Why Baby-Wearing Isn’t Just for Babies (or Mamas!)

From the first days with our little ones, I have chosen to wear my babies. It was a great way to bond during adoption, and later, to keep a nursing baby close while chasing a toddler (and I’m sure I’ll be wearing our newest infant soon!).

But I’m not the only one wearing the baby.

My husband has always loved wearing our babies, too. Our babies have loved snuggling up safe and warm with their daddy, soothed by his voice, as we headed out for a family excursion.

But as our little ones have outgrown those infant years, they still end up in the baby carrier on occasion. A fussy toddler in our home often means “baby-wearing time!” (In fact, our small 5-year-old has still hopped into the Ergo on occasion when she’s really needing some special closeness, too.)

There may also be seasons when your busy little one seems to have “outgrown” the desire for the baby carrier, as they learn mobility skills unrestricted, but then comes back to wanting that option later.

Reconnect

Now walking, these busy little ones love exploring their world. But they still come running back for reassurance and comfort. After his/her adventures, a toddler still needs time of reconnecting with Mom and Dad, with those cuddly hugs and affirming words.

Observe

At this age, toddlers are aware they might be missing out on something! Clinging to your leg, saying, “Hold me,” is often just a plea to be picked up so they can see what you’re doing! These pint-sized people often want to be at eye level, “just like Daddy,” instead of looking at your knees.

From the viewpoint of a baby carrier on a parent’s back, they can observe what’s going on. Toddlers are fascinated by Daddy’s projects, just as much as Mama’s. Is Daddy cleaning the garage, pruning vines outside, or sorting tools? Baby-wearing is perfect for letting little ones share the experience, at a safe distance, especially if they’re worn in a “back carry” instead of in front. (Obviously, choose your activity appropriately.)

Experience

Backpacking (or other outings) with Daddy is a grand adventure, but little feet can only walk so far. While baby-wearing, Daddy’s hands are free to move rocks and limbs, and safely step over creeks without juggling a weary toddler. (Just make sure to give these little explorers down-time, to wiggle their toes in the dirt, and run around for awhile, too!) The whole family can embark on the hike together, instead of hearing “You’re too little” or “I’m tired.”

Learn

With his/her arms wrapped around your neck, and peering over your shoulder, your toddler is aware of the conversations and interactions you have during the day.

Baby-wearing is a wonderful opportunity for them to soak up new vocabulary skills, as well as gleaning your values. Even at toddlerhood, these little ones will start recognizing what is important to you.

Whether you’re speaking of spiritual matters, encouraging a neighbor, or shopping at the Farmer’s Market, they’ll start picking up your worldview and values. (An incredible responsibility of parenthood!)

Baby-wearing gives your little one the anchor of a safe place in a busy world, full of quality time with Mom and Dad!

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7 comments to Why Baby-Wearing Isn’t Just for Babies (or Mamas!)

  • This is a great encouragement to wear my baby more! I ADORE my Ergo, but lately I find myself plopping baby #3 in his playpen while we homeschool, simply out of convenience. I love the points you made and need to pull out the carrier more often! Thanks so much for sharing!

    [Reply]

  • Such a good reminder! I wish I could carry my toddler more in the Ergo, but am 31 weeks pregnant with number two. I still hold my toddler often when he needs that snuggly time. Any suggestions on how to actually wear a 28 pound toddler when pregnant? I’d like to do it! (Just without harming the little baby, or killing my back :)

    [Reply]

    Michele Reply:

    @Nell, Sorry, I don’t have any great suggestions there. I”m almost full-term with baby #3, and Daddy has been wearing the little ones for awhile now, not me. :)

    Blessings,
    Michele

    [Reply]

  • Melissa

    I love wearing my toddler! At 19 months, he sometimes really wants the comfort and when we are running errands it helps that he is at eye level with other people or the things I’m looking at that day. I’m 18 weeks pregnant with our fifth, so we’ll see how long I can wear him though!

    I don’t want this to sound disrespectful, but I would mention to those new to baby wearing that your last image looks like it is one of the dangerous way to carry infants. They should be both visible and kissable and these low pouch like slings can put babies in a compromising positioning, threatening their breathing, leading to recalls of manufactured slings of this design.

    [Reply]

    Michele @ Frugal Granola Reply:

    @Melissa, Sorry for the confusing image! With a black sling + the shadow (and a tiny newborn), it does look like his face is covered; but it wasn’t. :) He was certainly well-kissed & monitored that day. Definitely good safety points, though. Thanks!

    Michele

    [Reply]

    Melissa Reply:

    @Michele @ Frugal Granola, Thanks for understanding!

    [Reply]

  • Bianca

    Please, don’t publish pictures of parents wearing their babies facing forward. It’s very bad for babies’ developments… People should be aware.

    [Reply]

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