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Wearing Your Baby: Soft Structured Carriers

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We have created a series of blog posts to educate and inform you on the various carrying options available, safety tips, and tutorials for using them. This is Part One! Part Two covers wrap carriers and slings.

Part One of our Babywearing Series will be focused on soft structured baby carriers. With the booming popularity of baby wearing, and soft structured carriers, often referred to as a ‘buckle carrier’, we thought it would be helpful to give you a little breakdown on how they work, and what to look for in the search to find one that best suits you and your needs.

Soft Structured Carrier

A ‘soft structured carrier’ (SSC), is a baby carrier that carries baby in an ergonomically / physiologically correct position for the baby, and the person wearing the baby as well. Most SSC carriers on the market offer the option to wear baby on the front (facing in and/or out), on the back and sometimes on the hip.

Many people, especially dads, love the simplicity of a SSC as opposed to the learning curve that comes with a wrap or ring sling. The lure of a simple ‘load, click and go’, with very little to fuss with, is very attractive and easy for almost anyone to learn and love.

Benefits of Babywearing

Include baby in your daily activities, while having your hands free to perform other tasks.

There's no better feeling than having baby close for both them and you.

Crowded Areas:
Have you been to a summer festival or amusement park and tried to push a stroller through it? Not always very fun, especially if your child is feeling anxious or unsure of the surroundings. Being able to comfortably maneuver through crowded situations with your child kept close and secure is priceless and much better on the stress levels.

Nursing and Feeding On the Go:
It is possible! It takes a little bit of practice, but once you get the hang of nursing in a baby carrier, it’s a complete game-changer.

Include Dad too:
Soft Structured Carriers are very easy to wear that even Dad will want to get in on it!

Safe Babywearing Tips 

  • TIGHT: Slings and carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. 

  • IN VIEW AT ALL TIMES: You should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. 

  • CLOSE ENOUGH TO KISS: Your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as comfortable. 

  • KEEP CHIN TO CHEST: A baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing. 

  • SUPPORTED BACK: In an upright carrier, a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in its natural position, and their tummy and chest are against you. 

Determining the Right Carrier for You

Who will be wearing the baby?

Take into consideration the size of those wearing it and the adjustability of the carriers you are looking at.

    How long will you use the carrier?

    Are you planning on only using it during the newborn/small baby stage, or is this something you would like to last all the way into 2+ years old? Take a look at the weight limits of the carrier, how high the panel comes up or adjusts as your child gets taller and the width of the seat of the carrier. A narrower seat and lower panel may fit an older child, but it may not always be as comfortable long term. 

      What kind of carrying options do you want?

      Are you wanting to face inwards AND outwards? Would you like to eventually be able to do a back carry? Do you like the idea of having a hip carry as an option? Keep in mind that it is NOT recommended to have your baby facing outwards in a carrier until they have full head control, typically 4-6 months, depending on the baby. 

        What kind of accessories would you like with your carrier?

        Do you like the idea of a hood to support baby’s head while sleeping, or to use for privacy while nursing in your carrier? Would you like to add drool pads to the straps for when your baby is older and sucking on the fabric? There are also weather shields/covers and bags that attach to store keys/wallet etc. 

          What is your budget for purchasing a new carrier? 

          Think about how much you are going to use it, and how much money you are comfortable investing in a product.

          Sizing and fit vary greatly between each carrier so trying a few on really does help in deciding which one is right for you. Head into your closest Snuggle Bugz store and try the carriers on for yourself. We have a large variety of ‘demo models’ of popular carriers, and our associates are always happy to help show you how to use them and try them out. Make sure though to call the store ahead of time if you have a specific one you are interested in to see if we have that one available to try.

          Haleigh Ryan

          Mom & Entrepreneur

          Haleigh Ryan is a Canadian mama to an energetic toddler named Callahan. Her passion for all things baby led her to start a career as a buyer at Snuggle Bugz, where she would later become a team member in the marketing department. This experience led Haleigh to start a couple brands that cater towards mamas with similar interests and styles to her own — enter Pip + Phee & Baja Baby.  

          Haleigh has a degree in child development & psychology and did her post-graduate studies in business. 

          When Haleigh isn’t hard at work, she is travelling with her little one and her husband, Jordan, who is a professional hockey player. 

          More about Haleigh Ryan