(Updated August 2018)
Ergobaby set out to make a new, fresh carrier that allows baby to face in (as usual), but also allows baby to face outward in an ergonomically correct position – and they did a really nice job! Introducing the Ergobaby Four Position 360.
While I love traditional (facing-in) babywearing, sometimes? You gotta change it up a little. And babywearing is babywearing, no matter what the position.
About the Outward Facing
Unlike other carriers that allow outward facing such as the Beco Gemini, the Ergobaby 360 allows baby to be in more of a seated position, rather than in the dreaded “crotch-dangling” position (drink!).
The structured bucket seat of the 360 has more depth than other carriers and allows baby to sit comfortably with her weight resting on her bottom and her knees at the same level as her hips. For more details, watch the instructional video here.
To use the outward facing position, you just need to re-button the seat to the narrow seating position and button down the back panel so baby has enough room to see out.
The suggested window for forward-facing is 5-12 months (up to 22 lbs), which seems a bit short. I know others have used it in this position past 22 lbs and it was just fine, so… do whatever works for you.
The waistband on the 360 is a soft, wide, Velcro band. People either love it or hate it.
Personally, I love it. Here’s why: it’s super wide, soft, and you don’t have a plastic buckle digging into your skin like you do with other carriers. To me, it feels MUCH more supportive for a postpartum belly than the waistbands of other carriers, especially for C-section moms – and the wideness of the band ELIMINATES MUFFIN TOP, y’all (well, technically, your muffin top is still there, it just doesn’t… muffin-out like it does with other carriers).
That said, plenty of people hate the waistband, mainly due to the loud sound Velcro makes when taking it off, which will definitely wake a sleeping baby — and the fact that you can’t easily tighten or loosen it without taking it off. About the velcro noise: I agree it’s not ideal, but you can simply slip baby out if she’s sleeping, put her down, then go in the other room to take it off.
As baby carriers go, the 360 is slim, sleek and sexy – probably the best looking one on the market. It has a sun hood, although not nearly as large as in the traditional Ergobaby carrier. There is no storage pocket, which some people dislike, but it keeps the overall profile of the carrier fairly slim.
For newborns, you’ll need an additional newborn insert (for 7-12 lbs). However, Ergo’s new Omni 360 carrier ($179) can be used from birth (or 7 pounds) without an infant insert! (Check out our full review of the Omni 360.)
The biggest complaint you’ll read about regarding this carrier has to do with the chest clip (which, in the front carry position is really a back clip). The chest clip is supposed to rest between your shoulder blades in the back and, to clip it by yourself, they recommend that you lengthen the straps allllll the way out, reach back to clip it, then tighten the straps back up again. Many people either 1. don’t realize you can do this, or 2. feel it’s too much trouble to do this. Others don’t seem to mind or just get help from a friend.
The 360 is a “4-position” carrier: back carry, hip carry, front facing in, and front facing out (in reality, nobody uses the hip carry, but it technically can be done). Everyone loves a good back carry, especially as baby gets a little heavier.
Let’s first compare the 360 to those (apples to apples), then we’ll compare it to the traditional Ergobaby carrier (we’ve used these other carriers extensively, so there’s a lot to say!).
Vs. Other “Facing out” Carriers
Compared to the BabyBjorn Carrier One
Some pros and cons… the BabyBjorn Carrier One does not require the use of an additional newborn adapter like the 360 does (for 0-4 months). The Carrier One is also super easy to get baby in and out of (like the traditional Bjorn) and doesn’t have loud Velcro that will wake baby when taking it off.
The big downside of the Carrier One is that it lacks the deep bucket seat of the 360, which means it may not be as comfortable for baby. Additionally, the price of the 360 is lower ($159) compared to the Carrier One ($190) – and the 360 is arguably better looking.
Compared to the Lillebaby Complete
The LILLEbaby Complete has snaps instead of buttons, so adjusting it and raising the head support panel is faster and easier than with the 360. Also, you can use the LILLEbaby with a newborn without needing to buy a separate insert. The LILLEbaby also has a storage pocket and is easier to clip in the back. In the facing-in position, the LILLEbaby has a much wider, more comfortable seat for older toddlers who need more support.
Compared to the Beco Gemini
The 360 is a clear winner over the Beco Gemini. Again, the same comment about the bucket seat applies. The Beco also has a clasp that requires two hands to release the safety button on their clasps, which I really dislike.
Where the Gemini does excel is that it’s super easy to get on and off without needing “clip assistance,” especially if you criss-cross the straps in the back, which I love to do with Beco carriers.
Vs. the Original Ergobaby Carrier
The big difference, of course, is that the original Ergobaby carrier doesn’t allow a facing-out carry. If you don’t plan on using it this way, the original Ergobaby carrier is a better bet.
Again, the 360 has a smaller overall profile than the original carrier and no pocket; in that regard, it’s a simpler carrier. Many women (me included!) do prefer the wide Velcro waistband on the 360, especially those who wear more form-fitting clothes who don’t want to make the fat roll problem look even worse, lol.
Many people comment that the 360 is better than the original Ergobaby for petite women, yet can still accommodate tall parents as well. The smaller hood on the 360 means a cleaner look, which is preferred by people who think the hood on the original carrier looks a bit frumpy.
Ergobaby made a great carrier that makes it even easier for front-carry fans to come out of the closet, all while keeping baby in a very comfortable position. The carrier is simple and great looking, though not as long lasting (only goes up to 33 lbs). The wide, comfortable waistband is very supportive and slimming (almost like a back brace), though not loved by all due to the noise of the Velcro and lack of adjustability. (Note that the latest version of this carrier, the Omni 360, does away with the Velcro on the waistband.)
Thus, this carrier is ideal for those who are looking for the best forward-facing option carrier, perhaps at the sacrifice of other features, such as a storage pocket (which is included on the Omni 360), and an easy-to-fasten chest clip.
Those whose babies are already over a year old (and thus cannot utilize this feature) are better off with a carrier with a wider seat for toddlers, such as the original Ergobaby carrier or other soft structured carriers in its class.
* We received a free sample of this product for this review.