A few months after my first daughter was born, I bought a baby carrier. She always wanted to be held, and it enabled me to have my hands free and keep her happy. I tried a few different wraps, but I found the soft structured carrier style to be easier to get on and off quickly.
We were stationed in Germany
at the time, and the baby carrier was the most important piece of travel gear. Between the ages of 5 and 18 months, we took our daughter to seven additional countries without a stroller. We were able to get on planes, trains, buses and subways; we used stairs and went into crowded restaurants. We were ushered to the front of the line and able to access areas that a stroller wouldn’t allow.
I have flown with my daughter multiple times without my husband. Getting through the airport was more manageable (I refuse to say “easy,”) when I had her strapped to me. I could wear the diaper bag (I use a backpack style) and carry her car seat. Once, I had to take her feeding tube formula in a carry on, and again, while it was far from easy, it was only possible because I had her strapped to my chest and had my arms free.
When we were PCSing back from Germany
, my husband had the stomach flu. That meant he was focusing on not throwing up and it was on me to take our two big dogs outside to use the bathroom before we boarded the plane. I wheeled two enormous crates (our dogs were about 65 and 80 lbs.) on a flatbed out of the terminal while wearing an 18 month old
, since they were not allowed to be taken out of the crates inside the building. Gold star for me (and the Ergo.)
Now that I have two kids, I’m singing the praises of carriers all over again. My older daughter isn’t very steady on her feet
, so I carry her (with my arms) a lot when we are out. Getting two kids to school/daycare is a challenge when neither one can reliably walk through the parking lot. I strap the baby to my chest, then carry her sister from the parking lot to her classroom. It would easily take her 5 to 10 minutes to walk that far, but instead it takes me less than two. I truly don’t know how I would manage otherwise. The entrance we use is not stroller accessible (most of the school isn’t, but a new one is being built in 2020! Woohoo!) But baby/big kid carriers aren’t only for those with special needs. I know plenty of typically developing bigger kids who want or need to be carried on occasion, and a carrier will save your arms and your back!
As it turns out, our second daughter really likes to be held, too. (Understatement of the century. She is constantly trying to get back inside my uterus.) Whether this is a genetic predisposition or whether I “created this monster” (again) as my husband helpfully suggests, when they cry, I pick them up. So my baby spends a lot of time strapped to my back in the evenings while I fold laundry, pack and unpack lunch/diaper bags, an make (and sometimes eat) dinner.
She also, uh, doesn’t really sleep unless someone is holding her. (See above suggestion about monsters…) Her afternoon/evening nap is typically on my back. She will still fall asleep nursing, but since we cosleep
, she is not accustomed to napping at home anywhere except in my arms, on my back, or in our bed. I can’t safely leave her on the bed if I am fixing dinner, so the baby carrier is a godsend. (She somehow sleeps on a cot at daycare, proving my belief that daycare workers are unicorns with magical powers.)
I have used my baby carrier to grocery shop before she was able to sit safely in the cart. (We all know those infant baby seats take up the whole dang cart, and you aren’t supposed to balance them on the seating area for a number of reasons.) I have used public bathrooms, gone to doctor’s appointments for myself, and eaten meals. I have even tried on clothes while shopping (though obviously it’s limited to …well, pants, skirts, and shoes, pretty much. But still helpful.) A handful of times I have managed to nurse on the go, but I still haven’t figured that out 100 percent. I typically keep one carrier in the car and one in the house because I never know when I might need it.
This past fall we went to a college football game. This is the type of situation when a baby carrier (or in our case, two) is key. You can’t take a stroller into a football stadium, but I also don’t want to carry two kids from a distant parking lot and hold them the entire time. While this taught us that it’s time to invest in a “big kid carrier” for our older daughter, one of the ones we had got the job done. (I own both an Ergo Original and a Lillebaby Complete Airflow, in case you were wondering. I will probably get a Kinderpack Preschool for our 5-year-old. I have heard great things about Tula as well.)
I truly don’t know how people parent, especially multiple children, without a baby carrier. So when a loved one announces a pregnancy, be the Best Friend Ever and get her one. It will make her life monumentally easier.
This post is sponsored by nobody and no one offered me a free baby carrier for telling the world that they need one. Your move, Baby Carrier Companies Everywhere. I can write a follow-up. 😉