There are some carriers I have in the library because they fit a wide range of people, are very versitile and are generally brilliant. And then there are ones that are a bit different and I have because they are good for a specific situation or a particular subset. The Baby Bjorn One definitely fits into the latter catagory. It does not fit a wide range of people, it isn’t particularly versitile but there are some for whom this is the right choice.
It’s also a carrier that is asked for ALOT! Which is understandable, because it’s readily availible in high street stores and one you often see out and about. But it’s also one I see brought to troubleshooting sessions over and over again. Often its possible to tweak it and get a better fit but sometimes it just doesn’t fit well and ultimately something else ends up being better. And of those who come asking for the Bjorn One who haven’t yet bought one, the vast majority opt for something else following trying a range of different options on.
The simple fact of the matter is that the Bjorn One only fits a relatively small range of people really well. There are two main reasons for this
- The torso of the carrier is very long. The Bjorn One has a fixed panel that runs between adult and baby between the waist strap and the shoulder straps. The panel doesn’t adjust, only the shoulder straps and unfortunately this panel is very long. Generally if you are below about 5’8” (172cm) and/or have a shorter torso this panel will be too long for you. It’s still possible to wear the carrier – either by scrunching the panel or by dropping the waist belt to your hips rather than your waist but the result will be a less good fit and will be less comfortable for you the wearer. If you drop the waist band this will put more pressure on your shoulders and is likely to give you back ache, while if you scrunch the panel it will be more comfortable except that you might feel the rouched panel material against your (and your baby’s) tummies. Which is a little non-ideal. Consequently, anyone over about 5’8” tend to find this carrier far more comfortable than anyone under this height. In fact this carrier can be good option for the very tall – 6ft and over, because the shoulder straps can go pretty long and accomodate taller frames.
- The panel running between adult and baby tends to sit over breast tissue on women. This can be very uncomfortable for new mothers, particularly those who are breastfeeding.
Consequently, it is often the case that the Bjorn One works alot better for men than women. This is not an absolute, there are some taller woment who it does fit well and isn’t uncomfortable over boobs and conversely there are men for whom it doesn’t fit at all well… but it’s really not at all uncommon for couples to come to me for help with their Bjorn One baby carriers and for the dad to say he is pretty comfortable, while the mother is experiencing back pain and/or discomfort when her boobs are feeling full.
But for those who it does fit, the Bjorn can be a great choice. In particular parents who love it love it because;
- You fit the parent first and then the baby slots in after. Compared to carriers where you do the straps up around you and baby, some parents find they feel more secure getting baby in and out. This is particularly true of those who are very nervous about using a baby carrier.
- The Slide and Release buckles. While most carriers use standard buckles, the baby Bjorn have these special buckles that involve overshooting then sliding back. They then have a seperate button that needs to be pressed while sliding the buckle the otherway again. The advantage of these buckles is that because they need very specific movements they can’t be undone by mistake or by a parent who is on “autopilot” … you have to think about it! Again for nervous parents this adds to a feeling of security and safety. Although its worth saying while some parents find these buckles really inutitive to use, others find the sliding past really tricky and can’t seem to ever get the hang of them! So this is definitely a marmite feature.
- The straps are not overly padded and not too bulky on the shoulders. Which can be a draw for slimmer taller people who can find more bulky padding a bit too much.
The Baby Bjorn One offers 3 carrying positions. Baby facing parent on the front, Baby facing outwards on the front and a back carry. Although in practise, while the 2 front carrying positions are pretty straight forward, the back carry is a bit more tricky! Because of how the straps are configured, to get baby onto your back on your own you need to first place baby on your front and then get your arms out (walk like an Egyptian method – one over, one under) swizzle baby around to your back then put your arms back in. Its a mega faff, and most babies complain alot during the process! The lower waist band position of the Bjorn One also means this carry is pretty low and so its harder to monitor your little one once they are back there. Consequently, Bjorn don’t recommend the back carry position before 12 months.
However, baby can be carried on the front from 3.5kg. The one contains an built in infant insert which acts to raise the height of the baby within the carrier. The width of the carrier also adjusts through ‘locking’ zips at the bottom. In practise the carrier still feels a little large for the smallest newborns but works for most from around 6 weeks onwards. Then as baby grows the infant insert can be unzipped, and the zippered base can be made incrementially wider so the carrier can grow with baby. Generally speaking it fits baby reasonably well up till about 18 months give or take. However, many parents move on from this carrier earlier than that (more like 11-15 months ish), simply because front carrying becomes heavy and many parents struggle to back carry with the One. So instead they often move onto a bigger carrier than is easier to get baby onto the back with.
The forward facing carry can be used once baby has full neck control and is tall enough that their face fully clears the top of the carrier. Unfortunately, a hip carry position isn’t really possible because of how the straps are configured.
Another thing to consider is the material – Bjorn has a number of finishes for this carrier but the standard one at least is pretty rigid and not entirely soft! Many parents don’t like how “hard” it feels for a newborn. However, this is something Bjorn have improved on and their newest models are softer and they do also offer a mesh which is softer and lighter and some parents prefer for this reason.
Finally – do consider if you think you’d like to breastfeed in a carrier. Because the Bjorn has material running between you and baby, it is extremely hard to breast feed in this sling without taking it off first because part of the carrier sits over the boobs.
All in all the Baby Bjorn One can be a good option for parents with longer straighter/flatter torsos and particularly those who are more nervous about babywearing but it is very worth trying on before you buy, and comparing to a few other brands as it certainly doesn’t fit everyone. It works well from around 6 weeks to somewhere between 1 year and 18 months, which is a smaller age range than many of its main competitors and at a cost of £139 it is maybe not quite as good value for money as other similar carriers from brands such as Ergo and Beco.