For many of us, the holiday season is a time of hectic activity – shopping, travel, parties, concerts, cleaning, dinners, and the list goes on. For moms (and dads) of young children, it can be a challenge to get everything done while still being the parents we want to be. If this describes you, then consider adding a baby carrier or two to your holiday toolkit. You will find them invaluable.
Using a soft carrier to keep your child close has many benefits for both you and baby, including increasing bonding, making baby happier and making you feel more in tune with your child. During the holidays (and anytime) a good baby carrier is a great way to care for your child while keeping your hands free for other activities.
Baby Carriers Make Holiday Shopping a Breeze
While strollers can be handy in some situations, in crowded shopping malls and sidewalks, they can feel like a safety hazard. Wearing your child in a carrier instead of using a stroller means that you won’t have people tripping over your stroller or giving you dirty looks for (in their eyes) taking up too much room on the sidewalk or in the aisle.
Babies much prefer to be carried close to mom or dad, so chances are, they will be less fussy and more tolerant of shopping than they would be in stroller. You can easily entertain them in a carrier, and get things done too! Children also stay warmer being carried next to your body, so you can avoid the hassles of bundling them up for outside (and then having them complain about being too hot in the store).
My favorite baby carriers for shopping: a pouch (Kangaroo Korner adjustable fleece pouches keep you both cozy on cold afternoons) or a buckle carrier . For an infant, a stretchy wrap is also a great choice.
Baby Carriers Allow You to Keep Your Child’s Feeding/Sleeping Schedule
We all know that babies and young children benefit from routines. Allowing your child to nap and eat at the same times every day saves your sanity and theirs. Despite your best intentions, holiday festivities often disrupt these schedules, adding stress to your life. A baby carrier can help!
If you are nursing, baby carriers allow you to nurse discreetly at a party or even, believe it or not, while shopping. My favorite carriers for discreet nursing are a stretchy wrap or the Maya Wrap ring sling.
Little ones can also be easily rocked to sleep while you chat with Aunt Marge over a glass of cider. A carrier that gives your child some protection from bright lights and people will help soothe them and avoid over-stimulation. Great carriers for napping in are a stretchy wrap, the Maya Ring Sling or the Kangaroo Korner pouch (it is deeper than other pouches so baby can tuck her head in). If you’d like baby to nap on your back while you do dishes or other intensive activities, a Kozy Carrier mei tai can be used to safely carry even an infant on your back.
Baby Carriers can Keep Your Baby Healthier
All of us are trying to keep our babies (and ourselves) healthy this season. While exercising universal precautions (hand-washing, covering coughs and staying home when you are sick) is the best way to prevent the spread of germs, we know that not everyone is following them. Some people seem to like nothing better than to touch the baby, even though they just sneezed into their hand.
Many moms are surprised to discover that babies are much less likely to get unwanted touches, pats and requests to hold them if they are tucked away in a carrier. This is because while babies are allotted much personal space in American culture, holding baby in a carrier means that your personal space envelops baby too. People are much less likely to touch a baby who is snuggled into a pouch on your chest because it means that touch enters your personal space, too. Our favorite carriers for tucking baby in: a wrap, a pouch or a ring sling (you can even use the tail to cover baby’s head).
Baby Carriers Simplify Holiday Travel
Holiday travel can be extraordinarily stressful sometimes – grumpy crowds, harried airline staff, long lines at security, delayed flights and bad airplane food can turn even the most Zen moms into stress cases. While a baby carrier can’t solve all your travel woes, it can make baby much happier while you navigate the rest of it. It is also much easier to handle luggage without having to push a stroller as well. Our favorite carriers for carrying baby while dealing with a huge load of luggage are buckle carriers. If you have an infant, a wrap or a Kozy Carrier mei tai may also be a good choice.
It can’t be repeated often enough that babies love to be close to you. If you can hold baby while going through airport security, they will be much less likely to fret. If you choose a carrier that doesn’t have metal on it (such as a pouch or a wrap), they may even let you go through without taking baby out!
Baby Carriers are not just for babies
Even though we call them baby carriers, most of the best ones can be used for children up to 3 and 4 years of age. Obviously, older kids will be involved in activities for most of the time, and I’m not suggesting that you need to carry them everywhere. Every mom of an older toddler has, however, had to deal with a tired whiny kid sometimes, and a good carrier can be a lifesaver. Toss Junior into a quick back carry when he’s threatening to throw a tantrum while you’re trying to check out at Target or comfort and cuddle your 3 year old who has bravely walked through blocks of caroling but is getting tired when you’re still 20 minutes from the house.
Stay happy, healthy and close to your babies this holiday season!