Babywearing, an ancient practice in many countries is now making its way into “mainstream” households across the United States. Carrier choices have gone from the standard backpacks and Baby Bjorns, to the more stylish and versatile Ring Slings, Mei Tais, Pouches, and more! When we think of babywearing, we envision tiny little newborns snuggled up in the fetal position close to their Mama or Daddy’s heart, safe a secure. But, babywearing is not just for babies.

Our amazing little babies quickly grow into curious and rambunctious toddlers. The next thing you know they are running away from you; touching and exploring the world around them with fervor and enthusiasm. This is an exciting time in both a parent and child’s life but sometimes a little respite is in order. Here are just a few of the many benefits to “wearing” your toddler:

1. Safety First: When you put your child in a carrier you know exactly where she is. Getting from the car, through the parking lot, and into a store suddenly becomes a safe and pleasant experience. Instead of struggling to hold your child’s hand to prevent her from wriggling away, she is close to you and safe in your arms. If she is in a carrier you will not worry that an unsuspecting driver may not see your little one dart across the parking lot. You will be able to calmly walk towards the store, enjoying the moment, as you talk about the colors of the cars that pass you by.

2. Combat Germs: How many times has duty called yet you did not know how you were going to manage your packages and your toddler in a germ filled public restroom stall? You could wait until you get home or pull out your carrier and be “relieved” that your drive home is comfortable instead of hurried. With your hands free to get down to business, and when you are wearing your toddler, they are not able to pick up dirty toilet paper off the bathroom floor or play with the germy lock in the stall. Yes, this sounds extreme, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

3. Cure the Clingies: Toddlerhood is a bewildering time in a child’s life. Throughout the day they struggle between being a baby and being a big kid. When it all gets to be too much and they need to recharge, they tend to latch on to us like static cling. One of the best ways to cure the “clingies” is to wear your toddler for an extended period of time during the day. This extra closeness, nurturing, and security will refuel your child, and truly encourage him to be more confident and independent.

4. Taming Tantrums: Another adverse effect of this bewildering time called Toddlerhood is the dreaded Tantrum. They always seem to rear their ugly heads just as you enter the department or grocery store. Dr. Sears, in his article, “13 Ways to Encourage Toddler Good Behavior” recommends you “Use wisdom when shopping” and “Take your babysling along.” When a child feels tired or overwhelmed they are prone to having meltdowns. Even in the chaotic environment of a shopping center, when you wear your toddler, they can rest, feel secure and relaxed. This is a surefire way to tame the tantrum beast.

These are only some of the many benefits of wearing an older baby. For me, the best benefit of all was when I was recently wearing my don’t-you-even-think-of-putting-me-down-let-alone-stop-bouncing-me-newborn. My two year old came up to me and said, “Up, Mama! Please!” If I was not a babywearing Mama, I would have never been able to hold (on my back) and rock my “high needs” newborn, while still getting necessary cuddle time with my toddler. Yes, I was wearing them both- but that subject is for another article!

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