If you have done much reading on helping your adopted child attach then you probably have heard of baby wearing and are familiar with its’ benefits. Just in case you have never heard of baby wearing, though, here is a simple definition: Carrying or “wearing” your child close to your body in a sling or other carrier in order to promote bonding and attachment.
Baby wearing has been shown to have many benefits for all children, but especially for adopted children. It provides closeness that encourages bonding, it keeps your child at your level and it allows your child to spend more time with you while you go about your daily activities.
As soon as I heard about baby wearing I knew I wanted to do it and I looked forward to wearing Jayden once he came home. I encountered one problem, though. His adoption was not an easy one and as the months continue to pass he did not do me the courtesy of not growing. In fact, he did the opposite. He was obviously well fed there in Guatemala because he proceeded to pack on a healthy 3-5 pounds a month! When he finally came home at 14 months old he weighed 29 pounds.
I was worried that my dreams of baby wearing would have to die, but I was determined to at least give it a try. Just because my baby was big did not mean that I was going to miss out on the fun of baby wearing! What I found surprised me. It really is possible to wear a larger baby or toddler and the benefits are definitely worth the extra effort. Jayden loves to be “worn”. It calms him when he is upset and he loves being on my level so that he can talk to me and see all of the interesting things I am doing.
Here are some things I picked up about wearing an older child. Hopefully this will help as you begin your own baby wearing journey:
Try Several Carriers
The first one you choose may not work for you, so be flexible and try several.
Different Types of Carries
Try carrying your child on your back, on your hip, on your front, etc until you find what is best for you. Remember that different holds may work better for different carries.
Make Sure You’re Doing It Right
Read the directions, watch instructional videos, study photos of others baby wearing, etc. I thought I was using my Mei Tai properly, but my shoulders kept getting numb. I turned out I was missing a few details that made the carrier much more comfortable – and I could feel my fingers!
Consider These Carriers
After asking around, it was obvious that opinions differ on which is the best carrier for a bigger child. However, there were some consistent answers that I will share here. Most parents liked using the following: The Ergo, Mei Tais and wrap carriers. Most people disliked: Ring Slings, Baby Bjorn, “frame backpack” types of carriers.
Do What You Can
I don’t wear Jayden all the time – I can’t (did I mention he weighs almost 30 pounds?). But, I do what I can. I usually can manage 20 or 30 minutes and then I run out of energy or Jayden gets restless and wants to run around. Even though we aren’t doing this for hours on end, we are still both reaping benefits. It will be the same for you. Do what you can and don’t worry about the rest.
These suggestions should get you started in wearing your adopted toddler or older baby. I would love input from my readers as well. What carriers have you used with children this size?