Before putting your baby into the carrier, you should adjust it to suit your own size. You can do this using the long nylon straps at the two-way buckle fastenings of the shoulder straps and the waist belt. The ends of the nylon straps can be tucked away in the belt strap loops. You will usually only have to make these adjustments once; from day to day you should only have to use the short nylon straps for fine tuning.
The Manduca baby carrier is not designed to carry a baby in a “face forward” position. It is designed to carry your baby in the M position, which is the natural position for the baby. When placed in a facing forwards position, the baby is leaning forward in an unnatural position for his body, and not getting appropriate head support.
Being carried in the M position allows your baby to be close enough to you to kiss, so you can always be aware of his face expressions and how he feels. It also allows you to control the amount of stimulation that he gets from his surroundings.
You can wear the manduca while you are pregnant in a back carry position as long as you and your child feel comfortable to do so.
You can carry your baby in the Manduca from birth, or rather from 3.5kg (approximately 7lb 11oz) in weight. In fact the first few weeks, you should use the integrated seat insert which will raise your baby a little higher as it sits in the carrier; also the very first weeks its legs should be tucked up inside.
Manduca are aware that the three point buckle fastening is a bit complicated to release than a standard one. However, we felt that the main priority was to ensure that the fastening can’t open by accident, for example by means of a parents trouser button press the release mechanism or a jealous sibling pulling on the waist belt. With a bit of experience and practice you will quickly learn how to open the buckle faster with three fingers of one hand.
A practical alternative is to leave the Manduca on and let the main panel hang down in front of you like an apron when the baby is not in the carrier. Many parents have found this to be the simplest solution when their baby is out of the Manduca for short periods.
For your comfort and to increase the Manduca’s safety still further, all strap and belt fastenings lie on a padded part of the strap or belt, on which there is an elastic safety loop. This is why you should always pull the quick fixes tight enough so that they come to rest behind the loops and on the padding.
The back extension has a dual purpose: it supports older babies’ and children’s backs (back carry) and also provides support to the upper back and neck area of younger babies (front and hip carry). Unzipping the back extension on the main panel lenghthens your Manduca by 7cm.
Unzipping the back extension also gives you the option to breastfeed more discretely.
A Tip – You can use the back extension instead of the head support for front carries. If your baby can already hold his head by himself, you can keep the back extension zipped away when he is awake, so that he can see more of what’s going on around him. If he falls asleep, just unzip the extension and baby ‘s head enjoys perfect support. You may find you need to tighten the shoulder straps.
You’re probably right your baby is an in-between phase, nearly too big for the seat insert, but with thighs too short to be comfortable and properly supported without it. You should carry on using the insert – in combination with the back extension this way, your baby will still be sitting a bit higher in the carrier and doesn’t have to ‘do the splits’. Her lower legs can now hang out of the carrier on each side; there won’t be any pressure on the thighs or back of the knees.
There are no hard and fast rules as to when your baby can use the Manduca without the insert – it varies from baby to baby, depending on their individual size and above all how long their thighs are. Most babies are ready to wave goodbye to the insert between 3 and 5 Months of age. As a general guide, babywearing consultants often say the insert can be folded away when the baby has grown in to clothes size (00).
Another good way to determine if a baby has out grown the infant insert is when Manducas body panel only covers the baby’s thighs up to and not beyond the baby’s knees. The baby’s calves should be able to dangle freely outside the carrier. When this happens the infant insert is no longer needed.