To celebrate International Babywearing Week we’re running a series of blog posts to take you though your changing babywearing journey. Keep checking back for the next stage, taking your carrying journey from birth to toddler!
Stage 3: Getting involved
- Age range: 6 – 15 months
- Physical stages: sitting, teething, feeding themselves, crawling, standing, taking steps.
- Psychological stages: increased social awareness, language development, exploring their world.
Ok, you’ve all made it past that frustrating 3-6 month stage and you’re out the other side. This is a very fun and exciting stage for you and your baby. They can (finally, hooray!) have a clear and increasingly predictable impact on the physical and social world around them. If they want something, they can move towards it, pick it up, reliably hold on to it and start experimenting with it. They’ll also be sharing their experiences with you; they’ll ask for things by pointing and vocalising, they’ll show you things they’ve found and done, and they’ll be watching for your expressions and responses.
Once your baby can sit – or at least strongly support their torso to the hips – unaided, then they are ready to be carried on your back in a range of suitable wraps and carriers. Back carrying allows your baby to see the world over your shoulder and at your height. It allows for you to support their increasing weight in a different way on your body (though back carrying isn’t always more comfortable, having it as an option can be a nice change). And it can allow you more freedom of movement to get a lot more done. Whilst for some situations and families, back carrying therefore feels like a very natural and practical progression at this stage, it’s not right for everyone. Your baby is still going through a big jump in social awareness and whilst they can point and get your attention when on your back, it’s not as easy for you to see and respond to each other when you can’t be face to face. You may both feel that front or hip carrying feels more appropriate, and that’s OK too. Do what fits the situation you’re in, and what feels safe and comfortable for you both.
You may find that the babywearing solution that worked for the first months no longer feels as suitable or comfortable now. However, your baby isn’t yet walking independently for long periods and so biologically you will still need to lift and carry them! There will be a sling or carrier that will allow you to do this comfortably and safely, though you may need to try a few different options and get some advice to find the right one o suit your family’s needs. It’s also worth knowing that, whilst some people do like the feeling of a well-padded carrier against their shoulders or body; simply adding extra structure or padding to a carrier does not necessarily make it feel more supportive, however heavy your baby. Less structured carriers and wraps mould around you and your baby, offering more custom-fitting and adaptable support which will suit some parents better.
The blog posts in this series take you through the main stages of baby development and how this may affect your child’s carrying needs and preferences.
Transitioning to Being a Family
Stage 1: Arrival – The Fourth Trimester
Stage 2: Moving Forwards (and Sideways)
Stage 3: Getting Involved
Stage 4: Onwards and Upwards