Sometimes referred to as a Buckle Carrier, Soft Structure Carriers (SSCs) are one of a variety of types of baby carriers available. More specifically, a SSC is defined as a “carrier which uses buckles to fasten the straps rather than being secured by tying or tucking. Includes soft structured carriers both with and without padding, half buckles, and frontpacks”.
There are many great brands on the market nowadays. Each one has its own fit, style, and design. This means there is one out there that can meet all of your needs and fit perfectly. This also means that you may need to try on a lot of SSCs before you find that perfect fit. There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting a SSC.


Fit for Baby:
  • It is best to look for one that keeps baby in the optimal position at all times. You want baby to be high, close, and tight to your body. Baby should have a clear airway at all times.
  • The carrier should support baby from knee to knee, and put their weight resting on their bottom.
  • The body panel should come up to at least the back of baby shoulders and should never fully cover the head. ​​
Fit For You:
  • The carrier should be evenly distributing baby’s weight across your whole torso. The shoulder straps should be tight and secure against your body but not so tight as to cause you pain or discomfort.
  • The chest clip should be firmly across the middle of your shoulder blades/chest. It should be tight enough to keep the shoulder straps secure, but not so tight to pinch or cause you pain. ​​
  • The placement of the waistband will vary with each brand and individual body type. The general rule of thumb is to start at your natural waist and move up and down as needed. Please read the instructions to see where your carrier was designed to sit.
  • If you have a longer torso you may need to place the waistband up higher so baby is close enough to kiss. If you have a shorter torso you may need to place the waistband or down so baby’s head is not obstructing your view (if on front).
Remember that most SSCs are designed for babies around six months old who can sit up unassisted. If your baby does not meet these requirements, you can still use these carriers if they have made adaptations for it. For safety reasons please do not try to put a baby who is too small in a SSC without the adaptation.

One such adaptation is an infant insert. This is a pillow attached to a soft shell. Since the panel is too long for a small baby, the pillow boosts baby up to the correct height so their head clears the body panel. This ensures that the baby’s airway is always clear and that no fabric obstructs their face. Since small babies cannot hold themselves upright, the soft shell provides torso support. This will keep baby from leaning out the sides of the body panel. ​

Other carriers are designed with adjustable panels that can be adapted for a smaller baby. On such carriers the height of the panel scrunches/clips shorter so baby’s head can clear the top. Also, the width scrunches/clips narrower so babies legs are not over spread and they can be supported  in the optimal position. ​Making the panel smaller will also make the panel tighter on baby’s body, decreasing the risk of tipping out of the sides.
​There are also infant sized SSCs available, which are carriers that are designed for smaller babies. The body panels are shorter and narrower, but do not expand out as baby grows. These carriers can only be used while baby is still infant size so when your baby reaches about six months, you will need to move to a larger carrier.

We have many SSCs in our Lending Library to help you get started. We can help you find the perfect one for your family.

Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram and Facebook to share your SSC adventures!

Stretchy Wraps

What do you call a long piece of fabric that stretches on the vertical and horizontal and can be used to carry a baby? A stretchy wrap! Stretchy wraps are one of three categories of wrap type baby carriers.

They are exactly as the name implies, stretchy. They are usually from jersey, gauze, or other stretchy knit styles. Most use cotton, but recently other fibers like bamboo and modal used as well. They are very long. This intimidates some at first, but there is a good reason for the length. They need to wrap around you and baby several times.

They are the first carrier type for many new wearers. Many fall in love with babywearing using stretchy wraps and move on to other carriers as baby grows. But these wonderful wraps can be used for much longer after the newborn stage. Let’s see what makes them so awesome!

Stretchy wraps can be pre-tied—meaning they are put on your body and secured before you put baby on your body. You can pop baby in and out as needed without ever taking it off all day. So easy for caregivers to get through those first few challenging weeks. You do not have to worry about hold baby while learning how to secure the carrier. Take your time and pick baby up when it is all ready!

They are soft and cozy. It is like wrapping your baby up in your favorite t-shirt. Just enough give, just enough supportive, and oh so comfortable. Baby snuggles right up and your heart just melts. You can relax or go about your day as needed.
Stretchy wraps have easier sizing. Most stretchy wraps come in one-size fits most or a have simple S/M/L sizing. This is why they are a great option for wearers of all sizes. Plus, the stretch contours to each individual body shape, making it a custom fit for all shapes.

There is a wide variety of brands and options on the market nowadays. Each has different colors, patterns, widths, lengths—- a wide variety to suit all body types and needs. And a variety of thicknesses mean you can find one great for all types of weather, too.

There are so many multiple pass carry options to try with a stretchy. Even though they are not suitable for single layer carries, don’t let that deter you from using them for more than a Pocket Wrap Cross Carry. Stretchies need three layers and two different pass types. Click here to learn about pass types and see the possible combinations.

They can can even do hip carries. Once you get comfortable wrapping baby on your front, you can shift over to carrying baby on your hip. This is a wonderful option as baby grows and wants to look around more. Once again, just make sure you have three layers and two different pass types to keep the baby safe. Check out this awesome list of some of your option for front and hip carries.

It is important to keep in mind that stretchy wraps are not suitable for back carriers. Simply put, they were never designed to be used in such way and will not support your baby safely. Not matter how secure it feels, it is not. Please do not try.

Here are a few tutorial videos to help you learn:

Pocket Wrap Cross Carry Legs-In


Pocket Wrap Cross Carry Leg-Out

Reinforced Kangaroo Carry

Tandem Pocket Wrap Cross Carry

Front Double Hammock

really encourage you to use your stretchy for more than just a beginner carrier. Grow with it as a wrapper. Try new carries as baby grows. Try different brands, see what amount of stretch you like best. Spread that stretchy love!

Tag us in your stretchy wrap photos! #WPDXBabywearing