Your Babywearing Journey: Stage 4. Onwards and Upwards

Family laughing in forest with child in toddler carriet

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 4. Onwards and upwards

  • Age range: 12 months+
  • Physical stages: toddling, walking, even more teething
  • Psychological stages: testing boundaries, emotional, social and language development – there’s a lot going on!

Once your not-so-little one is walking you’ll still find that a sling or carrier can be a parenting essential.   They may be able to walk independently, but your child will not have the stamina to go very fast or far, or to get through a whole day without needing a nap.  Back carries are a great way for your toddler to see the world, but give those tired legs a rest while you can get moving at an adult pace!

As they step up a gear in social and language development, your not-so-little one will be going through huge cognitive changes too.  They will still need lots of reassurance to give them the confidence to make the most of their expanding awareness and increasing independence. After a long day walking and learning and socialising sometimes having a big hug is just what you need, and as a parent you’ll find that at this stage your child may want lifting up more than ever!  Hip carries are great ways for your toddler to be able to share your view of the world, and practice talking about it all to you too!  And snuggly front carries are still just as common at this age as they are with younger children.

This is also a stage for testing boundaries and you may notice your child refusing to go in a previously-loved sling or carrier. This is very normal (you may notice the same behaviour with a car seat, buggy, high chair, bath, etc.) – they have new independent walking abilities to practice and fascinating new worlds to explore! Even if your child does have ‘sling strike’ phases around the 15-20 month stage, they will often want to go back to being carried once the novelty of walking has worn off and they start getting tired.

You may not be carrying your child for as much of the day as you were when they were newborn, but they are much heavier now. Many types of wrap and carrier will be weight tested to last this long, however a carrier that is too small in size for your growing toddler will quickly become uncomfortable for you to use.  You may find that you want to size up your carrier to a larger or more sturdy version to give you the support you need to carry a bigger child.  Many toddler specific carriers are suitable from 12-18 months, and will last until your child is aged 3 or 4.  A carrier that allows you to easily let your child up and down for periods of walking will also be very practical at this stage.

See our blog post on Toddler Carrying for more reasons you may need a carrier to last this long!

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

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