What is a podaegi?
A podaegi is a traditional Korean carrier. (You may see these carriers referred to as a Pods, however, we feel that it is disrespectful to shorten terms in such a way as to lose their meaning and so stick to the full term podaegi- this video will show you how to pronounce the word.)
The main defining feature of a podaegi is that it has no waistband.
Types of podaegi
Traditional wide blanket podaegi
Traditional podaegis are a wide blanket with narrow straps at the top.
The podaegis we have in our library are a version with a narrower rectangle of fabric with straps at the top, more similar to the width of panels on meh dai and buckle carriers.
How to use a podaegi
Shoulder free torso carry
Narrow panel podaegi are more difficult to achieve a shoulder free torso carry, but these can be achieved.
Photo of a Korean grandmother in a shoulder free torso back carry from ethnoscopes with permission
Ruck style back carry
The standard back carry with a narrow panel Podaegi uses the straps over the shoulders, under the arms, over and under the baby’s knees in turn to fix their seat, and can then be tied at the waist, or through the shoulder straps. Babies can also be carried on the front.
Advantages of Podaegies
One size fits all
Because podaegis do not have a waistband, or any straps at the bas of the carrier the base width that goes between your baby’s legs is fully adjustable from as narrow as you can gather it to as wide as the panel spreads. In fact because the straps generally reinforce the carry under the knees you can use a podaegi with toddlers or older kids for whom the panel doesn’t support knee to knee, so they aren’t sized.
Torso carry or with shoulder strap options
These straps reinforce the carrier under the baby’s bottom. You can tie the straps around your torso for a shoulder free carry, or used to distribute some weight to your shoulders.
The lack of waist band makes them very versatile. They can be tied without putting pressure on the waist. This can be helpful for pregnant people who find pressure above or below the bump uncomfortable. It can also avoid pressing on scars from abdominal surgery, such as caesarean birth.
Versatile and compact
They can be tied in ways similar to woven wraps, such as a ruck or torso carry, front wrap cross carry and hip carries. However, they are less bulky to carry around and pack down very small.
They are all fabric, so are easier to wash and dry than buckle carriers which risk damage to essential buckles by machine washing. Podaegis can be made from cotton canvas or from more mouldable but more expensive woven wrap material. Many makers make them to order, so you can pick your own colours and fabrics
Shoulder strap options
The shoulder straps can differ a lot on different podaegi. They can be wide or narrow, padded or unpadded, wrap strap style or cotton canvas.
Disadvantages of podaegis
Not possible to secure hip scoot
Without a waistband a secured hip scoot is not possible for getting a child onto your back. This is often my first teaching method for positioning a child on your back.
However, there are many other ways to safely put a child onto your back, including unsecured hip scoot, seated lift and superman.
As the carrier is not fixed to your waist it is much easier to put over a child once they are on your back than it is to pull up the panel of a buckle carrier that is already clipped onto your waist.