“Isn’t she a little bit old to be in a carrier?”
“He can walk. He should be walking.”
“They are so big! Your back must be hurting!”
There are so many good reasons to wear a toddler, that all these common comments don't matter!
Even though this organization is called Babywearing International, we support wearing a child of any age. This includes toddlers.
Walking, talking, sassing toddlers. Those sweet little ones who are angels one minute and screaming monsters the next.
Just like when they were little, wearing can be a very useful tool for parenting your toddler.
First of all, you still get all those sweet snuggles. When they tuck their head onto your chest and look at you sweetly like when they were a baby. Feel that rush of love for your sweet baby. Plus now they can express that love with a kiss or the words I love you. Why would you not wear your toddler?
Also like when they were a baby, a carrier can help calm your toddler down when they get upset or overwhelmed. To calm their cries, soothe the tears, or fix an ouchie. Or contain the tantrum if all else fails. Why would you not wear your toddler?
When your toddler decides they no longer need naps, but their grumpiness clearly says otherwise, you can rock them to sleep in a carrier. Or when it's midnight and they are doing the chacha on your bed like there is no tomorrow. Why would you not wear your toddler?
The reason could even be as simple as their little legs are tired from too much fun. Put them on your back and continue the adventure! Why would you not wear your toddler?
Here are some tips for toddlerwearing, so both you and tot are happy and safe:
All the rules of babywearing still apply, even when your baby is no longer a baby!
Clear, visible airway at all times. Keep fabric away from tot’s face and chin off chest.
The carrier should support tot in a natural, spread-squat position. The carrier should hold tot tight and close to your body at all times.
As your tot grows, they may start to lose knee-to-knee support in carriers that have built in seats ( i.e. buckle carriers). This is not a major concern as long as their spine is still supported, tot is comfortable, and you are comfortable. However, knee-to-knee is the optimal position, so if keep this in mind if either of you isn’t happy. Might be time to size up your carrier or try a new type.
Speaking of sizing up (using a larger carrier, usually designed for a toddler), this is a common concern for caregivers as baby grows.
There are no set guidelines or milestones for sizing up. It really depends on each individual child and caregiver.The general suggestion is when your tot is comfortably wearing 2T size pants. This is when most kids are tall enough to clear a higher body panel and have long enough legs for a larger width.
Kids grow at different rates, and it is not possible to make a truly accurate blanket statement on what age/weight/height moving to a toddler size carrier is best. For example, my oldest moved to a toddler-sized Tula at 18-months-old (wearing 18 month clothes) because his torso was so long that he could easily lean back in a standard sized Tula. Likewise, my niece is 2-years-old (wearing 2T clothes) and her knees are uncomfortably hyperextended in a toddler-sized Tula.
It also depends greatly on the manufacturer. My oldest (now 3) did not fit well into a toddler-sized Beco until a few months ago. But, as stated above, has needed a toddler Tula for over a year.
It’s more important to follow your tot’s needs than to follow a trend. When in doubt, there is no harm in waiting to size up!
Wear those toddlers with pride! The reasons are numerous, you don’t even need an excuse to keep them snuggled like a baby on your chest for as long as possible. Please show us your toddlerwearing adventures with #BWIofPDX!
Samantha Reddy, ABE