Whether you’re taking a weekend away or planning a more extended vacation to a faraway place, babywearing is an invaluable tool for travel in your parenting toolkit. This article has compiled some of the many benefits to babywearing when travelling, and some tips and hints from parents and caregivers who have used babywearing in their travels.
Benefits of babywearing when travelling
Using a carrier when travelling can make accessing and navigating some surroundings much easier. Whether it’s exploring an unstable terrain where a pram would be impractical such as bushwalking, or weaving in and out of a crowded area such as a marketplace or busy street, babywearing assists parents and caregivers during travel away from home.
Another function of babywearing when travelling is its ability to soothe babies and young children who may be tired, overwrought by new surroundings, or overwhelmed from being away from home. Babywearing is recognised as being a tool used to calm babies and young children in general; this is even more pertinent when the additional stress of travel is involved.
Using other modes of transport such as aeroplanes or trains for travel can also be benefitted by the use of babywearing. When on a train, a carrier can be used to easily navigate the carriage, and is a much easier and quicker way to navigate an airport terminal; especially when needing to go through security gates and customs.
When travelling, carriers can be multifunctional. A wrap or ring sling can double as a blanket, and can also be used to help secure a young child to a seat if a high chair or equivalent isn’t available. Carriers can also be a way to minimise your use of space when packing for extended trips, or when space is minimal.
Tips and hints
Don’t overpack! Look at the available space you have, and consider what carriers you currently own. Restricting yourself to one or two carriers that are useful will help!
Consider the climate that you’re travelling to, and how to best accommodate that with the carriers you own. Look at the type of blends you have and how many layers you’ll need for weather considerations. In warmer climates, consider what you can use as a single layer carry that is also supportive enough for your needs; in cooler climates, consider the importance of warmth. Wet weather may also need to be accommodated.
Also consider what function you are needing from your carrier. Are you needing to carry for long periods of time, and need to give thought to supportiveness? Are you needing a carrier that is quick and easy to take on and off? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your choice of carrier.
Select a carrier that is easy care and that you’re not worried about dirtying, as washing your carrier whilst you’re away may not be an available option.
Practise ways you’re likely to face babywearing prior to your departure. This may mean learning quick wrap carries such as a Traditional Sling Carry, or learning how to back carry an age appropriate child for your carrier. Upping your babywearing skill set before travelling will give you an advantage when you’re needing to put the carrier on in potentially stressful or time constrained situations!
In addition to this, you should consider the effect that extended periods of babywearing will have on your physical body. By practising extended babywearing prior to your travels, you will allow your body to build up muscle and tolerance for longer periods of time.
If at all possible, share the babywearing duties whilst you’re away. This will give you a break from the physical effort of carrying. You may like to consider what carrier will best suit another person such as a family member or friend, if this is an option for you.
Do you have any additional tips or hints you’d like to share? Head over to Ankalia’s chatter group Ankalia Embraced and join in the conversation!
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Ankalia’s online journal is written and edited by white Australian women. As such, our articles are written from our cultural standpoint.
To understand and improve our knowledge of the practice of babywearing across a varied dynamic, we may seek input from our friends and peers who identify as belonging to culturally and linguistically diverse groups, and groups who are marginalised within our society.
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