Carrier of the Month - Mamaruga Podma
By Susie Cooke, Babywearing Consultant, Helix Baby
AT A GLANCE:
Weight – 3 – 20 kg (approx 6.6 – 45lb)
Positions – front inward facing, hip and back carrying
Straps – wide, woven wrap fabric
Fabric: 100% combed cotton
Hood: attached, adjustable
Wearer adjustability: removeable waistbelt, so will fit everyone! (waist belt adjustment 27-58 inches)
The Mamaruga Podma. This sling can seemingly do SO much! The more I use it, the more I love it. Let me tell you why. . .
So firstly, what is the Podma? It is a half buckle sling, so has a buckle waist and tie-on shoulder straps (so like a meh dai with a buckle waist belt). But it also has the option to remove the waist belt and use as a Podegi style sling, a traditional Korean carrier with just a panel and 2 tie-on straps.
It is made of gorgeously soft yet strong, woven wrap fabric. So you could describe the Podma as the “halfway-house” sling; you have the beautiful fabric and versatile tie-on straps like a woven or meh dai, but with the ease and speed of the panel and buckle waist like a buckle carrier.
The straps of the carrier are wide and supportive. You tie the straps around you and baby for a secure (and usually pretty!) fit. There is no padding, but then there doesn’t need to be; by spreading the straps over your shoulder and back, this provides excellent fit and spreads baby’s weight over your body. The straps are long, and this can seem intimidating to some wearers and is usually the reason why many people choose full buckle carriers, although this can often compromise on fit and comfort. They can also trail along the floor and in mud if you are carrying out and about!
The hood is attached, adjustable (via elastic) and is fastened in place by tying a knot around a loop on the straps. Although a simple design that works, I do find this a bit fiddly to do! It also rolls up and ties out of the way (again by a knot and loop) which also doubles up as a head/neck rest for smaller babes on board.
The official weight range for the Podma is 3 – 20kg (approx 6.6 – 45lb). This is great for those who have slightly smaller newborns, as most slings and carriers have a lower weight limit of 7lb (3.2kg).
To accommodate this huge weight range, there is a lot of adjustability! The panel is adjusted by simply sliding and cinching it along the waist belt, giving you the ability to get the perfect knee-to-knee fit each time. You can also alter the height of the panel by rolling it around the waist belt; you are able to roll either once or twice to get the correct size for your young baby as the buckle and waist belt are reversible.
The above pictures are using the Podma in half-buckle mode, with the waist belt in. I can easily get a perfect fit my 3 month old AND my 3 year old! The buckle waist makes the carrier quicker to use than a full tie-on carrier (like a meh dai), especially for back carries if you are using the “hip scoot” method, sliding baby around to the back and then tightening the waist after.
Cleverly, the waist belt of the Podma can be completely taken out. This leaves you with a panel and 2 long straps which you can use as a Podegi style carrier. All of a sudden, this carrier has become so simple, yet the most versatile! When in this mode, you can use it for both front and back carries (and even torso carries!) and will fit ANY size wearer and almost ANY size child! In the pictures below, you can see I can use the carrier both front and back for my 3 month old, my 3 year old and even my 5 year old (just!).
It does make it a little trickier for back carries, as a hip scoot is no longer an option. But you also have the advantage of nothing around your waist, so great for carrying in pregnancy or if the wearer doesn’t want any pressure on that area of their body.
For safety, the carrier is recommended to be used for front and hip carries from newborn and back carries from 6 months old.
It really is a versatile sling. And the 100% combed cotton fabric comes in some really beautiful patterns. The hardest thing is to decide which one to get!
VERDICT: With a huge weight/age range, the Podma is a great investment for anyone wanting great comfort, fit and support and longevity, or as an easier alternative to a woven wrap.