For many months, babywearing involves a snuggly sleepy little baby and then one day… BAM- Grabby hands!
I first experienced grabby hands when my son was about 7 months old. I was wearing him on my back and we were shopping at a small store and when I got to the counter to pay, I realized he had picked out another shirt from the rack and had been carrying it around the store! I had to start paying attention, so we would not be arrested for shoplifting.
Things will take you by surprise. For example, I cannot walk by the refrigerator door without my son grabbing it tightly and stopping me in my tracks and opening the refrigerator results in him grabbing the ketchup bottle every time (even though you would think I have learned my lesson!). Just the other day, I was shopping in a store with breakable items, thinking to myself how awesome babywearing allows me to go to such a place with my 18 month old, when he grabbed a vase of flowers off a table behind me that I hadn’t noticed. You get so used to your child being with you, that you often forget their burning desire to explore their world will happen whether they are being worn or walking!
Once the grabby hands phase starts, it becomes important to monitor your environment for safety hazards, just like you do when your child is crawling or walking. Notice what is in their reach from the carrier and make sure it is safe. You will be amazed what your child can reach, even from your back, so make sure sharp objects, cleaning supplies, and other hazardous items are out of grasp. You can also limit grabbing by giving your child a safe object to hold such as a toy, nursing necklace or even food. (hint: this also cuts down on hair pulling!)
Enjoy your babywearing journey and let us know if you have an interesting “grabby hands” stories!