There are so many baby carriers on the market these days that you'll have no trouble finding one but choosing which carrier is right for you may be quite a task!
One of the lesser known carriers (at least, outside of babywearing circles) is the podaegi, a carrier that originally comes from Korea. Classic Korean podaegi carriers consist of a wide blanket with two straps to wrap your baby at the top. Modern "narrow podaegis" have also appeared on the market. How do you use a podaegi carrier, and what are its benefits?
Up until very recently, we have relied heavily on baby carriers to transport our kids around town and beyond. Now that my youngest child is nearly three, our babywearing days are few and far between, but we've certainly had quite a bit of experience with different carriers. It so happens that we live somewhere where baby carriers (beyond the "Baby Bjorn") are not found easily, so I have sewn many myself.
The podaegi baby carrier was the first one I sewed, because it is relatively easy to make. My son was born in the middle of the winter, so the wide blanket style, which is traditional, appealed to me. It kept my baby warm and comfy. The original Korean podaegi is designed to carry your baby on your back in a torso carry unlike many other baby carriers, this carrier need not put all the baby's weight on your shoulders, at all. Instead, you put the baby in a lying or sitting position inside the carrier on your bed (or another flat surface), position yourself slightly in front, and lift the baby up on your back. Then, wrap the two straps underneath your armpits on both sizes, slide it under your baby's butt, and pull the straps back to your front near your waist and tie. You can see how this works in the picture above.
Many Western parents use the podaegi for front carries, or do back carries with the straps around the shoulders (like with the mei tai carrier) as well. Koreans don't do that, but it works. Then, there is the slightly more versatile (but less warm) narrow "pod" style, something that was probably invented by American babywearers and work-at-home mothers. This style works as shown in the picture below, and is slightly easier to get on. The podaegi is used fron birth in Korea, but I'll admit that the baby's head "bobs" backward and forward if he goes to sleep in the carrier. For this reason (and for nursing ease) I prefer a mei tai, and specifically a front carry, to the podaegi in the early stages of a baby's life. You might like the podaegi if you have shoulder problems, want a carrier specifically for back carries, and don't mind the veeery long straps. Because, unlike with the mei tai, the podaegi only has two straps, they are longer.
The podaegi was not our favorite carrier, but it was still well-used and loved in our house. Of course, the traditional wide podaegi looks beautiful in combination with the Korean hanbok. If you ever wear this (for chuseok, for instance), the podaegi is the way to go!