Are my Kanga days over?
Kangatraining can be commenced from as early as 6 weeks postpartum, but the finish line is not so clear. Most mums and bubs activities provide a guide on maximum age, but Kangatraining isn’t your usual mums and bubs activity- it’s in a league of it’s own.
Lately I’ve been asked more than usual, “is my baby too old?”, “does my baby weigh too much?”, “when do you know it’s just not working anymore?”. Here are my answers below... It comes down to a great deal of individual factors and there is no one-size-fits-all approach.
Q: “Is my baby too old to join Kangatraining?”
A: Before a child is walking, they are more willing to be held, carried, and cuddled. If you have a child that is very active with crawling and walking, and this is their first time at Kanga, they may be slightly hesitant to enjoy being close to you in a carrier for majority of class. This would be my question in return:
Q: “Has your child been in a baby carrier before?”
A: If you have a child that has been carried in a baby carrier since they were little, it’s normal to them, and they usually won’t protest during class no matter what age you start with them. However, if they haven’t been ‘babyworn’ before, AND they are a very active walker, there could be some resistance.
There's plenty of time before class for the movers to burn off some energy!
My 2 year old knows our Manduca as her happy place where she snuggles in with mummy to watch the world go by or to drift off to sleep. She’s been worn since she was a newborn and has been my kanga joey since she was 6 months old, so it's all second nature to her. The best idea is to trial a class and see how your individual child responds. For most, a cuddle close to mum is the best thing in the world. Add in fun music, being bopped lightly around, and 10 other mums and babies to look at, and you should have a pretty content bub.
Q: “Does my baby weigh too much?”
A: This really is a plain no. Your baby’s weight should only be a factor if it exceeds the carrier's weight tested safety level (usually 20kg for Soft Structured Carriers), or if you are starting your kanga journey with a 12kg+ baby. The idea is to start Kangatraining with a smaller bub and as they grow, your strength to carry their weight increases. My 2 year old is now 12.5kg and I can easily manage, but there is no way I could have started my Kangatraining journey with a 12kg baby!
My question in response would be:
Q: “Does your current carrier provide enough support?”
A: You shouldn’t have to put up with ANY pain ANYWHERE when carrying your child. If something is ‘pulling’ or ‘aching’, it’s not your bub's weight, it’s something else. Firstly, a quick carrier adjustment could do the trick. You might need to wear bub higher, have the back strap moved down between your shoulder blades, or just wear a bit tighter. Secondly, it could be the carrier you are using.
Not all carriers are created equal. In the shoe world, we all own a pair of thongs, joggers, high heels, gum boots, and sandals. They’ve all been created to do a similar thing- keep our feet protected from the ground, but they are not created with the same support in mind. And this too applies in the baby carrier world.
Forget for a second that I sell carriers. When I wear my 2 year old 12.5kg daughter in our Manduca, I have zero pain or discomfort. I can wear her on my front or back with complete ease and enjoyment. It is possible to do this up to 20kg+ with the right carrier. If your carrier is giving you pain, ask for an adjustment, or try out an alternative brand to see the difference. A good carrier will keep bub up high and tight, with a back that naturally curves into a slight ‘C' shape, and legs that are supported from knee-to-knee.
All Kangatraining Instructors are trained to adjust a baby carrier to get a proper fit.
You will know when the time has come to say goodbye to your Kangatraining journey with your joey. It’s a very individual choice and will come down to your level of fitness and your child’s desire to explore the world outside a baby carrier. Both are completely normal and should be embraced when the time comes.
Just don’t let discomfort hold you back from getting your boogie on. Ask your instructor for an adjustment or to hire a carrier that they can professionally fit to you. It’s highly encouraged to simply trial a class no matter the age of your child. There’s no judgement or expectations. In the end, we are all mothers!
Copyright Brooke Maree © 2017
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