Asian-Style and Soft-Structured Carriers
Mei tai with buckle-waist
Description: Asian-style carriers (or 'ABC'-Asian Baby Carriers) consist of a rectangular panel with wide straps. The Mei-tai is the most popular type of Asian-style carrier, it has four straps (one at each corner, and the top two straps are longer). The Podaegi and Onbuhimo are less common, they only have two straps but are just as comfortable when worn properly. All can be tied in a variety of ways to suit one's needs/comfort, and may be worn on the front, back or hip.
Also included under the title of Asian-style carriers are 'Soft-structured carriers' like the Patapum , Beco, Manduca and Ergo. These are based on Asian-style but go a step further with buckles, pockets, hoods and wide padded waistbands.
Learning Curve: Medium-High
Fitting: Baby can be worn on the front with legs tucked under until around 10-12 weeks, then the legs poke out the sides to straddle you, knees up bottom down. For newborns it is crucial that you tie the Mei-tai straps at their lower back to support the weight of their spine. Once they are holding their own head up and their spine has matured enough, you may tie the straps under baby's bottom.
There are a variety of ways to carry and tie ABC, depending on your needs. ABC's tend to be more comfortable to wear for long periods of time thana one-shouldered carrier. The wide (mostly a little padded) straps spread the weight nicely over both shoulders/ back/ hips of the parent. The straps may be straight or on an angle, the panel may be short for babies or quite large/ long for toddlers: it is up to personal preference which design you choose.
ABC's are great for back carries. You may choose to hip-scoot baby around, or toss them on wrapped in the carrier. Whatever you choose, make sure you practice and do it safely. Back carries enable you to wear heavier babies and toddlers with ease. Soft structured carriers are worn in a similar way but have their own individual instructions you should follow.
Positions: Front (tummy to tummy) hip, back
Pros: Versatile, comfortable for heavy babies and long wearing.
Cons: Bit of a learning curve, have to re-tie each time you wear baby.