Like most working moms, I dreaded going back to work after having my daughter. I was able to stay home for 7 weeks before having to go back, and I had wonderful child care arranged. But still, I missed her. Having battled depression before, it came back for me when my daughter was about 6 months old (I've now cut out some medications that I know were affecting this).
The thing I looked forward to most every day was coming home to take a babywearing dog walk around the neighborhood, with her cuddled up close to my chest. We both got out to get some sunshine and exercise, and it kept her close to me for the snuggles I'd missed while I was away.
She is now 21 months old and hardly a baby any more, and we still take those walks as often as possible. Now, instead of smelling her baby hair while she almost dozes off, we talk together. Every day, when we take a walk, she points out something new. I wonder where she learned what a plane, tree, house, the sky is, and then remember that we see these things every day. And though I only understand some of what she says, she is listening, soaking, thinking, learning my every word, gesture, point. And I understand a little more of what she says every day.
I plan to continue wearing her, now on my back, for as long as she's happy with me doing it. She's getting more independent every day, but still loves hopping up on my back to take a little walk. I know she feels safe and calm seeing the world from that vantage point, and I'm more than happy to take her along for a ride.
1. Toddler hugs and kisses! Having your toddler close makes it easy to kiss their sweet little head or for them to plant their slobbery little kisses on you or wrap their chubby little arms around your neck.
2. Toddler-wearing conversations are the best. Wearing a toddler makes it so easy to talk with them and hear them. With a toddler on your back, their sweet little voice is right in your ear. They can see over your shoulder at anything that you can see and will tell you all about everything they are thinking and seeing. This is a wonderful way to see what they are thinking about the world. Spending a half an hour a day taking a babywearing walk with your toddler is a great way to help your toddler develop his or her speech.
3. Sometimes it’s wonderful to travel at a toddler’s pace by sniffing every flower and turning over every rock.
But other times, you just have to get somewhere. Wearing your toddler can help you move quicker and keep your hands free while also keeping your toddler happy and connected while so you can both get where you need to go.
4. Toddlers need naps. Sometimes you are out and about somewhere when you’re toddler needs a nap. Baby carrier to the rescue! Most toddlers will happily fall asleep in a carrier and get a restful nap, even out and about.
5. Toddler-hood is rough. Toddlers have many bumps and falls. They have big emotions and they are still learning to express their feelings. Wearing your toddler can help them recover from a tantrum or an injury by giving them the security of being close to you.
6. Public Bathrooms. Taking a toddler into a public bathroom is not for the faint of heart. They want to touch EVERYTHING. If you’re wearing them, they can’t crawl under the stalls and say hello to the other bathroom occupants, play with the tampon receptacle, or lick the toilet seat. Because really, what could be more fun than playing in a toilet?
7. Shopping with a toddler is so much easier. A worn toddler can’t take all of the items off of the shelves, run all around like crazy, or hide under the clothing racks. But be careful, because a toddler on your back can shop lift! Check their little hands before you head through the sensors at the end of the store and make sure they didn’t grab something shiny or awesome that they wanted to take with them!
8. Wearing your toddler makes it easy to keep them safe while also keeping them happy. For example, while teaching your big kid to ride her bike, a worn toddler isn't able to run into the street and you have your hands free to help the big kid balance. Or if you are lugging a bunch of items out to your car which is parked on a busy street, you can keep your toddler safely on your back and you don’t have worry about them darting into the street while you are placing a box in the trunk.
9. Little legs get tired. A lot of times toddlers want to walk for most of an outing. Bringing a carrier along for the trip makes things so much easier because you can easily carry your toddler when they get tired, but you’re not stuck lugging around an empty stroller while also trying to chase your busy toddler.
10. Sometimes toddlers just need to reconnect. After a long day at work, there’s nothing nicer than wearing your toddler while cooking dinner or walking the dog. You can still accomplish a few of the million things that need to be done each day, but you’ve got your sweet toddler close where you can talk and snuggle after time apart.
Next week is International Babywearing Week and we have a week full of fun events planned!
Monday October 7: Social Media Monday
On Monday, set your Facebook profile picture to a babywearing photo and set your cover photo to this image:
Post about why you love babywearing and share our local group's facebook page to help spread the word about babywearing in Southern Maryland.
Tuesday October 8: Workout Tuesday
On Tuesday bring your baby and enjoy a Zumba Fitness class at the Southern Community Center!
All levels are welcome - no previous dance experience required! After everyone gets their baby up and worn, we will warm up and start with the basic latin dance steps- salsa, cumbia, reggaeton, and merengue. We will do about 20 minutes of regular Zumba songs and end with a preview of the all new Zumbini program (movement/music class for 0-3 year olds). Class will be led by licensed Zumba instructor/babywearer Heather Arthur of SoMD Zumba.
Cost: Free for BWI members. $5 for non BWI members. You are also welcome to join BWI at the event.
More details on this event can be found here.
Wednesday October 9: Toddler-wearing Wednesday
On Tuesday we'll post a fun blog about the benefits of wearing toddlers. Post your toddler-wearing pics and favorite reasons for wearing your toddler to our page or to your own personal page.
Thursday October 10: Back to Basics Thursday
On Thursday, we'll post tutorials on Facebook throughout the day that show how to use traditional carriers and how to do emergency carries using items commonly found around the home. Try out any that you feel comfortable trying and post your pics to the page! We can always help out with traditional or emergency carries at babywearing group meetings!
Friday October 11: Fun Friday
Join VBEs Jennah and Summer on a fun hike and playground playdate at Dorsey Park! Meet at the large pavillion by the playground at 5pm and take a 1.5 mile walk on the nature trail followed by a playground play date!
Event Details can be found here.
Saturday October 12: Get Out There Saturday
We’re combining International Babywearing Week with a celebration of Fall! Join Babywearing International of Southern Maryland and Babywearing International of DC/MD/VA and BWI of Central Maryland as we spend a day at Miller Farms in Clinton. We’ll take a scenic hayride, tour the barn area, and get “lost” in the Corn Maze! Admission is $9.00 per person for everyone 2 years and up (paid directly to Miller Farms).
Event details can be found here.
If you can't make it to the pumpkin patch with us on Saturday, get out there and wear your baby where ever you are heading!
Sunday October 13: Photography Fundraiser Sunday
Want professional family photos, but can't find the time or money?
We have partnered with Dragonfly Photography of Hollywood, MD for affordable family photo mini sessions! Babywearing photos, family photos, maternity, child portraits, Christmas card photos, or headshots…you can take a lot of photos in 15 minutes!
Cost: $30 per 15-minute session (Families may purchase up to 2 consecutive sessions) Half of each photo session fee will go directly to Babywearing International of Southern Maryland to help build our lending library.
Location: Greenwell State Park in Hollywood, MD (Steer Horn Neck Road)
Event details, including how to register for a slot can be found here.
International Babywearing Week is all about spreading the word. Share our posts and pages on your feed, talk to your friends about the benefits of babywearing, and take a moment to reflect on how babywearing has transformed the way you parent and connect with your kids!
BWI of SO MD
Babywearing International of Southern Maryland's mission is to promote safe and comfortable babywearing and to build a community of families in Southern Maryland.