Soft Structured Carrier Sizing

Purchasing a carrier is a huge investment and there are many things to take into consideration. Soft Structured Carriers (SSC) offer convenience, support and are easily accessible. Many SSC brands offer different sizes, some offer Infant, while most offer Standard and Toddler, which provide appropriate sized panel width and height.

Sizing is incredibly important with SSC’s, a carrier that is too large for the child can over-extend baby’s knees, not allowing for the “M” position. (knees above bum and carrier only going to the back of the knee) Hyper extending a child’s knees in a carrier that is too large can be incredibly painful for the child, as their weight is resting on their legs instead of their bottom.

Often we are asked “what is the best SSC”, or “I was told I NEED a such and such SSC carrier” SSC’s fit different body styles differently, what one person finds comfortable, another may not. There is a large number of SSC brands and we highly recommend trying on several carriers to see which is the most comfortable for you. There are several stores where you can try on carriers, or you can attend one of our ten monthly meetings. We would be happy to help you find a soft structured carrier that fit both individual carrying and the individual being carried appropriately.
Below we have placed a large toddler in each different soft structured carrier. The toddler’s stats are 31lbs, 38” and wears 4T clothing comfortably, she has both a long torso and long legs.

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How I learned about babywearing

When I was a mom-to-be four years ago and pregnant with my son Jensen, lots of women had advice and stories about caring for babies and raising children. People talked about sleep training, how breastfeeding didn’t work out, encouraged me to “take the epidural!” and how life would never be the same.

One seasoned mom handed me a stack of books, which included Attachment Parenting by Dr. Sears. It’s a small book and as I read it, the concepts made sense in a way I couldn’t explain. So I set out to be an attached parent.

Breastfeeding — Check
Bedding close to baby — Check
Belief in Value of Baby’s Cry — Check
Beware of Baby Trainers — Check (I prepared my arguments against it.)
Birth Bonding — Check (I hoped)
Babywearing — Um, let’s go to Babys R Us

When I was pregnant with Jensen, Baby Bjorn was all the rage. All the cool people were wearing them. I wanted to be cool. But $80 plus seemed like a lot of money at that time. In retrospect, it was good I couldn’t afford it. I learned later that there are so many different types of carriers that are more comfortable and better for the baby’s spine.

One Sunday, we were visiting our friends in Madison and after enjoying breakfast at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner, we walked to Happy Bambino. I went there with the intent of buying a Kangaroo Korner fleece pouch. I found a pretty yellow one, and put Jensen in it (he was a little more than one month old). He HATED it and cried until I took him out. So I tried a Maya Wrap ring sling. We both loved it!

Babywearing — Check! I completed the Attachment Parenting checklist!

Me and Jensen

After working all day at my job, I cooked dinner, did laundry, vacuumed and picked up clutter. Jensen sat on my hip, strapped to me with the Maya Wrap. He was peaceful and content. He didn’t want to be anywhere else and it felt nice to be close. My nanny wore him a few times, though the Maya Wrap didn’t seem to fit her perfectly. Now as an experienced mom who better understand the benefit of babywearing, I would have bought her a carrier that worked for her.

Anna was born in March 2008, and after her birth, I expanded my babywearing repertoire as I discovered local stores that sell carriers and our babywearing group. I’ve used a Moby Wrap, Catbird Baby Mei Tai and found the Ergo love. Both the mei tai and the Ergo give me the ability to have both hands available and wear her on my back. I love being able to keep her happy and get housework done! The mei tai is handy and I can easily tie her on. The Ergo is the most comfortable carrier if I’m going to wear Anna for more than an hour.

I’m happy to say that I still satisfy the requirements of Dr. Sear’s Attachment Parenting checklist:

Breastfeeding — Check
Bedding close to baby — Check
Belief in Value of Baby’s Cry — Check
Beware of Baby Trainers — Check
Birth Bonding — Check
Babywearing — Check

I look forward to seeing where my babywearing journey goes and exploring wraps.