Babywearing in Disney World is a great way to move freely around the parks. There are many places where you cannot bring a stroller, so putting your baby in a carrier is a great way to do Disney. I am by no means an expert so I enlisted the help of Rachel Peritore. She runs North Shore Babywearing and just returned from a Walt Disney World trip with her two kids (2 and 4.)
Here is more from Rachel:
The wonderful thing about babywearing is that there are so many different styles and types of carriers. There is a wide variety of carriers that are age and size specific. The carriers discussed here are in no way a definitive list. I’ll be explaining which carriers I think are the most helpful for a Disney trip and why.
Orlando is hot – and depending on when you go it’s really, really hot. This is something all babywearers should keep in mind when wearing throughout the parks. Your best bet for a comfortable carrier would be any type of SSC (soft structured carrier – something with buckles or clips, like an Ergo, Tula, or Lillebaby) that also has some sort of waist band. While you may find a bjorn or similar style carrier comfortable for trips to the grocery story and around the house, you may find that you’ll need extra support, something with a waist band, for all the increased walking you’ll do. I kept a step counter going each day for the week I was in Disney and found that I averaged 7-10 miles of walking a day!
If you’re wearing your baby for a good portion of this, be sure to pick a comfortable and supportive carrier. Even more ideal would be something with a mesh panel. Mesh panels are great because they keep the baby cool and allow air to flow. Unfortunately it is not much cooler for the wearer; you’ll still feel the heat of your baby pressed against your chest, but it’s a great way to keep your little one cooler. Most of the major carrier brands have their own mesh panel model: Tula has the coast (pictured on the bottom left) and lillebaby has the all seasons (which has a panel that zips down and folds up to reveal a mesh panel – pictured on the bottom right) or the airflow.
Keep in the shade. Keep baby’s head covered with a light and wide brimmed hat.
Take breaks from wearing if possible
Stay hydrated: Both you and baby!
Dress yourself and your baby in light layers
Given the hot weather, it is possible that your baby could experience overheating. Here are a few signs to look for. If you’re ever unsure, trust your gut, and maybe take a break from wearing and head to a shop or restaurant with some air conditioning.
Signs of overheating to look for:
Baby is breathing rapidly or has a hot chest
Baby’s skin is overly red or developing a rash
Baby seems uncomfortable or overly lethargic
Similar to my suggestions for smaller babies, an SSC is probably your best bet for a toddler. SSCs are easy to get kids in and out of quickly. In Disney, your toddler will likely want to go up, and then get down and run around quite frequently. SSCs are the best for this. While ring slings are a great option for quick ups, you may find them uncomfortable if you end up wearing for increased periods of time and if your toddler is on the bigger side. I would say the same goes for wrapping. Even if you’re an experienced wrapper, you may find carrying around a large woven wrap cumbersome, and it will likely get frustrating to wrap and rewrap considering how much toddlers will want to go up and down. SSCs are generally all over supportive for larger kids, and very easy to get your toddlers in and out of. I also strongly recommend getting the hang of a back carry if you haven’t yet. You’ll feel cooler and more comfortable if your larger toddler is on your back; it also allows for them to get a great view over your shoulder. The best method for first time back wearers is the hip-scoot method. Check out a youtube tutorial; there is a lot of help out there and you’ll get the hang of it in no time! I wore my 30 pound toddler on my back for the majority of my trip, however one night early in our trip, she needed the extra cuddles so I put her on my front (see picture); it was both sweaty and exhausting so I avoided it for the rest of the week!
A second suggestion I have, is trying a hip seat carrier for toddlers. I borrowed the Lillebaby Seatme (see image on the right) from my local babywearing group and found it helpful at times. These types of carriers are essentially an oversized fanny pack with a structured “shelf” that juts out for the child to sit on. It comes with a detachable panel, but since I already had my tula, I left the panel at home and used just the side option (#4 in the image). You wear it on your hips, and seat the child on top of the fanny-pack seat. This carrier is great if you’re waiting in line and your kid is sick of standing up. In this mode, there are no panels or straps, so you would use an arm to support their back. It’s nice for very quick ups but not super comfortable for walking around with. I brought it and used it a few times on my trip, but tended to use my tula more often with a back carry.
I would say I most often used my Tula when I was waiting in line to order a quick service meal and I didn’t want my daughter running around wild, if I was waiting in a particularly long line for a ride, or leaving the parks at night. We rented a car and drove to each park, and some nights we didn’t want to wait for the parking lot tram. The walk back to the car wasn’t too far, but it felt long after a day spent walking in the parks, and was definitely too long for little legs to do on their own. Babywearing is also super helpful in the airport. I would keep my daughter on my back and gate check our stroller, using it as a luggage cart for all of our carryon bags. I hope you found this helpful and you have a great trip! Babywearing is a lot like wearing jeans; one style that fits someone great might not be the perfect fit for you, but there is a style out there that works for everyone! Always go with what feels the most comfortable for you and your baby. Happy babywearing!
I understand how you’re feeling, I know all too well how easy it can be at the beginning to start researching online, just to find yourself 3 hours down the line more confused than when you started. But don’t panic! I can help you plan your dream Disney vacation without any of the stress of hassle – starting with the ‘A Disney Trip without Overwhelm, 5 Easy Steps’ Guide. These 5 steps will help keep you focused on organizing the best trip ever, while giving you peace of mind that everything will be done, and nothing will be left out.
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