A narrow blanket podaegi (also known as a nyia) is so versatile. Let me count the ways...
The word 'podaegi' in English is usually used to mean a long rectangle of fabric with two long shoulder straps that tie around the carrier and the caregivers body. The narrow blanket podaegi seen in western countries is quite different in form and function than a traditional Korean podaegi. Narrow blankets podaegi's are a fairly recent introduction to western babywearing. The were first seen in the western world from the early 2000's. So where did this versatile carrier originate?
According to wikipedia 'Western interest in the podaegi style has led to new wrapping methods which do go over the shoulders, and to narrower "blankets". Variants of this shape include the Iu-Mienh/Hmong carrier and the Chinese bei bei. Iu-Mienh/Hmong carriers and bei beis are both customarily used with over-the-shoulder wrapping and often have stiff sections which help provide head support or block wind'.
Below is the information I have been able to find. I have looked at Chinese, Korean, and Hmong sources for the most accuracy when looking at how these carriers were used traditionally, where possible, and I have also looked at thebabywearer.com (and similar forums like Natural Mamas, Baby Centre, and Mothering) to see how these carriers were viewed by western babywearers. The Babywearer is a forum based in the United States (but has users from around the world). It was the most popular forum for babywearers before the advent of Facebook and was established in 2003.
If you know of any other resources or information about this topic I would love to hear from you!
A podaegi is a traditional carrier from Korea. It has two long straps and a blanket. The straps are sewn horizontally across the top (originally the belt would have been seperate). It is used as a torso carrier for back carrying.
Source: Google images
The Korean word 포대기 means 'baby carrier'. There are currently different ways of spelling the word since Korean words are transliterated into English. It is spelled podaegi, podegi, pod, podagi, etc. although Podaegi is the most common. An extensive article about the meaning and pronunciation of 'podaegi' can be found here https://www.uhboohbahbaby.com/2007/10/what-does-podae.html (Korean owned narrow blanket podaegi manufacturer) .
Other Styles of Korean Podaegi
In Korea other styles of podaegi have been developed although they are relatively modern. There is a wide blanket version made to go over the shoulders (which is a regular wide blanket podaegi but the straps are attached vertically rather than horizontally so made to go up over the shoulders, criss-cross at the chest and then the ends are wrapped around as normal)
Some regular wide blanket podaegis have the regular straight straps but also have extra detachable straps that go up over the shoulders. Chunei (buckle podaegi) are also found. There is a lot of innovation. I have even come across a podaegi with a waist belt. Today Korean manufacturers also sell narrow blanket podaegi. (These appeared later than the western version but this doesn't necessarily mean that was the source) Narrow blanket podaegi and similar carriers are called podaegi or 'modern podaegi' by Korean companies.
For a beginner a podaegi is easier to use it with your baby or toddler arms out rather than in, and it's also easier not to spread out the wrap straps in a back carry as that can be hard to do at first. When doing a rucksack style carry experiment to see which height works best for you, higher is generally better (although I do like my toddler to be slightly lower than a small baby would be). Small babies should be high enough that you can feel their breath on your neck.
I was thinking of taking some videos myself but since my toddler is a little camera shy at the moment (as soon as I go outside where there is better lighting and background - he wants to hop down and play with his trucks!) I thought I would add some of the best online tutorials I have found. If you know of any more helpful videos let me know and I'll add them.
Rucksack carry (padded to wrap straps with a toddler)
Rucksack Carry (wrap straps and padded, with a small baby)
Rucksack Carry (how to spread wrap straps over your baby for more support)
Rucksack Carry with a toddler (this video shows how quick and easy it is!)
Rucksack Carry with a lexie twist
Back Wrap Cross Carry
Front Carry Variation
Front Carry (how to fold up the blanket so it doesn't hang down)
Hip Carry (standard and robin's)
Rucksack Carry and a Hip Carry (You will need to join DIY Babywearing and Support to view the video)
An angled strap pod feels a little different to wear than the straight strap version - it feels like a cross between a mei tai and a wrap (whereas the straight strap feels more like a wrap with training wheels to me). There are not as many tying positions as the straight straight (you can't do a torso carry for example) but some people prefer the feel of an angled strap in a rucksack carry so if that is mainly what you would like to use a pod for it's a good option. However it will tend to put more weight on your shoulders if not positioned correctly (higher is better), so if your shoulders are picky you may prefer a straight strap pod (for a torso carry option).
Hold your baby with one arm and place the carrier over your baby.
Bring the straps over your shoulders, cross them and bring them around to the front again over your baby's legs.
Cross the straps and bring them under your baby's legs and tie in back. Check that your baby is in a good seated position with knees higher that bum.
This method shows a hip scoot which can be used with a baby who is sitting well. For smaller babies I like to use the santa toss method to get baby on my back. You can find instructions for this in the straight strap podaegi instructions.
Put your baby on your hip and scoot your baby onto your back.
Pull the straps over your shoulders and pull one strap so there is no slack. Put the strap between your knees and repeat for the other side.
Tuck some of the podegi blanket under your baby's bum and knees.
Bring the straps back behind you (or alternatively cross them over your chest).
Cross the straps over and then under baby's legs and bring back around to the front.
Tie in front or tie tibetan style (see next series of pictures).
Tibetan variation: Hold one strap between your knees. Bring the other strap across your chest and under the shoulder strap.
Repeat on the other side.
Pull both straps to get out any slack and tie in front with a square knot.
This is an angled strap podaegi I made to play with. (Well remade actually as I redid the top of a podaegi I already had). It's great in a front carry.
Here are some quick photos. I'll try to get some better ones later.
I haven't seen many straight strapped podaegi's with padded to wrap straps so I thought I would make one and see if it was comfortable. I used a Jade mild which is a lovely earthy pink. I found the straps worked well although I am going to shorten the padding some more since I wear the podaegi high iin a rucksack carry and the straps need a little more room to spread out. It worked out very well for a front carry and the traditional Korean back carry.
You will end up with unpadded wrap straps on your shoulder for the two carries illustrated below as the padding will end below your shoulder. I don't normally like unpadded wrap straps but it is fine here where the weight of your baby is distributed across your torso rather than on your shoulder. I aslo think that in the torso carry with shoulder support (Korean carry) with the wrap straps spread the straps sit better if you pass them over than under baby's legs. Passing them over/over didn't seem as secure with the wrap straps as it does with the padded - but perhaps that reflects my wrapping skills.
I made this podaegi a while ago. I was going to sell it as a second (it has a mark on the strap) but I ended up just keeping it (always a temptaion when I have a baby of my own to carry but I try not to raid my stock too often!). This podaegi has a headrest which works great with the rucksack carry.
This is a wrap conversion podaegi from a Didymos petrol pfau wrap. I am so happy with how it turned out. This is the second version of my pod and has lighter padding for a more moldable strap. The blanket on this one is the same width as my older style but flares out to a wider width (mainly because I wanted to use the whole width of the wrap - so I would have to hem less!). It should be a good width for a big toddler and because the blanket is light it scrunches down for a smaller baby. The blanket is longer too (I just used the left over wrap piece). It is 76cm (30") long not including the point. I thought I had made it a little long but I think it looks fine. The straps are 203cm (80") long. I love the swishy peacock tails!
I have been having fun experimenting with podaegi's lately. The podaegi is a type of baby carrier which originated in Korea. It has two long straps and a long blanket. The straps are the part of the carrier that holds the child's weight so the blanket can be of lighter materials than a mei tai which is nice for summer. Pods can be used in a front carry from birth and a back carry from when your baby has good head control (around 3-4 months). Podaegis can be made with two types of straps - straight or angled. Angled strapped podaegi are used for front carrying and for a rucksack style high back carry. I decided to make a straight strapped podaegi to try first as this type can aslo be used for a low back carry or torso carry.
I really liked the pod in a front carry. I was surprised at how comfortable it was. My son liked it too - the first time I tried out this carry my son fell straight to sleep!
Here is the pod in a rucksack carry. It was more comfortable than I anticipated as I thought the straight straps might not pull my son in close enough to me - but I found it quite good and my son enjoyed looking over my shoulder.
The third carry I tried was a torso carry with shoulder support. The first time I tried it it wasn't tied quite right so I found it uncomfortable but the second time I tried it I loved it. It is a very comfortable carry if you have picky shoulders as very little of my son's weight was on my shoulders - I felt the weight more across my torso and lower body. It felt like my son was sitting on my bum! - different than what I'm used to but really comfy.
I love to sew. I have five curious and active kids who keep me busy!