There is a bewildering array of slings available. Of course you can, and many baby wearers do, have a different style of sling for every occasion, from an easy pouch, an everyday wrap, a silk ring sling for glamour, or a structured soft carrier for life in the great outdoors.
Wrap slings are basically a long piece of fabric that you tie around yourself. They can look daunting to the sling novice but the basic positions are easily learned and are well worth the effort. The spread of fabric across your back, particularly in a basic cross over tie, gives good weight distribution. The weight of the baby is spread all over the back and then tied round the hips, meaning that the pelvis rather than the lower back carries the bulk of the weight. A stretchy wrap with a proportion of Lycra or Spandex in the fabric is often a good place to start, particularly if the idea of tying yourself up in five meters of cloth is frightening. A stretchy one can easily be tied into position while the baby is safely elsewhere, and worn as long as desired, allowing you to take your baby in and out as necessary. Many offer a good variety of carrying positions, cradle hold for newborns (and ideal for breastfeeding), front, hip, and back.
Woven wraps, especially in a long length, give even more variety and once you master the art of tying in the back carrying positions, a wrap that offers such a possibility will allow you to use the same sling from birth till the moment your child has no further need to be carried. There are even varieties that work like a wrap sling but have the tying done for you.
Pouches and ring slings are easy to use, simply put one arm through and slip over the head. It is important to get the size that fits you comfortably to ensure the safety and comfort of your baby. Others are adjustable and offer more flexibility if more than one adult will be using the same carrier. It is easy to slip this type of carrier off with the baby fast asleep in it and lay the baby down. It’s great for a quick transfer from car seat to sling when you are out and about. Mesh slings, designed to be worn in the shower or swimming pool, are a useful addition to your sling collection if you have a baby who likes to be close to you everywhere you go.
Asian-style or Mai-tei carriers have the advantage of great simplicity and often come in the most gorgeous designs. They offer front and back carrying positions. They are not the easiest to breastfeed in, although women have done so.
Structured soft carriers are also easy to use as they are more likely to have buckles and more shaped fabric. They are often popular with dads.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of touch to the well being and development of a new baby. Wearing your baby is good for both of you. In a society that urges new mothers to “get their life back” following childbirth, a sling enables you as a mother to redefine that life and to broaden your horizons to include rather than exclude your baby. With access to the security that your body represents, your baby can learn what it means to be human.
Alexa is a Baby Wearing Consultant having trained at The School of Babywearing School by Fiona Ashman. She offers information to parents who want to know more about slings and baby carriers, top tips for safe babywearing and assist them to choose the carrier which best suits them needs.
Fees: £60 for a 90 mins meeting.
Email Alexa for More information or to book.