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5 reasons I love toddler wearing

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I was queuing for a bag of chips last Friday when the gruff, bald, beer bellied Polish man behind the counter looked up at me and exclaimed “I love your style!”

Er.

He went on to explain “The way you are carrying your child, I really like it – we do it like that back home.” I had my toddler sprawled on my back, nestled in my wrap. I used to get comments like this quite commonly when she was tiny, but now more often than not all I get are those Raised Eyebrows of Consternation!

For the first 5 months of Ramona’s life I wore her in a sling every day, for most of the day. I just wanted to keep her close, I felt a small part of me to be missing if I were to let her snooze on the sofa! She would snuggle into me as  I cooked and protested and sewed and hiked.

I had a gorgeous ring sling a friend had made, but wanting to be completely hands free I made her a stretchy wrap. By the time she was 5 months old she was a corking 13 kilos and I needed to upgrade to a woven wrap that would made my load a little lighter! We invested in a Didymos wrap, a second hand one from Ebay, and has been serving us beautifully recently, with our little 21 month old Ramona.

Once Ramona got crawling, the cord that tied us began pulling a little bit and it seemed completely natural for her to want to crawl about, away from me and explore the dusty, crevices of our house.  I still wore her when we went out and about and for naps and for breastfeeding on the go. When she was 10 months old we found a buggy by a bin, a spectacular huge old Silver Cross and we  took it home and took Ramona for the odd spin in that. Ramona enjoyed it- she’d wave at everyone in a very Queen like way, enjoying a wonderfully novel experience, thinking she was the first baby  ever to get pushed about on a mini wagon; “Check out my WHEELS!”. It came in pretty handy for loading it up with our big supermarket shop and gradually we got used to using the buggy 75% of the time.

Then, a few months ago Ramona gave up the buggy –  couldn’t get her in it for love nor money. I buckled her in against her will once and the discombobulation of that haunts me to this day. The wrap is once again making an appearance daily and it feel so right!

Here are my reasons for loving it:

  • It saved a buggy strike from becoming an immobilising crisis! Understandably, once your toddler GETS toddling, they don’t fancy being clipped in and pushed about.  For Ramona it seems being up high helps her to feel okay with being carted around, she feels involved with her excellent vantage point.

    We zipped off to Berlin for the day with Ramona on my back

  • I like how unfettered I feel. I walk out the door with my handbag and Ramona on my back and that’s that. Because it is hands free, I can text/ eye up Twitter/ pick my nose whilst walking along, without having to negotiate 4 wheels. (Mind you that could be simply my lack of coordination!) Our buggy used to get layers and layers of stuff packed into it, and bags hanging off all sides. Pushing that around made me feel like that fella off The Road.

    Checking out the horses – Ramona LOVED this place

  • Ramona falls asleep SO easily in a back carry, I love to feel her cheek press into my shoulder as she drops off. If I sense Ramona is a bit excited, or if we have a tribe of souls at our place having fun, bed times can involve much convincing! Sometimes I’ll pre-empt it and will take her for an evening stroll and let her gently off. Transferring her into her bed from a back carry is really simple too – a much lower Wake Up Rate than the buggy to bed transfer!

    Schnoozing

  • It is especially good for navigating the city crowds and public transport. Going into the centre of the Big Smoke with the buggy used to fill me with dread; having to ask strangers for help up and down the stairs, getting stuck behind a platoon of slow walkers. Now we just whip up and down and right past those meandering snail like tourists and strolling romantics.

    Just hanging out back there, eating a corn on the cob

  • I feel close to her when I carry her. Like we are on the same bandwith. I guess it it just the equivalent of lots of cuddles but Ramona- like most toddlers I suspect- is such a busy bee that I only really really get the snuggles when I nurse and carry her! I just feel a lot more in sync with her – as if body was designed to drape over back, as if tribes of mamas from generations past are nodding knowingly at us.

I can only really carry for an hour without a break, I’m not denying she is pretty heavy. But not nearly as wearying as pushing a heavy laden pram, or as hard as people think it – I guess your body becomes accustomed and grows in a way to accommodate toddlerwearing. I use a Reinforced Ruck Carry (I think, there are about a gazillion different carries) but have heard on the street that a Double Hammock is the FUTURE so I am going to be studying this video for a bit:

Are you a babywearer? What kind of comments have you received? I’d love to hear all about ’em.

42 responses »

  1. Hey, do you have a secret link into my mind??? At the moment I seem to live and breath baby carriers. When I had izzy I ended up buying a ring sling to enable me to go off road when I walked the dog. It was great but grew uncomfortable as she grew heavier so I bought a stretchy wrap which I loved. When Charlie was born he was so heavy and was quite happy to go in the pushchair so I never thought about it.

    Now at 7months, he is a little heffer and I struggle with both my carriers on the comfort factor. He is also going through a clingy phase and unlike with Izzy (I’m ashamed to say), I refuse to let him cry on his own to get used to it. So I am currently borrowing a mei tai from my local sling library. I love it but still get drawn back to the wraps so may have to borrow one of those before I decide what to purchase. I love being able to put Charlie on my back so I can get on with making dinner or cleaning. Really handy for going round the supermarket and I’ve started using it more when i’m out and about as he always wants to be picked up anyway………

    I do need help in one area though………. Baby change bag………..I seem to have everything including the kitchen sink with me. How can I streamline and what do other people use as their change bags whilst they’re baby wearing?

    Reply
    • Hey Jenna
      Actually I meant to talk about that in my post, slings are SO good for clingy phases which even toddlers go through – especially around dinner time. The amount of times I have been able to put Ramona on my back and cook are countless and wonderful!

      I can’t really help with the nappy bag as because of EC we normally just carry 2 little pairs of extra leggins in case of a miss. But perhaps other babywearing readers can help?

      Reply
    • For back carries aisian style carriers like mei tais, onbuhimos, and podegis (torso carry) are great for back carries. And African kangas make for cool, quick torso carries. Some people like the modern buckle carriers that are modeled off of these carries like the ergo. If you use a wrap to back carry it should be a one way stretch not a 4 way stretch ever! :) How you wrap it and how the carrier is woven really makes difference in comfort! My least favorite carriers are pouches and ring slings.

      Reply
      • Yep, the ring sling is good for an emergency now or if it goes better with my outfit hahaha – had a wedding a few months ago and the beautiful ring sling was the ticket!

  2. When she is on your back how do you know when she needs to go? I am still trying to get my head around this EC business. Thanks and looking forward to having babies one day where I can talk about carrying babies around in slings : )

    Reply
    • When in a sling babies RARELY wee – it has happened to me about 3 times in 15 months? If they do need to go they protest and wiggle. Babywearing makes EC so much easier – they just go when you get them out the sling.
      I recommend Nappy Free baby – ace book. I got it on Kindle and still refer to it! x

      Reply
  3. I think this is way I will want to go when I have kids. It is so lovely to see Ramona snoozing on her mumma whilst you carry on doing the grown-up stuff you need to do. Inspired!

    Reply
  4. Argh! I love her wee corn munching coziness! I have totally gotten out of the way of the wearing too. I don’t even know why – I need a good video study for toddler wraps to get me motivated! Those pics are awesome, good work pipes! X

    Reply
  5. I just tried aidan in the double hammock. It turned into a wrestle and tickle session, and now of course, milk. Will have to practise with that one! I saw someone doing it about a fortnight ago and it’s very flattering across the front.

    Thanks for this sweet post!

    Reply
  6. I couldn’t agree more–nice to be able to pick your nose! lol Different wrap ties put/distribute weight on differently. There is a full torso tie that keeps weight off of shoulders too. I can still carry my 2.75 year old on my back with my mei tai.

    Reply
  7. Good for you carrying Ramona. I love the sweet pic of her snoozing. In South Africa where I come from loads of toddlers and babies are carried this way with blankets and or sheets, it’s very precious mamma-baby time xox Enjoy and ignore those raised eyebrows x

    Reply
  8. I haven’t worn my little one for months and months now, at least not regularly since about a year. I used a homemade Mei tai (http://dillytante.wordpress.com/2011/07/17/a-critical-appraisal-of-my-major-works-to-date/ here) which I loved, but your post makes me want to get it out again. Not sure how compliant my now 22 month old would be though.

    Reply
  9. I dont leave home without my sling! Its very uncomfortable (I’m looking for someting different) but an absolute lifesaver. If my baby cries I can wear him but still get things done, and I agree its so much easier to go out with a sling than a pram!! BUTTTTTT – what about the nappy bag? I end up carrying that bag on my other shoulder and feel like quite the sherpa (not to mention the pain!!)

    Reply
    • Ah, honestly, once you get a comfortable sling your life will CHANGE! When I moved on from my ring sling to the wrap, I suddenly felt amazing, comfortable and free and unburdened.
      We have never really had a nappy bag, because of elimination communication, I have just stuffed a flannel and spare trousers in a pocket!

      But I reckon with your mega crafty skills you could sew a pouch on to a mei tai or the middle bit of a wrap?

      Reply
    • I have the same problem with nappy bag but I think I try to plan for every eventuality. But really, my baby going to seriously need 3 cloth nappies, two tubs of reusable wipes, an entire change of clothes, hand sanitiser, surface sanitiser (really i’m not that clean), a bib, 3 toys, a magazine (because you never know when you’re going to get a spare 5 mins when they’re asleep). I think lulastic has the better idea……..

      Reply
  10. we were kindly bought a very expensive pram/buggy affair and really never used it – I now have fond memories of being that close to my son (he was carried every where)
    Of course he’s now too heavy (almost) to be picked up, but I still give it a go every now and then for old times sake : ) (he’s just 8, not a teenager, lol!)

    Reply
    • Hehehehe EIGHT, I love that!! I bet he finds it a good laugh too! The amount of grown ups that say to me “Cor I’d love to be carried round like that” maybe there is a market for some kind of giant sling.(Er, and the giants to carry us hahaha)

      Reply
  11. I still love wearing Ro but she is going through a little miss independent phase which sees her wriggling heaps to get out and walk. So glad to have discovered wraps third time round which means I can wear her for hours if she chooses, despite her 15 month chubbiness.

    Reply
  12. This is a revelation, thank you for posting. Had no idea you could carry toddlers. And I’d never heard of Ec so going to check that out now. I have ten month old twins and are road tripping to morocco next summer, so sling carrying will be vital. Need my husband with me though… Unless you know of any twin carrying techniques ;) x

    Reply
    • Yep, and you know what? It is even easier to carry them then chubby babies as their mass it much more spread! There ARE some tandem baby carries, it is worth searching youtube, but I think it could get a bit sweaty! I am well jell of your Morocco adventure! x

      Reply
  13. Hi Lucy, I was wondering whether you could give me some advice? I have a Close sling which seems lovely and easy to use. However my 3 week old baby goes in it happily with her dad, but when I try she immediately starts crying and rooting wanting a feed even if she has just had a long feed and was calm and relaxed before I put her in. Is this common with small babies? Does it take time for them to get used to it or do I need to layer up so she can’t smell my milk so easily? Any advice would be greatfully received!

    Reply
  14. Hi Anna
    Thanks for your comment, hmmm. I’m not sure Ramona did this- she was most unhappy with Tim when she was a tiny baby. I think there probably is something in there about smelling your milk. What about trying a back carry? By the time Ramona was a couple of months old I was often feeding her in the wrap on the go. I don’t know if this is an option for you? I am going to post this on Twitter to see if other readers had a similar thing…

    Reply
    • if the close carrier is a stretchy then they recommend not to back carry (even though the instruction booklets say you can). This is because if baby stretches back far enough they could (could) fall out………….Although I don’t think at 3 months that would be likely to happen?

      Reply
  15. Thank you, and thank you for seeking more advice from other mamas! I persisted and this morning she had a long feed and afterwards I popped her straight in the sling. She protested for about a minute the. Went to sleep for 3 1/2 hours! So lovely, and so liberating for me. Where as before I would have carried her around doing everything one- handed, I could actually do things and go out easily. Thanks for your inspiring posts about baby wearing they made me more determined to get it right instead of giving up when she initially seemed not to like it

    Reply
  16. I wore my son for a bit but he grew so fast and heavy that I soon really needed to wear him on my back, which I was too paranoid to do. I just hated the idea of him being out of my sight, lol. I think I’m be a lot for chilled when baby #2 arrives. I enjoyed that time though, it was like walking around in a hug :0) I never got any comments. I think people may be getting more used to seeing baby-wearing parents.

    Reply
  17. I wear in a buckle style carrier, the bECO and I looove it! i don’t know how other mums do without a sling!! I’m having trouble though getting my son used to the back carry – think he can’t see enough. Anyone using bECO and have tips for back carrying?

    Thanks for a great blog – just found you today while my son is napping :)

    Noor

    Reply

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