Types of carriers - Soft Structured Carriers (SSCs)

This group of carriers means those carriers which are more "technical", that means with buckles etc. but without a metal frame. The typical carriers you find in highstreet shops like the Babybjörn are SSCs, and there are others which support the M-position for your baby. Most SSCs have two shoulder straps and many distribute the weight also on the wearer's hip. They usually have a sleeping hood or head support and are adjustable so they can be used by different persons. Some are adjustable for the baby too.

Normally SSCs have a lower weight limit (often ca. 3.5 kg/7 lb) so they aren't suitable for premature or very small babies. Some only fit from around 6 months onwards (length of baby's legs is the limiting factor for those). Their upper weight limit varies and some go up to 20 kg/44 lb so you can carry a heavy toddler or pre-schooler in them. Please check manufacturer's specifications.

SSCs appeal to most parents (and especially fathers) because they are easy and quick to use and to adjust. Many of them offer different positions, often front, hip and back. Some allow breastfeeding and with some of them you can easily put down a sleeping baby.
So what's the downside? Like with Mei Tais there is no SSC which truly works from newborn to toddler. Either the fabric at baby's bottom is too wide in the beginning (the lower legs need to hang down freely) or your baby will start dangling from his crotch at some point. Some carriers come with newborn inserts but usually there is a gap when your baby outgrows the insert but is still too small for the carrier without the insert.

Recommended brand names: Manduca, Ergo baby carrier, Patapum, Yamo, Pikkolo, Connecta, Angelpack, Beco and similar carriers

Note: The brand names are listed in no particular order and the list is by far not complete. Their purpose is to give you an idea what there is on the market.

Not recommended by me: SSCs where the babies cannot sit in the M-position with knees higher than the bum, but where the legs are dangling and babies are hanging from their crotch. For more information see the page about 'what's a good baby carrier'.

Note: Some people sew their own SSC, but due to the padding involved it's more tricky than sewing a Mei Tai. Download these instructions if you're interested.


© Mirjam Brockmann 2009