Sometimes I’m not sure who fell in love with babywearing first, me or my daughter. My partner and I both wore her from the moment we brought her home from the hospital. I remember feeling so lucky for this miracle contraption that stopped the crying and screaming and allowed me to use both hands while still getting the sweetest baby snuggles. My ring sling is the most cherished thing I ever bought for my daughter, and it’s in a box on my shelf, too special and sentimental to hand down or sell. In a blink, though, your baby isn’t a baby anymore, and their new mobility often sends the carrier to the closet as you let your little drunken sailor loose. Recently, though, my 2 year old has been obsessed with riding “piggy back” so I pulled out our Tula and she climbed happily in. I’m so grateful for this second surge of babywearing, and here are 3 great reasons to give toddler wearing a try.
Convenience. Does your toddler walk into, say, a pharmacy and proceed to start looting everything from the shelves like she is in the midst of a zombie apocolypse and just stumbled upon a jackpot of canned goods and supplies? Just mine? These types of errands were getting tough to manage. Quick enough to not get the stroller out, and not the kind of place that has a shopping cart for containment. So now I climb into the backseat of my car and she crawls on my back and we are buckled and on our way in 60 seconds. And as someone who is a tad big-crowd-phobic (with a child who does not yet understand things like wandering off or stepping off a curb into the street), I feel better with her on my back at things like festivals, marches/protests, and also in any store with a lot of breakable items. The reality is that two-year-olds (even in a stroller) have a little too much range of motion in a stroller and love to gravitate toward, say, ceramic antiques at your favorite vintage store. Finally, never underestimate the convenience of toddler wearing (just like when they were infants) as a cure-all for a sick or teething child. All they want is to be close to you (on top of you, on the side of you, nonstop touching you, climbing you, etc.) when they are sick and at 33 pounds…my arms get tired. I think we can all agree that snuggles are the best when you feel sick and whiny.
Conversations. My kiddo and I walk or run using my jog stroller almost every day. I close the stroller shade and let her relax while I enjoy (relative) peace and quiet albeit the periodic requests for raisins or Lady Gaga. With a toddler on your back, though, it’s a whole different vibe. First of all, imagine the difference between life as a 3 footer and life as a 5 plus footer. Talk about a whole new world! Trees they can touch, stuff on shelves that usually are out of their line of sight. And my favorite is the face-
to by-face conversation, because when else does this happen free of distraction with you and your toddler? There is something so special about chatting with a budding conversationalist who is also pointing out everything she sees in real time, and literally talking into your ear. We don’t get these moments often, and I’ve grown to look forward to this time and value our chats. One last convenience for me? She doesn’t need entertained on my back like she does with the stroller (books, toys, my phone) and she also can’t unbuckle herself and jump out of the carrier. (Knock wood.)
Calories. During one of my last pregnant workouts before I threw in the towel, I remember thinking I could just not do this anymore with all this extra weight on me. My daughter now weighs about what I gained during pregnancy. Whoa. Wearing her on my back for a hike wears me out and makes me sore the next day like I ran 5 miles. I’m also extra careful on hills and with my footing which means extra focus on my core and lower back, which is always welcomed! There are tons of resources online for babywearing boot camps and workouts (toddler friendly) and even dance classes done with baby on board.
Not ready to give up wearing you toddler? You don’t have to! Want some sweet snuggles and a good work out? Get that toddler on your body! For reference, my almost 2.5 year old is 36 inches and 33 pounds and I wear her currently in the same soft-structured carrier I used when she was 10 pounds. We haven’t even had to size up to a toddler carrier yet, which means we hopefully have years of babywearing left! Toddlers can be worn in ring slings and wraps as well, so do some research to find out what works best for your needs. Ready to get started? The Nappy Shoppe in Plano is a great local resource for information and to get you fitted and on your way.