When Twinkle was born we didn’t know she had special needs, that was something that gradually transpired as she began to grow and to miss her developmental milestones.
So we started out as a ‘normal’ new family and had all the ‘normal’ new baby stuff, including a high street baby carrier.
We lived in London at the time, so I quite quickly decided that ‘baby wearing’ was not only nice and snuggly for me and the baby, but so much more convenient for me than the pram for public transport around the city and for walking the dogs on the common.
One of Twinkle’s first ‘symptoms’ was developing reflux when she was still very small, so the baby carrier also became a useful tool, for holding her upright to help her digestion, and not just a means of getting around.
Despite being slim, she soon got too heavy for the carrier we had (it had no waist support), so I started baby carrier spotting and when I began googling them I found a whole new world I didn’t know existed!
From fully framed backpacks, through soft structured carriers, ring slings to more traditional wrapping with fabric!
So many options and lots of pretty colours and fabrics….wraps and carriers seem to be the new shoes and handbags in some households I think!
I have always been a bit daunted by tying a wrap (although I did in the end use a stretchy wrap for baby no 2), but I think by the time I was looking for a new carrier for Twinkle, wrapping wouldn’t have been right for her anyway.
I think wrapping (particularly for back carries) requires a degree of compliance and balance, even cooperation, from the little one which Twinkle couldn’t do (at 9 months, she wasn’t sitting unaided, and her hypotonia and hypermobility were beginning to become more apparent).
So after much googling and watching you tube tutorials I was guided to investing in a SSC (soft structured carrier) – there are lots of fab brands out there, but I went for a Beco at the time.
I later learned of ‘sling meets’ and ‘sling libraries’ where I could have tried some out and got some experienced advice, however thankfully my online research held out and my SSC has been fab and I’m still using it for Twinkle’s little bro!
As Twinkle was growing out of this 2nd carrier, I thought that was probably it for our baby wearing days, even although developmentally she could really have done with continuing.
I decided to do a bit of research into it anyway and was very pleasantly surprised to find that the ‘baby wearing community’ is pretty open to carrying larger children of any ability.
Even when they can walk, all kids get tired and often want carried, so why not have a carrier or wrap to make it easier, rather than perching them on your hip or balancing them up on your shoulders.
I found there was a wealth of options to allow us to keep on carrying, and after some really helpful advice from some online SN forums, I went for both a ring sling (really useful for quick trips in and out of the car) and a pre-school SSC (a bigger version of what we already had), which is just perfect in size for our tall girl!
Twinkle is now 4 and still not walking (although she is beginning to take steps in her Firefly Upsee and her gait trainer!) and we now also have her 1 year old little brother to factor into getting out and about!
Generally Twinkle travels around in her SN buggy and I have little bro on my back in the smaller SSC, however being able to continue the wearing experience for Twinkle has been just lovely, for various reasons:
- It gives us some additional freedom as a family, to go on walks with the dogs, or into the city, that would be more tricky with the buggy;
- It gives Twinkle a different experience to that of being in the buggy, higher up for a different perspective on her environment, and allows her to experience things in the same way as her brother (that’s particularly nice for us at the moment as they are at a very similar development stage);
- Carrying is inevitable until/if we get to such a stage that we need to install a hoist/get a WAV, so having a carrier helps us with ‘manual handling’, spreading her weight and allowing me to maintain better posture;
- And last (but definitely not least!), it’s comforting to be carried, and lovely for mum and dad continue having those snuggly hugs as long as possible!
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