Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pouch slings - Sizing matters

I have long wanted to share a post on sizing of pouch slings... so, here it is.

A pouch - easiest to learn, trendy, lightweight, convenient... it is no wonder the pouch, among all others, is gaining popularity in the Malaysian market. Also, could it be the lack of knowledge that there are also other babywearing possibilities other than the pouch?

Whatever it is, what many new and experienced babywearers is not aware is that, for a pouch to feel comfortable, THE SIZE HAS TO BE RIGHT! Ok, let's not get over excited on the capital letters. In a way, being the 'RIGHT' size has it's own meanings, too.

The most common misconceptions about pouches is that they should be bigger and not JUST RIGHT. For the babywearer to comfortably wear their little ones, this is very essential. Especially when the pouch is too BIG.

Try imagining yourself carrying a backpack full of books with straps too long and pulling away from your body. How long can you wear the bag for without feeling the strain?

Compare that to the straps adjusted so as the bag is close to your back.

That is the kind of difference it would make when a pouch is too big.

Too small? That is when you feel uncomfortably tight or suffocated, though many new pouch users will feel this way even when the pouch is right.

In my little experience with pouches, some of the factors that contribute to the problems of sizing includes:
  • The measuring tape... i know i need to put the picture in... let me locate the measuring tape in the morning... Have you ever come across a measuring instrument that gives you the wrong measurements? Well, I happen to have a measuring tape that tells me my waist is just a bare 21 inches! No, of course, I am more than that... I would consider myself aneroxic if I had that measurement. Maybe, this could explain why the measurements differ and the babywearer needs something 2 sizes different?
  • Body built... probably the biggest myth in pouch sizing is the height... many I know would estimate the size of a pouch from the height of a person. What is more important here is not the height but the overall built. For instance, a 6 foot tall person can have a short body (with long legs) and a short person could simply have a wider body.. if these all makes sense. I recently fitted a pouch on someone who is more than 6 feet in height and guess what? She is a size S!
  • Different vendors, different sizing... When a pouch user is happy with the first pouch they got and just cannot live without it, chances are, they are likely going to buy another one. Just to try things out, maybe, from another vendor... ordering for the same size, without realising that there are different measurement charts across different vendors. While the Peek-a-Pouches and Littlepods are sized by the inches (i.e. only once inch different between sizes), most others are sized to fit a few measurements in a size. As such, it is essential to check out the sizing charts before ordering a pouch. It would also be wise to check if a vendor offers an exchange if the size is wrong ;) If you have noticed, there is also a slight difference in sizing between Littlepods and Peek-a-Pouches.
  • Bulk of our clothes... Ever wonder why your pouch would fit nicely yesterday but not today? Have you changed your clothes? Does your little one uses cloth diapers? Though not as critical as in countries with four seasons, the bulk in clothing can also contribute to the feel of the pouch being a bit tighter/looser than usual

So, yes, the trendy, popular, convenient and easy-to-use pouch does have it's drawbacks... mainly when the size is not right.

At any time, it is most important that the babywearer feels comfortable. That is, after all, why we chose to wear our babies, for comfort and bonding ;)

My recommendations: Try before you buy ;) Else, make sure that an exchange/resizing is possible ;)

Pouch users, what's your thoughts?


sister_vanilla said...

Very informative post :) I bought my first pouch online and guess what, it was one size too big as I did not know how to measure myself at the time. When I got one that fitted properly it felt amazing, my baby felt practically weightless!

Oh, and it annoys me when salespeople at baby stores do not know how measure properly. Her recommendation was TWO sizes too big :/

My favourite measuring tip? The one that goes something like 'put your hand as if you're sassing your mother and measure to that point' lol. That one worked for me.

Jess said...

Hi Sister_Vanilla,

I absolutely know what you mean about salespeople's recommendations... my first pouch was also way too big. Second pouch... well, the salesperson was like "Lucky you know how to use it as I don't"... when I was trying it on for size...

And, yes, your measuring tip works for me, too ;)

Shida said...

definitely agree about sizing.my first pouch from mlc is s size but not comfy due to the material. my second pouch is s size from LP.i dun know what wrong coz ive measure myself with measurement tape and i fall into s size but end upi couldnt wear my baby at all.it stuck at his leg,can even put her bum into the pouch. dissapointly my request for exchange size failed. i almost give to pouch and babywearing adventure.luckily i met one mommy in the forum who want to exchange her LP m size with me. then my walla! my adventure in babywearing continues. meet jess later and so tempting to get another sling... i find out that s size is suit me very well. yess,the sizing matters really make headache but onced u settled into it, such a great feeling comes to ur mind.