My MiL bought me a leash/harness for our baby when she starts walking. I saw these used quite often when I was in England this spring. At first, I thought it was weird....the whole idea of having your kid on a leash, you know? But then I started to think....well, maybe it could work sometimes. Like, not all the time, but if you're taking your LO to a crowded mall for instance, and she's maybe going through the stage of wanting to walk herself and not be carried or in the stroller, etc.? Also, seems to me there's so many stories of moms in shopping centers who only look away for a second, and their kids disappear. Don't want to be tortured by stupid fears, but I've thought of that too. What do y'all think? Anyone with any direct experience?
We used one with my ds#1. He walked very early and pretty much quit using a stroller and hated being carried at less than 10 months. Both he and I had horrible aches from holding each others hands. It was much easier for him to explore places like the zoo in a harness and tether attached to his sister. That way we could also easily keep track of her and they were both much freer to explore and notice things at their own level, bugs, feathers, etc.
He's still a crazy kid at 14 and seems to have no ill effects.
Happy mumma to my boys Henny Tom (Nov 30, 2008), Arlo Odie (Oct 5, 2010), and baby SISTER! due mid-Dec 2014.
I bought one of those monkey backpacks with a long tail things, but she wouldn't have any of it. She happily wore the backpack but if the leash tugged on her at all she would lay down on the floor and have a fit. Not exactly helpful.
We found it much easier to just hover after her. It only really worked when both DF and I were with her - that way one person could shop while the other watched DD. When I was out with her by myself she just had to stay in the stroller or cart because I couldn't give her my full attention.
Now at nearly 2yo she will reliably walk with me when we are shopping so she is allowed to walk quite a bit when it is just me and her.
Wife to DH (06/10) and Mummy to DD (07/08).
My advice may not be appropriate for you. That's ok. You are just fine how you are and I am the right kind of me.
We have the monkey backpack AND the puppy backpack for DS, and they were total lifesavers when he was younger (I'd say 16 mos. to 2.9 or so). He's three now and I have trouble imagining putting one of those on him all of a sudden. They do change so fast.
But I've heard of and met kids who just weren't into them at all, hated them, threw tantrums, etcetera, and if you're kid is one of those, then leashes are not for you.
I think if your child is a runner, and if you're in situations where it would be dangerous or scary to have him or her dart off, and if the kiddo will wear it, it's a great way to give them some space while still being safe.
My son was VERY independent very early on - as soon as he figured out walking that's all he wanted to do (unless he was too exhausted to carry on). We got a soft one that looks like a teddy bear, and it gave us so much freedom. Not only did we not have a kid that was PO'ed about being in a stroller - we went lots more places that were not stroller-friendly and were not very kid friendly either (like hiking - he could be "free" and we did not have to worry about him running into a ditch/cactus/etc).
I have gotten tons of evil-eyed looks from people, and once a teenager shouted "OMG they have their kid on a leash!!!!" But I've had more parents of screaming stroller-trapped kids ask me where they could find one.
ETA - and if you could not tell, my kid is the runner type. He does not run away just be be a pain, but he does not see any reason to be with me if there is something interesting elsewhere. He stopped enjoying being worn at 9 mos (when he learned to walk) and flat out refused it by 12 mos. And YES - they are perfect for the airport.
|I did have an airport screening person tell me she wasn't a fan of them, and I was thinking, Really? Have you ever tried to make your way through an airport by yourself with all this stuff and a kid who bolts? Stop judging me lady.|
Mainly because I remember my mom putting a leash on me, I remember the stares and comments from strangers and I remember how embarrassing and humiliating it was.
And I wasn't even a "runner".
DH and I - totally winging life with our four children, DS1 (6.5yrs), DS2 (5yrs), DD (3yrs) and DS3 (1)!
I had a friend visiting over the weekend and not only is her 22m/o a runner, but she has a 4m/o as well who she was often wearing or carrying (so she couldn't be chasing the toddler quickly, or picking her up easily). It was often puppy backpack (leash) or holding my hand or her mother's hand - for her safety.
The contrast between our two kids is pretty astounding, and my friend and I parent very similarly. My son is just cautious (for a 2y/o) and her toddler is most definitely not!
I have no qualms with the backpack leashes, and generally assume there is a reason for them. I've only once been bothered seeing it, but I try to remind myself I had no idea of the whole situation in which it bothered me.
|This is why I never judge others. I have friends who have "been appalled" at the "lazy" parents who use them. But in my opinion - you don't know the kid or the situation so don't judge. And as you can see from all the various experience it can be an absolute safety issue and in fact provide MORE freedom to explore - we wouldn't think twice of keeping a kid "trapped" in a stroller for safety reasons - so why not a harness? (sound better than leash to me) And the kids will actually get more exercise, sensory input/development then sitting passively in a stroller (and for those strong willed kids they just may not tolerate the restriction of a stroller. So....do what works for your family. I have an only child so never used one (but I did lose track of her once at the busy Atlanta Zoo and was in a panic for a minute or two, so I maybe should have)|
I do at times feel like it's a bit much when I have 2 kids on leashes, I feel like I'm walking them. DS has sensory issues though and he loves to pull. I'll stand still, and he will lean forward and pull. Looks silly, but is great. DD isn't a huge fan of it, but we do therapy 3xs a week in a busy place - they are a must.
Then at 15 months I took her to a music festival with, oh, about 60,000 people at it. We stayed planted in one area pretty much both days but still, there were a LOT of people and she loved it and wanted to follow everyone. It was exhausting when she was off the harness, but on it she was still such a happy camper and I felt like it was manageable.
These days I keep all 3 in the car: the ergo, the stroller, and the harness. And for anything longer than a short walk, I usually have at least 2 of the 3 because at some point dd is going to change how she wants to travel and I can't just carry her a long distance so need options.
Big fan of the harness now!
my only issue with the whole harness idea is using it at a leash. i think there is a difference between having the harness on the child with the parent holding the end, allowing the child to explore and move at the pace compared to the child who is straining at the end of the harness because the parent is trying to pull them in a different direction. i think i explained that clearly .
to me, it's there for exploration and safety. it should be used as a back-up to providing direction/guidance to your child. but realistically, a 2 year old doesn't always listen well or is just trying to remember the rules and can take off quickly so at least the harness is there as a safety net to reinforce the lesson that the parent is teaching.
Becky, sahm to 25/04/2000 Chloe 12/04/2002 Cameron 19/02/2004 Caitlin 28/06/2005 24/07/2006 and Caden 14/03/2008
19.05.2012 18.08.2012 24.05.2013 25.6.2013 04.09.2014
I wish as mothers we wouldn't judge each other so much. That's what motherhood has made me realize. Unless I see you full on spanking in the middle of the mall, I'm not judging.
I used one with a child I used to babysit because her parents recommended it. The actual tether was really short so it was sort of like holding hands, but without her having her hand up over her head. She was not a runner and stayed close but she had both hands free and so did I (she had a younger sister that was often perched on my hip).
When I see a kid having a fit because it's on or straining at the end of one, I think that's probably not the best way to use them. They're good for crowded situations with a child who generally knows to stay close (like the mall at Christmas. Even a kid who isn't TRYING to wander could get lost in those crowds in a heartbeat) or a kid who is always doing the jerk and run (my niece. No matter how tight I hold her hand, she can get away and RUN before I can catch up).
Anyhow, I think they're fine if they make for a happier child. My oldest was an early runner (learned to run the day he learned to walk, on his 10 month birthday) and didn't want to be worn from that day forward, unless he was very tired. Holding hands hurt him, he was fiercely independant, I couldn't keep up with him, and he screamed in a stroller. With a sling used as a harness, he was a happy clam, and so was I. Neither one of us would have been happy with any other option available to us. He got to explore and I got to walk at a pace I could keep up with.
I didn't use it either for my DD (who was a later walker and was much slower and much more hesitant than big brother) or for ds2, who hated it worse than he hated holding hands or riding in a stroller.
The only time I have ever questioned one was at a street fair a few weeks back. One toddler, two parents. I thought that was really, really strange. Two (seeminlgy healthy) adults can't keep one (typical?) child safely nearby? But maybe there was something going on that I just couldn't see.