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Getting a Baby On Your Back

Getting baby into a back carry - by yourself - is not hard after a little practice. I highly recommend starting back carries with a partner who can either spot you or help you. When you're alone the first several times, practice over a soft surface like a bed. If you can use a mirror while also utilizing a bed or couch for a soft landing, so much the better. Once you're feeling comfortable, you can graduate from the bed to a squatting or kneeling position over the floor (or outside). Squatting or kneeling close to the ground helps protect baby by providing a very short trip if they should fall.

Above all, study the pictures and go slow. Do not be afraid to seek in-person help if needed.

Couch or Chair Method
Drop Method
Slide Method
Throw or Toss Method
Dismount (Getting Down)


Couch or Chair Method  
Shown here with a Mei Tai, and below with a podegi, this method can also be used for a wrap. Just ignore the directions for tying the waist straps and, when you stand up, be certain that you are providing enough "traction" to keep your baby close.
Lay the carrier out on a chair or couch. With the MT, you'll want to create a seat for baby to sit in. Set baby on the carrier. Sit in front of baby. You'll be kind of slouched over and scooted back as far as you can. Tie the waist straps, making sure that the straps come UNDER baby's legs.
Pull the shoulder straps up over your shoulders. Bounce a bit and pull the straps tight to snug baby against your back. Keeping traction on the straps, at this point, you can stand up.


Lay the podegi (or wrap) out on the couch or chair. Place baby on the carrier as shown. Sit down in front of your baby, scooched back as far as you can.
On a podegi, grab the carrier where the straps meet the body. On a wrap, just reach back and grab the upper edge of the wrap. Pull the carrier around baby and yourself and pull it snugly. Keeping good traction on the wrap or podegi, you may stand up at this point to finish tying on the carrier. Alternatively, you may finish tying it on while seated if you are more comfortable (this is actually harder, though).



Drop Method
This method works well with a Mei Tai or a wrap.
The the MT around your waist (for a regular back carry) or around your chest (for a high back carry). If you are using a wrap, place the wrap's center at your mid back, bring the ends around to the front, and hold them between your knees. Lift baby up and over your head. Wally always thought we were going to sit on shoulders when we did this, so I tended to lift him up to sit on my shoulders, then flip each of his legs over my shoulders. So you end up here, baby dangling down your back, you holding on to both of baby's arms, carrier hanging down your back.
Here's the tricky part. Keep one hand on baby (older babies who are accustomed to this can hold on, freeing both your hands) and use the other to reach back and pull the carrier up. Bring both MT straps over your shoulders or, if you're using a wrap, pull the body of the wrap up and over baby's back. So you end up here. With a MT, you have both straps over your shoulders and you're ready to tie them however you like. With a wrap, you can have both ends over your shoulders for a rucksack carry, or you can have the ends coming under your arms, ready for a front wrap cross carry.  


Slide Method
The slide method works well for Mei Tai carriers or for structured carriers.
Tie the carrier around your waist, then seat baby in it and pull the body and straps up. The waist ties should be somewhat loose to accommodate sliding it around. Grab both straps in your right hand, and use your left hand to start to slide baby around to your back.
Slide your left arm under the straps and between you and baby so that your arm ends up in front, and continue using your left arm to slide baby. Your right arm keeps the straps pulled up snugly (to keep baby safe in the carrier) and moves around over your head. Once baby is on your back, you can put one strap in each hand, and you're ready to start tying the top straps.



Throw or Toss Method
This is a good method to use with a wrap, Mei Tai, Podegi, or Onbu. Here, we show two sets of photos with a wrap and then one set with an Onbu.
Place the carrier's center at your baby's center back. We are standing here, but if your baby doesn't stand well, you can also do this lying down. Pull the carrier TIGHT under baby's arms. Pick baby up, one hand holding the carrier tight at baby's chest and the other hand between baby's legs. Heave baby over your shoulder like a sack of potatoes. Both top straps, or both ends of the wrap, are hanging over one shoulder. Let go of baby, keeping the carrier pulled tight (this is what keeps your baby in place!). Find both wrap ends, or both straps, and put one strap in each hand.
Bring one strap over your head so that you end up with one strap (or wrap end) over each shoulder.      
Put the Wrap around baby's back, holding it snugly. One hand on wrap at baby's chest, one hand between baby's legs, heft baby over your shoulder. You end up with baby on your back, both straps over one shoulder. At this point, just bring the left strap over your head to end up with one strap on each shoulder.
Hold the carrier body or straps tightly around child's chest, under arms. One hand holds the straps, the other goes between child's legs. Heft child over your shoulder. Try to tell Daddy to never tell child to "hold on," because no matter how funny Daddy thinks it is, having a small child clinging to your head for dear life while you try to put on a carrier is not really all that funny.
So child is hanging down the center of your back, carrier holding them in place, both straps over one of your shoulders. Grab one strap in each hand. Lift a strap over your head so you end up with one strap on each shoulder. And you end up here, ready to finish putting the carrier on.
If you were using a MT, at this point, you would tuck the shoulder straps tightly between your knees and use your hands to tie the waist straps, taking care that the waist straps go under baby's legs. Then tie the top straps.      


Standing Method
This works well for wraps, Mei Tais, Podegis, and Onbus for older children who will cooperate.
Put the middle of the carrier around your child's back. Kneel or squat in front of your child as shown. Pull your child close to you. Bring the straps up and over your shoulders (or under your arms if you're planning on a back wrap cross carry in a wrap). Pull baby's weight up and onto your back. You can complete your wrapping/tying while on the floor, or you can stand up at this point.


The Dismount
This method for getting down works well for all carriers. As an alternative with a cooperative baby or a skilled wearer is to completely remove the carrier, keeping baby on your back. When doing this, bend at the waist so baby is lying down (this keeps gravity working for you, not against you) and keep one hand on baby at all times. Once the carrier is removed, simply pull baby around to your front as pictured below, but sans carrier.
With a MT, untie the top straps. In an Onbu, Podegi, or Wrap, untie and unwrap until you're back to relying on traction on the carrier to keep baby on your back. (see below) Reach around with one hand and grab your baby around his or her back/waist as shown. Slide baby around to your front. When you can, grab them with your other hand, as well. Don't worry about the carrier. It will either drop to the ground or slide around with baby. And here's where you end up. Baby in front, safe in your arms.
How you should look at the start of this dismount if you're using a podegi or a wrap.    
Slide Down The Back Method    
Untie everything until you end approximately here. At this point, just slide child down your back by slowly letting the straps slide back. Your child ends up either standing behind you, or sitting.  




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