Toddler and big kid wearing
Google “babywearing” and you’re going to get tons of photos of pristine looking mums and tiny babies in beautiful fields looking calm and goddess-like. We say in the babywearing world that the best wraps and carriers are full of sleepy dust, some magical property that gets any tiny baby to sleep.
And sure, those moments can definitely happen to us non-models and non-influencers, but I’m here to tell you that the really magical time for babywearing is actually in toddler- and big-kid-hood.
Maybe you’ve already caught a glance of a toddler just not having it in their big puffy jacket or the preschooler who won’t take one more step. And as a mum to three kids, I’m actually describing myself.
But time and time again, I surprise myself when I stumble upon the easiest solution to that and more: a baby wrap.
We’ve recently moved north at the start of what should have been autumn but has actually been winter, and my 2.5 year old just isn’t having it with any jackets, or sleeves, at all - she’s rocking sundresses and it’s 10C. Have you been there, or has it just been my kids who, between the ages of 2.5 and 3, just refuse to be warm?
What does work, though, the sleeves she does agree with, is the peacock wrap under the babywearing jacket! She’s so happy and at least she’s no longer cold or getting stares from passers-by.
I really love toddler wearing. I love when they can ask to go up and pick out which wrap. I love that on the walk today she was enjoying bouncing up and down on my back noticing that the cars all have faces!
I loved it when my eldest was back there, too, when I was carrying my middle child as a newborn on my front. Times were busy then but, on these walks, he could just chat away in my ear without me needing to shush him while his sister napped.
I will never forget the last time I functionally wore him for travel - it was a rainy night on a steamy bus and he was starting to get sick on the way home from his music lessons. At 5 years old, it was his 3 year old sister I was wearing but we switched that night, he snuggled down into my wrap, and my daughter was all too happy to walk home herself. As a car-free family, it was such a relief to be able to carry him easily on my back, a solution always ready to go.
And now at 9 and 7, they both occasionally ask to go up even still. They hug my shoulders, relax deeply, and are all smiles, ear to ear. Because while my toddler may still demand so much of my immediate attention, my older two know deeply that they’re loved there on my back. Years of wearing them as newborns and toddlers and preschoolers has written into them that on my back in a wrap remains a safe place full of oxytocin and unspoken memories.
These wraps, which have held them from birth through childhood, are tools that just keep on solving problems, giving me moments of feeling like a Jedi master of parenting.
If your carrier of choice starts to get uncomfortable because your 10 month old is a super heavy bowling ball, let me just gently and kindly and without judgement suggest a Didymos wrap. While in my years of carrying, I’ve tried most things, never once has a Didymos wrap failed me and my poor back, as my family has grown and changed. I hear Didymos now has baby carriers too that last until 5. Having a tool that solves parenting problems for that long is worth the investment, every time.
It’s been a while since I stood in a field of flowers caressing a small baby in my beautiful white silky wrap feeling like some sort of hormonal exhausted goddess. But babywearing, nay, child wearing, is still full of magic, a deeply felt bond that lasts a lifetime. The magic no longer invokes a nap, but instead it has completely shaped the bonds of our family into something I wouldn’t change for the world. And it’s in wearing older children that I could see how deeply meaningful it is to me.
This blog is by Melissa Branzburg
Mother of 3 lives in London and Edinburgh