Our daughter Emily is a month shy of turning TEN years old. She is carried every day by both my husband and I and there is nothing she likes more !!Ruth Ferguson
Emily has Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome (WHS), an extremely rare genetic condition occurring in approximately 1 in 50,000 births. She has many health issues, a neurological delay, she is non verbal and is tiny for her age…..this being a huge “plus” on the “baby” wearing front!!
My husband had been carrying her for a few years in a backpack but I never took to it. A fellow WHS mum told me about soft structured toddler sized carriers and I am forever grateful. Both my husband and I have been carrying her in soft structured toddler or preschool carriers for over 3 and a half years now and I cannot express all the benefits this gives us.
I needed something quick and easy to get Emily up and down on a school run and on everyday errands .We mastered a back carry pretty quickly and can throw her over our shoulder as she clings on in what we call her “koala hug”. ( Anybody staying still too long with Emily nearby may find her up on your back doing her “koala hug” in the hope of going for a walk in the carrier!!).
On a typical day I use the carrier to take her in and out of school, to go for a walk in the afternoon while her sister is at dancing, to take out the dogs and every night she goes for an hour and a half long walk with my husband. Hospital check ups are very frequent, shopping and any where else we may go Emily goes too. She is always on her best behaviour while in the carrier and waves at every single person she passes. She has been able to walk since she was 4 years old but won’t/can’t walk far. We can let her walk if she wants while the carrier remains tied to our waist…so different to a cumbersome buggy.
We live in southern Spain and are the very happy and proud owners of a little caravan. Every weekend from about May to October we try to get away to the mountains or the beach. The places we go and the walks we do would be completely impossible and unthinkable without the carrier. We have also ventured to other European countries with our caravan and carrying Emily breaks any barriers we would otherwise face with a nearly 10 year old who can’t walk far. Cities, castles,caves, archeological ruins, steps, bridges, cobbled paths, museums, mountains, rivers, streams, airports, beaches…the list is endless as to the places we can go effortlessly with our daughter. Her teacher even takes her on their school trips in our carrier.
I cannot put into words and fully portray what “baby” wearing allows us do. I would love to have been aware of all of this when Emily was a baby and needed so much physical contact and stimulation. She had hip dysplasia and wore a brace in bed until she was 4…I firmly believe the carrier would have done wonders for this too.
Emily is euphoric and extremely receptive while being carried. I can take advantage of these precious moments also to teach her vocabulary, teach her new words on her communication device or sign language. She is extremely sociable and waves and blows kisses at passers by…it is not an uncommon sight to see a bus full of people waving back at her while stopped at a red traffic light!! She travels arms out and is either waving or hugging me !!
Having a child with complex needs is very difficult for a family in many aspects BUT being able to take her everywhere on our backs makes every single day so much easier, hassle free, barrier free, restriction free and allows both Emily and us to do simple things other families may take for granted. Emily now clocks in at 14kg and 110cm tall. We still have some time left in toddler and preschool carriers and plan on continuing to take this happy little girl anywhere and everywhere we possibly can