My struggles with carrying a child, instead of a toddler.

My kids are getting bigger and older so my wearing and carrying practices have gone through some changes. During these changes I realised that I had gotten a bit stuck in how I would have carried a younger/smaller child and that I was still expecting to carry my 4 year old in a similar way as I would have when he was 4 months. My struggles with a onbuhimo was a bit of an eyeopener 🙂

N in a stretchywrap (yes, big kids is possible in those to!), sick and high up on my shoulder.

First of all, the height will both change and stay the same. In a soft structured carrier (SSC) a quite common comment, especially when the fit dosent feel totaly right, is to raise the waistbelt as high as possible (basically put in directly under the boobs). For me, with my kids, the solution has rather been the opposite (one might add that my kids are both quite tall) to lower the waistband sometimes even fully placing it over the hips. Probably the height will depend on multiple factors, such as the carrier or sling of choice as well as the childs activity (awake or sleeping), but looking at pictures of me backcarrying the height of the head of the kids have stayed pretty much the same over the years. Theoretically this all makes sense (especially in hindsight), but practically it actually took some time to get the hang of! I’ve even done some front- & hipcarrying with the childs head resting on my shoulder (to my defence it was quite practical at times!).

I also managed to “over straighten” a lot of wrap jobs, in a quest to get rid of as much slack as possible but with a child that was able to sit still and actually keep a position whilst tying made it possible to put too much tension on the wrap, making the wrap job a bit too tight to be comfy (for me). With smaller and younger kids (or kids that need support to maintain bodyposition) a really tight wrap job might be essential but with my kids who no longer needed that kind of support it simply became too sturdy for our need and preference.

The mysterious onbuhimo in action!

This was also where my attempts with an onbuhimo failed, I couldn’t get the fit right, it was uncomfortable and my shoulders and back complained (a lot!), my non correct solution was to tighten even more, adding a sturdier and tighter chestpass and so on… then I gave up thinking that this type of carrier simply wasn’t for us, and it rested on the shelf for quite some time. One day I got stubborn (being a carrying consultant and all that I felt somewhat obligated to figure this carrier out) and brought the onbuhimo as the only carrier and when my youngest got tired it was practice time! I think we were in a bit of a hurry to catch a train so I got him up and tightened as we continued walking aiming on getting to the train rather than perfect tightening… and for the first time it was comfy, mystery solved! 🙂

Another thing I realised was my idea of that the bigger the kid meant the longer the wrap. Again, I thought that you needed more fabric to distribute the weight of a bigger child, that the days of backcarrying in a short wrap was over and that we would be forced to bring the longer wraps everywhere we went. This notion of mine also came with thoughts of how the carries should contain passes over my shoulders (again, for weight distribution). Turned out that one of our absolute favourite carries nowadays is a quite low, torso carry in a soft and quite thin linen towel, or a shawl.

The take-home message? We all struggle sometimes 🙂 We change, the kids change, the needs change and sometimes it’s hard to keep up (even for a nerdy carrying consultant as myself!).

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