Wearing a Toddler or Preschooler

Toddler-Wearing-Oklahoma

This post continues the ages and stages babywearing series.  If you would like to learn more about newborn babywearing, wearing an infant until they’re able to sit up on their own, or wearing an older infant in to toddlerhood check out my earlier posts.

Babywearing in to toddlerhood and beyond is a great way to bond with your child.  It’s also a good way to build your core muscles.  Newly walking legs get tired easily.  When you can grab a carrier and put your child up on your back it can save everyone’s sanity when you are on vacation, visiting a theme park, hiking, at a festival, and more.  Babywearing also allows you to be able to go to places that strollers aren’t permitted and allows your child to interact more closely with you and the world on your eye level.

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Babywearing while hiking on the Oregon coast.  Woven wraps are warmer for hikes than a soft structure carrier but can be more supportive as well.

I have children who have had sensory defensive issues (the part of sensory processing disorder that makes them really want to push away/not participate in highly sensory situations).  We really enjoy going to festivals.

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My middle son (pictured above) enjoyed the people but didn’t enjoy the noises.  Wearing him helped him be able to interact on a level he was comfortable as well as receive the calming sensation of being wrapped snuggly (like a big hug as my children have described babywearing when they’ve had more words). My oldest son was extremely shy.  Babywearing allowed him to turn his head in to me when he didn’t want to interact and people were more respective of his space when I was wearing him (though not always but it was easier for me to tell he needed a break).

Babywearing children with special circumstances and needs can be extremely helpful for their mental and emotional well-being as well as yours (being able to provide the extra snuggles which also helps release oxytocin which soothes and promotes bonding).

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Babywearing (toddler wearing) can be very soothing when your child is upset or hurt

Toddler wearing is also very helpful to soothe bumps and bruises and fits by offering additional comfort (while being a little easier on your body and arms than holding in arms when baby begins growing larger and heavier).  Toddlers are also notorious for falling asleep in the car RIGHT before you reach your destination.  Babywearing can be a great way to help meet your child’s needs (and allow them to continue sleeping) and your needs to make it on time to your appointments!

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Toddlers are notorious for falling asleep right before you reach your destination!

Babywearing can also be a great way to keep little curious hands out of danger but caution should always be taken to watch what those hands are grabbing while you are wearing baby on your back.  This little gal (below) had recently split her head open.  She goes to a lot of conferences and events with me.  Babywearing has helped me to keep her calm while I’m working and also keep her safe too.

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So what carriers are good for toddlers and preschoolers?

It’s important to keep YOUR child’s needs in mind.  After baby is 2+ the spread squat positioning isn’t quite as important but it’s the normal position for the hips so best practices are that you continue to support that position.  If baby has hip dysplasia or is at higher risk that position is very important to support. It’s important to counsel with your doctor and physical therapist if your child has special circumstances or needs so that you may be able to meet those as well as caring for their medical situations.

  • Woven wraps can always support that position through spreading the wrap to hit knee to knee. Try different lengths-shorter wraps won’t be quite as supportive (using fewer passes over baby) but may be quicker to wrap if your child likes to get up and down a lot.  Shorter wraps are also easier to tuck in a diaper bag or even in your stroller if you go back and forth between wearing and baby strolling.
  • Soft structure carriers and more structured carriers (like mei tais) may not support this position anymore because likely the panel isn’t wide enough any longer unless you purchase a toddler or preschooler specific carrier or one with stirrups (such as the Boba carrier).  Also, it’s likely at this stage that your child has outgrown the height of the panel as well.  If it doesn’t reach the base of their arms (where their arm meets their body) or higher up on their back the carrier is not considered tall enough any longer.  There is a fall and lean back risk even if your child usually does not lean backwards.

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    This is the first time that my oldest “made cookies” with me.  Babywearing allowed me to mix cookies while keeping him secure in a new environment he hadn’t been in before.

  • Ring slings may be ok for a few minutes here and there but many parents find that their back will get really tired using one for more than a few minutes.
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Babywearing is great for all!  Even Yoda! (This is a meme that is often passed around online.  I don’t have a photo credit but if you know who made it I would love to credit them!)

I teach best practices for positioning for all babies because suboptimal positioning puts baby at risk for possible hip/spine issues down the road.  Like how drinking alcohol doesn’t ALWAYS cause liver disease or smoking doesn’t ALWAYS cause lung cancer the benefits and risks should be weighed when making decisions.  The risk is there and I recommend minimizing that risk.

I am a Boba Ambassador.  I do not receive payment from Boba but will occasionally receive new products and updates from time to time.  I am a Boba Ambassador because I believe in their products.  For more information about this as well my other disclosures please visit this page.

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on babywearing help please contact me or visit my website.

What is your favorite carrier for a toddler or preschooler?

Where to Purchase a Baby Carrier

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This is a question that comes up a lot from my readers and people who visit my website.  Where can I purchase a baby carrier?  I am here today to share some local resources for purchasing a carrier in Oklahoma City and some sources on the web.  I’m also sharing some places that you can purchase a used carrier as well.  I will mention that it’s a good idea to protect yourself when purchasing used.  I will share some tips later on in this post.  I would love to keep this updated so please let me know if you find a broken link or want me to add another shop on here!

Where you can buy a baby carrier in Oklahoma City:

  • The Worn Baby: (Piper of Babywearing Support of OKC on Facebook and local meetings)  Offers local pick up, payment plans, and a trade in program.
    • Didymos, Diva Milano, Ellaroo, Emeibaby, Ethos, Fidella, Girasol, Lenny Lamb, Little Frog, Ovolo, Storchenweige, Yaro
  • Babies R Us: 1731 Bell Isle Blvd, Oklahoma City, OK 73118
    • Ergo, Boba Wrap, Several others site to store
  • The Changing Table: 1745A NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73106
    • Babyhawk, Beco, Moby Aria, Moby Wrap, Olives & Applesauce, Sakura Bloom, Tula
  • Green Bambino: 5120 N Shartel Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Beco, Catbird Baby, Chimparoo, Fidella, Lillebaby, MyHeartCreative, Sakura Bloom, Tula, Wrapsody, Zolowear (mesh ring sling)
  • Cinnamon Bears: 102 S Broadway, Edmond, OK
    • MyHeartCreative

Tulsa Area:

  • Bottoms and Beyond: 400 E. Broadway St., Sand Springs, OK 74063
    • Lenny Lamb, Lillebaby, MJ, Tula
  • Oui Oui: 1405 E Kenosha St, Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
    • Bella Bonilla Onbus, Hero Slings, Tula

Where you can buy a baby carrier online (not an exhaustive list by any means!):

I just want to mention to ask your local babywearing group if they have an affiliate account with an retailers because often groups will have a special discount or receive a portion of sales.

Stores I have shopped with or know owners and can personally recommend:

Other Great Online Shops:

  • The Changing Table: 1745A NW 16th Street, Oklahoma City, OK  73106
    • Babyhawk, Beco, Moby Aria, Moby Wrap, Olives & Applesauce, Sakura Bloom, Tula
  • Green Bambino: 5120 N Shartel Ave, Oklahoma City, OK
    • Beco, Catbird Baby, Chimparoo, Fidella, Lillebaby, MyHeartCreative, Sakura Bloom, Tula, Wrapsody, Zolowear (mesh ring sling)
  • Cinnamon Bears: 102 S Broadway, Edmond, OK
    • MyHeartCreative
  • Risaroo
  • Mom’s Milk Boutique
  • Purple Elm Baby
  • Ergo (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Natibaby (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Lenny Lamb (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Little Frog (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Maya Wrap (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Storchenwiege (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)
  • Girasol (purchase directly from the manufacturer or locate a store near you)

Tips to keep in mind when purchasing a used carrier (especially online):

  • Be sure to use Paypal and pay through “goods” so that you’re protected.
  • Be sure that you get lots of pictures in good light.  If the seller isn’t providing enough pictures (especially of any flaws they mention) ask for more.  If they won’t provide them it may not be worth the risk purchasing the carrier.
  • Speaking of flaws-if the seller doesn’t mention any or doesn’t have a good description of the carrier, how it was used, if it was used in a smoking/non-smoking home, if it comes from a home with animals (or was ever used to hold an animal), etc ask them.  Don’t ever assume because something is left off or is vague.  Asking lots of questions is super important even if a carrier is your “unicorn” (something you’ve really wanted for a very long time or even a short time).
  • Get insurance.  If you can afford to be out the package don’t worry about this one but most of us really can’t be out the carrier and what we paid for it.  Paypal does protect you but making sure to pay extra for insurance is a really good idea because the post office does lose packages.
  • Watch tracking.  Make sure the seller is willing to get tracking on the package and watch it.  USPS doesn’t always update so don’t panic if it hasn’t moved in a few days.  Sometimes packages run late as well but it’s a good idea to get tracking and to check it every couple of days.

Where you can purchase a used carrier:

Facebook:

Others:

  • The Babywearer (you have to join their free website in order to view the posted carriers)
  • Diaperswappers (you have to join their free website in order to view the posted carriers-this site is mainly for cloth diapers but there’s a great section for carriers)

If you need help finding a carrier I offer sessions that I can sit down with you and help you shop for a carrier that you will love.  Feel free to contact me on via email with any questions or book a time with me.  You can also find out more about my breastfeeding and babywearing classes on my website.

Where have you purchased a carrier online?

Types of Carriers: Simple Pieces of Cloth (Wraps)

First Published: Sep 11, 2015 9:21 AM

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Welcome to the Types of Carriers series! Be sure to check out the Types of Carriers post from a couple of weeks ago to learn about all of the classes of carriers.

Simple Piece of Cloth (sometimes abbreviated to SPOC)

Included in this type of carrier are stretchy wraps, gauze wraps, hybrid wraps, and woven wraps. Each are a simple piece of cloth made out of natural fibers (including cotton, linen, sometimes wool) or in the case of stretchy wraps and hybrid cotton blended with Lycra to give it the stretch characteristic of the type of wrap.

  • Stretchy Wrap
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Organic Sleepy Wrap (now Boba Wrap).

Sorry for the darker image but I really wanted to share this one. This is me wearing my second son when he was just a few weeks old in my Organic Sleepy Wrap (now Boba Wrap). Stretchy wraps are blended with Lycra and are very stretchy. Stretch does vary a bit by brand. The most popular brands of stretchy wraps are Moby and Boba. They offer a lot of colors and even prints. They are cuddly for newborns but must be wrapped tightly without leaving room to put your baby in. You have to prewrap before putting your baby in so you have to put baby down in a safe place to wrap. You can prewrap before going out for the day though and pop baby in when you get to your destination. These wraps are limited to wearing on your front and possibly to your hip. They do not support the spread squat positioning well past about 10-15 lbs depending on the baby. They are a great way to try out babywearing though! You can DIY (make your own) with good quality fabric, though often these are VERY stretchy. These may be a little warmer in the summer (feel much like a blanket) but many parents still enjoy these carriers in the summer.

  • Gauze Wraps
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Wrapsody Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze, double hammock carry

Gauze wraps are very lightweight and nice for summer. They are made of a lightweight cotton. Because they are lightweight though, many parents and caregivers find that even if they wrap very carefully they are quite pinchy on the shoulders once your baby/toddler hits about 20-25 lbs. These are great for front, back, or hip carries though. They wrap differently than wovens so you may have to order a slightly different size in a gauze wrap than you do with a woven. I am typically a 4.6 m (size 6) for my base size in a woven wrap but I need extra length in a gauze wrap to do carries that use most of the wrap like the double hammock wrap as shown above. You can DIY with the right materials but the materials are outside of the scope of this post.

  • Hybrid Wraps

Hybrid wraps feature one way stretch rather than two way stretch. There are a few different brands available of these. The picture below shows me wrapping my oldest when he was 5 for a quick minute. They are best for babies under 20-25 lbs because over that weight the wrap will start to sag even if you wrap very carefully so you may need to adjyst it often. These are excellent for newborns. One con though is that the material is similar to that of many stretchy t-shirts so when back wrapping it may be hard to feel the fabric.

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Wrapsody Gypsy Mama Hybrid Wrap, double hammock carry

  • Woven Wraps (German Style Woven Wraps)

Woven wraps are the gold standard of SPOC. They are a bit more expensive at first but you can typically find a good used one for around $100 or less. They have a little bit of a learning curve so I recommend getting hand on help because once you know how they are supposed to feel you will always get it right. Woven wraps can be wrapped an infinite number of ways. They can be worn with baby on your front, back, or hip. They are the most supportive of the classes of wrap carriers and are excellent from birth to as long as you want to wear your child.

There are many lengths available because wrapping with just one layer over baby is fine (and supportive). I recommend starting with your “base” size which is what you can comfortably wrap a Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC) with. Shorter lengths (just doing one layer over baby) can be great in the summer depending on the fabric. There are many different blends of fabrics available. I recommend starting with a cotton one or a cotton/linen blend. Cotton is the easiest to care for and can be dried in the drier (though it may shrink a little so hang drying is better-try putting it between the backs of two chairs and often it will dry overnight).

Woven wraps can be found at all types of price points. There are many brands of good quality wraps available. There are many color options and many options for patterns, stripes, or just a plain color. Many can be dyed if you don’t like the color (you will want to use baby-safe dyes because baby WILL chew on the wrap). I recommend new wrappers to look in to getting a used wrap because new wraps in all fabrics usually feel stiff. Wraps need a breaking in period to be able to wrap well with them. If you buy used, many times this wrap is already broken in but has a lot of life left in it. New wrappers can break in wraps but do know that it may take time before you can wrap the same way you did with your Certified Babywearing Educator (or at your babywearing group).

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Natibaby 4.6 wrap, 100% cotton, double hammock carry.

  • Kanga Carrier (not pictured)

A Kanga Carrier is a Traditional African carrier using a thin blanket looking piece of fabric. Baby is worn on the back in the small of mother’s back. If you would like to see one in action I really love this video by Alyssa. These are beautiful traditional carriers. I do have one in my stash but I am not nearly as well versed with these as women that traditionally use them.

*For full disclosure I am a Boba Ambassador. I became a Boba Ambassador because I love their products. They send me free products to review from time to time but I do not receive any other compensation from them. I like to offer my honest opinion and free products do not influence my views*

What is your favorite type of wrap?