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.
Our Family at Toy Story Land in Hollywood Studios
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.
Our Family Babywearing using a Tula at Walt Disney World’s Pandora
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
My Husband Babyearing Elodie in Front of the Castle at Magic Kingdom
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Thank you to ChooMee who we partnered with for this post. All opinions are my own.
The very first time I ever handed a baby a pouch, the mushy contents literally hit my ceiling! Baby was sitting in the high chair and he squeezed the pouch (which seems like a natural thing to do) and up went all the contents like a volcano of sweet potato in my dining room. I don’t even have to explain to you how not fun that was to clean up. Shortly after that I discovered ChooMee pouch toppers and I have never looked back! ChooMee pouch toppers can be placed on any pouch – store bought or reusable / homemade. They essentially moderate the flow to the point where the child has to suck to get the contents and it prevents it from spewing literally everywhere like all over your house, baby and your clothing. So this very quickly became a must have baby product for me. I’ve also been told by speech therapists that they like these because it helps develop the appropriate muscles for eating and speaking. I’m not a medical professional but as a mom this makes sense to me – the baby/toddler has to work a little harder to get the food so it develops the muscles. But it must be just the right amount of required effort because every child I’ve seen use them can also get the food out easily.
Beyond the obvious cleanliness, ease and possible muscle benefit, I also just love these because they make traveling with kids so much easier. Using a pouch to feed a baby or toddler on the go is just so easy and less of a choking hazard. Adding the pouch topper equals keeping the outfit and face clean on the go which means less laundry and we are better suited for pictures — those are all wins for me!
And one more positive for me: this is baby led weaning friendly in my opinion. We followed the babyled weaning guidelines and so we offered solid foods immediately when we started offering foods (Elodie’s first food was pancakes and her second was pizza). When we did introduce puréed food/smoothies, this gave her the opportunity to eat them independently (and cleanly). Again, win-win!
Hope this helps make your travel with a baby or a toddler easier!
I want you to know why I take you on trips like to Disney World, even though you’re just a baby, a toddler, a little one. People tell me, “She won’t remember. It’s not worth it, save your money.” Even I’ve wondered if it’s worth the time, energy and money. But here’s what matters: we will remember. You, your dad and I will all remember how we felt together. Your dad and I will remember vividly the happy, hoarse screech you do when you see Cinderella’s Castle, Mickey Mouse and all of your favorite rides. We will even have pictures to help you remember. And there are so many more reasons that we take you with us when we travel.
We travel together because I need that place to be with you where I give myself permission to not do dishes or vacuum or all the things on my never-ending to-do list. I need to dedicate times to put away the phone and hold you tight. I need to get out and see new places as we spend a lot of time together at home too. I need a place where we do different and new things together so I can show you that you can trust me here, there and everywhere.
But I don’t consider myself a selfish person and it’s not all about my needs. Your dad needs it too. He needs time away from work, where he leaves his work phone at home and doesn’t have anything else to do except to make you giggle. He needs a place where he can hold your hand while you try new things and test boundaries so he can let you know he wants you to be independent but he’s right there behind you if you need him. Your dad needs to be the one who can make your face light up by handing you bubbles and a balloon because when he is at work he doesn’t get moments like that. Your dad needs to see me holding you with a tear in my eye during the fireworks because you’re everything I ever dreamed of and he needs reminders of how powerful our love for you is.
And even more than what your dad and I need, you need it all even more. You need a place where we meet your needs for a schedule while balancing it with you learning how to be flexible. You need to learn how to talk with other people, be polite even when others aren’t, to have courage to make new friends. You need to learn how to be independent and brave by trying new things and going on new rides. You need a place where we put aside all the other things we have going on in our lives and you, your needs and wants and everything about you become our number one priority. Because, although you really are our whole world, sometimes the rest of our chores and work and just life all get in the way. But when we travel together or go to Disney World together, all the love and joy we feel for you all the time gets to be even more magical and also gets captured in photos and videos.
So, they are right and I know that – you won’t remember it all. In fact, it’s possible you’ll remember very few details because you are still very small. But I know in my heart you’ll remember how we made you feel, and we will remember how you made us feel too.
So my love, all the time and energy and money, it was all worth it for us. Even if all we got was that one magical moment together it would be worth it. But we walk away from each day with hundreds of incredible memories and so many of those have become our core memories with you. We have pictures of those special memories together and you’ll see them everyday as you grow and you’ll keep those core memories close to your heart and so will we. And that is the greatest gift we can give you and also you can give us. These moments where we traveled and grew together, my love, are priceless.