cover story, interview

Daddy Podaegi with adventure

French design

Forget about the poor design of Podaegi in the past. Here comes a trendy chic Podaegi, dedicated to dads! A French and a Parisien, Vincent designed it with 6 years of his Podaegi experience. Let’s listen to the story behind his Podaegi design for dads.

How he met Podaegi for the first time

I had a baby as soon as I got married in 2014. At that moment, I just arrived in Korea, and I felt awkward getting married. I felt a lot of pressure of becoming a father suddenly. I had a lot of arguments with my wife. I wanted to raise my child in a French way, so I referred to the French parenting book, but it didn’t go as the book says. The baby was always crying.

In the meantime, I saw my mother-in-law using a Podaegi, and the baby just stopped crying and fell asleep immediately. It was amazing.

I’ve seen a lot of baby strollers or baby belts, but never a Podaegi.

That’s right. Many people think Podaegis are tacky because it’s usually used by rural grandmothers. When we made a baby essentials list, we didn’t even consider a Podaegi. We only prepared a baby belt and a stroller. However, when it came to the actual parenting, there was nothing more useful than a Podaegi.

First of all, the baby refused a baby belt, and she always kept crying in a belt. Plus, the belt itself was already heavy. It was too heavy to carry the baby with the belt. Also, stroller itself was heavy as well, bulky, and bumpy outside, it was hard to carry a stroller everywhere. You can’t use the stroller inside at home.

I’m surprised to hear that Podaegis are more useful.

The Podaegi is light. You just roll and tie it up. It goes very easily into your bag. It’s really convenient going out with it. I always took it in my bag, even we went out with a stroller. Even if you don’t carry a baby on your back, you can use the podaegi for many purposes. For example, to change diapers, you can put a baby on the podaegi as a mat. When the weather was a bit windy or chilly, I covered the podaegi up like a blanket. When the baby was nagging in a difficulty of falling asleep, she fell asleep quickly with Podaegi.

Especially on rainy days or cold days like winter, Podaegi was very convenient. You can simply carry a baby and use an umbrella! Sometimes you need to go out for a short moment in a hurry on a rainy day, it’s very inconvenient to drag a stroller out. You have to put on a stroller cover and it’s hard to go out if you have luggage on your hands. It was so easy with Podaegi because I just had to carry a baby bag in my back and use an umbrella. The same goes for cold days. I could carry it on my back and cover it with a coat.

Above all, Podaegi cleaning is very convenient. Those of you who have raised a baby will know. Babies always drool and vomit often. You must have at least once been upset that your baby got a stroller, a baby belt, or a car seat dirty. The Podaegi is 100% cotton, so you can just wash it in the washing machine like clothes, and it dries quickly.

But It must be very heavy to carry the baby on your back.

It’s true. My wife became very weak after the delivery. She says her wrists and back hurts. Babies get heavier and heavier day by day. So I carried the baby on my back as the father.

There are many moments you need to carry or hug your baby by the time she becomes three years old. My baby always whines and whines, but she stops when I hold her. In my case, I had to cook, wash the dishes, clean the laundry, go grocery shopping, and sometimes use the computer. I don’t have both hands free, if I use a baby belt. I simply can’t do anything. If I carry the baby on my back with a Podaegi, my hands are totally free. It feels like I have a backpack on my back. The baby is so close to my body and the weight is distributed on both sides of the shoulder. It feels really light. I almost forget that I’m carrying my baby on my back.

Above all, the baby loves it so much. I’ve never seen babies who don’t like it. Not only Korean babies, but western babies also enjoy the Podaegi. If you look at a baby in a podaegi carefully, the baby keeps observing what the parents are doing over their parents’ shoulders. Babies see things at the parents’ height. Imagine how boring it must be to watch the ceiling as a baby! You also can feel your baby’s heart beating sound through your back. It’s even more intimate I raised my children with a podaegi, and I think it made them less nagging and more gentle.

Podaegi master in Busan.

I got to know the owner of a Podaegi workshop in Busan. We’ve known each other since 2015. It was surprising that he was a single man, but I was touched by his passionate explanation of how good the Podaegi was for the baby’s emotions. As a parent who has raised two children with Podaegi, I have learned how useful it is. He has done quite a lot of research on the Podaegi. The traditional Podaegi is flowing down and difficult to use, so he developed an easy and comfortable shoulder strap Podaegi, and received a patent.

The sad thing is we both agreed was that less and less people are looking for a Podaegi. The number of babies born is low because of the low birth rate in Korea. Most parents work these days, so raising babies at home is rare. Babies generally are raised by babysitters or at a daycare center. Moreover, the new generation of parents think that the podaegi is tacky (actually, the pattern is tacky!). They’d rather use a baby belt or a stroller instead. They don’t to want be tied to their babies.

I’m a westerner, but using a Podaegi has benefitted me, so I felt sorry about the disappearance of the Podaegi tradition. We might find a Podaegi only in a museum in the future if no one is using it and producing it. I hope that the Podaegi will continue steadily. The day my daughters give birth to my grandchildren, I still want to carry them on my back.

That’s very fresh. Podaegi for Dads.

I’m a stay at home dad. My wife worked, and I raised my daughters while I took paternity leave for 3 years. I’m a westerner, so I didn’t have any preconceptions about the Podaegi. I used a stroller, but the Podaegi had its own role. I could carry the baby on my back and do everything. I offered a Podaegi as a gift to new parent friends in France. They were lost at first, but they easily learned how to do it. My cousin even carried the baby on his back while he mowed the lawn.
There were some problems with the original Podaegi. The design was too childish and full of colors like yellow and pink, and patterns with teddy bears, and stars. It was too noticeable to go out and wear it. The second problem was the size. It was too small. It looked ridiculous when I wore it (I am 190cm tall). The third problem is that it’s not easy to learn at the beginning. At first, I was scared of dropping the baby, but after a few tries in front of sofa and bed, it was fine.

I designed my own Podaegi for dads to improve the inconvenience I experienced, and the final result came out after coordinating several times with the Podaegi boss. It should look trendy and chic, so that even a father, who is over 190 centimeters tall, can wear it. It should be 100% cotton since it is for a baby. It should also hide a little bit of dirt caused by babies. It should also be strong so we can be used for generations. Eventually the dream came true!

Are you the model for your Podaegi?

I wish I were the model, but it’s not me. Model and YouTuber Jeff Somec donated his talent. A french man, Jeff is also married to a Korean woman, and a father of two cute babies. He said that his babies also love the Podaegi. He hopes that the Korean Podaegi tradition will succeed. He is planning to upload a <How to hold a Podaegi> Youtube video very soon.

Draft Dad’s Podaegi Design Sketch

One last thing you want to say?

There were many ups and downs in making the Podaegi for dads. If money was the goal, we would have stopped at the beginning. I am sure that there must be at least one person who might need a Podaegi for dads like me. Thanks again Jeff for promoting the Podaegi tradition with us. It would be a great honor if you just remember that there once was a French man who loved the Korean Podaegi and designed it for dads in history. Finally, let me say the last word: <Podaegi, Stay Forever!>.


Model Jeff size in the picture: 185cm, 70kg. Model baby: 12kg. According to our tries with our friends, it fits to 155cm to 190cm tall, weigh 45kg to 120kg parents. You can carry from new born to heavy kids(even adults!).

Interested in Podaegi for dads?

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