GLOSSARY OF BABYWEARING TERMS
Asian-style carrier/Asian Babycarrier (ABC)
The simplest form of two shoulder carriers is essentially a square of fabric with straps at each corner. Two straps tie around the wearer's waist. The other two straps go over the wearer's shoulders (they may or may not cross over) then attach to the carrier or tie to themselves. The Chinese MeiTai is an example. All Asian-style carriers are unstructured soft carriers.
See Frame backpack
Any carry where the baby is worn on the back, almost always facing towards the wearer's back.
A carry where the baby sits with their knees up and legs either crossed or tucked underneath; the baby sits on the wearer's front facing out; also called Kangaroo carry.
Carry (or hold)
As in the noun "a carry", "hip carry" etc. refers to the position where the baby is worn on the wearer's body. Eg. In the back carry, the baby is carried on the wearer's back.
A carry where the baby is lying down on the front of your body as though being cradled. If using a single-shouldered carrier such as a sling, the baby's head is towards the rings. Suitable for newborn and young babies.
Dickey (dicky, dickie)
A chest covering to keep a baby warm in cold climates; may have a polo neck and/or hood attached. Can be extended into a babywearing dickey, which is like a blanket that covers baby and babywearer, with head holes for each (possibly with hoods and/or polo necks), going over both the baby's and babywearer's shoudlers. Usually worn with/under a coat that encloses wearer and baby. Named for "dickey" insert which is a fake front on a man's shirt.
A system where the babywearer learns the baby's signals (body language) of elimination (urination and defecation). The goal is to minimise the use of nappies/diapers.
A backpack similar in design to a hiking rucksack but usually with a metal frame, and designed to carry a child. Mostly used for toddlers and preschoolers.
Front carrier /front pack
A soft carrier specifically designed to be used on the wearer's front. Suitable for babies once they can sit unsupported and for toddlers. Usually the baby faces the wearer, but some are designed so that the baby can also face out. See also soft carrier.
A single shouldered carrier specifically designed for the hip carry, though some can also be used on the wearer's front or back.
A general term for any carry where the baby is against the wearer's hip, either slightly to the front, on the side, or slightly to the back. The baby's legs usually hang out, one to the front and the other behind the wearer with thighs parallel to the floor. Suitable for babies once they can sit unsupported and a popular carry for toddlers.
Usually describes a carry of the wearer's front with the baby facing outwards and the legs inside the carrier (aka. buddha carry).
A carry where the baby is lying down on the front of your body in a position suitable for nursing. Distinguished from the cradle hold because the baby's head is at the end opposite the rings (in a sling); the baby's legs may stick out the other end. Suitable for newborn and young babies.
Usually a shaped piece of fabric (something like a pea-pod shape), narrower than an Unpadded Sling. The shoulder end has rings and the opposite end is the "tail". To be considered a padded sling, either the shoulder or the sides of the fabric (rails) are padded. Padding varies in amount from "lightly padded" to "heavily padded". Padded slings usually come in different sizes.
The traditional Korean back carrier is a type of torso carrier. It is like a blanket with long straps that tie around the wearer's chest and waist/hips. The baby rides on your back facing you.
The quality in a babycarrier or being easy to get a baby into and out of, while being easy and practical to wear without a baby. A useful feature for babies who like to be up and down from your arms (or in and out of the babycarrier) frequently, necessitating that the babywearer leave the carrier on in-between times.
Essentially a long "tube" of fabric, folded in half lengthwise to create a pocket for the baby. Worn over one shoulder like a sling. Can be used for the same carries as slings. Can be made of woven or slightly stretchy fabrics. Some have a certain amount of adjustability allowing two people of different sizes to use the pouch; this is usually achieved by zippers or rows of snaps.
These are a traditional, hand-woven Mexican carrier, and are used as scarves, pregnancy and birthing aids, and for many other purposes in addition to their use as baby carriers. Similar to an unpadded sling, except that the fabric does not have rings but is knotted together usually using a square knot. Can be used for the same carries as slings.
Shoulder Carry/ Burp Position
A position where the baby is held high up on the wearer's shouler. Can be achieved with a rebozo, wraparound carrier or two unpadded slings.
Sideways kangaroo carry
A position where the baby sits sideways in the carrier, usually with knees up and legs inside, or legs poking out the opposite end. Can be achieved with a sling, rebozo, wraparound carrier or pouch.
Sling (or ring sling)
A piece of fabric that goes over one shoulder and around the opposite hip/waist. Adjustable by use of 2 sling rings. In some slings, rings are replaced by a buckle or clip. See also Padded Sling and Unpadded Sling.
Rings used for adjusting the size and fit of a sling. Metal and nylon are the safest, strongest, and most common. Sizes vary according to the type and width of the fabric used - small enough to offer traction and large enough to be able to adjust the sling easily.
Snuggle Hold, tummy-to-tummy
A carry where the baby's front is against the wearer's front, with the baby's head around chest/neck height. Feet can be in or out of the carrier. This position can be used for nursing. Suitable for newborn and young babies (with feet in) and older babies (with feet out).
A carrier with straps that go over both of the wearer's shoulders to hold the baby against the wearer's chest and stomach. Some also have a waist strap. The baby may be supported by their crotch or across their entire bottom Soft carriers with a wide seat area hold the baby's legs up. Soft carriers include front carriers, back carriers and some hip carriers. Some soft carriers can be used on front and/or back and/or hip. See also Structured Soft Carrier, Unstructured Soft Carrier and Asian-style Carrier.
Structured soft carrier
This subset of soft carriers includes those that have shape and form even when not being worn. The rigidity is usually achieved with firm fabrics and use of padding.
A carry with the baby on the front of your body, facing forward and with legs out. Babies, especially chubby ones, can look a bit like sumo wrestlers in this position!
The opposite end of a sling to the rings. A tail may be:
Open -- the full width of the fabric. Almost all unpadded slings have an open tail. Some padded slings also have an open tail.Closed -- made narrower or sewn together to make a single piece, common for padded slings Forked -- each rail is continued as a separate piece of fabric, commonly used for padded slings that have a buckle rather than rings
To get a sling to fit really well the tail is pulled through the rings until the sling is quite tight and the baby is held high and firm. If the tail is open or forked, the rails can be tightened separately.
A carrier that ties around the wearer's body and does not pass over the shoulders at all. Can be used to carry a baby on the front or back, in a variety of positions. Can be good for people with neck/shoulder problems. See also podegi.
Tummy to tummy (TTT or T2T)
See snuggle hold.
Usually a rectangular piece of fabric around 2m long (2.25 yds +) and 75cm to 110cm wide (30" to 45"), gathered or joined onto 2 rings at one end. Usually has an open tail. Sometimes offered in various sizes but usually one-size-fits-all. See also sling.
Unstructured soft carrier
This describes a subset of soft carriers that do not maintain their shape when not being worn. The traditional Chinese Mei Tai is an example; also called an Asian-style carrier or Asian Babycarrier (ABC).
A long piece of fabric (3-5.5m long and 45-90cm wide)(3.5-6yds by 18"-36" wide) that is wrapped many times around the wearer's body (usually over both shoulders), creating a pocket for a baby to sit. For some carries the fabric is doubled lengthwise before being wrapped. Can be used for the same carries as a sling, as well as the sumo carry. There are many ways to tie a wrap to achieve a particular carry.