Babywearing 101

Google babywearing and you’ll find about a thousand articles about the importance of wearing your baby, both for them and for you as the parent. But what you don’t find as easily is information on less typical circumstances: wearing an older/heavier baby, babywearing in extreme weather, formal babywearing (hey, it’s holiday party season) or even just finding a carrier that’s the right fit for you and yours. I’ve been working with families finding just the right carriers for their situations for 4 years now, and I like to think of myself as something of an expert.

Maybe wearing a toddler wasn’t your intention when you bought a carrier while you were pregnant. You figured by the time they were 14 months you’d both be over it, and they’d be walking or content to ride in a stroller. But there are lots of circumstances where they may be happier in a carrier: busy/crowded events, while cooking dinner, when they’re sick, or they just may be happier on a parent. And that carrier you have just isn’t working for either of you. Some guidelines to think about when looking for a something to hold a bigger baby include finding something with two, supportive straps, something that will distribute weight out onto the shoulders and onto your hips and that is wide enough to support your child from knee to knee. There is nothing less comfortable than a one year old’s legs kicking mom or dad while you walk. Supporting them knee to knee not only makes this impossible, but also supports your baby in a more natural seated position, as if you were holding them on your hip. We love the Pikkolo as our kids get older, and the Ergo can be a great choice for many parents.

Heading to Hawaii for a midwinter break? Or maybe Whistler for a little skiing (you, not the baby)? You’ll want to think about how you wear your baby and what accessories you might need. When heading into hot weather, remember that less is more, but your baby is still going to want/need to be worn, especially if you decide to go places strollers can’t. Try a carrier that you can use on your back, like a Pikkolo or Mei Tai.  I’ve always stayed cooler if the baby isn’t on my chest. If you have a young baby, try a ring sling or a water wrap. The bonus of a water wrap is that it’s quick drying, so it can get wet, and it’s UPF 50, so it will help protect your bub from harmful UV rays. In cooler weather, think about using a fleece cover for your baby. If you put the baby on under your coat, add the fleece cover and a hat, and baby should be fine down to some pretty cool temps. We also LOVE Huggalugs to keep legs warm in that in-between weather.

I’ve been to countless weddings and parties with my peanuts over the years, and I like to look nice, even when covered in spit up. So I usually turn to my ring slings for a sophisticated, stylish look that will coordinate with any beautiful dress. The extra bonus is that they’re easy to nurse in, even if you’re wearing strapless (for many, not all). Not keen on one shouldered carriers? Try a Wrapsody Wrap. With a simple black dress, you can choose the color that will work best for you both and look beautiful. You’ll get tons of compliments on these carriers and no one will notice the spit up on your shoulder.

It is so important to find a carrier that works perfectly for you, your baby, and your situation. If you’re anything like me, you have several pair of jeans: hanging out jeans, dressier jeans, skinny jeans, cropped jeans, a denim skirt. Like jeans, often times, you’ll need different carriers. Don’t forget too, that the carrier that was perfect for your first baby might not be right for your second (or third). Finding the right carrier can be tricky. I highly recommend you seek out someone to help you, either by contacting me, joining our local Seattle Area Babywearing Group, or finding a babywearing class in the area. Like jeans, buying without trying usually means returning the carrier. I’ve never met a child who truly didn’t like being snuggled or worn; families just need to find the perfect carrier for that baby.

 A note from IAPT:

Written by Katy Afruma of Regarding Peanut.  Katy actually came into the Evergreen Hospital NICU and taught us a class on babywearing, and since then, I’ve purchased a Ring sling, Wrapsody (which we’re giving away one for our launch) and then I moved into a Pikkolo and am awaiting my Kokopax carrier!!   If you haven’t tried babywearing, start now!  If you’re still in the NICU, ask if they will let you try wearing your baby in a Wrapsody or even a Moby Wrap!

About the Author: Julie of IAPT Howard

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