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I have been a huge fan of babywearing since Ransom was a newborn (why does it seem like that was forever ago?!), so I am incredibly excited to be partnering with Ergobaby to review their latest forward facing baby carrier, the Omni 360! Ergobaby gave me this product to try, but all opinions are my own.
Like I said, I have been babywearing since Ransom was a teeny, tiny little thing. I was finishing up my last semester of grad school when he arrived and babywearing was one of the main reasons that I was able to balance graduate work and caring for a newborn... and managed to complete the semester with a 4.0! I simply snuggled Ransom up in a baby carrier and he would sleep peacefully on my chest for hours while I was in class or doing homework (ahhhh... that newborn stage when he slept for hours and hours). I could even mastered breastfeeding discretely in class without having to take him out of the carrier. He spent the majority of the first few months of his life in a baby carrier, both for the convenience of it and because I just couldn't bear to put my precious little babe down (and he liked the snuggles too).
We tried a few different types of baby carriers, including wraps and ring slings, but ultimately fell in love with our Ergobaby 360: it seemed to provide more stability, had a greater variety of possible carrying positions, and had a quicker learning curve, which was especially important for my husband who got frustrated trying to figure out a ring sling. And the Ergobaby holds up to approximately 33lbs, meaning that we can still carry Ransom (who will be turning 3 in January) in it!
So, Ergobaby recently released the Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier. What's the difference between the original 360 and the Omni 360? Is it really worth upgrading to the Omni? After almost 3 years of being a loyal Ergo 360-er, I wondered the same things! Here are my thoughts after spending some time using the Omni.
So here is the Ergobaby 360 in black with the Ergobaby Omni 360 below it in khaki green. They both come in multiple color options. I honestly wasn't too sure about the khaki green at first, but it's really grown on me: makes me feel like I'm ready for an adventure every time I strap my little guy on my back ;) Besides the obvious color difference, there doesn't initially appear to be that much that is different about the two carriers though, so I'll highlight a few of the changes that you see in the Omni.
One of the first differences is the adjustable waistband. With the original 360, the waistband (pictured in the top photo) was an adjustable velcro closure that could be tightened more with the adjustable strap. That system worked fine, but let me tell you: velcro is LOUD when you're trying to unstrap it to transfer a sleeping baby out of the carrier. The Omni has a wider, padded waistband (wider = better support) that clips instead of velcros and adjusts bilaterally. That might not seem like a huge deal, but when Ransom was tiny there were a lot of days that he would only fall asleep in the carrier only to then be awoken by the sound of the velcro. Not to mention that it's hard to keep velcro looking fresh and clean when you literally take your Ergobaby EVERYWHERE you go. The wider waistband does feel a little more supportive than the original 360, but it's a little difficult to judge that at the moment, since I'm wearing the carrier differently than I'm used to due to my pregnancy.
Here's a closer look at the new waistband. Wider, more supportive, and quiet ;)
Both of the carriers come with attached hoods to cover up baby's head when needed. This is a really useful feature, whether to protect your little one from the weather, give you a little extra privacy while breastfeeding, or to give them a little more peace while he/she is sleeping. I know Ransom would often prefer sleeping with the hood up. Bonus: it helps to keep germy stranger's hands away from your babe!
Both of the hoods serve the same purpose, but the design does differ slightly between the original 360 and the Omni. The original 360 has a little zipper pouch that the hood can roll up into and then be closed, while the Omni has an open pocket to put the hood into. I personally found that the zipper on the original tended to get stuck on the hood. The Omni hood also looks a little sleeker. Small changes, but looks and functionality go a long way when you're using something as much as we use our Ergobaby.
The Ergobaby Omni has a new feature with a removable pouch that attaches to the waistband. If fanny packs aren't really your thing, I get it, but let me just say how convenient it is when you can just throw your phone, wallet, and keys in there and complete your grocery store or target run with your hands completely free! I can only imagine how much this is going to come in handy when baby girl decides to arrive and I'm wearing her AND chasing a toddler.
Probably the biggest difference between the original 360 and the Omni is that there's no need for a newborn insert with the Omni. As you can see in the photo above, you can easily adjust the size of the carrier with the velcro at the base of the carrier. By adjusting them to the smallest setting, you can safely and snuggly carry your newborn. Or, you can adjust it to the widest setting (as shown above), to carry your toddler. This change alone makes the Omni a superior carrier, in my opinion, as it takes away the need to purchase a separate newborn insert and gives you a carrier that truly lasts from day 1 to year 3 with your baby.
While many of the changes between the two carriers were small, they were all things that I had wished were different about the original 360. The more supportive and velcro-free waistband, the sleek and easy-to-use hood, the waist pouch, and the ability to use the carrier on it's own for a newborn make the Omni the best carrier for me, hands down. But if you're still not convinced, here are some action shots of me and my sister testing out the Omni while exploring downtown Cleveland.... with a 34 lbs toddler in tow.
Being in my third trimester, I figured my belly would be too big to comfortably wear a toddler, but the Omni turned out to be really comfortable for a back carry. I just had to secure the waistband above my bump and we were ready to go! If you're pregnant and you feel comfortable continuing to babywear, you can try a back carry with the waistband above or below your bump (of course, be sure to check with your doctor or healthcare provider first to make sure that this is safe for your body, your baby, and your unique pregnancy).
Ransom and I walked all over the city of Cleveland in the Omni. I think we logged almost 10 miles that day! The back carry was the only carry that I could comfortably try at this point in my pregnancy, but I'm very excited to try more carrying positions with Ransom AND baby girl when she arrives. Who knows, maybe I'll even experiment with tandem babywearing with the Ergobaby 360 and the Ergobaby Omni 360? If so, I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!
My sister, who doesn't have a big pregnant belly, was able to wear Ransom in a front carry, which he preferred over the back carry as nap time approached. She said that it was very comfortable and that she barely noticed that she was carrying a tall, heavy toddler!
Ransom and I were definitely impressed with the Ergobaby Omni 360 and have already recommended it to several expecting friends and family members! We genuinely love our newest baby carrier and I am so, SO excited to have the Omni for Ransom and our new baby.
If you'd like to check out Ergobaby carriers, whether the original 360 or the Omni, make sure to use my special discount code jo8KbuYBBM to take 10% off of your purchase!
Have you tried the new Omni carrier? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.