Babywearing with a toddler: She ain’t heavy, she’s my daughter

The big questions people have about my continuing to wear 20-month-old Talitha in slings and carriers are: “Doesn’t that hurt your back? Isn’t she heavy?”

Usually, it’s just curiosity or even intrigue. Sometimes, the insistence of the question makes me wonder whether the person asking it thinks I’m killing my back to prove a point, day after day. I’m really not.

I don’t like pushchairs much. I can see how they’re useful and I’ve taken one out on occasion. I mainly keep one in the house for nap times.

I also am prone to back ache since I have scoliosis so I do have to watch it.

She is heavy. I began to find so when carrying her in the Ergo on my back around 17 months. I absolutely couldn’t wear her on my front in it without running out of everything.

I began to only wear her in woven wraps, which was far more comfortable. I’ve since bought a shorter Storchenwiege wrap for quicker back carries.

My parents also bought us a toddler Wompat as a step up from the Ergo. It’s another buckled soft structured carrier but made of soft, beautiful fabric and insanely comfortable. Talitha often falls asleep in it.

I’ve a wrap conversion ring sling on the way for quick ups and downs too.

So, no, our babywearing days aren’t over. Certainly, she’s walking a lot more. Sometimes we go out and the sling doesn’t leave the bag.

But there are fussy mornings, days when we’re out at naptime, shopping trips when I need my hands, overstimulated evenings – lots of opportunities for slings and things to come into play.

She is only little and still needs a lot of holding. Also, she’s only little and still gets a better view being up where the grown ups are!

A few thoughts if you’re finding babywearing uncomfortable:

Is this the right carrier for you?
Commercial carriers with narrow bases or which don’t allow you to fully adjust them so you can bring your baby close or which position your baby facing outward in a front carrier tend to be trouble your back or shoulders after not too long. They’re generally not designed to be used for more than a few minutes at a time anyway.

Even a carrier your friend liked just might not be the right fit for you. It’s a good idea to at least try one in-store or at a sling meet. Better yet, hire one from a sling library (some do postal hires) so you can be sure you won’t regret your purchase.

Is it adjusted correctly?
You might find that you need to change something you’re doing over time as your baby grows. Have a play with it and if in doubt, get thee to a sling meet! If you haven’t the time, then book a visit with a babywearing consultant. Yes, they exist and they’re fab.

Do your muscles need time to catch up?
If you wear your child from the newborn stage like we have, you probably won’t notice them getting heavier, particularly. Your body just gets stronger. If you’ve discovered babywearing later on or your child goes through a sudden and epic growth spurt, your muscles might just need time to get used to the idea. Listen to your body and just take it little by little.

I so love, love, love this part of our life together. I know it’s not for everyone but I just can’t help but wish everyone could enjoy this special way of being with a baby.

There is a bit of geekery attached to babywearing, though, so I’ll send you off with a video a friend showed me on Facebook today for a laugh.