What if I told you that you could ride rides, hold your toddler’s hand and eat a Dole Whip (with probably none of it spilling on your baby’s head) all while holding your baby? You’d say sign me up, right?! Well I have to say babywearing has been the most magical tool I’ve had. It’s probably my favorite parenting tool overall but definitely while traveling and at Disney. Here are a few tips on babywearing while at an amusement park like Walt Disney World.
1. Find a carrier that works for you and your baby. The best way to do that is to find a local group although they are more difficult to find now that the non-profit Babywearing International closed down earlier in 2018. You may be able to find someone locally who will let you try on a variety of carriers or help you learn how to safely babywear and may even be able to do this through pictures online through Facebook. You can also check at your local baby store or read reviews online to determine what one might be best for your body type and baby’s personality. I personally have been a long time fan of the Tula Coast which is great for all ages and has mesh to keep you cool. Join our Facebook Group – Traveling with Little Kids – and I as well as other babywearing experts can help you there.
2. Stay cool. Especially with Florida summers it’s important that you and baby stay a good temperature. This may mean bundling up sometimes – during that one week of winter – but more often than not at Disney it’s important to find ways to stay cool. Specifically for babywearing older babies and toddlers I like to use a well insulated cool pack like the one from U-Konserve between our tummies. It makes a huge difference! I also carry the free cups of ice around for me and Elodie.
3. Ride the rides. Babies can ride with you on any ride at Walt Disney World except those with height restrictions (ex. roller coasters like Splash Mountain and faster rides like Tomorrowland Speedway). You can also use a baby carrier on any of these rides and do not need to take baby out or pull the carrier down unless you want. This is as long as baby is on the front (babies cannot be worn on the back on rides, assuming for safety but also would be uncomfortable). This means it can be easier to get on and off the rides, have extra hands to grab your bag or another child’s hand and overall it’s more secure and safe for baby. I know there was an age around 9 months where I was super thankful for babywearing on rides because Elodie would occasionally dart around like she wanted to check out London by flying like Tink on Peter Pan’s Flight but babywearing allowed me to feel confident that she would stay safe in the flying pirate ship with me.
4. Protect your back and conserve your energy. Especially on vacation it’s best to take it easy when you can because it’s often a marathon of fun at Disney. That may mean you want to do a few things when you can to protect your back and keep your energy. I personally bring a stroller for long days. Elodie can sit in there for longer walks like walking from Spaceship Earth to the Frozen Ever After Ride (it’s over a mile!) or, as often ends up being the case for us, it can hold stuff while I wear baby. Also take turns holding or wearing with a partner if you can – my husband loves to wear Elodie. If you’re going for a shorter time (like after dinner for a few hours) you may consider just bringing the carrier and a small bag containing only the essentials as it can be easier to get a few rides done quickly without keeping track of your stroller and navigating it through the crowds.
5. Breastfeed, bottle feed, nap in the carrier. You can do a lot of things while babywearing and so can baby! Reach out to a friend, moms group or me if you need tips on doing any of these things. I’ve breastfed and bottle fed many times in my Tula – it’s perfect for long lines as you’ve got more support. Elodie LOVES napping in the carrier, especially on her daddy’s back. You can really make the most of your trip when you use a baby carrier.
6. Enjoy your adventures!! Most of all, having extra hands and support allows you to enjoy your vacation. Whether your playing games with your toddler or are able to connect with your partner while having a quiet moment as baby naps – just enjoy all the places you can go and the things you can do while holding your baby close!
Hope this helps you have a magical time with your little ones! XO, Jess