Babywearing Part One – Soft Structured Carriers

 

In part one of the series we will be looking at “Soft Structured Carriers” (SSC). I’ve set this first in the series, because these types of carriers are the most well known and can be found in most baby stores. They can be used from newborn, most of the time (sometimes needing a newborn insert) to toddler. It can usually be fitted to either mum or dad, or can be easily adjusted for someone else.

sscphoto.jpg

While there are many SSC out there, there are some that are more highly recommended by seasoned babywearers.

A lot of brands have been nick-named “crotch danglers” as they are narrow-based carriers, some fear they are unsafe – but there is nothing wrong or unsafe about these carriers. Babywearing instructors advise that in any carrier, the baby is to be seated in an “M” position. Where their knees are higher than their bottom, and the seat of the carrier goes from the back of one knee to the back of the other knee (knee-to-knee).  This is recommended because it supports the baby’s developing hips and spine, and is thought to be much more comfortable for the baby.

If you have a narrow-based carrier that is working for you, don’t go and toss it out the window! Although if you ARE thinking you would like to support the hips a bit better, have a look at this “hack” (pictured below) using a scarf to get the legs up into the “M” position. 

bjorn hack.jpg

In addition, when using narrow-based carriers (and some other new carriers on the market) it is important to note it’s the ability to have the baby facing forward. In general, it is not optimal to have a baby facing forward, for a few reasons:

1. Depending on the carrier, it may not be as comfortable for the baby, as their spine may be arching back against the wearer as opposed to rounding forward,

2. It won’t be as comfortable for the wearer, as it will be pulling forward on their center of gravity, and

3. It is said to potentially over-stimulate young babies, as they have no way to turn away from their surroundings. 

Having said all that, carriers that are designed to face forward are not bad or unsafe. When using this option, keep in mind your comfort and the comfort of your baby. If your baby seems distressed from over stimulation, turn them inward facing again. Even the new, ‘ergonomical’ forward facing carriers, which DO have the baby seated in an “M” position, only recommend having the baby face forward for short periods of time.

 
Pros:

  • Easy to wear
  • Easily adjustable for different wearers
  • Can be used from newborn (sometimes with an insert) through to toddler
  • Most can be worn in front and back, and some even on the hip
  • Available in most local baby stores

Cons:

  • The carriers that need a newborn insert can be a bit fidgety, a bit hot in summer and won’t hold the newborn as close to the wearer as other carriers
  • While there are a lot of different soft structured carriers out there and they generally distribute the weight of a baby evenly, some people (me being one of them!) just won’t find them as comfortable as other carriers

Here are a couple of short videos:

How to get a child into a front carry position in a Manduca:

 

 

How to get your child in a back carry position in a Manduca:

 

Filed Under: BabyFamily LifeVideos

About the Author: I've been married to my husband since June 2006 - since then we've had three kids, lived in Melbourne, Rome, Canada in-between and now we are back in Melbourne! I'm a homeschooling, babywearing, cloth diapering, breastfeeding momma...who can't resist McDonalds sometimes! I blog about our daily adventures over at The Travelling Sweeneys

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