Photo-Tutorial: How to Use a Baby K’Tan Carrier

This photo-tutorial shows how to use a Baby K’Tan Carrier.  A K’Tan is a type of stretchy wrap with two big loops of fabric and a sash.  It feels a lot like a stretchy wrap, but without the long fabric to wrap.  When you first pull it out of the box, it can seem confusing.  (How do you put a baby in this thing?)   However, it’s actually really simple and easy to use.  This photo-tutorial will break it into easy steps for you to follow.

Don’t let the number of steps in this tutorial scare you! It looks like a lot, but it’s pretty easy! I’ve broken it into a lot of steps in the hopes that each step will be short and easy for you to follow.

It can help to practice with a doll, stuffed animal, or even a bag of rice when you are first learning. Take a moment to grab your carrier and a doll and follow along with the steps.

Prepare your Baby K’tan Carrier

Step 1: Hold the carrier by the small loop.
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Step 2: Take a moment to make sure that the fabric in each large loop is not folded over or twisted.
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Step 3: Holding the carrier  with one hand on each side of the small loop, put it over your head like you are putting on a necklace.  The small loop should end up behind your head.
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Step 4: Separate the two loops and bring one hand through each loop.  (Don’t mind my face!  Screen shots are the worst, hahaha!)
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Step 5: Behind you, locate the small loop. Pull this loop down on your back. This will make the carry much more comfortable for you.
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Step 6: Take a moment to spread out the fabric over each shoulder. This will distribute the baby’s weight nicely on your shoulders.
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Step 7: Bring both hands in between the two loops.
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Step 8: Press your hands down to stretch the fabric slightly. This makes room for the baby.
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Put Baby into the Baby K’Tan Carrier

Step 9: Lift your baby onto your shoulder as if you were going to burp baby.
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Step 10: Holding baby with one hand, bring your other hand under one loop to guide baby’s foot through.
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Step 11: Shift baby to the opposite shoulder. Bring your hand through the other loop and guide baby’s second foot through.
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Step 12: Next, take a moment to position your baby. Baby should have knees higher than bottom and be resting their head on the flat part of your chest.

Step 13: Locate the loop that is underneath. (One loop will be over the other loop, start with the one that is on bottom). Spread that fabric out from one knee to the other knee.
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Step 14: Now, bring the fabric all the way to the nape of baby’s neck.
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Step 15: Repeat on the other side. Spread the fabric from the bend of one knee to the bend of the other knee.
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Make Adjustments to the Carry

Step 16: Bring the fabric on this side all the way to the nape of baby’s neck as well. Do not cover baby’s face.
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Step 17: To be sure the fabric isn’t covering baby’s face, pull the edge closest to your neck out toward the outside of your shoulder. This is called capping the shoulder.
(Look at those smoothy cheeks!! <3  Why do babies grow so fast?)Screen Shot 2018-11-22 at 9.59.34 PM

How to Cap the Shoulder
This image shows how to cap the shoulder to keep fabric off of baby’s face. It’s important that your baby’s face is uncovered.

Step 18: If your baby is asleep or you would like to add more head support to the carry, you can use one loop to cover the back of baby’s head (no further than the ear).  This is optional.
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A Side Note: Many babies do not like to have the back of their head covered when they are awake. That’s totally fine! Being in a carrier gives them time to practice lifting their head and developing strong neck and back muscles. Keeping their head uncovered while they’re awake and alert gives them time to develop their head control.

Step 19: Be sure you can fit two fingers under baby’s chin. This helps keep baby’s airway open.  Baby’s chin should be lifted off of baby’s chest, with their face pointed slightly upward and totally visible.  (For more about safety, see here).
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Step 20: Spread the sash over baby’s back and pull it snug.  The sash should support all the way from the nape of the neck to baby’s bottom.
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Step 21: Bring the sash tails behind you and tie a double knot behind you.
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And you’re done! It’s a super quick carry!

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I hope that this Baby K’tan photo-tutorial helps you get comfortable with your carrier.If you prefer learning with videos, I have a video that shows how to use a K’tan here:

My sweet baby (one month old) stayed asleep for this entire tutorial!  You’ll likely find your carrier comes with lots of sleepy dust too and will help you soothe baby to sleep or keep baby asleep when you get them out of their carseat to take them somewhere.  Babywearing is truly magical!

Further Reading

Babywearing Safety
Positioning your Newborn
Using your Carrier for Kangaroo (Skin to Skin) Care
How to Use a Baby K’Tan: Fit Check, Comfort Tips, and Tutorial Links (coming soon!)