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Hands-on Gear Review

BabyBjorn Original Review

Price:   $80.00 List | $41.39 at Amazon - 48% off
Pros:  Simple, great 0-4 mos, good 4-6 mos
Cons:  Support, few positions, not for toddler
Bottom line:  Increasingly uncomfortable >6 mos
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   BabyBjorn

The Skinny

Since the introduction of its first baby carrier in 1973, BabyBjorn has appeared to rule the marketplace when it comes to baby wearing. The BabyBjorn Original (often conversationally referred to as just the "Bjorn") has very sturdy construction with 2 carry positions: front carry facing in and front carry facing out. Lightweight and fairly compact, it's a good grab-and-go option. Nonetheless, the Baby Bjorn Original ended up toward the bottom of our rankings. The problems lie in the lack of support and below average performance with older babies age 6-36 months. This carrier pulled on our shoulders and we feel that as baby grows, lengthening the panel creates a narrower seat width which detracts from more comfortable, ergonomic positioning found in competing higher scoring carriers.


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61
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58
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56
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Cheap, uncomfortable, do not recommend

Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief
BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
June 21, 2015

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Front Carry Facing In with a newborn is a great carry position for the BabyBjorn.
Front Carry Facing In with a newborn is a great carry position for the BabyBjorn.
To start off, the BabyBjorn Original is effortless to use. It comes with clear instructions and inserting baby was no problem. Once in, baby is secure and the carrier is easy to adjust if necessary. Baby feels nice and close to us when facing in, and although we really like that baby can face out once they have the proper head control (typically about 4 months age), this carrier really is limited on comfortable positioning options for older/heavier babies and toddlers. Also, with a 25 pound weight limit, it can't handle our toddler testers, but as we've mentioned before, we really prefer wearing toddlers on our back anyway.

Likes


We had a positive experience with the Bjorn for infants 0-4 months of age. In this age and weight range baby is light, and uses the Bjorn's front carry facing in position. All the advantages of the product shine in this age range: easy to use, comfortable for both baby and parent, lightweight, and intuitive. It is primarily with older babies that we feel the Bjorn starts to fall short.

Once baby gets neck control, typically about 4 months age, they can start using the front carry facing out position. This is a great way to carry baby, and allows your young baby to see and explore surroundings. But, there is a brief honeymoon period in this position, roughly 4-6 months, before baby's weight starts to make sustained baby wearing in the BabyBjorn Original uncomfortable, and as noted in the dislikes section below, each month 6+ the Original becomes less comfortable for parent (and to a lesser degree for baby too).

The Babybjorn Original gives newborns and younger infants excellent head and neck support.
The Babybjorn Original gives newborns and younger infants excellent head and neck support.
Head support is excellent compared to some of the other carriers like the Infantino Swift Classic, especially with regard to newborns (who need it most). The head support could be adjusted easily to cradle baby's head and then folded down for forward facing.

This is a well made product with soft, 100% cotton fabric that can be thrown in the washing machine. All BabyBjorn fabrics "are approved in accordance with Oeko-Tex Standard 100, class 1 for baby products, which guarantees that they are free from harmful and allergenic substances. The fabrics also meet both European and American safety standards."

Finally, the BabyBjorn is easy to manage when out and about and can be easily folded up and stored in the diaper bag.

Dislikes


Front carry facing out with the Bjorn Original.  This position doesn't distribute baby's weight very well and allows the legs to dangle almost straight down rather than up and out in a more ergonomically correct "frog" position.
Front carry facing out with the Bjorn Original. This position doesn't distribute baby's weight very well and allows the legs to dangle almost straight down rather than up and out in a more ergonomically correct "frog" position.
One of our major dislikes of the BabyBjorn is that baby's legs tend to dangle straight down with babies 6-12+ months. Further, once baby has grown and the carrier needs to be lengthened out, the panel narrows to just 4 inches. This narrow seat is neither as ergonomic nor as comfy as carriers with wider seats, such as the Beco Baby Gemini that has a seat width of almost 13 inches. Parent user reviews commonly cite this effect, drawing concern to both hip placement and pressure placed an infant's genitals, particularly on a male infant's testicles. An infant is at most risk of developmental hip dysplasia in the first four months of life, but is not completely out of the woods until 12 months.

The most unhealthy position for the hips during infancy is when the legs are held in extension with the hips and knees straight and the legs brought together, which is the opposite of the fetal position. The risk to the hips is greater when this unhealthy position is maintained for a long time. Healthy hip positioning avoids positions that may cause or contribute to development of hip dysplasia or dislocation. - HipDysplasia.org

BabyBjorn addresses the concern regarding genitals on their website. In conjunction with medical experts, BabyBjorn tested all of their carriers with infants of various ages and weights (within labeled use) with pressure pads, and it was determined that the resultant sitting pressure was within the limits of good comfort pressure. Baby Bjorn states "The pressure on the genitals is neither harmful nor uncomfortable."

With only two options, this carrier offers very limited carry positions compared to competing products. It also lacks convenient features like a sleeping hood and storage pocket.

It is better suited to newborns and babies under 15 pounds (0-6 months age). When carrying more than 15 pounds, we didn't last more than a half hour before feeling the strain.

Conclusion


This carrier is a classic and we understand why. Even 40 years after its introduction, it remains one of the best and easiest to use carriers for infants 0-6 months age. But with so many new options available (like the Tula Ergonomic Baby and the Onya Baby Outback), we think it's a design that's lacking relative to newer competitors.

Other Versions and Accessories


BabyBjorn makes a number of other carriers. Both the BabyBjorn We and the BabyBjorn One were included in this review. Not included is the BabyBjorn Miracle which seems to have a more ergonomic design with extra back support and more adjustability.
Accessories for the BabyBjorn Original include:
  • The BabyBjorn Bib for Baby Carrier is machine washable and protects your carrier by attaching to the outer edge and providing a surface for baby to chew on.
Adrian Hogel & Juliet Spurrier, MD

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BabyGearLab Member Reviews


Most recent review: June 19, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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 (3.0)
Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 100%  (1)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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Unbiased.