My little baby is not so little anymore – two years old and walking. But I still carry him near busy roads, or when he’s overtired and needs settling down. Problem is that he’s old enough now to know what he wants, strong enough to make it hard to prevent him doing what he wants, but not yet mature enough to understand that sometimes what he wants is not good for him. So I am learning little tricks to get him into a sling quick, before he can struggle away from me and get into serious trouble. He may complain as I tie him on, but it’s better than letting him run onto the road or cry himself to sleep.
First, I choose carriers that I can use quickly. Some people find wraps quick and easy, others get swamped in long pieces of fabric. Some people find an SSC (soft clip-on carrier) simple, others struggle to find the clips and fasten them behind their back. For me, the quickest carrier is a mei tai. There are times when a ring sling or a wrap might be more comfortable for the purpose I’m carrying him, but it’s no good if I can’t get him into it securely while he’s struggling to get down.
Second, make sure there’s lots of fabric behind his upper back, and that the carrier is tied securely. He struggles for a while before settling down to rest, and I don’t want him falling out before then.
Third, be prepared to pass him toys or drink bottles if he’s on my back to avoid danger (rather than for tiredness). If I remember, I tie toys onto carrier straps so I don’t have to pick them off the ground every two minutes. You could also use a dummy clip to attach toys to carrier straps. Making or buying carrier strap covers with little ribbon tags or embroidery on them is another way to keep kids amused and protect straps from sticky fingers/teeth at the same time. I try to avoid giving drink bottles with anything other than water in them, unless I want to wear food in my hair and fruit juice down my back.
Despite the tricks it takes to get a toddler on my back, it’s worth it. It won’t be long and he’ll be long past being carried, and in the meantime babywearing helps me to keep him safe and soothe frayed nerves (his and mine).