I joked the other day and said that I might carry Abby in her baby carrier, into her wedding one day. And it really feel like after 2 years we still have not come to the end of our run with baby wearing. And yes, I’ve had the ‘is she not too old to be carried’ questions, and the answer is ‘no’. She will tell us when she is too old to be carried. If she needs her carrier (and she needs it often still), we provide in her needs.
I did not carry Sky as baby, and I am actually sorry I didn’t. But Sky was such a easy baby, we would pop her into the pram and there we’d go. Abby, obviously not the same story. Being separated from me would cause her huge melt downs, so as baby we carried her all the time. She grew up attached to me, because that is what she needed. Now 2 years and 4 months later, we still carry her in her ‘Zozi’.
Zozi is our word for a Zozinette, which is the make of carrier we use. And if you know anything about children with autism or SPD, you will know that if one thing works for them, you stick to it because the next might not. We tried a few different carriers and they just never had the right ‘fit’, until we met Bianca, the owner of Zozinette. To my surprise it was a local company, but their products are world class! We went to Bianca’s house and she helped me to get the right one for us. And the rest is, history. We first had a stretch wrap for when she was small. It was soft and she loved sucking on the material. Then she got a little heavy for the stretch and we moved to a full buckle carrier – and we still are on a full buckle carrier. We used the same one for 2 years! About 3 months ago I realized that Abby was getting too tall for her carrier and I started looking for a new one. To my absolute delight Zozinette was running a competition for a toddler carrier. I wrote in the comment box why I needed one so desperately and to my total astonishment, strangers started entering the competition on my behalf. I have never been so stunned by the goodness of others that I have never met! We won the competition and I got to choose a brand new carrier! Abby approved of the new one and I could gift my old one to a friend of mine that needed one. Paying it forward 🙂
I know that it might sound weird that we are still carrying an almost 2 and half year old around, but because of her condition she needs the input. And especially since her need is for us to pick her up and hold her close, but not touch her! Good luck with that one without a baby carrier! The carrier helps us to strap her to us, but not actually touch her if she needs us to not touch her. I am pretty sure both of us would have been even more crazy than what we already are without our Zozi.
Reasons why baby wearing a child with SPD / Autism is such a great idea:
- Bonding time: You get to have your child near you. In our case Abby wants to be near me all the time, but not so much with her daddy. Most days she won’t even let her hold her. But if he puts her in the carrier, she is very happy for them to bond.
- Compression: The tightness of the carrier around them really help with compression and deep pressure they so often crave. If you don’t have a weighted vest for your little one, this is a good alternative.
- Blocking out people and noise: The carrier has a hood. I just pull it over her if there are too many people / sounds around her. It forms her own little cocoon against the world.
- Safety: Abby is a runner. If we put her down in public, she might get lost. And although she is very verbal with us, she won’t really speak in front of others, making it difficult for her to communicate her name etc.
- Convenience: Having her strapped up helps to have both hands free to hold her sister’s hand, do shopping, push a trolley etc.
- Sleepy dust: Struggling to get them to settle down, pop in a carrier and wait for the sleepy dust to set in.
My tip is: try a few carriers, you will find the one that works for you and baby. And this is not a ‘carrier snob thing’ but really, buying cheap will not do when it comes to carriers. You are going to hurt your back, hurt baby’s legs and just be uncomfortable. Buy one decent carrier and it will be all you will need (okay you will want more and more, but that is a total different topic)