For as long as I have been a part of the babywearing world, the buckle carrier has been a popular choice of carrier for beginners. Whilst ring slings and wraps have somewhat of a learning curve, the buckle carrier is almost as simple as putting a backpack on: click the waist strap on, pop the baby in, and away you go.
Well, it’s almost that simple!
There are a myriad of buckle carriers available on the market; from the simple buckle carriers available in some department stores, to the more ergonomically designed carriers available through manufacturers and vendors via the internet. Similarly to wrap designs, the buckle lovers are spoilt for choice!
Buckle carriers are essentially a panel of fabric, with shoulder straps and a waist belt. The waist belt has a buckle to secure it around the body, and the shoulder straps often have another strap to secure them between the shoulder blades; again, with a buckle to fasten. Some buckle carriers also come equipped with Perfect Fit Adjusters (PFAs). PFAs are tightening straps attached to the shoulder straps, which enables the shoulder straps to be adjusted for comfort and support.
It is important to note that some buckle carriers require an insert for small babies below a certain weight and height, to ensure they do not slump inside the fabric panel (which is designed to encapsulate as much of a baby’s growth as possible, before requiring a larger sized carrier). Often, buckle carriers are available in an infant size, and a larger size for toddlers and beyond.
As individuals, we all have different body shapes and sizes. Buckle carriers vary somewhat between manufacturers. The variance between measurements for the carriers can be a deciding factor on what works for an individual’s body shape. Additionally, the shoulder straps and waist strap can be of differing measurements - including widths and padding - which can affect the comfort level for some wearers.
If you’re a beginner looking at purchasing your first buckle carrier, or even a seasoned babywearer looking to add a buckle carrier to your collection, it is important to remember that - like everything available in the babywearing community - one type of buckle carrier doesn’t always fit everyone. Getting along to a babywearing meet is always a suitable suggestion to try some different types of buckle carriers on; often, babywearing groups have several different buckle carriers in their collections. But if a babywearing meet isn’t an option for you, ensure you do some research first prior to purchasing a buckle carrier. Ask your friends or family, or find your online babywearing support group, to ascertain what options may be suitable for you.
A buckle carrier makes an excellent addition to a babywearing toolkit. Once adjusted to suit the wearer, it is quick and simple to put on. Newcomers to babywearing love buckles for the ease of wearing - buckle carriers don’t often take long to learn. For wearers with older or fussy wearees, the buckle carrier provides an excellent choice for ‘quick ups’ in places such as shopping centres. When fitted appropriately, a buckle carrier provides a comfortable option for long-term wearing, such as on a family walk.
The buckle carrier is constantly evolving, as manufacturers adjust their designs for comfort and ergonomic factors, and continues to provide babywearers with an option that enables wearing for everyone, including grandparents and carers who may not have an invested interest in long-term babywearing. If you’re yet to try a buckle carrier, or you’ve had a negative experience with one, don’t rule them out of your repertoire completely; there is a buckle carrier out there for everyone
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Ankalia’s online journal is written and edited by white Australian women. As such, our articles are written from our cultural standpoint.
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