by Caprice Corona, Babywearing Consultant and Advocate
Congratulations! You’ve made it out of the newborn phase with your baby, so the heady, hazy, sleepless days of newborn caretaking are gone…
… only to be replaced by…well…the heady, hazy, sleepless days of caring for a teething baby (or a newly cruising/walking almost-toddler…or a young toddler who has learned the intoxicating power of the word “NO”…I could go on, but you get the idea!). And to top it all off, it seems like the magic of the baby carrier is starting to wear off – maybe you’re noticing a bit of back or neck pain as baby gets heavier. Or maybe your usually simpatico baby seems to be squirming around and resisting being carried, whether or not he has begun to walk.
So now what? I suppose you could give up the ease, convenience and snuggly goodness of the baby carrier in favor of a stroller…but wait! Let’s not forget, of course, that city life with a kiddo means that you can either figure out a way to make the carrier work or…be stuck schlepping a stroller up and down subway stairs.
*cue horror movie screams*
Alrighty then, let’s get to work, shall we? Here are some ideas for you to consider when wearing your big(ger) baby:
1. Assess your baby carrier.
Have a look at your carrier – is there any noticeable wear and tear? Always be sure all seams, straps, rings and/or buckles have not been compromised. Once you’ve established that your carrier is still in good working order, take a look at #2!
2. Revisit the instructions.
Sometimes it’s a good idea to have a refresher, especially if using your carrier has become a routine part of your caregiving. Why not pull out the instruction booklet or DVD (or heck, even head to Google!) to have a look at the instructions – maybe you’ve been forgetting to properly tighten your carrier, or perhaps you’ve been wearing baby too low? Sometimes going back to basics can help you troubleshoot.
3. Consider a different view.
Baby’s sense of direction develops from around 4 months of age, so it’s very normal for her to get a little squirmy or restless in her carrier – she may be trying to ask you for a change of perspective! Do you have a carrier that you could use for a hip or back carry? Now is the time to give it a try. Bonus: your back will thank you for wearing your bigger (and ever-growing!) baby on your back.
4. Get hands-on help.
Getting baby onto your back by yourself can be intimidating, so sometimes it’s nice to get some face-to-face time with a good instructor. Find a babywearing instructor, a group class, or a free meetup so that you can get some quality assistance. Then, with some patience and determination, you’ll have your baby on your back before you know it!
Using a baby carrier is like most other aspects of parenting – there is a learning curve involved, and the more you do it, the more confident and skilled you’ll become.
The most important thing to know is that you can continue to wear your growing baby. Most commercially available baby carriers are safety tested to 35 lbs, and I personally have worn children as old as 5 years old and above 40 lbs! Wearing your child on your hip or back is a wonderful way to keep using a baby carrier with your bigger baby, improving baby’s overall enjoyment in the carrier while also being kind to your own body with ergonomic positioning. So what are you waiting for?
Caprice will be leading a workshop THIS SUNDAY at Bread and Yoga! Join us for some personal, hands-on help in learning how to wear your big(ger) baby! More information about the workshop here.