Most often I have parents come to me looking to carry their baby from newborn, or at some point in their baby's first year, but at a year old your carrying journey need not come to an end. For some it is when it begins!
Your baby might be beginning to walk but I do not know of any toddler who can walk very far before wanting to be held again, or could join you on a ramble, not get lost in a crowd in a busy place, or at least walk in the same direction as you!
I sometimes get asked if I have anything suitable for a 13 month old, 18 month old, 2 year old, etc. Well the answer is that I do :) Slings are so useful for that transitional period where your toddler is starting to explore but still needs you, and the security of your arms/back.
Carrying your toddler/preschooler can be practical, enjoyable, comfortable and fun for mums and dads (and whoever else!) and their child. Great for reconnecting after nursery or when there is a new sibling to ease the transition.
Or if you need to get them off for a nap, or pop to the shop out the car. And other countless reasons.
Here we believe in each family being able to make their own decisions regarding what works for them.
We have many options at our disposal. Whether that's carrying in arms, using a pram or pushchair, occasionally using a carrier, or using one most days.
Sometimes a sling is more convenient, other times a pushchair/pram, whatever age your child.
There will come a time to stop. Don't do your body damage by carrying your child so that you suffer. It's the same for carrying two on you at once. There are no rewards for who can do it for longest. Stop whenever you want. Carry on as long as you like.
I could carry my first for longer and older because we walked everywhere, I was fit, he was light for his age. My second I was not so fit or physically strong, he was heavier so I stopped way sooner for my comfort, and then only occasionally and for only five minutes.
Leave judgement at the door. Carrying your baby or toddler or preschooler. Do or don't. It's just fine with me.
I have several soft structured carriers with buckles in the sling library that are specifically in 'Toddler' size, suitable from 18-24 months, and I even have a 'Preschooler' size Connecta in the sling library. Many toddlers fit very well in 'Standard' size carriers like the JPMBB Physiocarrier, Manduca, Boba Carrier, and Beco Soleil.
Alternatives to buckles are carriers that tie on, and a woven wrap can be used until your child outgrows being carried at all.
Ring slings often become brilliant if you feel it would be more useful to have a hip carrier as opposed to front or back, when your child wants up and down a lot. The Scootababy is a buckle alternative hip carrier.
Slings and carriers can be used at all different stages of development in your child's first few years, and you might find one that sees you all the way through, or you might change to something else as your carrying needs change. You might need something compact to pack in your bag easily, or something really quick, or a carrier with more padding, a more structured waist, or a sling or wrap that distributes the weight over a wider area.
I have a lot of experience in carrying my own two boys, the oldest who is now four, who I can just about manage for a walk to the shops and back! I am here to offer you advice at whatever stage you are at, for as long as you both enjoy the convenience of carrying, and the relationship it nurtures.