Last week I received a great question from one of my Facebook group members. She was wondering how to get a better fit for her 8-week-old baby in a soft structured carrier (carrier with buckles). After answering her question, I thought that getting a good fit in a soft structured carrier can often be tricky. But there are a few tips and tricks that can help to find a better fit for you and your baby.
Because this post ended up being quite long, I decided to turn it into a little mini-series. This first part is about how you can get a more comfortable fit for yourself and the second part will be about how to get a better fit for your baby.
If you have not joined my Facebook group yet, please head on over right away! This group is a safe space for everyone, no matter how much babywearing experience you may have! And we have lots of experienced parents in the group. It is a great place to ask questions about carriers or how to get a better fit for your current carrier.
On to some great tips and tricks now!
Tip 1: Cross the shoulder straps
Many soft structured carriers let you cross the shoulder straps. If you are unsure if your carrier has this feature, check if your shoulder straps have buckles. They are often positioned near the back panel under your arms.
If you want to cross the shoulder straps unclip the buckles first. Now place the waistband around your belly and fasten. Place your baby in the carrier and hold the back panel with your right hand over your baby’s back. Then take the right shoulder strap with your left hand and guide it over your shoulder and across your back to clip in under your left arm. Repeat this on the other side, switching hands then fasten both shoulder straps. Remember to always keep one hand on baby until both shoulder straps are tightened securely.
The advantage of crossing your shoulder straps is that the weight of your baby will be distributed more evenly across your back. If you have had some issues with your back, then you may benefit hugely from this little change! Another advantage is that you will not need to fiddle with the chest clip on your back anymore.
Tip 2: Lift and tighten the waistband
I often notice that waistbands are placed too low on the tummy. Or they are too loose and start sagging down in the front. This can become uncomfortable and potentially even unsafe for your baby if its face is between the soft tissue of breasts.
Especially if you have a newborn or still little baby you should start by placing your waistband at belly button height and tighten well. You are aiming for your baby’s head to be able to rest on your sternum (the bony part of your chest above your breasts). You also want to try and have the waistband horizontally on your tummy instead of sagging down in the front.
Wearing a baby high enough is not so much an issue for dads as they do not have those soft breasts like we mums do. Have a look at the picture above! I would say that for a woman, baby is too low in the carrier, but for a man this is perfectly fine.
Tip 3: Move the chest clip down
When the shoulder straps of a soft structured carrier feel uncomfortable, then re-positioning the chest clip (this is the little clip between the two shoulder straps which gets clipped on your back) is often the best solution.
The chest clip is often worn either too high up or too low. This is mainly, because it is quite tricky to clip it if it is right in the middle of your back. However, wearing it too high will most likely be uncomfortable or even painful. And wearing it too low might mean that the shoulder straps keep slipping off your shoulders. Not so comfortable either.
Start by checking if the chest clip is positioned right in the middle and loosen it to its full length. Then put your carrier on and see if you can reach the clip with your arms either from above or from below. If you can, perfect! Clip it together and tighten the straps. If you cannot reach your chest clip, then try the following:
Put the waistband around your tummy. Now clip your chest clip but loosen the straps and loosen the shoulder straps. Place your baby in the carrier and while keeping one hand on baby, slip the chest clip over your head and your arms into the shoulder straps. Now tighten all your straps.
Any other tips that you can think of?
Please let me know in the comments if you know of any other little tips and tricks that have helped you make your soft structured carrier more comfortable to wear.
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