What is a soft-structured carrier (SSC)? Is it the same thing as a buckle carrier? As a first time parent or caregiver dipping toes into the world of wearing, it can feel like a whole new language to learn. What’s an Ergo? Bjorn? Those are companies that make SSCs, they aren’t necessarily the names of the carriers themselves. Most SSCs have in common a padded waistband and shoulder straps and buckles. Some come with hoods, front pockets, adjustable seats, infant inserts, perfect-fit-adjusters (PFAs), etc. Below we’re going to talk about safety when wearing a SSC, how to wear a SSC, and some special features of SSCs.
First things first. Safety. No matter if you’re wearing a newborn or a toddler, safety first. Below is a graphic that details panel heights on the back of a child to give you a visual of where the top of a SSC panel should be.
When fitting for a SSC, make sure the ABCs of wearing are met.
Front, Back, and Hip Carrying
Soft-structured carriers have options for front, back, and/or hip carrying. Below are video tutorials demonstrating the options!
How to Front Carry in a SSC
[4 minute 34 second no voice audio video with captioned text of a white woman demonstrating a front and back carry using a SSC and demonstration doll.]
How to Front/Forward Face Out (FFO) in a SSC
Some SSCs are made for the option of front/forward facing out (FFO).
[3 minute 53 second video without audio of a brown skin woman demonstrating a forward facing out carry with a baby and green SSC.]
Some times wearing the baby in front can make it challenging to reach and buckle that chest clip in back. Here are a tips and tricks to make it easier!
[2 minute 34 second silent video of a white woman demonstrating how to buckle the chest clip of a SSC in a front carry.]
How to Back Carry in a SSC
[2 minute 28 second video with voice audio and closed captioning of a brown skin woman demonstrating a back carry in a SSC with a baby]
How to Hip Carry in a SSC
[4 minute 26 second video with voice audio and closed captioning of a white woman demonstrating a hip carry using a SSC with a baby.]
How to Tandem Babywear in SSCs
Some days, wearing two children simultaneously is needed. Tandem babywearing can be done using two different types of carriers. Below are a few options involving use of SSCs.
[6 minute 12 second no voice audio video of a brown skin woman demonstrating tandem babywearing with two twin toddlers using two SSCs.]
[3 minute 50 second silent video of a brown skin woman demonstrating ndem babywearing with two children of different ages using two SSCs.]
[4 minute 16 second video with audio and closed captioning of a white woman demonstrating tandem babywearing with a stretchy wrap and a SSC with a baby and a toddler.]
There are some SSCs made to get wet! A little splashing with the big kids while out with your little one can make it more fun for everyone. It isn’t recommended to go boating or swimming while wearing but splash pads and getting out the hose are cool options!
Here are a few carriers designed to get wet (not comprehensive):
- Boba Air
- Connecta Solar
No Additional Infant Insert Needed
Many SSCs are great options for newborn through toddlerhood. Some come with infant inserts that are detachable, while others have ones sewn in. To read more about the importance of using an infant insert, check out our blog post: “Newborn Insert” by Babywearing International of the Twin Cities. Some SSCs have inserts built in or an adjustable seat! Check out the list below (not comprehensive):
- Beco Gemini
- Catbird Pikkolo
- ErgoBaby Adapt
- ErgoBaby Omni
- Fidella Fusion
- Lenny Lamb Lenny Up
- Lillebaby Complete
- Soul AnoonA
- Tula Free to Grow
If you have any questions about babywearing, we encourage you to contact us and/or come learn in person at one of our meetings! Check out our Instagram @BabywearingTwinCities and our Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Babywearingtwincities/).
Images have image descriptions in the alternative text accessible to those who use screen readers.