My youngest baby is 2 ½ and has been carried in a sling or carrier of some sort since she was a newborn. I wanted to baby wear with her for a number of reasons. One was because I have 3 older children to care for and I thought a sling would be more convenient for quick trips than a pram and I thought it would be easier to get things done at home if my baby wanted to be held. I’d also read about the benefits for baby of being worn; babies who are carried more have been shown to cry less, for instance.
We’ve been through a variety of carriers, from long woven wraps to ring slings and soft structured carriers. There are so many gorgeous carriers and styles to choose from and it can be as affordable as a $12 selendang wrap or as costly as a high end as a handwoven wrap worth many hundreds of dollars. There is something to suit all budgets and so many styles of carrier to choose from. It’s been learning curve; I’ve figured out the type of carriers that suit us as well as learning to babywear safely using the TICKS guidelines:
I still carry her now, even though she’s pushing 15 kg and I get a few perplexed looks and questions while out and about, like asking if it hurts my back (it doesn’t, because I use an ergonomic carrier that suits my body) or asking why she isn’t in a pram or walking, so I thought I’s share my top 6 reasons for wearing my toddler.
- I know where she is. She’s either on my back, hip or on my front. She can’t run off, which is great for my peace of mind.
- In a crowd, many little ones feel overwhelmed or overloaded. Being in a carrier means they are close to their biggest source of security- a parent or trusted caregiver- and can snuggle in for comfort.
- Little legs get tired. If we are out and about and she wants to explore on her own feet- she can! And when she has had enough of that, she can hop up for a rest and recharge.
- Communication is much easier for us. She is on the same eye level and we can talk easily. I can point things out and so can she.
- She is still breastfeeding and I can feed her on the go in a carrier. Learning to nurse in a carrier was a revelation for me when she was small- it meant I could go out and not have to spend hours sitting feeding at the shops or the markets or wherever I was. Now that she’s older, it’s super convenient to be able to walk and breastfeed at the same time.
- My number one reason I still wear my daughter is because we both love it. She loves being up on the same level as me, seeing the world around her, having a snuggle, snooze or feed. She’s not in the carrier as often as she used to be but while she still enjoys it, I’ll keep carrying her close.
In a hip carry using an Ankalia “Nevaeh” ring sling.