The benefits of babywearing go without saying – it essentially allows mums and dads to settle their babies with close comfort while still being to go about doing whatever they need to do. A good, ergonomic baby carrier is also comfortable for both baby and parent, eliminating the physical strain of backaches, tired arms and sore shoulders.
However, with a mini-me strapped onto you, weighing anywhere between three to 20 kilos, you would expect babywearing to limit your movement and choice of activities. Granted, there are certain activities you should refrain from doing when babywearing, but we’ve put our mummy brains together and came up with some things you can do and they’re actually pretty fun!
1. Go hiking with your baby
A hiking backpack filled with essentials like food, water, sunscreen and other necessities weighs nearly as much as a baby, so it’s definitely a manageable feat. You’ll probably enjoy the journey more too while carrying a cute bundle that smiles at you.
If your baby is old enough with good head control, it’ll be easier to hike while using the back carry position, just as you would carry a backpack. Either the back or front carry is super easy with a full buckle carrier, like the Baby Tula Free-to-Grow collection.
2. Get groovy and dance
If you’ve seen this adorable video of dads dancing with their babies, you know that dancing while babywearing is a real thing. Kangatraining is the biggest international dance school offering these classes and they have trainers in 30+ locations around the world. You can search for a class near you and they even have a fun exercise class just for dads and bubs!
Of course, if you prefer the comfort of your own home, you can always just put on your favourite jam and groove with baby in the living room. Save money, get some exercise, bond with baby – it’s a triple win!
3. Go shopping
Excuse me, coming through – have you EVER tried navigating those supermarket aisles with a huge-as pram? And what about the groceries, there’s only so much the pram can carry before becoming immovable. Don’t even get us started on waiting for lifts occupied by fully able-bodied lazy people just wanting to go up a single floor.
Babywearing is the solution to your shopping headache. It basically allows you to go empty-handed with free hands ready to load up the car with goodies. Babies are also known to be more settled and nap in a carrier, so chances of them dozing off while you’re shopping are pretty high. Bonus, really.
4. Sing in the rain
If you ever get caught in a sudden downpour, you’d thank your lucky stars your baby was in a carrier, not a pram.
Imagine trying to wrestle on a pram rain cover, making sure every bit of the pram (and baby) is covered so nothing gets wet. Then you have to push everything through muddy puddles while attempting to keep yourself dry, holding an umbrella with one hand and steering the pram with the other. You wouldn’t be singing then.
Most baby carriers have a sleep hood for the baby which works as a sun and wind cover, but also keeps baby dry in light showers too.
5. Hands-free breastfeeding
Not all baby carriers are made for breastfeeding. Full buckle carriers are easy to use for breastfeeding in an upright position, while ring slings and baby wraps allow for sideways feeding, which is great for newborns with no head control, or toddlers who are too tall to be fed upright.
The fun in this isn’t the breastfeeding itself, but what you can do with your free hands – make yourself a cup of coffee, read a book, crochet – the possibilities are endless!
6. Walk a marathon
Annual city-based marathons like the City2Surf in Sydney can be a fun challenge for the young and old. There’s no competition and it’s highly satisfying when you finish the journey, albeit just walking. Strap baby into a carrier and make it a family activity, but make sure you choose a lightweight and breathable baby carrier as you and baby can both easily overheat otherwise.
7. Snack/eat/drink coffee on-the-go
Take a romantic stroll while holding hands, grab a coffee in the morning, eat a sandwich while dashing for the trains… everything that you do pre-kids can still be done post-kids with the magic that is babywearing. Dropping crumbs on the baby’s head is fine, that’s all part of the experience. Just watch the hot coffee.
8. Keep people away from your baby
Alright, technically this isn’t an “activity”, but you know what’s NOT fun? Having a sick baby. Or worse still, both you and baby getting sick at the same time.
There’s nothing more annoying that people sticking their faces up your baby’s nose, all the while cooing with spit flying. Especially in peak flu season, you’d want to be more cautious with physical contact in the outside world. Babywearing is the perfect passive-aggressive way of creating a physical barrier between baby and germ-spreading strangers.
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This was written at night while my kids are in bed. Help me stay awake so I can keep producing free & useful content for Aussie mums!