Babywearing Hampton Roads

Keeping caregivers and children close since 2013

Carry of the Month: Soft Structured Carrier (SSC) – Part II (Front Carry)

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Front Carry in an SSC

Last week we introduced soft structured carriers and this week we’ll talk about how to use them in a front carry and while nursing. First, you’ll want to buckle the waist belt.  Go ahead and adjust the length so it’s nice and snug, but not too tight that it’s uncomfortable.  

Next, get your baby and position them in the seat.  While holding their body (usually you’ll use your hand and forearm to support their back and/or head/neck if they’re small), reach down and place one strap over your shoulder.  Support your baby while reaching for the second strap as well. 

We briefly discussed infant inserts last week.  If you have specific questions, please be sure to ask.

Finally, reach behind you and clip the support strap/chest clip.

Baby should be positioned such that her legs are in a nice ‘M’ shape, her head and face is visible, and her back and neck are supported.  Young babies will normally be arms in while an older baby or toddler may be large enough to have their arms out.  Also, a young baby in an infant insert would most likely be ‘froggied’ in the carrier so their feet may not be hanging down as our demo baby’s are in the photos.

A few things to note: 
It’s important that baby’s feet never be tucked in the waist strap.  This is considered incorrect and unsafe.  
Most ergonomic carriers do not have a front facing option.  Always read your manual for safe babywearing options.  A carrier that does not specifically state that it can be used for front facing out should never be used for such.

Nursing in an SSC

Nursing in an SSC is best for babies who have head control and/or are around 4-5 months.  Nursing will be upright most of the time, unless you’re sitting – in which case you can make more adjustments with the straps.  You will want to loosen the waist buckle just a bit so it sits slightly lower on the hip area.  Be sure to keep both hands on the buckle as you do this to prevent loosening too much too quickly.  You just want to slightly loosen so it falls a bit lower and baby is positioned at the breast.

It may be necessary to loosen the shoulder straps and chest clip, but most times simply loosening the waist buckle drops baby low enough to reach the breast and the carrier and baby’s weight still be comfortable for you.
Nursing a toddler in done in the same manner.  The waist buckle will likely need to be adjusted slightly more as toddler are taller.  Since they’re toddlers, they can also use their hands to be sure they can reach the breast.  This is of course if they haven’t already latched themselves on without your help! (wink, wink)
The image above shows the waist buckle loosened quite a bit, and lowered on the wearer’s hips to allow a nursing toddler to reach the breast for nursing.

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