Baby-Wearing ~ Toddler-Wearing ~ Eleven-Year-Old-Wearing

Dated: 10 Aug 2011
Posted by Rachel Coleman
Category: Crazy Little Thing Called Life, Strong Enough

When my daughter Leah was born in 1996 I knew that I would wear her. Baby wearing was new to Salt Lake City, Utah and people always stopped and stared as I passed by. Even more people stopped to look when my husband Aaron carried little Leah in the sling. We loved slinging her! I could nurse her privately in public. I could take her anywhere, keeping her close, and still having my hands free.

We didn’t own a stroller and we had no interest in getting one. Leah was comfortable living out of her “pouch” and experiencing the world closer to our eye-level rather than from the compartment-like stroller. We wore her through the streets of Boston, on a ferry to and from Martha’s Vineyard, and on the subway in New York City. She snuggled up against us in Los Angeles, at the beach, and most everywhere we went. Aaron and I marveled at how cumbersome those adventures would have been if her main mode of transportation had been a stroller.

Marthas Vineyard 1997

When Leah was fourteen months old we found out that she was deaf. In dealing with her diagnosis I felt all sorts of things, but one thing that I felt was a bit of satisfaction—satisfaction that my child had traveled that first year with the comfort of her mommy’s or daddy’s heartbeat nearby. Even if she couldn’t hear it, she was always close enough to feel it. She took in the world visually from her “perch” even though she was missing everything auditorily. She could see our smiles, feel our kisses and she had the confidence of feeling safe in our arms. We wore her that way until she was over three years old.

Our daughter Lucy was born prematurely at thirty-two weeks gestation and weighed 4 lbs 11 oz. She was born with spina bifida, and on top of that was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at nine months of age. The prospect of Lucy ever mastering walking was slim. I already knew that we could easily postpone the loading and unloading of a wheelchair simply by carrying Lucy in a sling, though I had no idea how far we would end up taking it…or her.

Lucy is now eleven years old and weighs fifty pounds. She is four feet, two inches tall and yes, we can still be seen wearing her. It’s not for the comfort or ease of it any more—quite the opposite. Carrying Lucy is a personal mission and always a personal triumph. We are an active family and I guess we just refused to live within the limitations imposed by a wheelchair. We travel. We camp. We hike. We go to the beach. Many of the places we go are out of the way, and the roads we travel are unpaved. Aaron and I knew that leaving Lucy at home wasn’t even an option that we would consider. Yet surrendering to a life where so much of the world’s natural beauty would be unavailable to us because an inconvenience like spina bifida wiped out our child’s ability to walk, seemed unfair to us all.

Aaron and I decided that we would become strong enough to carry Lucy. We would take her off-road, beyond the pavement where waterfalls and natural arches and hoodoos can be seen. We would be her legs. We take her up slot canyons, through coniferous forests and bring her almost face to face with moose. I have pointed out wildflowers and taught her their names as we‘ve hiked to lakes in Glacier National Park. She’s seen the mud pots and geysers of Yellowstone, and yes, she has seen the waterfalls too. In winter, when she was invited up the canyon for a snow day, I wore Lucy on my back as we tromped through snowdrifts that were thigh high!

Back in 1996 when I slipped little Leah into a sling and adjusted it so she was safely against me, I never imagined that I would be wearing my children for the next 15 years. I never imagined carrying a ten-year-old and having that child thank me for doing it as she takes in nature’s beauty. People still stop and stare, that hasn’t changed. Strangers and friends ask, “How long will you keep carrying her?” and I don’t have an answer. Honestly, I don’t know. I just know that I will carry her as long as I can.

Here are some photos of places we’ve carried Lucy. Each caption has the year, and since Lucy was born in the year 2000, the math needed to figure out her age is pretty easy.

Aaron Lucy and a Moose 2005

Aaron and Lucy in Moab 2008

Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone 2009

Uncle Toms Trail Yellowstone 2009

Goblin Valley Utah 2009

Hiking through Albion Basin 2010

Big Cottonwood Canyon 2010

How We Carry Our Eleven-Year-Old
We use a number of different packs and we are continually making modifications. Originally we carried the girls in Over The Shoulder Baby Holders. Now we have a custom Baby Hawk, we call it a Lucy Hawk, a Deuter Kid Comfort III, an Organic Ergo Baby*, and an old framed Kelty pack. Any time we see a pack that looks useful we get it especially if it’s rated for a child weighing 50 pounds or more.

*The Ergo Baby Carrier was given to us for free by the good folks at ErgoBaby. All of the other carriers listed were purchased.

147 Responses to “Baby-Wearing ~ Toddler-Wearing ~ Eleven-Year-Old-Wearing”

  1. Shannon Says:

    yay for babywearing! And 11 year old wearing! :)


  2. Kei Says:

    I love that nothing stops you and that you can share the beauty of the world with the girls. :)


    Sabrina Reply:

    I agree with you, Kai! Rachel, you are definitely an exceptional lady. Good for you to laugh at the world and go head-first into it – with Lucy in tow! I know that she appreciates all that you have given her by carrying her to and through all of these wonderful places in the world, and she will never forget any of it, I’m sure. God bless you and your family!


  3. Kim Says:

    As a fellow baby-wearing Mama, I especially loved today’s blog!!! I love the sentiments behind keeping both Leah and now Lucy close to your hearts and the photos are great :) And, I really love your “Lucy Hawk”!!! BH is one of my favorite MT’s. (Another is a bamberoo and is great for older/bigger kids–at least I can comfortably wear my 6.5 year old.)

    Thanks for sharing!!!
    Much love,


  4. Heather B. Says:

    I so love your commitment to including Lucy in every aspect of your lives! She is very blessed to have such a wonderful family – just as I know you are blessed by her.

    Have you tried a Boba carrier? I haven’t personally used them but hear great things for bigger kids (which usually means toddlers, of course). One of the unique features it has are stirrups for little feet to ride in. I don’t know that they’d adjust enough for Lucy, but, it might be a good one if it did. :)

    Thanks for sharing your lives with us!


  5. Deedee Miller Says:

    Rock that Ergo! What a sweet gift!

    I’m glad Lucy has folks “strong enough to be her parents”. Parents that rise to the challenge is what our special needs kids need most!


  6. Kim T. Says:

    Wow! Amazing and inspirational. Go, Lucy, go! <3


  7. Marny Says:

    Thanks for this! I am in the process of adopting an almost three year old from China who is Deaf, and I am looking forward to “wearing” her as much as possible to promote bonding. Question — have you used a front carrier with an older child? Which one do you like best? Do any of the back carriers allow for easy sign communication?



  8. Rasa Says:

    you are the most amazing parents EVER!!!!! I am always so inspired by you! thank you for everything you and your family give to the world!


  9. Jennifer Lavender Says:

    I love that you don’t let anything stop you or your family from experiencing everything that life has to offer. Thank you for the inspiration.


  10. Pamm Says:

    Amazing and inspirational! I am teary-eyed. I hope that I do as well by my kid(s).


  11. momttorney Says:

    I cannot tell you how timely this post is for me. As my litte one is about to turn three and be “required” by the school district to have a wheelchair since she’s not yet walking, I’ve started noticing how inaccessible our world truly is for those on wheels, and its just killed me. Just as I was starting to think, “we can handle this” about the wheelchair, I’d notice a place where it just wouldn’t work. Like the beach, which is a mile from our house. And my heart would hurt. Thank you for reminding me that there are ALWAYS creative solutions. And that our girls’ physical limits don’t have to really limit them in any way. The sky is the limit.


  12. Shannon Says:

    I love baby wearing! I wear both my kids. I think people underestimate how much muscle power and strength you need even if you only carry a small one. KUDOS and keep wearing!!


  13. JenML Says:

    Hooray!! Team Strong Enough is amazing… you, Aaron, and the girls are amazing. I love your attitude and am continually inspired by you.
    As always, thank you for sharing.

    And side note… do you know how much you have added to Lucy’s huge, developing, information- seeking brain with all the high level exposure she gets… perspective- physically being UP- is sooo important and just shows her the world. The places you go, the things she sees, and the physical level at which she gets to take it in.
    You guys are wonderful!



  14. Tishia Chambers Says:

    I’m also a babywearer/toddler wearer too. I started out because; as a deaf mama, I needed both hands free to talk. I just kept going when it turned out my son had special needs. I understand! :)


  15. Bri Kelly Says:

    LOVE u rachel. I will carry Mia to the moon and back.


  16. Ellen Stumbo Says:

    This is a good time to say once again “Thank you Rachel!” because you challenged me on this. Nina is only 5 and I don’t carry her that much…yet. The other day I was pushing her wheelchair through some tall uneven grass and thought how wheelchairs are not always easy!
    Nina is beginning to take independent steps but we know she will never be a long distance walker. So I always have my babyhawk ready.
    And, I am waiting for the girls to go to school so I can get strong enough…literally! I am a weakling and my back is paying for it as I carry Nina (even though she is only 30 pounds, carrying that weiht in all different ways can be tough!)


  17. Lauren Says:

    This was awesome! Thank you for sharing this. It certainly puts me to shame, thinking that my 27lb toddler is too heavy to wear anymore.


  18. Barbara Says:

    By wearing Lucy you have shown the world that children are a part of you always. Some people receive gifts they can wear.some wear hats some wear new coats some wear their hearts on their sleeves… you wear the greatest gift ever. And you wear her well. Thank you for showing us that wearing your children is such a gift… just like Lucy is to you…and you are to her. She will always know that.


  19. Anita Says:

    Our family just returned this evening from a spur of the moment walk to the library and back and covered just under four miles. Our youngest was in a stroller and part of the way home my 11 yr old required a piggy back ride because of a stitch in her side. It was so nice to do this all together, so hip hip hooray for all the activities you do together Coleman family.
    I was super impressed this week to see a Mom with six kids at Target including two non walking children: a baby carried on her back and one in the front – no stroller! (I’m thinking hang gliding harnesses must be adaptable for larger children, but it sounds like you’ve already got things that work for you.)
    As Dr. Suess once said, ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’, and you have gone and continue to go!!


  20. Vickie Wood Says:

    The huge smile on Lucy’s face in the Uncle Tom’s Trail picture says it all. I love you guys!!!!


  21. Alicia Says:

    Rachel, you are inspirational! As a baby/toddler-wearing mom, I especially liked this post, but I always enjoy reading what you write.


  22. Leanna Says:

    You know that you and the family are my inspiration! You’re the ‘been there, done that’ for me with Cole! Each next step for us leads me back to you, and Lucy (of course)! I’m right there with you on continuing to do whatever it is our family does without letting the disability (or ALL the equipment) stop us! Love all the awesome pics and love y’all! =)


  23. Ellen Says:

    What a wonderful gift you’re giving Lucy each time you carry her to a place she couldn’t go in a wheelchair. I am so impressed and moved by this post.


  24. olya Says:

    Rebecca shared this link on FB and I couldn’t help commenting this time, as I am quite passionate about babywearing myself… I already knew that you carried Lucy to many places, but reading this post and looking at the photos still left me admiring your strength, love and determination. We are avid ‘babywearers’, our 5 year old son still loves rides in the backpack. I can only hope we’ll be strong enough for our children to carry them whenever and wherever they need to be carried.


  25. Stephanie Says:

    As a mother of an autistic son I live by the motto “It takes a special person to raise a special child”. You and Aron are by far special people, and blessed with such special children. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring us all.

    I carried my son in a sling and loved it. He is now turning 6 and 55 pounds. I often have him in a stroller for his safety since he wonders off. I never thought of a back carrier. I will have to look into them now.


  26. Sara Betz Says:

    Oh Rachel…

    Our daughter, Sasha, has Spina Bifida and I could have written much of this post. While Sasha is only 3, we wear her often so we can be her legs. Sasha has been a signer since her first year and demands daily to see “Baby Time” even though we’ve moved on the regular “Signing Time”. :-)

    I’m so passionate about wearing my child that I started up a little shop to bring GOOD babywearing to my friends in the area. After wearing our son in a less than decent carrier, I knew we needed something better for Sasha.

    We have a clear “no victims” philosophy at our home. We adapt and we move on. You and your husband must be the same.

    Your familiy’s story is such a big part of our story. Thank you for everything. Sincerely…thank you!


  27. Jenny Camburn Says:

    I bought an Ergobaby last year to carry my daughter Clare on my back. I have a framed back pack I use for her also. She is 7 1/2 years old and is very small she is 33lbs and 42 inches tall. She has PVL and Spastic Quad CP. She is mobile but tires very easily. When we go camping I bring her special needs stroller or all terrain wagon and either the back pack or Ergo carrier. I carry her on the trails and this winter I cross country skied with her on my back. I have had people ask me how I can carry her, I am not a tall person, but you do what you have to in order for her to not be left behind. I love reading your post and my daughters love your DVDs. Clare my youngest learned how to communicate because of you. Thank you!


  28. Mary Cook Says:

    Rachel, you are amazing. You always bring tears to my eyes whether its reading your Bio and blog, or through your music. Amazing.


  29. Lorie Vogelmeier Says:

    So many people miss out on the joys of having a family with unique dynamics. Sure it’s more work, but well worth the benefits. I got a little teary when you said Lucy thanked you for carrying her. snif’… Love your blogs!



  30. Kay Says:

    I’m not sure how much your daughter can do because of the spina bifida. But my husband just discovered the “piggyback rider”. It’s designed for older children but they do need to be able to stand. Check it out at
    Way to go on taking her to the world around her, it shows your love and dedication to your daughter.


  31. jill Says:

    I have GOT to stop reading Rachel’s posts unless I have a box of Kleenex. Thanks so much for this! =)


  32. Celina Says:

    What a beautiful family!! This is my first time reading here and I am so glad to see the issue of baby-wearing special needs children.

    My family’s situation was a little different. Our 5th child was born with a pretty significant bilateral cleft. For the most part people have been very nice about it but for a noticeable number of people, they were just awestruck (it was pretty hard to ignore for people who aren’t her parents). I kid you not, one lady, a total stranger at the grocery store, tried to stick her finger into my Sofie’s mouth. When I wore Sofie, since it creates such closeness, people were not as apt to invade an adult’s personal space.

    I admire so much your dedication to your sweet girls. I am sure that they will do that much better because of the closeness and consideration for their perspective in life.


  33. Carey Says:

    This came at the perfect time – a time when I struggle with whether or not to carry our 8 yr old CP kiddo. Your post gives me courage and much needed endurance.


  34. Jessica Says:

    What a beautiful post. Your dedication and ferociousness and a parent shines through in your words. My own words are floundering at the moment, but I am so full of love for you and your daughters <3.


  35. Faustina Says:

    What a fabulous story about the power of baby wearing and attached parenting. I thought that you might be interested in the Manduca baby carrier from Germany. It isn’t available in the US yet, but it has a zipper panel across the body of the carrier that extends it to about 4inches taller than the Ergo. It’s really great for taller kids. I love mine.


  36. Annamarie Says:

    You guys are awesome! I admire your dedication to being strong enough. I wore Phenley for about 2 years. I was willing to wear her longer, but she wasn’t willing to be worn! We used slings, mei tei’s and wraps. We also hike a lot and have a Kelty for that, which she will still use. I want to try a soft structured carrier with my next.


  37. Alicia Says:

    Truly inspirational. Thank you for sharing.


  38. Heather Schumann Says:

    Thank you for sharing! You are such an inspiration!

    We love our Ergo! I’ve carried both of my kids many places in it. I am very fond of baby wearing, and although it definitely isn’t that big here where I live, I do it anyway. Every time my daughter is on my back I always get the comment “so, what do you have back there? Oh my!”


  39. Emily Arveseth-Hoerner Says:

    As always, Rachel, you amaze me. I love your strength and look up to you and Aaron so much. Your family is beautiful and unique. You are trend-setters and leaders in a time when people are desperate for something positive to follow. I love you guys!!


  40. Koala Bear Writer Says:

    Wow! Good for you. I have an Ergo and my three-year-old still likes to be carried in it as much as my one-year-old does. Looks like you’ve found some good carriers. I think as parents, we need to be looking on the bright side — what we can do instead of what we can’t do — and open those opportunities up for our children. Thanks for sharing how you do it. :)


  41. Lisa Benson Says:

    Come visit us in Yosemite and come hike with us. My 11 year old was in a rockslide last year (a 9000lb/4.5 ton rock fell on her, crushing her) and she was in a wheelchair for a few months. She’s now getting back to hiking and would love to have you and your daughter join us on one of our favorite hikes.


  42. Charliene Says:

    We did babywearing too. Made my own wraps and sling. I have to say once my daughter was about 2 it nearly stopped just b/c she wanted so much up and down it didn’t really make much sense anymore. Even at that young age people constantly asked that question, “How long will you continue carrying her around like that?!” and other such. We ended up not owning a stroller either. We just decided not to buy one and then see how it went. I missed it twice when I had a lot of packages to carry and wished I could put them in the stroller seat! lol You are an amazing woman and have such a beautiful family! At first when I saw the title “11-year-old wearing” I thought you were kidding somehow. But, hey, it works! Good for you. I bet most people in similar situation, if they’d thought of it, would do the same thing too. Thanks for being such an inspiration for others. :)


  43. Jennifer Says:

    The gifts your girls have given you and the gifts you have given them are countless.


  44. Sophie Messager Says:

    Such a wonderfully inspirational story :-) .
    I am a babywearing instructor, and I know that there are some custom made carriers out there that could be made to fit your daughter. Have a look at Bloo Kangaroo, or post a request in the babywearer forum

    Sophie x


  45. Rebecca Says:

    What pack are you using in the picture “Mammoth Hot springs Yellowstone 2009″? I am looking for a pack that will fit me, b/c I’m small framed. We bought a Kelty pack for our daughter, who is 4 and has spina bifida as well. We love taking her for hikes, but the Kelty does not fit me.
    My daughter’s PT shared your website with me, and I’m so glad, it’s so inspiring. It gives me hope that we will be able to take our little girl to the tops of mountains and more!


    Marny Reply:

    I’m obviously not Rachel, but that looks like the Ergo or another “soft structured carrier.” These carriers have straps for your shoulders and hips to bear the child’s weight (like a backpack) but don’t have the frame, so they aren’t heavy. You carry the child against your body, instead of “above” you like a frame backpack.

    For bigger/older kids, a lot of people seem to like the Boba, which is a little longer in the body than the Ergo to cut down on the “leaning back” feeling (keeps the child closer to you) and also has footstraps to keep those longer preschooler legs from dangling. Google Boba baby carrier. NOTE I don’t work for them and haven’t used one myself, just passing along what has been shared with me.


  46. maggie Says:

    just wanted go echo everyone else’s words :) and, because of your last paragraph, suggest to you the ‘ultimate man carrier’. it’s a newish company, a wahd makes them. they’ve got great heavy-duty construction and are rated currently up to 65lb, but they’ve been tested for brief intervals at 200. also, most wraps can comfortably carry 50+lb. :)


  47. Belinda Says:

    This needs a like button! Love that you carry Lucy around with you, and what great photos! :)


  48. Rachel Coleman Says:

    Thanks for all of your comments! On my Facebook link to this blog Kyle S. commented and recommended the WeeHoo for cycling. The next day I stopped by one of their retailers and picked one up… OH MY GOSH!! Lucy L O V E S it! Half the reason I blog is because of the wonderful, useful feedback and ideas that I get from all of YOU. Not kidding. Thanks for reading and commenting (and even not commenting for those who Lurk)


  49. Adina Says:

    Amazing! You are always inspiring. :) Have you checked out the Patapum Toddler? It is meant for bigger kids, with a taller back and weight limit of 75 pounds. We have one and it is quit comfortable too. Only thing that stopped us using is was my daughter kicking the back of my knees and making us both fall down.

    You have an amazing family! Thank you for sharing them.


  50. Danielle Says:

    I have a 15 month old with CP, a trach, and who is profoundly deaf. I just started wearing her last night to leave my hands more free to sign to her. So inspired by what you have done for Lucy be letting the world remain accessible.


  51. Amy Says:

    Really inspiring post, mama. You have taken your girls to some amazing places :-)

    My almost-5yr old still loves to be carried. We liked our Kanga XTP, and I am still squeezing her into our very comfy Oh Snap, but if I was going to be carrying her frequently for a while longer I would definitely want to try one of the new Huckepack Toddlers – they’re 20″ wide and the straps can fasten to the waistband instead of the sides to help spread your child’s weight.


  52. Jill Says:

    I was wearing my son (2 years at the time) at a horse show where I was helping my dad. A lady looked at me and said, ” Oh girl, don’t hurt your back. I’m sure that little boy can walk.”

    I replied, “Oh yeah, he can also run!”

    I love that when wearing him, he is extra safe. I could be around be athletic horses and be helpful because I was wearing him rather than parking him in a stroller waiting for it to get kicked by a horse.


  53. Sara Says:

    Love, love, love it!


  54. sheri Says:

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful story! Your family is a great example to all of us! I hope you don’t mind but we shared your story with our fans and readers. All the best!


  55. Laney Says:

    I want to thank you for giving me new hope that I can carry my son. I have been looking for the last 2 months for a carrier that will work for my 6.5 year old who weighs 60lbs. Everyone keeps saying hes too heavy to even try it but its just needed. I will keep looking for a carrier that will work for him and give it a try.

    You have some very lucky little girls!


  56. Salena Says:

    I know better than to read your blog in the morning, but I did it and now I’ll puffy eyed and talking about you non-stop. You truly are an inspiration! I thought you were awesome enough for creating Signing Time, but carrying your daughter so she can experience a world she would otherwise never see, nothing short of AMAZING!!!!


  57. Rhonda Says:

    I already loved you for Baby Signing Time. It helped so much for Emily my 2 year old with Noonan Syndrome. I love you even more for being a baby wearer. I will wear Emily as long as she will let me and I can. You are amazing. You continue to wear Lucy as long as you and your husband are physically able. You are amazing and an inspiration.


  58. Jessica L Says:

    I think it’s so sweet and amazing that you have worn her for so long! Such a gift you have given her. Just wanted to say that you should totally try a preschool size Kinderpack. It has a very tall and wide panel, and is very supportive.


    Kelli Reply:

    :) I agree! Will be a much better knee to knee fit!


    Linda Reply:

    I agree. We have one and can still comfortably carry our 46 pound 5 year old (with room to spare). And it is VERY sturdy.
    Thank you for this blog post.
    (Another now puffy-eyed baby-wearing mama.)


  59. Elizap Says:

    I saw this bike/stroller and thought of Lucy


  60. Kelli Says:

    You need a preschool size kinderpack. This is the largest ssc you will find (20 in wide in the seat and 20in high). Much larger than the Boba (13×17). Kindercarry on Facebook or Wonderful carriers :)


  61. Rebecca O Says:

    I love this post. So beautiful and inspiring. I wear 6 month old and my two year old (separately)and get comments all the time. I’m so happy to see such a positive and warming story of people like me!


  62. Katie Says:

    She looks SOOOOOOO happy! Such an amazing story!!!!


  63. Charlotte Says:

    What an inspiring story. Thank you so much for sharing it. You are very strong mama and I mean that in all senses of the word.


  64. Dolly Says:

    As an interpreter for the Deaf, I’m curious if you sign with your Deaf child? I’m so inspired by your willingness to help Lucy see the world! What a great example you are!!!


    Dolly Reply:

    haha clearly I didn’t read the rest of your blog–or even know what blog I was on–when I posted that last comment. My sister posted a link to this entry because we were talking about baby wearing at the zoo today. So a baby wearer AND a signer? How cool are you?! :)


  65. Charlie Says:


    totally inspiring …


  66. Heather K Says:

    I just want to say this is so inspiring!!!! My son has special needs and is often more comfortable on my back than in a stroller.

    If you are looking for a new carrier, i would recomend a Boba. I bought one for my son and totally love it! I tested it out with my 9yr old neice (46lbs) and she was pretty comfortable back there! She liked that there was foot straps so he legs wernt dangling! You could probably email them and see if they have one you could reveiw!

    (I dont work for Boba, just a very happy customer)


    Mama Gaga Reply:

    I second the Boba recommendation! I still have a “little” guy (10 months, 20-lbs), but so far I’m finding it much more comfortable than my Ergo. I think it has something to do with the higher panel snuggling him in closer to me. Whatever it is… I absolutely LOVE it!


  67. Nevrandil Says:

    Amazing and inspiring. Thank you. :)



  68. Thandiwe Says:

    Rachel, I dont know how you do it. I am amazed and thank God that you have this great spirit!


  69. Babywearing blogs Says:

    [...] Baby-Wearing ~ Toddler-Wearing ~ Eleven-Year-Old-Wearing - Rachel Coleman (spotted by Charlotte Kaufman). An inspirational account of babywearing a disabled child. Shows the potential for babywearing for all of us and as a result I have been inspired to make sure I take a mei-tai out with me today for my only 4 year old! [...]

  70. Terry Says:

    Another parent posted a link to this page on our website (CambridgespedPAC) and hence I clicked onto it for the first time today. It is truly moving to see what lengths we parents will go though to make the world more accessible for our children. Whether your child learns differently or experiences the world via a different avenue, it is our responsibility to assist them (while they negotiate the world/environment).
    I applaud your tenacity, love, commitment.
    You are wonderful parents : )
    Be well


  71. Mama Gaga Says:

    I just found your blog through Boston Babywearers today and am totally awe-struck by the love that’s so evident within your family. Lucy and Leah are such beautiful, happy girls and they are so lucky to have such incredible parents! Thank you for sharing your parenting journey with us. :)


    Rachel Coleman Reply:

    Thank you! It looks like I may have an event in Boston in 2012… stay tuned!


  72. Melissa Says:

    I came across your blog from a link in a private forum for special needs kids that have suffered a hypoxic event at birth. I want you to know that you have inspired me in a big way. My son is 3 months old and 100% of children in his condition get the CP diagnosis even though it will not officially come until a bit later. I have felt so incredibly down lately about the places he wouldn’t be able to go in a stroller and later in a wheel chair. I recently made a homemade moby wrap so I could get him around but You have made me determined to carry my son as long as I can. He *will* get to see the beauty of
    God’s earth! Thank you for this post!


    Rachel Coleman Reply:

    Chills, Melissa! You gave me chills. Yesterday I brought Lucy to the gym with me. (It’s a private gym with personal trainers) Another woman passed by while I was on the rowing machine and she said, “How can you be so strong?” I smiled and thumbed over at Lucy rolling around in her power wheels. “How could I be anything but strong? It’s for her.”


  73. Rosemary Says:

    This is incredible. We’ve recently discovered Signing Time and in just a couple of weeks my 1yo has started signing so much! While digging around for more info on your site, I came across this and like you even more. :) We’re a babywearing family and I think it’s BEAUTIFUL that you bring your daughters into every aspect of your lives. Keep wearing, momma (and daddy!!).


    Rachel Coleman Reply:

    Rosemary, (Love your name BTW) I’m glad that you found us! We are co-sleeping, tandem nursing, natural birthing (when fetal surgery isn’t needed) kiddo-wearing parents. My mom had nine children and breastfed them all. She had a home birth with one of my sibs and it just made sense to all of us. A handful of mommas have been begging for my tandem nursing story… keep an eye out for that. Hope you stick around


  74. Laurel McCarthy Says:

    Hi there! Loved this story and would love to share it (with a link back to you) on my blog. Would you be okay with that?

    Thank you!


    Rachel Coleman Reply:

    Sure thing!


  75. Amanda Says:

    As someone who works with people with disabilities I love seeing you rise to the challenge to give both your daughters the best the workd can offer and that means experiences too


  76. Amy Says:

    You are all amazing!

    check out a Kozy Mei Tai

    as they have been tested up to 55kg, and in my experience are one of the most comfortable carriers around(and being a mei tai are infinately adjustable).


  77. Lisa Says:

    Thank you for your blog. My son is a left leg amputee. I also vowed that we would never leave him behind or alter our activities. He has outgrown what is avaible in our smalltown. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your experiences with different carriers.


  78. Peggy Says:

    How would you (really, I, someone without a big kid who needs carried) go about introducing/suggesting big kid wearing to someone who has a special needs kid always in a wheel chair? I see this lady at school and think how much easier her life would be if she just had a carrier! The boy is small enough to wear easily. Probably a 4 y/o. Maybe I should just print this and give it to her?


  79. Jenrose Says:

    The first mei tai I ever wore, I tried it first with a 55 pound child, and it worked great. I’ve seen the Kozy Carrier used for adults to carry adults.

    FOr me, the best “heavy kid” mei tai was actually a Scandinavian Tettitett. And the most comfortable carrier ever was the Calyx, which is not made anymore, unfortunately.


  80. Kerry Frank Says:

    Good for you mama.

    I wore mine through cancer, and I think that there should be someone out there advocating more for kids with health and physical limitations. When the chemotherapy temporaily took my daughters ability to walk, there was no way I was going to put her further away from me into a stroller, so instead of weaning from wearing at two years, we did the same thing. I carried her for the last time at the age of six. If she needed it today I would still wrap her up and off we would go.

    All the best to you and yours.


  81. anna holmes Says:

    I litterally got goosebumps reading this. You are a perfect mama. I love this artical and am very happy to have read it. Thanx for sharing ;-)


  82. April Says:

    LOVE LOVE LOVE!! Lucy is LIVING because of you and you are able to live too!! I love that Leah could hear your heartbeats too! I applaud your bravery to be different despite society’s norms.

    We wore my daughter and found it so convenient, especially going through airport screenings where they even let me leave her in the sling. I could zoom around wonderfully. But you have taken it to another level. Brings tear to my eyes & warms my heart!

    Keep being strong!!


  83. Bernice A. Drake Says:

    I love your decision to be strong enough. You have my complete respect and admiration.


  84. Alicia Says:

    You are so amazing! Your strength is inspiring and so are your daughters! I wanted to mention another carrier that you may not have heard of before or tried called the Kinderpack. She makes larger size carriers, her preschool size is very large. And they are such comfortable carriers. We love baby signing time and signing time and feel honored and blessed to have you in our home everyday!


  85. Andrea Says:

    Hi Rachel-
    I’m a PT doing a post about babywearing and kids with special needs. I would love to link to this page. Use(d) signing for my kids and recognized you in one of the online videos! Love your overall story too and that you are a runner!


  86. Sabrina Radke Says:

    I am a cloth diapering babywearing mama that has a slow talking 2 year old. I can’t even begin to tell you how your videos/books and flash cards (we use them as communication cards!) have helped our family. We are so grateful for how wonderful and easy your program is and how it has helped our baby to communicate with us and after reading this I just feel even closer to you guys, it warms my heart :)


  87. Toddler and Tandem Babywearing « alivingfamily Says:

    [...] end, then, speaking of late stage babywearing, I’ll leave you with this post from a mama wearing her “baby” through to age 11 and beyond! Rock climbing adventure? [...]

  88. Niki Says:

    This is an amazing journey through pictures! You are a blessing to your babies:)
    Have you considered a woven wrap? I personally find it more comfy for lengthy wearing of my 40lb 4yr old….just a thought though :)


  89. Mrs. Searching Says:

    Wow, that is impressive! I feel slightly less floored after seeing she weighs the same as my 5-year-old however, lol – I can safely say I will NOT be carrying him anywhere when he is eleven. He will weigh more than I do by then!!


  90. Mrs. Searching Says:

    I realize that first comment may sound a bit callous. I didn’t realize your daughter is handicapped, that makes a lot more sense and I congratulate you for doing everything necessary to give her a full life. The link I followed just said “Eleven-year-old wearing” so I thought it was simply your way of ensuring your kids can go to amazing places with you.


  91. Babywearing: The Benefits of Babywearing Says:

    [...] A Child with Cerebral Palsy and Spina Bifida [...]

  92. Myles Dear Says:

    Looking for a way to wear my 7-year-old disabled son on the side but facing forward


    I am a dad of a 7-year-old physically disabled boy with cerebral palsy and profound deafness.

    I am looking for a solution to wear him on my left hip, but with him facing forward.
    Only in this position am I able to communicate to him via sign language. This is also the best position for him to communicate to me via eye gaze and facial expression.

    The nature of his CP is that his muscles can suddenly go very stiff, or suddenly go very loose (he is not able to sit up on him own, walk or crawl). Thus, I need a support system that is able to accommodate these motions and keep him safe without him slipping out of the sling.

    I have tried several slings (Mai Tai, Ring sling), and I’m finding that the side-facing position doesn’t work well for us.

    Any help / ideas would be appreciated


  93. Myles Dear Says:

    Hello, Rachel.

    My son is a 7-year-old physically disabled boy with cerebral palsy and profound deafness. He is getting quite big – 40 Lbs and 34 inches tall.

    I was happy to see that you are a babywearing advocate, I am planning on taking a Disney cruise to Alaska this summer and I would like to take my son on his first hike up a glacier.

    I am looking for a solution to wear him on my left hip, but with him facing forward.
    Only in this position am I able to communicate to him via sign language. This is also the best position for him to communicate to me via eye gaze and facial expression.

    The nature of his CP is that his muscles can suddenly go very stiff, or suddenly go very loose (he is not able to sit up on him own, walk or crawl). Thus, I need a support system that is able to accomodate these motions and keep him safe without him slipping out of the sling.

    I have tried several slings (Mai Tai, Ring sling), and I’m finding that the side-facing position doesn’t work well for us.

    Any help / ideas would be appreciated


  94. Ergobaby Blog | Mamas Who Inspire: Rachel Coleman Says:

    [...] see the full post, complete with amazing photos, click here.  This post was re-posted with permission from Rachel Coleman.  Rachel Coleman is the co-creator [...]

  95. Sall Says:

    Hi, I’m doing a talk to a group of doulas and pregnant women about babywearing. Please could I quote some of your site to show that you can keep on going as long as it suits you and your family? You are so inspirational and I thought it would be a lovely point to end on. Thank you! Sall


    Rachel Coleman Reply:



  96. Chris Says:

    You rock. I loooove those pics. And I can’t believe that people still stop and stare, but I guess babywearing isn’t mainstream yet? I’ve gotten those too, and my son is only 11 months and I have no intention of stopping.


  97. Chris Says:

    Great post Rachel! My son is 14, has CP and a bit over 40kg and I’m just starting to accept that I can’t keep carrying him, it had to happen at some point! We go amazing places that he has no ability to go on wheels and have amzing photo’s thankfully as momentos of the places he’s been on my back that he won’t be able to get to in future. Ergo’s weren’t around when he first grew out of baby carriers so I used a 3m length of fabric and tied him to me, it’s very comfortable and he’s stable and really loves it, can send you pics if it helps you with Leah when she grows out of carriers :-)


  98. tami Says:

    this was so heartwarming to read. thank you so much for sharing!


  99. Kelli- New Age Hippy Mama Says:

    I Love your story!! What a special and blessed family you have. Your kids are so lucky to have such strong dedicated parents who have truely taken what it means to be a parent to the highest level. I am an avid babywearer myself and have just gotten started as my only child so far is just 11 months. I carry her as much as I can and have also been working out with her on me…it has helped me to lose all the weight I gained during pregnancy and then some! I truely believe it has created an even stronger bond between the two of us than I could ever have imagined. I hope to be able to carry her for a long time to come. My Baby Hawk is my favorite carrier so far :)
    Thank you again for sharing your story! I hope it finds it’s way to more people so they can enjoy the benifits it offers to the entire family.


  100. Becky S Says:

    Yes! This is us too, only my son has a different spinal cord issue. I, too, want to take him everywhere. What would be the best carrier for 25 pounds and 36 inches tall? Any help you can give would be great!


  101. Ergobaby Blog | Mamas Who Inspire: In the Life of Rachel Coleman Says:

    [...] note:  Rachel uses an Ergobaby Organic Carrier, as well as other carriers, to carry her daughter.  Read more here on Rachel's [...]

  102. Spina Bifida Awareness, Day 29 | A word to the many, not just the wise. Says:

    [...] after learning Eliora had SB. My sister-in-law, Marianne, introduced the idea to me and shared a blog with me about a woman who wears her 11-year old daughter who has spina bifida. I was instantly [...]

  103. Corinne Badar Says:

    You and your family are an inspiration to me as a parent and as a studying Occupational Therapy Assistant.

    Congrats on your love, strength, bonding, and fearlessness!

    I am moved by your story, and motivated to keep carrying my 13 month old as well. [thank goodness she is only 20 pounds at the moment!]

    I’d like to share your story with my class and teachers and other clients in the future.


  104. Melissa Lewis Says:

    We 12 year old wear too! I had a Beco for a long time and he was totally outgrowing it, then someone send me an article with you carrying Lucy in her hawk!
    I called them and we had a Dylan hawk with in a month based on the same measurements you had for Lucy’s!
    Dylan is now over 65 lbs and it has been harder to carry him very far my physical limit is about 2 miles, but he also enjoys riding on my back on trips to the grocery store (he still insists on sitting in the child seat most of the time!)
    And have a Jogging stroller that works well on the trails, unfortunatly it came off the roof of our van on a road trip and needs extensive repairs:(
    A friend just sold me a (very used) Chariot chassis for almost nothing! I purchased the hiking pole attachment and gave it to Dylan as a Christmas gift! It looks like he’s in a rickshaw!
    We’ve only done about 14 miles with it so far in 2013 but I am excited to be able to actually back pack alittle with my husband and Dylan! Hopefully this spring!
    I tried to contact baby hawk to get a larger carrier made, and I’m willing to pay extra, but they haven’t returned my emails:(
    Do you still use your ‘hawk ?
    (Pictures on my FB page)


  105. Randi Lanz Says:

    Thank you for this article! Our family is in the process of adopting two six year old little girls from China, and both are diagnosed with CP. I have been wondering how to do the crowded streets in Asia, and this just might be the answer! My husband and I could each wear one of them! Excited and researching possibilities….


  106. Jane Nelson Says:

    Wonderful! I am certain that people are staring because they are stunned by your awesome parenting skills!


  107. Sarah Says:

    Inspiring and heart-warming. What a wonderful way to bring the family together and defy the limitations a classification like “Special needs” puts on the life of that family. Beautiful supergirls, and wonderful superparents!


  108. Beth Ryan Says:

    My friend just linked me to this post after reading my desperate facebook plea for a way to keep carrying my six year olds who has profound special needs. I have been pushing the limits of my ergo for years as she weighs 55 lbs. After wearing her for several hours yesterday, my back and neck are complaining. I am looking through your list of suggested carriers and would love to hear of any new ones you’ve come across!


  109. the places we go…brought to you by kidwearing | love explosions Says:

    [...] people are seriously amazing.  I had many great suggestions and a link to this post from a woman who continues to wear her 11 year old child for reasons similar to the ones that we [...]

  110. merideth Says:

    You should be entered into this contest $100,00 prize to an “unstoppable mom” from Kelly and Michael show. I think you fit that description a thousand times over!


  111. Maria Gloria Says:

    You are simply an amazing family!


  112. The Adoption Transition to Parenting: Learning English and Signing Time videos | Laura Menenberg Says:

    [...] walk and would still “child wear” Lucy even as she got older and heavier. One post on her blog talks about on the blog talks about Lucy being 11 years old, 50 lbs, and still being [...]

  113. Laptop backpacks Says:

    Greetings, There’s no doubt that your website might be having internet browser compatibility issues. Whenever I look at your website in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in IE, it’s got some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, wonderful blog!


  114. The Wheelchair I never wanted | Being Max's Mom Says:

    [...] complicated.  As Max’s digestion improved so did his tolerance for being worn.  I heard about Rachel Coleman wearing her disabled child until she was eleven (probably older!), and I was inspired.  I told [...]

  115. The Wheelchair I never wanted | Being Max's Mom Says:

    [...] complicated.  As Max’s digestion improved so did his tolerance for being worn.  I heard about Rachel Coleman wearing her cerebral palsy child until she was eleven (probably older!), and I was inspired.  I [...]

  116. buy tea online Says:

    Woah this website is fantastic i enjoy studying your content. Be up the good paintings! You are already aware, many men and women are searching all-around for this info, you may assist them tremendously.


  117. My Most Inspirational Moms - The More The Merrier Says:

    [...] see everything from eye level, not wheelchair level. You can read about this and their adventures HERE. Now, if this is not enough, Rachel was strong even as a very young woman. At a young age, Rachel [...]

  118. Jamey Collins Says:

    Hello Rachel,
    You make me happy. I have a son who can not hear, can’t see, and has little body movement. He also has a seisure desorder. There is a question I have and think you are the right person to help me out. My son is 30 pounds, almost 2, and 88 cememters tall. I want to carry him but I can not find a carrier that will hold him. Is there a company that can help me? I have been looking but I don’t think I am looking in the right places. if you could give me a name of a company, a brand, anything it would really help out.

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart,


  119. Crazy Legs Says:

    You guys rock!! Your children are so lucky to have you have as parents!! I love your determination and perseverance to keep moving forward in life. But from reading your story, I can tell it’s a journey that you are embracing everyday. I pray for your continued mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health!

    Peace & Blessings.


    Bria Reply:

    I loved reading your post! It’s so hard to find solutions for traveling with a disabled child. I have a 2 1/2 yr old little girl (variety of diagnosis’ and still not sure what’s causing what) I would really like to start taking her out hiking, but have no idea what to use! She’s about 28 lbs, pretty decent neck control but can’t sit unassisted. And every backpack info I read says not to use if the child can’t sit unassisted! If you have any recommendations, I’d appreciate it :)

    Thank you! And give your girls a hug from me. We have such strong and beautiful angels in our lives!


  120. Anna Says:

    hi there – just found your blog while searching for baby carriers for special needs kids. My son just turned 3 and has CP, and like you we love to take him everywhere, but he is starting to outgrow our standard metal-frame backpack. He doesn’t have great head and trunk control, so we’d love to find something with head support as well as good lateral support… I see you use at least three different ones – any recommendations? THANK YOU!!!


  121. Mia Holden Says:

    I just had to tell you what an inspiration you and your whole family are. Your love and dedication (which I know you see as just who you are) to your children and to giving them exactly the life you always had planned for them is to be commended. I pray prayers for your family that you and your husband will be healthy and strong for years and years to come and when you can no longer carry your precious girl that God will bring into your lives someone to continue on helping to make your daughters life amazing. daughter is having her 1st baby and was trying to explain this whole baby sling and keeping her son close as long as she can. I must admit I didn’t really understand why this was such an important parenting plan for her. After reading your story I am going to get myself a sling for my 1st grandchild so I can keep him close when he is with me. Thank you so much.


    Rachel Coleman Reply:

    Mia, I love that you are getting a sling too. I have chills. You will not regret keeping your grandchildren close:)


  122. Tris Says:

    Rachel (or anyone else looking for big carriers),

    Please take a look at Bloo Kangaroo. I am in no way affiliated with the company, I am just a devoted customer. I have four carriers from Bloo Kangaroo now, though I only have two children and generally only wear one of them. We two of the J size, an XT (which the baby currently uses), and an XTP for my 5-year-old. However, the 5-year-old can sit comfortably in the smallest sized Kanga in a pinch, and my husband has carried *me* in the preschool sized carrier, just for a test run. I weigh 150lbs and am 5’6″, so that is one sturdy carrier! They’re a little on the pricey side – each of mine was around $200 – but they are worth every penny. In addition to being sturdy, they are beautiful, comfortable, and fully customizable both in fabric choice and strap lengths. There is even a mesh model now for hot summer days. Check out


  123. Mariana Abeid-McDougall Says:

    Inspiring! Good for you for doing what’s right for your family, and for dedicating yourself fully to your children.


  124. Catherine Says:

    Hello and thank you for the inspiration. My son is 3 1/2 and 3 feet tall about 30lbs. He has Miller Dieker Syndrome with no head/trunk control and now has a tracheostomy tube- I want to carry him because I long for the closeness the wheelchair can’t offer. Question: any tips on how to carry/adapt a carrier for someone of his size and issues? For ease of access to his Trach now mainly this will be more difficult.
    Thank you very much!


  125. Robyn Miller Says:

    This is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for. Babywearing (or childwearing;) and kids with special needs. It opens up a whole ‘nother world.

    To: Catherine
    Do you have access to an innovative and open-minded occupational or physical therapist? Is there a trained babywearing educator or BWI chapter in your area that could help you figure out what type of carrier and what type of carry would work best for you two?


  126. mary Says:

    Have you tried a KINDERPACK?!?!
    It would be your new favorite.


  127. Vidyut Says:

    Wow. this is such an inspiring post. I have a son with cerebral palsy and at 4 he is getting too old to carry easily. Additionally, I the relationship with the husband is on the rocks and I was feeling so overwhelmed about the lack of mobility. This post is so precious, because the husband and I were avid outdoor people at a point before it all went downhill. I used to baby wear him when he was young and have no idea why I stopped. I need to get back to this. Need to throw open the world again.


  128. Clothing boutiques In miami Says:

    Do you ?ave a slam problem on t?is websit?; I also
    am a blogger, and ? was wanting to kknow your situation; we
    have ?eveloped s?me nice methods and we are looking to swap strategies with others,
    why not shgoot me aan emaail ?f interested.


  129. charlene kew Says:

    Hi Rachel!
    I was wondering if you could tell me how you had the baby hawk customized? Trying out all carriers for our sweet 5 yr old, laura :)

    Thank you!


  130. Sean Says:

    Hi Rachel,

    We are looking to take our 6 yr old daughter hiking in the Rockies. We are looking for a carrier to take her in. I really liked the look of the carrier you are using in the picture above “Mammoth Hot Springs Yellowstone 2009″.

    What kind of carrier is that?




  131. private landlord Says:

    I wish that people would realise how dangerous gas burning appliances can be.
    An annual gas safety check could save lives.


  132. Says:

    I think the admin of this web site is truly working hard
    in favor of his website, because here every material is quality based information.


  133. jessie group Says:

    So if I may ask a question- my daughter like yours was born with spina bifida and hydrocephalus. because of her head shape and near none movement at four years old she does not have head control and cannot sit up- positioning is of utmost importance and wondering if you have any suggestions- we wore our older daughter in a moby and I love its comfort! but it is not supportive enough and yet to restrictive for a girl who wants to see the world! I can not afford to buy several wraps and we do not live near lenders. well any suggestions to modify the moby or something like it would be greatly appreciated! btw she only weighs 18 lbs. and it needs to be cool- she can not regulate body temp well the other big issue with moby. thanks in advance! our goal is to always have her with use- not many understand that- you know sitting in the grass not strped in a seat somewhere


  134. You’re a Babywearer If … | Manic Pixie Dream Mama Says:

    [...] lady from Signing Time, Rachel Coleman, carries her disabled 11 year old in a custom Babyhawk, an Ergo, and a Deuter backpack. She is a [...]

Leave a Reply

Athleta - By Women Athletes - For Women Athletes