waist belt into place.
As our daughter has gotten older and more inquisitive, especially around plastic or anything that dangles, you do need to make sure that wandering little fingers stay out of the way when using the side buckles.
The buckles were also a big hit for both online shoppers and the MFM Awards home testers, many of which loved the satisfyingly loud ‘click’ noise when in place.
What are the seating positions like on the Ergobaby Embrace carrier?
The Embrace has three front seating positions, including: newborn mode (facing in, but with the waistband folded twice so the carrier’s back panel is shortened and the seat width narrowed), facing inwards in baby mode, and then facing outwards.
Are there height restrictions for the different seating positions?
Yes. The newborn mode is the first position you use, then once your baby is over 58cm (roughly two months), you can sit them in baby mode, facing in, so there’s no need to fold the waistband at this stage. Once your baby is around 5 to 6 months (at least 66cm tall) and has good head and neck control, you can use the facing out position.
I was impressed at the thought and consideration that had gone into one carrier being able to do all this without extra components or difficult instructions and switching between the modes is very simple.
Is the Ergobaby Embrace carrier ergonomic?
Yes – Ergobaby were actually one of the first carrier brands to offer ergonomically-designed baby carriers. As with all Ergobaby carriers, it’s designed to support your baby’s natural sitting position and specifically allows your baby to sit in the ‘M’ position. It’s also been deemed a ‘hip healthy’ product by the international Hip Dysplasia Institute, which is also hugely reassuring.
Obviously, you must follow the instructions, so your baby’s bottom is positioned correctly and their hips are rotated to get the C-shaped spine position, plus their legs are in the spread-squat M-position. It’s easy enough to position, even if you have to readjust whilst wearing the carrier.
Does it follow the TICKS guidelines?
Yes it follows the TICKS guidelines for carrying your baby.
Is the Ergobaby Embrace carrier comfy for you?
We found the Embrace to be hugely effective for carrying our baby comfortably for long periods of time. The two-layer jersey fabric makes it snuggly soft and it’s padded in just the right places; neck support for your baby and the waistband for you. As I’d had a C-section, my partner wore the carrier for the first couple of months and also found it very comfy for both him and our daughter.
Comfort for the wearer is another overriding theme on Amazon, where the Ergobaby Embrace is rated 4.6 out of 5 and has over a hundred 5-star reviews. The soft jersey fabric and gentle structure is a winner with shoppers who comment that the carrier feels sturdy yet snug.
Is it comfy for your baby?
We used the carrier from when our daughter was a newborn until she was bigger and she always seemed very comfy and happy. The padded neckline – another favourite feature of online shoppers – gave her additional head support as a newborn and again the fabric gives the support but with the lightest touch.
What is the sizing of the Ergobaby Embrace carrier like?
The carrier caters to the majority of parental sizes with the website specifying a range from XS to XXL. As both my partner and I are over six foot and average build the carrier fitted just right, adjusting to us perfectly without feeling too large or small.
In general, BabyBjorn carriers are suitable for wearers ranging between S to XL, while the Close Caboo + Cotton Blend Baby Carrier says ‘one size fits most’.
Because the Ergobaby Embrace can accommodate a variety of parental sizes there was inevitably excess webbing that could get caught on things, but there are handy elastic loops so you can neatly roll up and secure any surplus, making it both comfy and practical.
Can you breastfeed while wearing the Ergobaby Embrace?
It’s possible to breastfeed in the carrier and this should be done while seated. You just need to loosen the shoulder straps to lower baby to your breast and then reposition your baby afterwards by tightening and adjusting the shoulder straps again.
Is it durable?
The structural integrity of the carrier is very durable but like any carrier that is used regularly, over time the fabric does start to show wear by bobbling.
Is the Ergobaby Embrace easy to clean?
Yes, it’s machine washable at 30°C. The manufacturer recommends that you put the carrier in a pillowcase and, as with washing your baby clothes, you should use a mild detergent.
How does it compare to other carriers you have used?
The Ergobaby Embrace is less bulky than other buckle-based carriers I’ve tried and less fiddly than a wrap sling. As a first-time parent, its design and versatility appealed, offering a combination of sitting options without complicated fittings.
Many online reviewers also loved the genius combination of an easy-to-use carrier with the closeness of a sling. Brilliantly, it combines the best elements of both.
Is it good value for money?
The carrier is pricier than other similar carriers and it has a shorter lifespan, but what it does do, it does so excellently. If you’re not planning on extended babywearing, you’ll be hard pushed to find something as snuggly yet supportive. Plus, its ergonomic, ‘hip healthy’ design makes it worth every penny.
What features do you love most about the Ergobaby Embrace?
It’s ergonomic, which gives you peace of mind your baby’s growing body isn’t compromised. I also love how it’s been made with small babies in mind – as its name suggests, the Embrace gives you a very close and comfortable carrying experience for your baby’s first days.
The stretchy, yet supportive, lightweight knit fabric mean the Embrace is snuggly and comfortable. It works in all seasons; as our little one was a winter baby we used it in the colder months, and it worked well, yet the fabric’s breathability means it doesn’t get clammy in the warmer months.
The carrier’s three carrying options are very easy to switch between, a must for a first-time parent.
Where can I buy the ERGObaby Embrace carrier?
It is available to buy from Amazon, John Lewis and Mamas & Papas
A cosy, reassuring and comfy carrier that cleverly blends the closeness of a fabric sling with the security of a carrier. Its easy-to-use quick release buckles and the ability to swiftly switch between seat modes are a new parent’s dream, while the carrier’s soft yet structured design is a worthy rival to more premium products in the market.