Did you know that October 5-11, 2014 is International Babywearing Week? Every day this week has been about promoting and celebrating babywearing according to different themes. Today’s theme is “Flexible Friday.” The idea is to talk about how you are more flexible in terms of what you can accomplish thanks to baby wearing.
Leaving the Stroller Behind: Travelling with our Toddler Tula
In his mere two years on this planet, Cub has been on a a whopping six round-trip flights: five times between Montréal and Vancouver, and once to Playa del Carmen. Our most recent trip to BC was the first time we traveled without
a stroller, thanks to our Toddler Tula. (You can read my full review here.)
Overall, babywearing has made all of our flights much more manageable, especially since I have flown almost exclusively by myself with Cub. At first I was skeptical about traveling without our stroller, but now that he walks, I’m so glad we left BOB behind!
Because it is so comfortable to wear him in the Tula, I didn’t miss our stroller once. On the way to Vancouver, we traveled with Papa Wolf, so one of us was able to wrangle him while the other dealt with the check in, the trip through security, getting food and boarding the plane. Since, like most toddlers, Cub can spontaneously lose all function in his legs, I was happy to be toting the Tula just in case. (Rather than having to push around and then gate check a stroller, just in case.)
Important note: When traveling, leave your precious Tula attached to you at all times, even if it’s empty. That way, you won’t forget it slung over the chair in an airport restaurant and nearly vomit as you run back to get it, hoping that in the 45-minutes it took you to notice it was gone, no one has stolen it.
When we landed in Vancouver, Cub was fast asleep. (Travel tip: try to fly during bedtime, it’s awesome!) It’s really awkward to carry 30 lbs of sleeping toddler through the narrow aisle of a plane when disembarking, but not when you can snuggle him comfortably into your Tula!
Important note: Don’t be so excited to put on your Toddler Tula that you forget to double check the seat-back pockets and leave your library book behind.
I was able to comfortably wear sleeping Cub through the airport and to my parents’ car without disturbing him. Much to my Mom’s contentment, he did wake up for the drive home and say lots of words!
While we were visiting my parents, we went for daily walks with the dogs. Every time I didn’t bring the Tula, I wished I had: never expect a toddler to walk the whole way! I just love the convenience of being able to carry him comfortably if need be.
My parents live near a lovely forested area that is populated with fairy doors (locals construct little doors and nail them to the base of trees), and Cub loves to go for walks there. It’s about a kilometre up the street to get there, up a slight incline. We usually ended up wearing him about half way there, releasing him into the woods on his quest to knock on all the doors, then wearing him all the way home as he would be thoroughly exhausted.
In the opposite direction of the aforementioned fairy-door forest is the Pacific Ocean. Mere minutes away on foot, there’s a huge wooden staircase to descend in order to reach the shore. There’s no way we could navigate those stairs with a stroller: Babywearing for the win!
On the way up, my brother, who had already run up and down the stairs a handful of times for exercise (he’s the marathon-runner in the family) toted his nephew up in a Tula back-carry (thank goodness… I wasn’t about to do it!).
For our return flight, Cub and I were traveling solo. I was concerned I would miss the stroller without an extra set of hands to carry our bags, but I was perfectly happy with just the Tula, especially for checking in and deplaning. He was way too sleepy to be standing in line that morning, and had thrown up as we were landing… so walking wasn’t really an option either time!
The Stroller Stays in Storage
While there are definitely advantages to using a stroller, now that he’s a decent walker, I haven’t lugged our wheels out in ages. I can guarantee that he won’t want to sit in the stroller for our entire outing, and I’d rather not have to drag an empty stroller and a stubborn toddler around… so I’m happy to just wear the Tula like a backpack or roll it up into my bag.
As long as you have the right carrier, you can continue to love babywearing even when your baby isn’t so much of a baby anymore!
And just for fun, here’s how my brother babywears:
I got my Tula Toddler Carrier at Lagoon Baby! (affiliate link)