A torso carrier can usually be worn strapless, which some moms like. They can also be worn with straps over the shoulders.
Carriers like the Korean Podaegi are rectangles of fabric with two long tails. The top rail of the fabric is lightly padded.
There are two styles of Podaegi, one with a wide rectangle of fabric and one with a narrow rectangle of fabric. The wide fabric choice can be used to make a strapless carrier, whereas the narrow cannot.
On Your Back
There are a few different ways to carry your baby in torso carries. If you choose a short piece of fabric you simply put baby on your back and drape the fabric around her in a “pouch” (under her knees and high up her back), then bring the fabric forward under your armpits and tie in a secure square knot over your breasts.
To begin each back carry you need to get your baby onto your back. You can do it in a couple ways:
“Roll” your baby over your shoulder and onto your back. Put baby up over your shoulder – he should be facing the same way you're facing and on his belly.
Hold your baby securely with the same hand as the shoulder he is on, and then take his opposite hand. Now move so that you are holding both of baby's hands and you can slide him down a little on your back. Lean over so that your back is nice and flat for your baby to rest on. From there you can put on the carrier.
Place your baby sitting up on the fabric of your carrier then sit down in front of your baby. Use the tension of the fabric to pull your baby up onto your back.
As you slowly stand up bend over so your back is nice and flat for your baby to rest on as you arrange the podaegi.
As you start this method of getting baby onto your back be sure that the fabric goes up high on your baby's back – right to her neck. Use tension to pull her onto your back as you stand with her.
You can always have someone help you as you're getting used to getting baby onto your back. Soon it will seem natural and quick to hop baby up and get the carrier around him or her!
Strapless Back Carry
The strapless back carry – also called the traditional carry – is similar with both a wraparound and with a podaegi. Starting with your baby on your back:
Drape the carrier over your baby.
Pull the fabric taunt out in front of you, right under your armpits.
Cross the fabric or straps across your chest, over your breasts.
At this point, you can choose to simply cross the fabric/straps, or you can tie them in front. Tying them makes it a little easier to get a good snug fit.
Bring the fabric/straps back under your armpits to your back, and down under your baby's bottom.
You can either tie off the fabric/straps under your baby's bottom, or bring them back around your waist and tie in front for extra security and comfort.
Back Carry with Straps
You'll want to learn to do a torso back carry with straps as well. If you are a nursing mother having some of the baby's weight on your shoulders can keep pressure off your breasts, which is a good thing.
If you're using a podaegi, the straps are very comfortable because they are padded nicely. You begin with your baby on your back and the straps pulled taunt in front of you, right under your armpits.
You can either cross the straps in front of you, or cross them and tie them. Tying will make it a little easier to get your baby snugly on your back, as I mentioned above.
Now bring your straps up over your shoulders and down to your baby's bottom. Cross them under your baby's bottom.
Bring the straps straight out in front of you and then tie them comfortably around your waist. Don't make them too tight! And you're done =D
Here are instructions with pictures. This with my third baby, Brennan, when he was around 5 months old.
Stretch out the podaegi on a chair, couch, or against something (a tree is used in this example). Sit your baby on the podaegi with the top rail of the fabric pulled up to the back of his or her neck. This baby is sitting on the podaegi against the tree trunk.
Sit in front of your baby with his or her legs slightly straddling you. Pull the top rail and straps of the podaegi under each armpit and to the front. Pull them tightly so your baby is flush against your back.
Lean forward and stand up slowly – so that your back makes a flat table for your baby. Be sure that you are pulling the podaegi fabric taunt and that your baby is secure.
Notice that I've boosted the baby up my back farther. I did this by “hopping” him up. You want your baby high on your back. At this point you can either cross the podagei straps in front of your chest – above your bust line – or you can tie them. Tying them allows you to get a little more secure fit. In this picture I've tied them.
Pull the podaegi straps up over your shoulders and then let them go down your back. Cross them securely under your baby's bottom.
You can stand upright now. Your baby's weight is resting on the podagi. Pull the straps in front of you and tie them around your waist.
And you now have your baby in a podaegi back carry with straps! All ready to go =D
You can reverse the back carry with straps to a front carry that cuddles your baby snugly against you. This carry is good for newborns that need help supporting their heads.
It's also a good carry to nurse an older baby in – you may want to drop your baby down a little so that his head is at breast height. You can pull the fabric of your podaegi up to hide your baby's face if you want to.
Snug Baby Bug
If you enjoy walks or have work to do around the house, you'll enjoy having a torso carrier. Get everything in your busy schedule done – and let your podaegi do the hard work for you!