I know that I own a pram, plus a couple of buggies/strollers, but I have to say that I really do prefer babywearing. There’s something so wonderful about wrapping your baby up against you in a sling and carrying them. I used to carry Monkey all the time when he was smaller, but now that he’s turning into quite a hefty little chappy, it’s getting a tad more difficult.
My hunt is now on for a sling that will support both him and me, which is going to be fun. I had a look in my local newspaper/ baby information magazines and there appeared to be a local slingmeet group. Brilliant, I thought! Then – after a little bit of fruitless phoning, searching around for where this group met, I came to a bit of a screeching halt. It doesn’t actually exist anymore. I was so fed up! I wanted to join it because they had a sling library, which would have been wonderful for me.
For those of you who aren’t aware of what a sling library is, it’s a very simple concept. You pay a deposit (and then, often a small hire charge) and you can try out a range of slings before you buy. Slings aren’t cheap – they can’t be, really, because they’ve got to be very well made to support your precious little bundle. So, you can imagine that I felt very despondent at the fact that my local one had vanished into the ether.
I have three slings at the moment, and although all of them are meant to be able to hold Monkey from being very tiny to toddlerhood, two of them are starting to pull on my back a little. I have a very bad back as a result of a car crash years ago, so finding the right sling is very important.
The first sling that we used was a Babasling http://www.thebabasling.com/ . It’s a simple, almost hammock-type sling that you can easily put your newborn in. There’s nothing to tie and for the first few months I absolutely loved it. It was incredibly easy to use, but I’ve heard that it’s very much a Marmite sling! We got on with it brilliantly, but I’ve found that as Monkey has got bigger it just doesn’t have the support for me as it simply goes over my shoulder and it’s now tugging quite a fair bit on my upper body and neck.
The next sling that I used/ still use with Monkey is a Close Parent Caboo. http://www.closeparent.com/Default.aspx?tabid=147 This is a fab, stretchy wrap sling that has a strong panel at the back which does give me a bit more support. It adjusts really well via rings at the hips and both of us can wear it easily. I love the fact that it has stretchy fabric that I can put right across his back to support him, and it’s very easy to breastfeed in it (which is a massive bonus). This sling feels very soft to the touch and he’s carried in the ‘frog’ position against my chest (which we both love). Unfortunately, he’s starting to want to see more of the world and I can’t adapt it easily to let him move to nearer my hip. In the early days when Monkey was incredibly colicky and refluxy, this sling was an absolute godsend as it kept him more upright and just an awful lot happier.
So, I’ve recently got hold of a new sling that allows me to hip carry Monkey. It’s a Cot2Tot http://www.cot2tot.co.uk/ stretchy wrap sling that will hopefully tick more boxes. I think this one would have been great for him when he was tiny as you can wrap baby up against you and there’s ways that you can put the sling so that you can breastfeed discretely in it. It would also be fab for helping to reduce colic/reflux symptoms (just like my Close Caboo was) Monkey and I have had a bit of a play with it and he seems really happy with the hip carry position. I’ve only been on a short walk around the block with it, as the weather hasn’t exactly been fantastic, but it didn’t pull on my back at all. For very long walks where I might need more structured support, I might have to look for a carrier with a support panel in the back, but he seems really relaxed in it. This one is going to be (I think) wonderful for popping out to the shops and meeting my friends.
I’m heading up to a local-ish slingmeet group in a few weeks to (fingers crossed) get to play with a whole range of slings, which I’m really looking forward to. If you’re in the same boat as me, then I’m sure you’ll find a group locally to you that might be able to help. I looked at Slingmeet on Facebook and they’ve been very helpful indeed!
Anyway – just to finish, here’s a photo of Monkey in my new sling. It’s not the best, I’m sorry, but it’s tough to get photos of us that way! I’m going to instruct Mr Clothbum to help me out so I can show you some more.