Buckles, buckles everywhere

Soft Structured Carriers and How They Fit

Soft structured carriers (SSC) or buckled carriers are not my ‘go to’ slings. I admit it has been a struggle to truly get to grips with them. However, they are a popular type of carrier in the library and I have made an effort to learn more about them and this year have bought several into the library.

What is a Soft Structred Carrier?


Patapum Soft Structured Carrier

These are carriers that have a square or rectangular body panel, which can be either padded or unpadded. They have a waist band with a buckle and the shoulder straps tend to fit over your shoulders and buckle into he main body. They closely resemble a rucksack. They can be popular because they are fairly quick and easy to master and put on, no dangly straps.

I love how every consultation I learn something (or a few things!) as much as the consultee (if that’s a word). I gave a workshop at a local Montessori Nursery a few weeks ago. They were keen to have their staff trained to safely use slings. They mainly concentrated on SSC’s and MT’s. (Mei Tais) It was incredibly interesting to see how the different carriers fitted different people. Some waistbands were not shaped to fit one person but another found it very comfortable. For some the straps were too bulky for others just right. Some slings that I have never much liked another person found perfect.

I had the same result this morning with a consultation for a lovely mama who was particularly interested in SSc’s and Ring Slings (RS). The carrier she had originally bought just didn’t fit her properly and trying all the carriers in the library we were fascinated to see what a little bit of padding or a different cut to the waist band could do to the general fit of the sling.

Points to consider when looking for a soft structured carrier:

For you:

  • Shape and padding of the waist band
  • Adjustability of the waistband
  • Width and padding of the shoulder straps

For baby:

  • Width of seat – ideally needs to give knee to knee support
  • Height of body of carrier – needs to support neck expecially when baby sleeps
  • What age range is it recommened for – although this is not an exact guarnatee that it will fit your baby or last for as long as manufacturers recommend it is helpful as a rough guide)
  • Some SSC’s have a baby and a toddler version which can be useful if you love that make and want to ‘upgrade’ as your baby grows

I have enjoyed the opportunity to really see these carriers in action and am starting to see them in a different light. It really emphasised though, the need to try before you buy. SSC’s can be very pricey and if you end up with one that doesn’t fit properly can be very disappointing and can even put some people off babywearing completely.

PS: It did come to my mind that a SSC needs to fit very much like a bra – the waist strap needs to be tight to support the baby and the shoulder straps shouldn’t be taking all the weight. (a bra needs to support the breasts by the band and not the shoulder straps – interesting hey?).

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3 thoughts on “Buckles, buckles everywhere

    1. There really is no ‘best brand’ really Lizzie. Particularly with buckle carriers, because the straps are only a certain length, width, padding they can fit different body shapes.

      As long as you follow the criteria I have mentioned above it will help you to find the best one for you. Ideally it is easier if you can try a few out so you have some to compare to. Have a look for your local sling library or sling meet.

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