This is going to be the first of several "All About" posts about a particular type of commonly used baby carriers. I WANT HELP with pictures, comments and tricks to each brand you have experience with, how to use it properly, different carry options, and more! So please offer input to help supplement my information.
First up, soft structured carriers (SSCs)! SSCs are the baby carriers you see with buckles. There are easily a hundred different SSCs available on the market today and they're not all the same at all. Each brand has differences in body size, strap and waist length, padding, materials, hoods, webbing, structure, and more. If one SSC doesn't feel comfortable to you, there may very well be another SSC that's different that solves your problem. People loves SSCs because they're easy to use the first time with little knowledge and it's easy to find certain brands in stores. On the flip side, a SSC that works well with a newborn does not work well with a toddler and vise versa. There aren't many different ways to carry with most SSC either (pretty much limited to a basic front carry, back carry, and for some a hip carry). Also keep in mind that not all SSCs will work for very petite mamas and plus size mamas (though there are SSCs available for each). My favorite part about SSCs though? How easy they are to use with back carries!
SSC Brands: (if you reply below with info about a certain SSC I'll add it to the list and link to your post!)
Ergo - more info 1, more info 2, more info 3, more info 4 (pics from newborn on up in different positions!)
Bjorn and Infantino (see this post and this post for more information about choosing one from these brands that work better than others)
Olives & Applesauce
KinderPack (part of KinderCarry)
Action Baby Carrier
Oh Snap (by BabyHawk)
SSC Brand Comparison - google docs, not complete but still very useful
Back carry with a 2 year old ("superman toss" method)
Back carry with an older baby (hip scoot method)
Back carry using a SSC with an internal harness
"Circus flip" for a back carry (forgive how scattered I look. )
Older baby on back - hip scoot WITH the carrier
Last edited by alwayssmile; 10-28-2012 at 06:19 PM.
~Jackie, mommy to Aiden (11/2/10) and Zoe (VBAC 11/27/12)
Oh, how I love my Bamberoo. It's even my husband's top choice of carriers that have come through this house.
Edit's site: http://bamberoobaby.com/
She makes several different sizes (from smallest to biggest) baby, transitional, standard, and toddler. Do know that they are generously sized and even her baby sized SSCs are not meant for babies smaller than 4 months (at 14 months DS still uses her baby size!). However, they're great for older baby through preschool wearing.
Things that I love: much cuter with better fabric choices than others (she even makes customs!), more of the waist is padded than the Ergo (so less webbing used across my middle which means less of my fat is noticeable lol), some of her carriers are REVERSIBLE (that's right, turn it around and wear with a different fabric facing out!), extremely comfortable for DH and I both, some have a solarveil fabric panel (more on that later), we have never had an issue getting DS seated properly in it, and you can find them used easily for cheaper than new (they should last through several kids each!)
Thing that I don't like: it's pricy (if you follow her on Facebook, she occasionally posts deals on there), they're not available in stores, and sometimes you have to wait to buy a carrier because she's out of stock.
So up first is one with a solarveil panel. Solarveil is a material that is very cool to the baby and it helps block sun's rays better than regular cotton making it a good choice for HOT climates.
(do y'all like how I've posted this picture here twice now and that isn't even my husband?! )
In the above picture you can see how despite being a baby sized carrier, it's still a big carrier. DS was about 5 months. He was enjoying a great nap while DH did some dishes.
Note that the lower you wear a carrier (any mei tai or SSC), the more the baby will sink into it. So when I wore DS at 5 months, his head easily popped out of the carrier since I wear him higher than DH did in the above photo.
This is a baby sized B'roo SSC. I just took these pictures, so DS is just shy of 14 months in them.
Last edited by alwayssmile; 12-29-2011 at 08:18 PM.
APLXs are great light weight carriers!
Angle Packs are a "one size" SSC. Website claims that it works great for 10-40 pounds.
Things I like about them: Very lightweight at about 1-2lbs!, not hot for baby, fits petite women well and regular sized men can use it too usually without issues, works well with babies less than 6 months since it has a narrow body, it does have a taller body than the Ergo so it good for kids who like to lean, the hood is detachable and can slip into an inner pocket when not using it, easy to find online (at at great deals at times!), and I REALLY like how when used for a front carry you can cross the straps across your back which is way more comfortable for a lot of people than wearing it "backpack" style on the front.
What I didn't like: Very narrow body so there's no way it could support a toddler knee to knee like I get out of other carriers, not a great fit for plus sized parents (I've heard that it's not comfortable even if it does technically fit for larger parents).
We had one stay here for a few months. We bought it to use mainly for back carries, so I don't have any front carry photos.
DS at 4 months on DH's back:
DS at 5.5 months on my back:
Last edited by alwayssmile; 12-29-2011 at 05:11 PM.
We have an Olives&Applesauce SSC. Website is here: http://www.olivesandapplesauce.com/ I wear my DD (12 months) in this all the time in a front carry (she's ~18lbs) When DS was ~20lbs I switched to a back carry mostly because he was tall enough to enjoy being on my back more. DD is so short and petite, not sure when I'll switch her to a back carry on a regular basis.
here is a pic of DS when he was 9 months:
For a front carry that the straps cross on your back (LOVE THIS)
The infant insert is sewn in but never gets in the way once you stop using it
the hood is adjustable by pulling on the pully things (no idea what to call these!)
it says to spot clean, but mine has been in the washing machine and came out just fine
there are beautiful patterns to choose from
The shoulder straps are comfy and I can wear this carrier for hours without discomfort
I wish was different/don't like:
the "hood" does not detach, and can sometimes annoy me
I'm a larger woman (XL currently) and I think if you were wearing 1x you might be okay but this carrier would be uncomfortable for a 2x size woman
Came across a pic of DD in it that I forgot I had on photobucket! She's 9 months here and managed to get her arm above which is a big no-no, but wanted to share anyway!
Last edited by tink9702; 12-29-2011 at 08:33 PM.
Ethan - June 21, 2009
Olivia - December 5, 2010
5w3d - October/November 2012
I've heard such great things about O&As! Thanks so much for sharing!
I have a love and a hate to share.
Love: Ergo. I have to admit, I was kind of resistant to the idea of them, mainly because everyone kept raving and I am stubborn/suspicious of the "must have" thing (and I didn't think they were very cute)--plus SSCs are expensive, and I was all about the DIY wraps and slings. But then my SIL gave me her old hand me down Ergo and...man. It was so easy to put on and take off--a major plus for me since my DD was always pretty whiny about being held parent-facing for long--and it was super comfortable. I still use it on occasion, even though DD is around 28 pounds and my back is not strong. Plus, their customer service is very good. One of the buckles snapped (it had been through 3 kids at this point) and they sent me a new one for free, no problem.
Here we are at a pumpkin-picking thing a couple of months ago. DD is about 15 months, I think. Sorry she's giving you the stink eye
Hate: Beco. It's really too bad, because they are very cute...but I hated it. I registered for and received an organic Beco Butterfly 2. It was crazy expensive and I was very excited about it...we wore it twice, I think. It had insanely complicated straps that required two hands to open/close, and forget about adjusting it...plus it wasn't very comfortable. The fabric was hot and scratchy, the straps were on the thin side, so they cut uncomfortably after a very short time...all in all, I was extremely disappointed and ended up selling it on Craigslist after I got the Ergo and realized how much better a SSC could be!
Here's just about the only time we ever REALLY wore it (DD is about 4 months old):
P.S. I love your Bamberoo green elephant carrier!!
Added some pics After I found this pic of us in the Beco and read my comments from the time, I realized that maybe my comment here about the straps being thin wasn't really fair...that part was OK. The Ergo was just SO much more comfortable in comparison, across the board.
Awesome! And yes, Ergos are ugly. People dye them and do all kinds of stuff to them all the time to pretty them up.
I personally never had a desire for a SSC with an internal harness. I felt it would make carries more complicated for me. Of course I was already doing front and back carries in a mei tai before I got my first SSC, so I was already used to not having one. Until recently I didn't realize how dang complicated those straps are for opening and closing. Two hands?! Once adjusted to my "sweet spot" I rarely ever open and close my SSC strap buckles, but when necessary at least I can do it with one hand! And it's such a strange placement to me since the majority of raved about SSCs have them in a different place. My favorite SSCs have it where you can adjust the straps TWO ways, not just one too. Interesting differences.