Babywearing a pre-schooler
Monday, 7 October 2013
The Toddler always gets a choice of Buggy or Sling when we go out, he used to always choose the sling yet lately more and more often it's the buggy. So, just when I feared our baby wearing days were winding down he surprises me and asks for the sling.
When in the sling, he never shuts up. Ever. Wherever we go regardless of how far he will talk, and talk and sing and it's so lovely to actually hear him. Most of the time when he's in the buggy, we simply can't hear him with the traffic, wind, how low down he is and the fact he's facing forwards.
He loves the perspective from up there, the way he can reach out and touch the trees and bushes as he passes savouring the textures across his playful hands. He loves to wave at passing fire engines and the fact that when he's being worn, they too can see him and nearly always wave back at him. Often i'll find his little hands pawing through my hair gently or holding on gently to my arm, relishing the contact and the endless availability of it.
There's so many presumptions regarding babywearing a toddler or preschooler...
I bet that's back breaking!
Actually, no. If you use a proper sling that keeps the child in an anatomically correct position, the weight distribution is even and it's actually, believe it or not, comfortable. I'm not masochistic enough to intentionally and repetitively inflict excess pain upon my being, I carry him because it's often easier then using the buggy.
He'll never walk being up there all the time.
He actually learned to walk at 8months and 3weeks of age. This is despite the fact he was exclusively worn in a sling without using a buggy until 18m and even then the buggy was only used VERY rarely for the next year. He can run too...and jump, climb, hop, forward roll do stunts, you name it.
He hates queuing unnecessarily and being at a standstill. Regardless of whether he's in a sling or a buggy. As such he'll display this by moaning, shouting, tantrumming etc.
I frequently see babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers throwing tantrums in buggies yet nobody ever seems to think it's because they're in a buggy it's always because they're tired, hungry, hot/cold or bored yet should one in a sling show a similar reaction people often immediately assume it's because they're in the sling.
It's not all bad, you do get genuinely curious people who positively remark on how comfortable and cosy he looks with a lovely old woman once declaring how nice it was to see a wee one close to their mum being carried like they should be.
Regardless of age, whether it's your wee newborn or your pre-schooler there's many parental benefits to babywearing:
* You're hands free, this is ideal for when out and about and even more so if you have another child with you who wants to hold your hand or be chased etc.
* Public transport is infinitely easier. I'll admit there is an element of satisfaction being able to walk straight onto the bus and sit anywhere whilst seeing many parents with their Mercedes style prams being unable to fit on having to wait for the next bus in the dark, cold, wet weather and hope that one isn't busy too.
* Navigating around shops is so much easier.
* When your little one fancies getting down and having a walk, you're once again hands free to chase after them without having to juggle pushing a buggy one handed.
* It's lightweight, if your toddler wants to walk you can even fold it up and pop it in a bag or in the case of some carriers, keep wearing it totally unencumbered.
* You don't have to worry about terrain if you go offroad or want to take a shortcut.
* Much easier when attending events like school assemblies for older children.
* Personally I find the buggy, in comparison, cumbersome, difficult to navigate with, murder to push up hills and uncomfortable to steer.
So although these days it's mostly buggy or walking, I'll cherish these now rarer occasions when he chooses the sling, feeling him close and enjoying the freedom to explore.
As he's our last baby, I'm all to aware of how fast time passes and that i'll never again have my own squishy newborn to wear. Do it whilst you can, and experience the special connection it brings.