21 Mar

Educator to Educator: Tummy to tummy in a pouch

The warm temps in central Texas means that we are always looking for ways to wear our babies with as few layers as possible. One really popular carrier here, is the pouch sling. In many ways, I think the pouch sling is a bit misunderstood. It can be used in the tummy to tummy, hip, and cradle position. While there are fewer and fewer manufacturers of pouches, there are still several, easily accessible companies out there. Today I am going to focus on the tummy to tummy position, but will give a quick bit on sizing too.

What is a pouch
Pouches are a single loop of fabric with one curved side and one straight side. The curved side is where baby will sit. They are all different sizes and, generally, are not adjustable. This is why getting the right sized pouch is so important. Due to the pouch being so size-specific, it often cannot be shared between caregivers. Despite this, they are one of the fastest, easiest and most compact carriers. I generally keep one in my purse or car to have on hand in case something happens to my main carrier or it gets forgotten. It is also an awesome option for those stages (and errands) where baby or toddler want up and down and up and down again.
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Sizing
Sizing on all pouches are a bit different. You want the pouch to rest comfortably on the shoulder you will wear on and come diagonally across your body to rest roughly and inch or two above your hip bone. When I am working with caregivers to fit them, I tell them that spot they usually carry baby at. Nicole, another BWI educator, created a video for our Vimeo Educator series discussing and demonstrating the details of fitting a pouch here.
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Tummy to tummy carry
You will begin by folding your carrier in half, this creates the “pouch” your baby will fit into. Do this by holding the pouch complete open in front of you. Reach through the carrier and grab the bottom edge and pull it up to meet the top edge. The two open edges will meet and the other side will be a fold.
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Putting the pouch on 
– Hold the carrier in the hand of the shoulder you want to wear it on with the seam down and the fold towards your body.
Bring your opposite hand through the loop of fabric and down onto your shoulder.
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– Since we are doing tummy to tummy, find the seam and bring it to your center. The goal is to have the seam line up with baby’s spine.
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– Make sure the fabric did not get twisted and is spread across your shoulder and back.

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– Open the pocket a little bit by separating the two edges. This is where baby will go. The carrier is now all set up and you are ready to place baby.

Putting baby in
-Pick up baby and put them on the opposite shoulder of the pouch in the burp position (or higher as is the case for me here since my demo assistant is a toddler). Support baby with one hand, use the opposite hand reach under the pouch and up through. Bring baby’s legs into the pouch.
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– Guide baby by their ankles down into the tummy to tummy position, sitting on the tube of fabric. Again, the seam should be in line with the spine. Baby is now in position.

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– Support baby and lift their weight off of the pouch with one hand, use the other hand to guide the  top edge up to the base of baby’s ears.  I find it can be helpful for me to start at the shoulder and work the top edge over baby’s back. The seam should be centered on baby’s back at this point.
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– Continue to support baby and use your opposite hand to reach between baby and the carrier to find the inner edge and pull it down over baby’s bottom.
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– To create the seat, reach under and between baby’s legs and gently work the bottom edge from knee to knee. You will notice baby’s hips rotate into a seated position when you do this.
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– If there is slack, start under your armpit bringing the loose fabric across to your shoulder. Flip the top edge down so that the inside of the fabric is visible and capping your shoulder.
Tip: to get a good shoulder flip it can help to reach onto your back and work the fabric down. 
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– You are now set to go!
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We also have a Vimeo video for the pouch tummy to tummy carry, be sure to check it out here.

Taking baby out
– Support baby and release the bottom edge over baby’s bottom.
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– Continuing to support baby, grasp the fabric at the shoulder
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– Bring Fabric over both yours and baby’s head.
Tip: Keep a good hold on baby in case they see something they want to reach for, in this case, my sunglasses! 
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Pouches can be a great, fast, and easy carrier option for infants and toddlers. They fold up to fit into a diaper bag or purse to be taken anywhere and make quick trips a breeze. I personally used mine all the time for preschool pick up and trips to the pool when I was afraid another option would get wet. Where will your pouch take you? I hope this helps all of your groups find the pouch love too!
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