Thoughts on Toddlerwearing

Welcome to the May 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Ages and Stages

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about their children’s most rewarding and most challenging developmental periods. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.


What better way to say Happy 21st month to my Max than a few thoughts on toddlerwearing. If you know Max, you’d know how fitting this is :)

When Jemma was Max’s age I was about ready to give birth to Max. So, I didn’t do a ton of babywearing during Jemma’s toddler days due to my ginormous belly. But with two children on my outings now I’m almost always carrying one or the other.

Enter toddlerwearing. Well, and sometimes preschooler-wearing. Both are a whole new ball game in the babywearing world.

toddlerwearingFirst, I bet you’re saying … but Max can walk, why carry him? Here’s why:

  • Being close calms Max, it centers him.
  • It keeps him safe – when I’m outnumbered I love nothing more than to have one munchkin strapped to my back.
  • He likes having a bird’s eye view of life … well, a mama’s eye view.
  • Naps on the go!
  • We both like it, it works for us right now so we’re rolling with it.

I won’t pretend it’s always easy though. Sometimes Max really thrashes getting into the carrier and I’ve taken a good pop to the nose while losing a chunk of hair too. But he always settles and enjoys his ride.

I primarily back carry these days. Unless Max needs a nap, then he’s on my front. Or as Jemma calls it “on mama’s tummy”. And I take a few steps to make wearing better for us all …

  • COMFY PANTS /// For chubby little bubs like Max, pants can be a difficult. Most days he is in sweatpants or shorts, rarely jeans or more structured pants. They just don’t work for him, especially when he’s on my back and needing to sit wide. Less structured pants make wearing more comfortable.
  • HAIR UP /// That would be my hair. Messy bun or pinned up is the only way to go or else it just becomes a game to see how loud I can squeal.
  • CODE WORD /// It takes practice to flip a little one on to your back, but by the time they’re a toddler they can definitely help the process. After I have Max on my hip and am ready to shift him to my back I tell him to “duck and under” and he has learned to tuck his head and go under my arm as I shift my support on his bottom.
  • THE LEAN /// For me, this is the most important part of a toddler back carry. You’ll see in the little video below how I lean as I shift Max from my front to hip to back. Because let’s face it, sometimes he is distracted (hungry! apple! must eat!) and isn’t much of a help in getting securely on my back.

Pretty simple, right? I promise it just takes practice. Start with a spotter or hover over a bed or couch. Before you know it popping your little one on your back over a parking lot’s pavement won’t make your cringe.

I may be a tiny bit sad when our wearing days are over. It’s really sweet to have my little guy connected to me, boppin’ around. And honestly, it’s pretty awesome when Jemma wants a ride too – wearing her is like a hands-free piggyback. Then again, when Jemma and Max’s wearing days are over, I just may have a wee one to snuggle and begin the babywearing journey with all over again. And don’t even get me started on the preciousness of sibling-wearing, I can totally see Jemma getting excited about that when she is older!

Do you wear your toddler? What are your tips? Favorite carriers? Please share!


Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • When Three-Year-Olds Stand Up For Themselves — Parenting Expert Laurie Hollman, Ph.D. at her blog, Parental Intelligence, enjoys the stage when three-year-olds dramatically wow their parents with their strong sense of self.
  • This too shall pass — In the beginning, everything seems so overwhelming. Amanda at My Life in a Nutshell looks at the stages of the first 1.5 years of her daughter’s life and explains how nothing is ever static and everything changes – the good and the bad.
  • Age 5 – Is It Really A Golden Period? — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama looks at the developmental norms for the five-year-old set and muses over if this age really is the ‘golden period.’
  • How much do you explain to your preschooler when crime touches close to home? — When tragedy strikes someone your preschooler knows, Nathalie at Kampuchea Crossings wonders how parents can best help young children cope.
  • Thoughts on ToddlerwearingThat Mama Gretchen‘s babywearing days are over, we’re living it up in the toddlerwearing days now!
  • Parenting Challenges—Almost a man — Survivor at Surviving Mexico talks about leaving childhood behind as her son turns 12.
  • How Child Development Works — Competence Builds Competences — Debbie at Equipped Family shares how each stage of childhood builds on the next. Focus on doing the current stage reasonably well and success will breed success!
  • Making Space — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is adjusting her thinking and making room for her babies to stay near her.
  • The Best Parenting Resources for Parents of Toddlers — Toddlers can be so challenging. Not only are they learning how to exert their independence, but they simply do not have the developmental ability to be calm and logical when they are frustrated. It’s the nature of the beast. I mean … the toddler. Here are Dionna at Code Name: Mama‘s favorite books and articles about parenting a toddler.
  • The Fab Five Stages so Far — Laura from Pug in the Kitchen couldn’t choose just one stage for this carnival and is sharing her top five favorite stages in the young lives of her son and daughter at Natural Parents Network.
  • The best parts of ages 0-6 — Lauren at Hobo Mama gives a breakdown of what to expect and what to cherish in each year.
  • Lessons from Parenting a Three-Year-Old — Ana and Niko at Panda & Ananaso are quickly approaching the end of an era — toddlerhood. She shares some of her thoughts on the last two years and some tips on parenting through a time rife with change.
  • Feeling Needed — Jorje of Momma Jorje ponders which developmental stage is her favorite and why. She bares it for us, seemingly without fear of judgment. You might be surprised by her answer!

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  1. says

    There is nothing quite like babywearing! My guy is too big for that now, but my body still has the sensory memories when I look at pictures of him snuggled against me. :)

  2. pierogiemama says

    I have the Ergo and the new 4G Boba – I really like the Boba for newborns and the Ergo still works well for the toddler (be she only 23 lbs though..). I didn't wear Penny very much at the end of my 2nd pregnancy too, and when I pulled out the Boba and started wearing Ruby, Penny suddenly remembered how awesome and fun it is to be worn by a parent and wants to be carried again too. Several time a day she says "Penny turn ride ROBOT! Ruby all done!" I have yet to try wearing them both at the same time, but the day is coming soon.

  3. says

    Comfy pants – now there's one I never thought of, because neither of my children has *ever* worn jeans. I've tried with both, and they both refuse. But yes! I cannot imagine trying to get into a carrier as a little one with jeans on. I love toddler (and preschooler) wearing :) I think Kieran would still ask to be carried if he wasn't too big for the Ergo!

    • says

      Girl! Toddler Tula – that's what I carry Jemma in – she loves it!

  4. Lauren @ Hobo Mama says

    My firstborn was my long-time babywearee — I'm sure he'd still be going strong if my hips could handle a 7-year-old! ;) Mostly, he just really hated walking for … forever, it felt like. I was so glad we had babywearing as a tool. My current 2-year-old is much happier about walking, and light enough to carry in my arms if he needs a break, but I loved babywearing him, too!

  5. says

    Whoa. I have never been able to get my wigglers on my back alone. So I'm sorts of impressed here! But I totally agree that the back carry is so awesome… especially for the zoo!

  6. says

    My kids have spent SO much time on my back! It is one of my favorite things, too. There have been several times recently when I have wished that we owned 2 Ergos, so there would be 1 for the 7 month old and 1 for the almost 3 year old, simultaneously. I've only worn them together a few times, but Daddy often wears one while I wear the other.

  7. debbiesk1 says

    We did many a hike this way when my kids were small. Now I can hardly keep up with them on the trail. So many little joys in each age and stage.

  8. says

    I used to have to wear my daughter for naps all the time. When she has finally gained some independence, I liked that I could let her walk or use the stroller and she wont fuss. On Sunday, I reached for the ergo and we went to the park. She fell asleep on my balk on the walk home. I forgot how AMAZING it feels having a sleeping baby resting on you! I agree – wearing her still centers and calms her. Going to reach for it more often!

  9. Loyal RUN says

    I have always wanted to "wear" my kids around. I never had money for a proper carrier! :(
    I even made it clear it was my number 1 want for my baby showers.
    Oh well. I count my blessings and move on!
    But for the record! I'm PRO- toddler-wearing :)


  1. […] Thoughts on Toddlerwearing — That Mama Gretchen‘s babywearing days are over, we’re living it up in the toddlerwearing days now! […]

  2. […] Thoughts on Toddlerwearing — That Mama Gretchen‘s babywearing days are over, we’re living it up in the toddlerwearing days now! […]