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Why Babywearing Is Also For Toddlers: 'It Makes Them Feel Safe, Secure, And Loved'
PHOTO BY courtesy of Anna Patricia Rodriguez-Carranza
  • Recently, I found myself decluttering, selling and giving away things my children have outgrown, both in size and interest. Those things included my babywearing gear: a woven wrap and a meh dai (read up on the different types here).

    Initially, I thought of keeping the babywearing gear more for sentimental purposes but eventually, I told myself to learn the art of letting go. After all, the two girls have started to be more independent, especially with L, my 2-year-old saying "no karga" and "lakad ako" more often. Her little yet decisive voice pinches my heart each time she would say those words.

    Are our babywearing days over? I would think about that as I lay in bed at night, checking on my buy, sell, and trade posts. Well, my toddler did not say "ayoko nang magpa-wrap/carrier." She just wants to exercise her newly-gained speech powers in declaring what she wants and what she doesn’t want. She would push her way out of the carrier, so different from when her Ate N, my 3-year-old, was her age. Ate would fit snugly in any carrier, even if I was playing some instrument or delivering a lecture.

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    Benefits of toddlerwearing

    The author with her daughters — N, who is turning 4, and L, 2.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Anna Patricia Rodriguez-Carranza

    And so I tried to see if babywearing indeed ends when your baby becomes a toddler. We tried not bringing a carrier on some days and boy, was it a disaster. Therefore, as a commuting, multitasking, yaya-less mom, wearing your child, no matter how old, still saves the day.

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    Here are five benefits I’ve realized as a toddlerwearing mama:

    1. It keeps your hands free for other stuff.

    For me, this is the best thing among all the benefits. Commuting around Metro Manila with two children in tow drives me nuts. That’s because I’m also carrying bags of children’s clothes and baon, a laptop, and sometimes, vegetables and fruits from the market. At least, when I’m carrying Bunso in a carrier, my two hands can still take care of Ate.

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    2. It puts you, the parent, at peace.

    Putting your toddler in the carrier (in our case, with her consent or quite a lengthy explanation) can give you peace of mind that she doesn’t wander off especially when you’re walking in a crowded place. For parents with more than one kid, it also helps to know that one child is safe while you’re helping your other child cross the road or go up an escalator, for example.

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    The author would often commute with her two kids and wearing one of them makes moving so much easier.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Anna Patricia Rodriguez-Carranza

    3. It makes your children feel secure.

    In as much as you become at peace, your child also feels the same way. In our case, my toddler knows the warm hugs are there before and after I drop them off at a daycare. Deducing from my experience with our two children, I believe that our parting blues have lessened all because we did babywearing and toddlerwearing most of the time.

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    Studies have shown that skin-to-skin contact — whether as a hug, an expression of physical attention, and yes, toddlerwearing — provides positive benefits to your child’s well-being as they grow older. This includes “higher self- esteem, better parent-child communication, and fewer and psychological and behavior problems,” according to a report from Child Trends, a non-profit research organization in the U.S. It also helps your child feel less stressed and most importantly, feel loved.

    The author, who teaches at the University of the Philippines, can conveniently wear her toddler while doing lectures in school.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Anna Patricia Rodriguez-Carranza
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    4. It makes you move faster.

    Oh, did I say I bring the children to two different schools before going to my own work? When we're running late, wearing my 4-year-old on my back would help us beat the bell.

    The author still 'wears' her preschooler in a carrier.
    PHOTO BY courtesy of Anna Patricia Rodriguez-Carranza

    5. It becomes less of a need but more of a treat.

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    Like what I have said, I still wear my 4-year-old Ate on my back. Wearing her is more of a special bonding time for us especially that my 2-year-old Bunso is the priority when it comes to being worn. She becomes really ecstatic when I tell her that she can ride on my back (back carry is recommended for older children due to their weight and height). With this, she also learns the value of sharing and responsibility.

    Anna divides her 24 hours between full-time housework and childcare, part-time teaching and studying at the University of the Philippines, extension work with the Philippine Society for Music Education, and the Smart Parenting Mom Network. When not (procrastinating on) writing her master’s thesis, she writes short snippets on motherhood on her Instagram, @mamaatbp or does philosophical musings with her husband, Z. 

    Dads can also do babywearing! Click here for more babywearing advantages.

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