Anyone who follows me on instagram or facebook will know that slings and 'babywearing' are a big part of my life. I do get a lot of questions and people asking for tips, so I thought I would post a little backstory to our experience with babywearing. (I am trying really hard to avoid using the phrase 'babywearing journey' as it makes me cringe a little)
I used a sling for the first time when Zoe was 2 weeks old. I had a few friends who had used stretchy slings and I was keen to try it, especially when Zoe was having her colic-y moments in the evening. I bought a cheap stretchy from a lady on FB, it wasn't a brand one and I really didn't know enough about them to know which were the best to get. If I was to have another baby I would definitely buy a branded one like a Hana or Moby, mine isn't the most supportive or comfortable. It is completely safe, just having tried other stretchy slings since I can see how much better other makes are.
I watched youtube videos to learn how to use it and gave it a go. I instantly fell in love with wearing Zoe, she felt so close and safe, but I had my hands free to eat, do housework (ha!), or just to give my tired arms a rest. It really was a lifesaver in those early "4th trimester" weeks and I do feel that Zoe really benefited from being cuddled in close.
By the time Zoe was about 3-4 months my stretchy started to feel less supportive and I wanted to see what else was out there. I joined a local Sling group on facebook and my eyes were opened to the vast array of options. I am really lucky that where I live there is a HUGE babywearing community. There are lots of sling meets and I started to venture out to meet other slingy mums and try out different carriers. We eventually settled on buying a Hop Tye, which is a brand of Mei Tai carrier, it has wide wrap straps which I preferred to the padded versions in terms of comfort.
I loved our Hop Tye, it was so soft and supportive, with lots of adjustable bits to tailor as Zoe grew. It was very easy to take on and off and I felt confident using it daily. You can do back and hip carries in a mei tai but to be honest by the time Zoe was big enough to experiment with them we'd already moved on to other things. In terms of size and comfort I can still carry Zoe in a Hop Tye now comfortably, so they do last well, but I discovered the world of wraps and stopped reaching for my Hop Tye as much.
I knew I wanted to try woven wraps pretty much as soon as I saw people using them at meets, they looked so pretty and also really diverse in the different ways you can use them. I was a bit intimidated by the world of woven wraps, there are so many acronyms and figuring out what to buy and what was a good price etc... Is a minefield. Luckily I found a lovely group of wrap wearing mums to guide me through and put up with my many "Is this a good price?" messages. I also booked onto an 'introduction to wrapping' course with a local organisation called Parenting North East. This course was amazing, and really helped build my confidence. The photo above was taken in the loos during the course, its my first ever kangaroo carry.
I also participated in a 30 day wrap challenge on facebook and instagram, which was basically trying a new carry everyday, some were awesome, some not so much. It definitely help me to practice all the basics daily and I found my go-to carries that I use all the time. I'm even quite tempted to do the challenge again now I am a more confident wrapper, would anyone be interested in participating?
So that brings us to today really, I have recently purchased a Connecta, which is a buckle carrier, but this is mainly for other people to use when carrying Zoe. I am also in the market for a ring sling. I can feel a second post coming on!
I have recently completed my peer support training with the school of babywearing, so can now volunteer at local meets and enable others to fall in love with carrying all the babies!
So, I just wanted to conclude by sharing a little safety information from the school of babywearing along with this post, specifically the TICKS guidelines; Tight, In-view, Chin off chest, Supported back. These are the basic priciples of safe babywearing. You can read a bit more about it here.
Do you baby wear? I'd love to hear your experiences!