Baby Carriers – Should I Carry My Toddler?

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For the widest selection of Baby Carriers and Slings including Customer Reviews CLICK HERE

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The myth runs like this: ‘Don’t carry your toddler, it only spoils them.’ In my role as a sling consultant, I have worked with parents who have challenged this myth and realised that carrying their toddler not only make sense to them on a practical level, it is also a wonderful gift they can give themselves and their child. For the myth to perpetuate we must accept it at face value, contrary to what we would have liked for ourselves when we were young and what we know of our children’s personalities. With this article I want to create a pause in the process of accepting the myth and in that pause provide a challenge to the underlying assumptions. My position is this: Yes, you can carry your toddler without spoiling them.

From newborn to toddler

We carry our newborn for many reasons; to regulate heart beat and temperature, to ease colic, to encourage sleep, to calm, to attend to the needs of siblings, to bond. Add all these needs together and a very young baby may spend a significant amount of time being nurtured in a carrier. As they grow older and start walking, we have fewer reasons to carry them. They are obviously heavier and may outgrow their current baby carrier. Eventually, you may stop carrying them altogether, opting for a stroller instead. The assumption that they no longer need to be carried may lead to us missing their subtle emerging needs as toddlers.

Benefits

Toddlers love the change of perspective they get when carried high in a baby carrier. Experiencing the world from the same vantage point as mum builds confidence and understanding and opens up a rich interaction between you both. Toddlers are very curious about the world around them and constantly ask questions about what they see. If they are in a pushchair the opportunities to talk about what they can see are often missed. If they are being carried you can have a constant chat. This will help increase their language and understanding in a natural and enjoyable way.

When you reach the stage where your child wants to walk more it can be tricky managing this and they can easily get tired. But by having a carrier to hand your child can be easily picked up and taken down when necessary. There is no need to lug an empty pushchair around just in case it may be needed.

What to buy

I recommend soft structured carriers (SSC) to clients wishing to carry a toddler, although a supportive woven wrap is fine, too. For the purposes of this article I am sharing my insight on how to buy the right SSC. Toddlers get dirty and like to snack, so buy a baby carrier that can be wiped clean and machine washable. Choose a carrier that is appropriate for the size and age of your child. In addition, a baby carrier with an adjustable back panel for growth means your carrier can be used for longer and by people with a different body shape to your own. Many brands offer toddler versions of their baby carrier, this can be a useful starting point Remember, some brands offer fully adjustable carriers for baby through to pre-school carrying, so again, always check the age range.

You need to ensure that the carrier you use is supportive enough for both of you. For you this will mean a supportive waistband that can distribute the weight and wide padded shoulder straps. Because of the on and off nature of carrying a toddler choose a carrier that can be easily stowed or will fold into a pack that can be worn around your waist, ready for when needed.

Conclusion

There is an implied contradiction in the myth: it is OK to push them around in a stroller but carrying toddlers spoils them. Rather than accepting the myth and phasing out carrying their children when they outgrow the woven or stretchy wrap, I encourage parents to observe the ongoing and emerging needs of their children as they develop and to consider whether a different carrier type would help prolong carrying for them. If more people embraced toddler carrying it would become the norm and more children and parents would enjoy the practical and developmental benefits.

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Wendy Sheard is a Trageschule trained sling consultant and owner of Precious-Bundle one of the UK’s largest retailers of premium stretchy wraps and soft structured baby carriers. Wendy believes in the personal touch and offers pre-sales sling consultations, after sales advice and ongoing sling support for as long as you want it.

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For the widest selection of Baby Carriers and Slings including Customer Reviews CLICK HERE

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