Aside from breast feeding, my decision to baby wear has been the most important in terms of shaping my relationship with my babies. I wore the mancub in a a sling for at least a few hours a day until he was 6 months old and out and about until he was nearly two. I’m still wearing #2 and we are yet to need a pram or pushchair for him. I love it, they love it and I would implore anyone who’s thinking about baby wearing to go for it. Here’s why…
I can’t remember when I decided that I wanted to baby wear. I had seen babies in slings around my home town of Brighton and had thought that it looked super cosy and cute, especially on Dads (who doesn’t love a man with a baby?). My husband and I have also always had a bit of a bug bear with prams and how they get in the way, so we were hoping not to use one. We also had steep steps leading up to our (pretty small) house, so a pram was not a particularly convenient option for us.
When I got pregnant i started looking at forums that discussed baby wearing and soon realised that there are a wealth of options out there… Structured carriers, ring slings, stretchy wraps, non stretchy wraps, it is a veritable mine field. After a lot of research I decided that a wrap was what I wanted to go for as it just looked so cosy and natural. I knew that it would take a bit of practice, but I was okay with that. I decided to go for a Tricot Slen, which is very similar to a Moby, but what they happened to have at my local baby store and at a similar price. It came with an instructional DVD that shows you how to tie it in different positions and I had a go at practicing on a teddy while I was pregnant. The biggest benefit of this sling for me is that my baby is so very close to me, but I am hands free. He can feel my heart beat and the sound of a my voice, just like when he was in my tummy, and he is wrapped up very securely. I love being able to lean down and kiss him and to be able to get on with jobs around the house knowing that he is right there with me.
The first few times I put the mancub in the Tricot Slen I needed a bit of help, but I’d say within a few days I was able to put him in it myself. From the very start this was the sure fire way to get him to sleep. He took nearly all of his day time naps in the sling until he was nearly 6 months old and it would take minutes to get him off to sleep. I think this helped us get him into a really good pattern of day time sleeping, and he transitioned easily to his cot once he got too heavy.
Another major benefit of this sling is that the weight is distributed across the back and shoulders so it is comfortable for me, and the more you move around, the happier the baby is. I find the Tricot Slen wrap perfect for around the house and short walks, however, there are couple of things that make it less suitable for longer journeys. First of all the sling is basically a very long piece of fabric that you wrap around yourself and your baby. If you need to do this outside it trails all over the floor, which is not ideal, especially in the rain. Secondly after a long time of walking the sling can begin to slide down under the weight of the baby and this can hurt your shoulders. My husband also found the sling to be a bit of a faff for him, and wanted something simpler. Enter the Ergo.
We bought an Ergo performance carrier and went for this one as it avoids the baby hanging on their crotch, as is the case with the Baby Bjorn. We also bought the newborn insert, which means that we could use it immediately, but my husband still carries our 35lb toddler on his back in it occasionally. Both my children slept well in this one too and it feels much better on my back and shoulders over long distances. The only thing to be wary of with this one is that when your baby is in the newborn insert they can get super hot, even in the Great British Winter. When he was little I would never put the mancub in more than a sleep suit, or we would both boil. The Ergo also comes up a bit higher than with the Tricot Slen, so it is not as convenient to eat when I’m wearing him in this.
Baby wearing has totally shaped my experience of being a Mama. It makes me feel close to my baby and is amazingly convenient for me too. I am proud of the fact that we got to 6 months without the mancub ever having been in a pram or pushchair, because I carried him everywhere with me. Now I’ve got two I have been able to avoid getting a bulky double pushchair as we can always carry one of them.