Not too long ago, I wrote a post explaining how I had started to use a pushchair as Alice was getting too heavy to be carried. Reading it back, I can tell how much this upset me, but thought this was the way it had to be. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to meet Angela a couple of months ago who gave me hope that maybe my babywearing days were not quite over. She has a business making and selling a variety of beautiful slings, and still wears her 4 year old if the occasion demands it. I was inspired. I persevered with the BabyHawk, but it was too short for my lanky toddler. Angela let me try out one of her toddler mei tais, and the difference was astounding. I had no hesitation in asking her to make me my own. An unexpected bonus is that now Alice associates the sleep hood with sleeping, so even if she's awake, she'll rest her head on my back and close her eyes when I pull it up. I can carry her for at least and hour and a half before I need a break.
My brief hiatus in babywearing has made me appreciate the benefits even more. These are the key advantages I've noticed:
Improved social interaction - Not only do I find I talk and sing more directly to Alice when I'm carrying her, she's also more involved in the daily interactions I have with others. She's on a level where she can hear the speech and closely observe the facial expressions of people we meet.
Better bonding - I don't think I am alone in finding the toddler stage difficult at times. Wearing Alice gives us physical closeness that somehow translates to feeling emotionally close again. However angry I have become, I find it melts away after a little time of carrying her.
Calming for the child - My strong willed little girl has some big emotions to deal with, and like many toddlers, she sometimes finds them frightening. Securely held against my body enables her to feel safe and allows her to relax again.
Confidence building - Carrying a toddler shows them how important they are to you. You are making it clear that you want to be close to them, and this must inevitably have a positive impact on the way they view themselves.
Convenience - As Alice increasingly wants to walk, I can pop the carrier in my bag and get it out again when she's tired. I am no longer barred from shops with heavy doors and steps, or narrow aisles, I can head up escalators rather than searching out the lift, and I can pick my way through woods, beaches and fields with no problems!
Those are my reasons I'm so glad to be babywearing again. Let me know if you think of anything I've missed!