The topic of our meeting yesterday was Poppable Pouches, and much pouch fun was had by all. We had enough beautiful and stylish Comfy Joey and Hotslings pouches to go around, so everyone in attendance got a chance to find their size. 🙂
A pouch sling is a tube of fabric with a curved seam. Here and here are some directions for making a pouch, so you can see the basic construction method. Before you decide to make your own, though, consider this advice from Tracy Dower, the babywearing advocate behind The Mamatoto Project:
When deciding whether to sew or to buy, don’t forget to calculate the value of your own time — not only in sewing but also driving around looking for the right fabric, then getting out the machine, then threading the machine, then cursing and crying because it won’t thread right, then measuring and cutting the cloth, sewing the tiny short seam, trying it on, and realizing you made it too small and starting all over again. Consider all of that and you may find that many of the pouches sold online are a BARGAIN.
The curved seam goes along the baby’s spine in an upright carry; i.e., the tummy to tummy carry or the hip carry. For the cradle carry, the seam goes under the baby’s bottom. (A common mistake is to put the seam on top of your shoulder.)
Pouches such as Hotslings and Comfy Joey are “fitted” pouches, meaning there are no snaps or other mechanisms for adjusting the pouch, so a proper fit is crucial for your comfort and the baby’s comfort and safety as well. As a general rule, your baby should not sit much below your belly button in a pouch … any lower, and the baby’s weight will pull on the adult’s back, leading to back fatigue and discomfort. Fitted pouches should be snug, but not too tight. It’s normal for a pouch to seem a little small when you’re loading your baby in the pouch, but it should be comfortable for both of you once the baby is positioned properly.
We also looked at a Kangaroo Korner Adjustable Fleece Pouch … which is just too warm and fuzzy to use in Alabama in July. The advantages of an adjustable pouch are that the pouch can often be shared by two different size adults, and you don’t have to know your exact pouch size when ordering (which is a real benefit when ordering from internet stores if you don’t have access to several different sizes of pouch to try before you buy).
Here, once again, is M’Liss Steltzer’s article on correct newborn positioning. (Remember that you need to be able to see your baby in the pouch to monitor him and assure his airflow isn’t blocked by fabric, and you need to be able to fit at least one knuckle between his chin and his chest to make sure his airflow isn’t impaired by his position.)
Pouches are simple, affordable, and compact, and are great carriers for most situations that a one-shoulder carrier is good for (i.e., with little babies and for quick trips with bigger ones).