Babywearing, also be referred to as Child Wearing, Toddler Wearing, Preschool Wearing or Big Kid Wearing can be for as long as you want to wear your child depending on your carrier’s age or weight restrictions and your personal preference. Our Didymos woven wraps are weight tested to 310 kilos! Therefore, you will decide to stop wearing before the wrap does! Didymos has designed almost all of their carriers to be used from newborn age to a preschool age and beyond. Some people will use carriers for carrying older children with special or medical needs that require carrying. Didymos baby carriers are a wonderful parenting tool that in most cases lets you decide when, where and how long you want to wear your child. While bigger children weight is more noticeable than when your baby was smaller, wearing your bigger kids has a wealth of benefits and can be comfortably done. My parenting journey would not be the same without this life changing tool in my parenting toolbox!
Reasons to wear your Toddler, Preschooler or Big Kid
Safety – Keeping your child contained in unsafe or busy place such as busy parking lot, maneuvering in a crowded venue, hiking etc. can be a necessity. Toddlers and older kids love to explore. Everything is an adventure in their quest to learn about the world. Keeping them safe is our number one priority and wearing can make this happen.
Hands Free – There are times when our children need to be held. Whether out of necessity or need, wearing let’s things happen because it allows us to be hands free and carry on. Whether it be just the routine of our daily life, chores, errands, tasks, work, taking care of other children, hobbies etc., babywearing, toddler wearing, preschool wearing, big kid wearing let’s it happen!
Their Stamina – Whether we like it or not, often our lives are busy and on the go and realistically, little legs do not have the endurance or the ability to keep up with adult legs that can cover much more distance and for longer periods of time. A carrier comes to the rescue in many occasions when little legs are too tired to go on.
Our Stamina – There will always be times children will need to be carried. The reality is that many of us will not be able to carry our children in our arms past a certain weight. I learned this the hard way when my 4 year old needed to be carried for 30 minutes on the way back from a hike. By the time we made it to the car, my arms were burning, I was panting and my back ached. The next time, I was smart and brought a carrier. The carrier was my extra pair of hands so I had my hands free to carry my other things and hold on to my other son’s hand. It also made carrying him easy as the carrier distributed the weight evenly from my shoulders, through my chest and back and into my waist. Yes, I still felt that I was carrying “something” but it felt like wearing a heavy yet comfortable t-shirt!
Their Comfort – Children are children despite their age and still need soothing, cuddles and a safe place to go to when they are feeling insecure, overstimulated, scared, wants some kisses & hugs or just wants some time out from their busy world. What better place to go to than a parents or caregiver’s arms for this time? It can also be a fantastic rescue solution when your child is having an emotional issue such as a tantrum. Sometimes the child will not want to go up into a carrier during these moments, but usually once up in a carrier, the tantrum deescalates rapidly and the child is able to calm down more quickly and re-connect.
Our Comfort – Parents and Caregivers still need cuddles too! Our now mobile little ones are growing faster than we ever realized was possible. Their independence is expanding leaps and bounds. We nurture this time by allowing them their independence when they need it and by reading their cues and responding to their needs when they need us to. Putting them up in our arms when they need us builds and strengthens the bond they have with us and we have with them. It fosters trust that we are there and we respond to them. This gives them comfort in our actions and also us comfort in knowing we are responding and providing our best attention for our children. Wearing does not deter independence. Wearing creates trust, security and independence.
Communication – Children are curious creatures! They love learning about everything. What better vantage point for them to learn by being up at your level. Children can learn from the communications they have with you and the interaction with others at your level. Similar to getting down to their level for more effective communication. Even in the quiet times, your child is constantly learning from seeing the world and their environment at your level.
Sleep – Toddlers and Preschoolers still need sleep! Their busy bodies defy this but nature calls! Naps on the go if your schedule is busy is a convenient way to ensure your child is getting the sleep they need! It is also a handy tool for when the little ones fight those naps or bedtime. Putting them up into a carrier has a calming effect and induces sleep in their restless bodies! Once asleep, transitioning them to their bed is relatively easy!
Going where strollers cannot go! – Have you ever been to a flea market that does not allow strollers or trails where the terrain is not stroller friendly? It would be a shame to miss out on such adventures! Having a carrier on hand allows you to explore with your little ones when they can no longer walk.
Fun! – Many people expand their wearing to encompass more than just the most awesome parenting tool. It becomes a hobby. The babywearing hobbyist community is a rapidly growing community where wearer’s can connect with other like minded people with similar parenting philosophies, advice and to simply share. It is a wonderful community of love and support! Furthermore, the wearing can be fun for the blossoming little minds. It can enable them to express their needs and choices. Many times, my little ones surprised me with coming up to me with a carrier and expressing their need to be worn at a time they wanted and in a specific carrier they wanted. Allowing them to participate side by side in the decision making of when and even what carrier (if applicable) is an awesome experience to have with these little human beings!
Necessity – Some children have medical needs that require being carried. Whether this is temporarily due to an injury or a lifelong condition or syndrome, it can be physically taxing on the wearer’s body. We recommend that your physician access your unique situation and give the green light that you can wear your child in a specific carrier.
What carrier should I choose for Toddler, Preschooler or Big Kid Wearing?
This question can have a multitude of answers depending on your preferences, where you are usually wearing, how long you usually wear – i.e. casual or extended wearing, and if you are sharing a carrier what your partner’s preferences are. All of the Didymos carriers are created to be used from newborn age to preschool age except for the Didymos Stretchy wrap. This wrap may be used for short periods of time for big kid wearing but does have some limitations.
Didymos Jersey Wraps – Newborn to Approximately XXX months.
Didymos Woven Wraps – Newborn to Big Kid Wearing (when you no longer feel comfortable wearing)
DidySling – Weight tested to 35lbs.
Didymos Mei Tai – Tested to 18 months and beyond. If the child fits safely and comfortably in the carrier, it can be used well into the toddler and preschool years
Didymos Woven Wraps – Our most versatile style of carrier. The options and possibilities are endless! Didymos woven wraps are purposefully woven for carrying from newborn to big kids. Front, hip and back carries. One and two shouldered carries as well as torso carries. Long wraps, mid-size wraps and short wraps. There are so many options! All of our Didymos Woven wraps come with a detailed instructional booklet with common carries you can learn. However, there are many different hobbyist carries and fancy finishes one can experiment with. Didymos woven wraps conform to all shapes, sizes and ages. If you are finding a certain carry that has worked for you in the past is not comfortable any longer, it may be time to tweak your carry to accommodate your growing child or time to try another carry with your wrap. There is always a solution with a Didymos woven wrap!
DidySling – One of the myths about the ring sling style of carrier is that it is not suitable for a heavy baby or a big kid because it is only a one shoulder carry. True it is probably not your best choice for a long hike but for quick ups and downs, you cannot beat a DidySling! The convenience of this compact carrier that can be tucked into a bag or worn on your body for when your child needs that quick up and down for comfort, nursing or when you need to quickly pop child in and out of the car seat to pay for gas or grabbing a coffee!
Didymos Mei Tai – Didymos re-designed their Mei Tai a few years ago to offer a longer and slightly wider panel body, making this fantastic carrier more versatile for older baby and big kid wearing! The hood can also be used for extending the panel length. We find that in many instances, the Didymos Mei Tai can be used well past the age of 18-24 months depending on the size of your child. The knee to knee seat positioning is no longer a concern once baby is walking. Therefore, as long as the seat is comfortably wide enough and most importantly, the panel is long enough to safely accommodate your child’s body from his seat to the bottom of your child’s armpits and you are comfortable, this carrier can still be your favourite choice well into preschool ages!
What Carries can I do with my Toddler, Preschooler or Big Kid?
This will depend on which Didymos carrier you select. However, at this age and stage, you will be able to front, hip or back carry your child in a Didymos woven wrap and mei tai and front or hip carry in a DidySling. We do find that some people prefer to carry on the back at this stage so that their centre of gravity is more stabilized. However, this is a personal choice!
The DidySling and Didymos Mei Tai are pretty straightforward in that there is one carry per position. However, there are different ways of tweaking the carry to personalize it for your needs and preferences.
With the Didymos woven wrap, the possibilities of what you can do almost seem endless these days with all of the standard and common carries and now all the fancy carries and finishes that people are inventing continuously! There are a multitude of carries for long, mid-size and short wraps with one shoulder or two shouldered carries that offer different weight distributions. Some people prefer to stick with a few basic carries or even stick to the tried, tested and true carry that they learned to wrap with – The Front Wrap Cross Carry. However, some want to explore carries and even invent their own! As long as the carry meets the safety guidelines to wearing your child, we suggest that you explore as much or as little as you want.
You cannot wear a child once they start walking – False! Many people believe that wearing must stop once baby has learned to walk. This is a myth! While it is true that some babies will show reluctance once they discover walking, most babies will still want to be worn again. Sometimes it will be just when they are tired or ill or wanting some quiet time and sometimes it will be in cycles where they will not want to be worn for a period of time and then will go right back to it as if they never had wanted to stop being worn! Follow your child’s cues and needs.
Okay Toddler wearing I get, but wearing a Preschooler? Impossible? – False! Wearing a larger or heavier child can be a challenge to get just right due to the weight and awkwardness of growing limbs, but it can also be the most rewarding. The bonding and communication are special times for both the wearer and the child. As long as both you and your child are comfortable, there is no age limit for wearing in a woven wrap. Many parents with children that have disabilities and need to be carried, use babywearing in a woven wrap as an important daily tool in their lives.
You must have a thick wrap to wear a big kid – False! No you do not need a thick wrap to wear heavier or bigger children! A thicker wrap is a bit more “forgiving” and will allow for a less than ideal wrap execution such as wrapping low or not tightening all the slack out of the carry, but it is not required. As long as you are executing your carry properly and getting all the slack out, you can use thin, medium or thick wraps. It really boils down to your personal preference. Some people just tend to like thicker wraps due to the cush factor that the bulkier fabric provides. However, some people tend to not like the thickness due to it generally being more difficult to tighten and because the extra fabric can be more insulating.
You must have a blend to wear a big kid – False! Just like with the thick wrap myth, you do not need a blend to wear a big kid! Didymos 100% organic cotton carriers are weight tested to the same limits. It really is more about your personal preference and how you execute your carry than what the fibre is. If you enjoy 100% cotton, use it! If you enjoy blends, wear blends. Execute your carry nice and snug and adjust all slack before tying off and your carrier should be great for big kid wearing! Many people do find that hemp and linen wrap more rock solid and have less give than the 100% organic cotton so this many be a consideration in your preferences but not a requirement for big kids wearing!
You must have a long wrap to wear a big kid – False! Absolutely not! There are numerous carries for big kids that can be done with all sizes of wraps. Some people believe you can only do multi layer carries for big kids to accommodate and distribute their heavier weight. However, there are many carries that can be done with all sizes that distributes the weight more evenly or distributes weight in the areas you prefer. Some of these carries may be single layer and some multi layer. Sometimes even tweaking a carry with a different finish can change the way a carry feels. It is all about finding a carry that you like and that works best for you and your little one at that age and stage!
You must have a wide wrap to wear a big kid – False! Wider wraps are great when your child’s body is longer and requires a wider width to fit from their seat to how they like to be positioned in the wrap whether it be for the top rail to reach the back of their necks and thus arms in or the top of the rail to reach under the child’s armpits and thus arms are out. However, most standard width wraps are likely to offer this width for most children well into preschool age.
You cannot carry on your front with a big kid – False! While you may find that you are more limited in what you can do while wearing your bigger baby or big kid on the front, as long as you are comfortable, you can still front wear! In fact many times those snuggles and cuddles the big kids want are hugs and the security of your arms. What better position to have some quality time with your big baby?
You cannot carry for long or extended periods of time with a big kid – False! Find a carry and position that is comfortable for you and you can most definitely wear for extended periods of time. Some people prefer back carrying heavier children for longer periods of time with a carry that evenly distributes the weight from their shoulders to their waist/hips. I found in my experience any carry that achieved this as well as cinched in the weight into my torso, helped make my older child feel a bit lighter – i.e. a Double Hammock with a twist in the front (wither lexi twist or saltwater or freshwater finish) or a Reinforced Ruck tied Tibetan. When carrying for longer periods of time, keep in mind that your posture is important. Maintaining good posture will help you feel more comfortable and the weight of your child remain evenly distributed. Bad posture will shift your child’s weight in the carry.
The carrier must go Knee to Knee for proper ergonomic support with big kids – False! Once a child is walking and bearing their weight on their own legs, they no longer require their knee and thighs to be supported the same way in a carrier as they did prior to walking. Their leg muscles have grown and are stronger once walking. Although, many will still find that the fabric of the carrier fitting from knee to knee and child in a “M” position may be more comfortable for the child, it is not always so and not always necessary.
You can deter physical motor milestones by wearing your child – False! There is no research out there that supports this statement. Children will meet their milestones when they are ready to meet them. Every child is different and unless their is an underlying medical issue, wearing or carrying your child will not effect your child’s natural growth and milestones.
You can make your child less independent by wearing – False! In fact research has shown that parents and caregivers respond to the child’s needs more frequently and quicker than children not worn as they are able to read their child’s cues more easily. Wearing a child actually fosters independence versus dependence as it provides a safe place for the child to form a secure attachment and develop trust. A child that feels loved and secure and trusts that his needs will be met, is a child that will comfortably develop independence.