Somebody Asked… about weight limits
This is a question I get all the time and, like most questions regarding diapering and babywearing, I feel like I’m dodging the answer when giving my most honest and complete response.
How long can I carry a child in this carrier?
Whether you are asking in terms of how old of a child you can carry, or whether you’re asking how many hours in a row you can carry a child, there is no real definitive answer.
It really depends on you. I know people who stop wearing their babies at about 6 months, because they are too heavy after that. I still wore 4.5 year old Wally when I was 6 months pregnant and he weighed over 45 lbs.
It just really depends on YOU.
Some things to consider are your own bodyweight and what kind of condition you’re in. My husband and I go hiking on a fairly regular basis in the summer. We have worn Wally since the first summer we had him, and this year (his fifth) will be the first that we won’t wear him at all on any hikes. (Since he could walk, he’s been expected to walk at least part of the way, to the best of his ability.) So carrying somewhat heavy loads is something we are accustomed to.
That said, it’s never a good idea to carry more than about 1/3 of your own bodyweight. Currently at just over 50 lbs, Wally’s nearing half of my bodyweight. While I can still put him on, I can’t wear him for long. (And, seriously people, he does not generally WANT to be worn, either. We do a lot of crazy things around here for experimentation. I still try to stuff him into diapers, for example, just to see if they would still fit if we needed them to.)
One thing that I urge you to keep in mind when wearing older kids, though, is that 45 lbs is a LOT of weight. The most common reaction I receive from people trying out carriers to wear their older kids in is that it pulls at the shoulders. Yeah. I mean, it will. There’s no way to make 45 lbs feel light as a feather.
We have somewhat better luck in backpacking with making the load seem lighter – backpacks have load lifters, load stabilizers, and plus, the loads themselves are compact and stable.
Wearing a toddler or older is nothing like that. Their weight is not ideally centered on your back, they’re not exactly compact, and they’re far from stable. If your kids are anything like mine, they think nothing of throwing themselves to one side or another to look around or just to annoy you. (I think I spent the whole hike down from the top of Mt Timpanogos in Utah when Wally was 2 saying “Wally! Sit up! Wally! Stop leaning! Wally! Stop Leaning!!”)
So, the weight limit depends more on YOU than anything else.