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ABOUT: Full Buckle (Soft Structured) Baby Carriers

A full buckle (or soft structured) baby carrier is the most common type available!  It is super easy to use and is perfect for beginners and for all ages of babies to toddlers and preschoolers.  Here’s everything you need to know about full buckle baby carriers:

What is a full buckle baby carrier?
A full buckle baby carrier (or soft structured) has buckle waist straps and buckle shoulder straps.  It also comes with a buckle back/chest strap (depending on if you are wearing front or back) to keep the shoulder straps secure.

What is it made from?
You can get full buckle baby carriers made from canvas, woven wrap, mesh or a combination of materials.

The shoulder and waist straps are padded so it can be extremely comfortable wearing bigger babies/toddlers and helps with weight distribution.

What carries can I do?
Depending on the brand, you can do ALL the different carries including front, back, hip and forward facing.  Make sure you check the features of the baby carrier as they will be able to do some or all of these carries.

 Front Carry    Back Carry    Forward Facing

  Hip Carry

What sizes are available?
Most brands have a baby (or standard) size and toddler/preschool sizes.

Baby Size    Toddler Size  Preschool Size

When can I start using it with my baby?
Full buckles in a baby size can be used from newborn (3.2-3.5kg),  and it is important to follow the manufacture instructions as a baby carrier that is too big can be a suffocation risk.

Some baby carriers also require an infant insert to be used from newborn where others can be used from newborn without an infant insert as they can be adjusted in width and/or height.  Personally I prefer carriers that don’t require an infant insert as an infant insert doesn’t always fit your baby as well, they are hotter and bulky and often difficult to use!

Carrier with infant insert 
Carrier that doesn’t require an infant insert

How long does it last for?
Most baby size last well into toddler or preschoolhood with the weight restrictions generally from 15-20kg or 1-3 years.

The toddler sized carriers last from approximately 1-4 years (or 20-27kg) and preschool sized carriers last from 3-6 years (or 27-30kg).

What’s the difference between crossed or straight straps?
Some full buckle baby carriers have the ability to change how you where the shoulder straps (such as Ergobaby or Boba).  Straight straps is when the strap goes from the top of the back panel, over your shoulder and clips into the same side – looking at your back will have a H if set up comfortably.  Crossed straps goes from the top of the back panel, over your shoulder and clips into the opposite side of the back panel so you have an X on your back.

Crossed straps are a great option if you have narrow or sloping shoulders to help you feel more secure and as it crosses it can feel different in terms of weight distribution.

 Straight Straps    Crossed Straps

There’s no right or wrong with the straps, it’s just what feels more comfortable for you.

What does narrow based mean?
A narrow based baby carrier means that the seat width is often quite small and not adjustable for babies.  While these are safe baby carriers, due to their narrowness they don’t put baby in an optimal position (see more HERE).  They can also feel more uncomfortable for you as baby doesn’t ‘hug’ you as well.

What is a hip seat carrier?
Some baby carrier brands include a hip seat which is a padded (often removable) panel that provides a flat surface for your baby’s bum to sit on.

These can be a great option for quick ups and downs however they aren’t adjustable so often don’t feel as comfortable for you or your baby as it’s not fit for them.

Will it suit my body type? 
Unfortunately as there is only so much strap, full buckles can be restrictive depending on the brand.  It is worth measuring yourself and finding out the strap length to make sure that it will fit you – remembering that depending on the size of your baby, they will be sitting on your waist to the top of your hips (not below).

Is it good for multiple wearers?
A full buckle isn’t as flexible as other baby carriers such as a half buckle as you will need to adjust the shoulder straps and/or chest strap to get the best fit for you.  In saying that, it is a quick and easy adjustment especially if someone is around to help!

Is it hard to use?
No, it is by far the easiest to use out of all the baby carriers (well I think so).  You don’t have to hold onto the slack when you tighten as the buckles do this for you.  It also has a seat already made so it is perfect for beginners.

Can I breastfeed in it?
Yes you can!  Again it is super easy to breastfeed in, although I recommend learning how to do both by themselves before you combine.  If you want to learn check out our article – Breastfeeding in a Baby Carrier 

Advantages

  • Perfect if you are a beginner babywearer
  • Easy to use
  • Multiple carry options
  • Forward facing option if you have a nosy baby
  • Comfortable
  • Full buckles that are adjustable for baby are amazing
  • There are a lot of summer options that include mesh for a cooler experience for your baby

Disadvantages

  • Have to adjust between wearers
  • Possible fit restrictions for you (both petite or plus size)
  • Full buckles that require an infant insert are often hot, bulky and difficult to use
  • Canvas material can be bulky and not mold to your baby as well as other materials

Brands
Full buckle baby carrier brands include Tula, Kokadi, Fidella, Ergobaby, Manduca, Ankalia, Lenny Lamb, Baby Bjorn and so many more!  Most of these brands also have different designs of full buckle baby carriers within their range so you can easily be overwhelmed with choice.  When looking for a full buckle baby carrier, it is a benefit to be able to try before you buy either with a babywearing consultation or attending a babywearing meet.  If either of these options aren’t available, make sure you check out the features of each different design to find the one that will suit your family best.

If you have any questions about Half Buckle baby carriers please PM me or contact me at info@babywearingandyou.com.au

To see our full range head to: Soft Structured Carriers

Enjoy those babywearing snuggles,

Kylie
Certified Babywearing Consultant
Kangatraining Instructor