Can you use a baby carrier for a toddler? Learn about all of the benefits of babywearing a toddler.
Babywearing a Toddler
Walking through stores with my toddler in my toddler carrier on my back, and I hear these things from random strangers:
“She’ll never walk if you keep carrying her in that thing.”
“She’s going to be so attached to you. She’ll never learn to be independent!”
“She is WAY too big to be in that thing! (and in the same breath, to her toddler) Hey! Stop grabbing things from the shelf!”
Babywearing a toddler, or toddlerwearing, is so beneficial, yet strangers (family and friends too) seem not to understand at times.
If you want to wear your toddler in a baby carrier, you should definitely do it, no matter what the naysayers say!
Benefits of Babywearing a Toddler
Believe it or not, you still get all the benefits of babywearing, even when babywearing a toddler. Many, many people wear their toddlers because:
It helps to keep toddlers content by providing physical assurance and human contact they crave.
Many people think that once toddlers walk and talk, they don’t need physical assurance like a baby would. Nothing could be further than the truth! Toddlers still crave that human contact, and wearing them in a baby carrier can satisfy that need.
It soothes toddlers during teething, an illness, or when they are overtired.
Toddlers tend to go through so many emotions and feelings, especially when they’re not feeling right. Wearing them, giving them the physical contact, helps them to feel better. The feeling of your heartbeat can help calm them down. The swaying motions from you moving can help soothe them and encourage rest.
It helps toddlers to stay alert, learn more about their surroundings, and learn more vocabulary.
Toddlers also stay more alert in a carrier. Why? They see the world with a whole new perspective, being so high up. They’re more likely to ask questions and interact with parents. They also have a better spot to listen to you as you speak, picking up on language skills and new vocabulary words (Be careful what you say!).
It keeps toddlers safe, especially when out in public.
Toddlers are notorious for being wanderers and runners, especially in busy public places. You can keep your toddler safe by using a toddler carrier.
It gives toddlers a place to rest.
Ever take your toddler on a walk or hike, only to have him or her needing to be carried part of the way because they’re tired? A toddler carrier can help with that!
When a toddler isn’t in it, it can be worn as a backpack or can be folded up in a bag. When your toddler is tired, the carrier is easily accessible and ready to give your child rest.
It enables you to be hands free to manage other kids, complete household tasks, shop, and much more.
This is a bonus for parents! I can’t tell you how many times my carrier has come in handy when I’ve had to be at activities for my older kids, when I shop, when I clean, etc. I’m able to focus on the task at hand and have my toddler near, in a safe space.
Honestly, you can wear your toddler no matter what your reason!Yes! You can totally use a baby carrier for a toddler! There are so many benefits. #babywearing #momlife #toddlerwearing Click To Tweet
What is the Best Carrier for a Toddler?
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Okay, so now that you know all of the benefits of babywearing a toddler (did I miss any?), it’s time to think about what baby carrier or toddler carrier is right for you.
There are a few different options when it comes to babywearing a toddler, though most of the options are the same as wearing a baby due to the size of a young toddler. The types of baby carriers include:
- woven wraps
- soft structured carriers (SSCs)
- Meh Dais
- framed backpack carriers
The kind of toddler carrier you choose depends on how you want to carry your toddler, how much your toddler weighs, how tall your toddler is, and what kind of carrier you’re comfortable using.
It also depends on your comfort level too. A carrier that is comfortable for me may not work as well for you, and vice versa.
Ring Slings for Toddlers
Ring slings are great for quick carries and can be stored easily in a bag. While they are usually used for hip carries with toddlers, you may start to find this uncomfortable as the child gets heavier and longer. Many have a weight limit up to 30 lbs or so.
I can still comfortably wear my almost three year old in a ring sling, but usually for only short periods of time.
Woven Wraps for Toddlers
Woven wraps are great for babywearing if you know how to wrap or want to learn how to wrap a toddler. They can be very comfortable depending on the way they’re worn, and they can be used for a variety of ages.
While not as quick and easy as ring slings, woven wraps can be used for a comfortable length of time.
Note: I do not mean stretchy wraps, like the Moby Wrap. While they are great for infants and babies, they’re not meant to be used with toddlers since they are not as supportive as a woven wrap.
Soft Structured Carriers
Soft structured carriers (SSCs) are usually the carriers of choice for those who wear toddlers. They often offer the most support and are comfortable for longer durations of time for both the wearer and the toddler.
Most standard sized SSCs, like Tula, Lillebaby, Kinderpack, etc., go up to 45 lbs, which is usually perfect for the average one or two year old. You can comfortably wear a young toddler in a standard size carrier for quite a while.
This is my toddler when she was 1 year old in a standard Tula baby carrier.
Many people, including myself, switch to a toddler carrier once the SSC panel doesn’t quite fit knee to knee or come up high enough on the toddler’s back. That is usually when a toddler is in size 2T or larger, but as all toddlers grow differently, it could be when the toddler is simply too tall to fit comfortably in a standard size SSC, which for some toddlers could be when they’re still wearing size 18 months.
Some of the familiar toddler SSCs include the Toddler Tula, Lillebaby Carryon, Kinderpack Toddler, and Beco Toddler. There are other brands out there as well.
Below is a Toddler Tula Coast (mesh panel) and matching hip pouch. The panel on a toddler carrier is much bigger than a standard size carrier.
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I wore my youngest in a standard SSC until she was a little over 2 years old, but still in 18 months. She was tall, like my other kiddos are, but she was tiny weight-wise, so a standard size fit her well for a while.
Once she couldn’t sit knee to knee, I got a toddler carrier, which is way more comfortable for both of us!
Toddler SSCs usually have a weight limit up to about 60 lbs. For reference, that’s the size of an average 8 year old! Of course, comfort is dependent on how tall the child is too.
This is my son in a Toddler Tula when he was 5 years old. We were at a zoo and he needed a break from walking. At the time, he weighed around 47 lbs. You can see that the panel is a little small for him, but we were both comfortable for a while before he was ready to walk again.
Baby Tula Coupon Code
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Meh Dais (or mai tais) are similar to SSCs except that they don’t have a buckle. Instead, the carriers have longer straps that can be wrapped around you, like woven wraps.
The straps make it so that you get a very close, comfortable fit.
I personally don’t have any experience with Meh Dais, but many people like them! Check out this demo:
Framed Backpack Carriers
Framed backpack carriers are similar to SSCs since they can carry heavier kids on your back, but they’re only used on the back due to the frame. A framed backpack carrier is great for something like hiking or camping, since they may eliminate the need to carry an extra bag for necessities since many of them can carry extra things as well as your child.
Weight limits for framed backpack carriers is lower though, maxing out around 48 pounds.
Will You Use a Baby Carrier for Your Toddler?
No matter what the nayayers say, my running, jumping, independent toddler is quite content hanging out with her mom or dad in a toddler carrier when we’re out and about. I plan on wearing my youngest for a long time! It’s so convenient, safe, and comfy for both of us that I can’t imagine a time when we no longer use our carriers.