Why I Wear My Daughter - Girl of Cardigan

I wear my daughter because I shouldn’t be trusted with strollers.  Ankles, toes, small dogs, and toddling children are at dire risk when I am set loose upon the world pushing anything with four wheels.  It’s a miracle if I make it through a grocery shopping trip without toppling artfully stacked somethings with my cart, and putting my daughter’s face level with falling cans and bashed table tops seems somehow less than ideal.  Every time we’ve attempted stroller use, I’ve found myself standing helplessly at the bottom of a flight of stairs, bruise-toed with an unhappy ankle-bashed husband, both of us too far gone emotionally to find a rational (um, elevator) solution to our immediate problem.  I have abandoned entire mall trips because I was too irritated by the horrible chore of finding an elevator (listen, we all have our issues…).  I wear my daughter because life is best tackled with minimal baggage.

Why I Wear My Daughter - Girl of Cardigan

I wear my daughter because, hello, who has time for the gym?  I wear her because the number of weighted squats, lunges, speed walks, and calf raise bounces babywearing coaxes out of my day is staggering.  I wear her because my legs look better than they ever did before her birth, and because carrying her 6 then 10 then 16 then 20 extra pounds was the fast track back into my favorite jeans, and carrying her is the key to staying in them.

Why I Wear My Daughter - Girl of Cardigan


I wear my daughter because of the way she holds her right arm stick-straight ahead of us.  Perched in her place on my hip, she stretches one arm long and steers us with invisible reins into our day, and I (mostly) resist the urge to gallop.  I wear her because I prefer our hearts squarely leveled and the space between us perfectly sized for the whispering of secrets and the exchanging of smiles.  I wear her because something of the days when we shared one body returns to us, and we are a unit, watching and interacting from the same vantage point.  With her head close to mine, I can see what she’s seeing – I can track her interest as it locks onto new objects and identify them for her, watch her roll their sounds around behind those eager eyes, move closer so her sticky wondering hands can touch and learn and name.  I can bask in the glow of the smiles she receives, she can sit in on my conversations, we can watch ducks and count them and bounce our way home.  I wear her because we are together, and isn’t that beautiful, and isn’t that everything?

Why I Wear My Daughter - Girl of Cardigan


I wear her because her sleepiest self is soothed only by the sound of my voice and my heart through the walls of my chest, ancient womb echoes that are the earliest thing she knows.  I wear her to remind her where she belongs, how wanted she has always been, how wanted she will remain.

Why I Wear My Daughter - Girl of Cardigan

I wear her because my independent, wild, and magical girl is not the sort to cling to my lap in playgroups or resist being passed around rooms.  She has never met a stranger, my extroverted wonderful child, and I wear her because the moments of “just us-ness” are fleeting and coveted and selfishly hoarded.  I wear her so I can send her out again, knowing she knows she will soon be back in my arms where I can whisper her secrets and nuzzle that noggin.

Why I Wear My Daughter - Girl of Cardigan

I wear my daughter because life is short.  These precious days when she is small and clutch-able, all tiny grabbing fingers and sweet baby kisses and that incredible incomparable head-smell – these days are mere minutes, here and gone and never to return.  I wear her because life is long, and long will be the years when she rejects my affectionate advances, when she is grown-gone and full of adulthood and no longer mine to cuddle at whim.  For the vast majority of her life and mine, burying my nose in her sweet little headtop will be wildly inappropriate and, well, awkward for all parties involved.  And so I wear my baby daughter.  I snuggle her close and we pace and we rock and I close my eyes to the passing of days and imagine that we will stay here always, will always be exactly this near, exactly this much each other’s.

Why I Wear My Daughter - Girl of Cardigan

Long will be the years I cannot carry her, so I carry her now.  How precious these days.

Girl of Cardigan


(Update: I wrote this post coming up on two years ago, and I’m happy to report we are still wearing every day.  The pic above is from a few weeks back in our LILLEbaby CarryOn, taken by the incomparable Shannon Hannon Photography.)

This post has been edited to include affiliate links.
  • Janice Christman September 27, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Oh, again and again, you make me float through a dream, listening to your words in my mind as I read them! You have such a way with the words that it is magic! Thank you!

    • karyn September 27, 2013 at 9:08 am

      Janice, I am so grateful for you. 😉

  • Jolie Cooper September 27, 2013 at 8:54 am

    Dearest Karyn, I am so glad I took a moment to read your post this morning. You have brought to to my eyes and a smile to my face. You are so right about the short time we have with our precious little ones. I became an empty nester 3 weeks ago. Brendon is 20 now. Yesterday he attended the first day of his junior year at UC Davis. I have been blessed to have him at home the last two years while he attended DeAnza but that time has flown by, and now I face the next part of my life without children in my home. After 33 years of having them here it will take some getting used to. So treasure every little moment with your dear sweet Fable. You will have plenty of time for the other things in life. This time is fleeting and more precious than words can express. God bless you and your family, Jolie 🙂

    • karyn September 27, 2013 at 9:08 am

      Aw, Jolie, you bless me. Thank you, and all the best to you on the new season you’re entering – I hope it’s full of adventure and really good books. What beautiful babies you raised!!

  • Kate Heinecke September 27, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Yep. Ditto to everything. I hate strollers, so much easier to pop her in the ergo than reassemble the stroller. The ergo is also the only place she will stay still and content. I need the use of my arms, both of them. And most importantly it just feels GOOD! For me there is no other way.

  • Heidi October 8, 2013 at 7:06 am

    I am old, i am a grandmother, but i loved every word, and even though i’ve never seen the 2 of you, my mind had a perfect picture formed of you. Since i am old, i can say to you “wear your child till shes big enough to wear you” it will be to soon.

  • Lauren Bartlett October 9, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    This is it. Exactly it. Exactly.

    thank you for putting it so beautifully. 🙂

    Wear on.

    – (fellow babywearing mama from 102)

  • Karen November 7, 2013 at 6:54 am

    (sniff, sniff) Oh, so true! Love this entry!

    • karyn November 7, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      Love the name, and the sniffing – we’re basically the same. 😉

  • April November 7, 2013 at 9:28 am

    thank you. Made me tear up. I don’t want my son to grow up. Can I carry him when he is 20? Yep. Yep that’s what him gonna do.

    • karyn November 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

      Yes! Please do. Let’s both. I’m sure Fable will be thrilled. All 20 year old women love to be worn by their mamas. It’s a thing. 😉

  • Holli November 12, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    I am a new mom as I jut love my bjorn. My now 6 month beast is a great grower and I am now in need of a new way to keep him close. Any suggestions you have I would love. I’m about 100 ish lbs and he is already 19lbs. I need help and support carrying my small man.

    • karyn November 13, 2013 at 1:43 pm

      Holli – I think that some of the wider-seated buckle carriers might be a good option for you – they function very similarly to a Bjorn, but tend to be easier on your back and comfier for baby, and you have the option to wear him on your front or back (Fable is on my back all. the. time.) We have a LILLEbaby Complete, which I adore. Mei Tais are another great option. Check out this post for all of my research in carrier land and links to all the companies I’ve mentioned here: http://girlofcardigan.com/the-world-beyond-moby-an-introduction-to-the-wacky-world-of-babywearing/

  • lisa Cuddy June 5, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    Karyn, what a beautiful essay! My baby is 23yrs old now and I would give the world to be able to wear her. We spent her first 2 yrs attached at the nipple and I wouldn’t trade a minute of it. I wish I had had a bjorn to carry her around . I would never have put her down! I was older when she was born, 39, and she took 22 years to get here. She was, and is, as loved and wanted as any child could be. Her brothers were also loved and wanted. 20 years before I had her. But I always wanted a girl. I beat cancer so I could try to have her. So I know how you feel when you say you wear her for love. So keep wearing your daughter as long as you’re able. There is nothing as wonderful as a child’s breath near your face. Or the secrets you can tell each other . Make sure she knows about Faeries. They are an important part of life and she should be well versed in their care. Blessings to you and Fable. lisa

    • karyn June 7, 2014 at 8:18 pm

      Oh Lisa, thank you so much for sharing your story with me – I treasure it. I will make sure Fabes is full of awe and gentle wonder surrounding Faeries. All my best to you!

  • meeting: babywearing | Breastfeeding Support Network of Charleston, Illinois August 12, 2014 at 7:04 am

    […] Why I Wear My Daughter — Because You Asked (Girl of Cardigan) […]

  • timcyke September 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    This is beautiful. Just perfect. Thank you for putting my feelings into words. You made my day.

  • Mandy April 18, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Absolutely magical. With tears in my eyes, and love in my heart, this moved me so deeply. Thank you <3

  • Dallas April 18, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    very well said. As a dad, I love wearing my daughter. I cherish every moment of having her so close to me, because I too know these moments won’t last. The day she doesn’t want “Tula time” is soon upon us. Until then, her place is on my chest.

    • karyn April 20, 2015 at 1:59 pm

      So great. My husband also loves to wear our girl, and watching the two of them is simply my absolute favorite thing.

  • Morag April 19, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Beautifully said. Just sums up the reasons I carry my daughter – now 26 months and loving being on my back. We chat, sing, cuddle and enjoy each other so much. My manducca is the best thing I EVER bought. We constantly get comments about how happy my daughter is and how good her comprehension and language is, all down to the closeness of being carried

  • Liz April 20, 2015 at 9:03 am

    Love this! I wasn’t much of a baby wearer with my older two (I did wear them, just not all that much). But I have a sneaky suspicion baby number 3, who is due any day will be worn A LOT! Especially since the carseat carrier doesn’t fit in the car with two other carseats, so she’ll be in a regular carseat. But reading your description of the wonderful closeness of wearing your little girl, I can’t wait to wear this one! 🙂

    • karyn April 20, 2015 at 1:58 pm

      I hope you love it. We really love it. And with three, you need all the hands you can get! Godspeed, mama. 🙂

  • amanda April 20, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Thank you for climbing into my head and pulling out my thoughts so eloquently. I’ve never been able to properly express my need to carry my son, and soon my daughter.

    • karyn April 20, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Aw, thank YOU! And congrats on your new one coming!!!

  • Karen April 20, 2015 at 12:54 pm

    Every one of those.
    Just beautiful.
    I wore her regularly til right before she turned 4. Her last slingy love was just weeks before she started school, aged almost 5. Now we wrap daily in a blanket made of our first wrap, backed with soft minky. And a whole host of love.

    • karyn April 20, 2015 at 1:57 pm

      Okay, so this totally made me cry. I love that so much. Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Lexi Green April 20, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    I have worn my children since the day they were born. I love it. I genuinely don’t know how I would parent, especially as a WAHM of 2 toddlers without all of our carriers!! Awesome post! Liked and shared <3

    • karyn April 20, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      Thanks so much, Lexi! I honestly don’t know what we would have do without our carriers and wraps either. <3

  • Kate April 22, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Oh my, oh my. From the western shores of Ireland, I feel like you’re voicing my deepest feelings and thoughts. Just beautiful. How very precious, indeed. Thank you.

  • Mai April 25, 2015 at 12:38 pm


  • meeting: babywearing | Breastfeeding Support Network of Charleston, Illinois May 20, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    […] Why I Wear My Daughter — Because You Asked (Girl of Cardigan) […]