One of the foundations of babywearing is that it is accessible to ALL parents and children. For centuries, people have been utilising everyday items and articles of clothing to help them carry their children. This practice is not new. Every year we are learning (and re-discovering) the age old wisdom of baby carriers, and we are able to make best-practice recommendations based on current research from a variety of fields.
At the Canadian Babywearing School, one of our key tenets is:
“Practice, Not Product”.
We’ll be honest – we own (or have owned) a huge variety of carriers. Between all of us here at the CBS, there probably aren’t many carriers or wraps we haven’t tried. 😉 So don’t get us wrong – we LOVE our fluff. But we also make sure that when we are teaching, we don’t bring every carrier we have, and that people understand how 1 or 2 carriers is all they really need, and that even everyday items can be used.
So, here’s the thing – most people think that having more than 1 or 2 carriers is crazy – and if someone’s first impression of what it takes to be a babywearer, is a bunch of different sizes of wraps and carriers, and fibre content, and, and, and – then we’re probably losing a lot of people before they’ve found the joy (and convenience) of a great baby carrier.
If people think every time their babe gains 10 lbs that they’ll need a new carrier, a lot of them will likely just stick with the stroller they already have. As educators, we need to focus on the widest target audience. (We know where to go ask for some “enabling” for a reason to buy the newest & prettiest wrap – thank you TBW , we love the geekery too!).
But a mom, new to the babywearing world, does not need to be told that she has to have “x” percenatge of hemp or linen to carry her 25lb six month old or an extra-wide/tall/custom carrier for her tall 2.5 year old. Parents new to the babywearing world need to know that they really can babywear, from newborn through big kid, in just 1 or 2, easily accessible and reasonably priced carriers.
For toddler and pre-schooler wearing (and older kiddos too) – many people just are not going to go out and buy a dedicated “big-kid” carrier, for the little bit that they do carry their kids. I have a toddler carrier – because I know how much I will be carrying a big kid, but for many parents, all they need is something functional for the few off and on minutes that their kiddo wants up while out at an outdoor festival.
We’ve gathered pics from some of our babywearing friends, to show off just how possible it is to carry big kids, in some readily available and easy on the budget carriers.
For wrapping – remember that it is all about technique. Other than during my dear son’s annoying “stand on the waist of mom’s pants” stage, I exclusively use a shorter wrap, and carefully wrap & tighten in a simple ruck back carry, and it is still very comfortable with our big kids now.
For other types of carriers, they may not have the “knee to knee” coverage that we recommend with smaller babes (and for longer carrying) – but for the length of time that these big kids will be up on mama or papa – both the wearer and the wearee will be plenty comfortable.
It really is just about the practice, not the product.