No insert, they said. Yeah, right! I thought, but out of the box I thought a bit differently. Leah from Babes in Arms promised me I'd like testing this out, and she wasn't wrong!
Like the Kokadi Flip, Ergo has used the magic of velcro to make a customisable seat and remove the need for a PITA infant insert. I can already see this becoming the most popular ergo on the market.
This has some great features - safety elastics, adjustable height chest strap, crossable straight straps, lumbar support panel which works for front and back carries, generous webbing and the highly adjustable body panel and seat which allow the broad suitability of this carrier: 3.2-20kgs or 7-45lbs. Babes in Arms has a great rundown on features.
I tried it out with three size models: a 3.5kg baby, an 8kg baby, and a 17kg 4yo.
The inside of the waistband shows you where to place the velcro and the width of the seat according to the height of your child. The seat can be made as narrow as 27cms and as wide as 40 cms. Don't make my error - I thought the cms listed were the seat width, but they're actually the height of the child for whom that seat is appropriate. Some tape measure work and a more through look at the instruction booklet sorted me out.
Made most narrow for my 4kg demo doll. The seat of the carrier is then made more shallow by using the tapes with press studs to cinch the body and boost baby inside the body panel a little.
I needed to cross the straps at the back to get a really snug fit using my smallest doll. You can see that the waist band is close to my natural waist to keep baby high and tight on my torso.
I've used the snaps on their smallest setting to ensure baby's legs can swing freely.
Ergo also shows the carrier with the neck support folded inward and secured through the straps for very young babies. I don't love the look and feel of this, as I feel it could restrict baby's head movement, but if baby has little head control and you feel the extra security would benefit you, the carrier can be used in that way.
At the other end of the weight spectrum, I spread the seat out to it's maximum 40 cms and Audrey hopped up. At 17 kgs a couple weeks shy of her 4th birthday, she was pretty comfortable and in no hurry to get down. We did take this for a walk later and it was even better with crossed straps, but no complaints here about comfort.
The lumbar support panel is fantastic as far as spreading the pressure of the webbing a little and keeping my spine supported. I think it also helps the waistband stay as level as possible and avoid the riding up that can occur if a waistband isn't properly secured. I like that it's comfortable when back carrying, too.
I really like the seat design - it's a deep bucket seat that makes it virtually impossible to get a bad seat. This is especially useful when back carrying and needing to really bounce a kid down. I like the straps - they're not overly wide and not as bulky as Tula straps. Being able to cross them is a huge benefit to petite wearers. I would encourage you to check the strap length will work for you- the padded section is about 60 cms from the top button on the body panel to the tightest buckle setting. If you need your shoulder straps to cinch smaller than this in a back carry then you'll need to cross them in front. My verdict: super easy to adjust, MUCH better than faffing about with an insert, and actually fits as per specs - my small demo baby could be carried safely and snugly, and my big kid was just as secure. Get your hands on one!