SarahDesigns

Pyrography Artist and Crafter - from kids to cakes

What is Babywearing?


Noah at Caernarfon Castle

From Wikipedia: Babywearing is the practice of wearing or carrying a baby or child in a sling or other form of carrier. Babywearing is far from new and has been practiced for centuries around the world. In the industrialized world, babywearing has gained popularity in recent decades, partly under influence of advocates of attachment parenting; however, not all parents who babywear consider themselves attachment parents, they may simply enjoy the convenience of babywearing. Babywearing is a form of baby transport.


When we had Jacob, we realised we weren't conventional parents. As his first few months flew by, we soon noticed that we hadn't accumulated a lot of the accessories many parents around us seemed to have. The big one was the pushchair/buggy - obviously, there is nothing wrong with having one. We just didn't. I avoided them to be honest, I can't steer them for toffee - and I found the idea of separating myself from him a bit pants. We didn't make an active choice - these things just happened. I guess it was right for us. And that's just it, if something works for you - do it.

My cousin gave me her sling, a huggababy ring sling, before Jacob was born. I despondently practised with a Disney Stitch toy, finally putting it away till he was born. Jacob was a crier. And a screamer. He had colic and I struggled to get breastfeeding going. I needed to get myself and him out of the house, moving about and doing things. So out came the sling. It was really tricky at first, but with a little practice it was fantastic. We have never looked back. He'd feed in there, nap in there and I'd shop, cook, and clean. It allowed him to sit in an upright position, and really helped his colic. I'd swaddle him and put him down for the night and he was happy.


Jacob, trekking from Nantmor towards Sygun

Noah came along, and I immediately did the same with him, he was so contented. Chris even has a sling, and this is how we get hiking! Our kids walk, be under no illusion! But carrying a sling around with us means we can walk further and to places little ones can't normally get to.


Chris popping Jacob in the sling in Portmerion

We both love carrying our children for lots of reasons. It gives us freedom when we need it, to go to places that we normally go, mountains, long walks. It also let us shop hands free! Great for comforting a sick or upset child too. When the boys were young, it allowed us to control their temperatures, keep them warm, and shade them from the sun. They make great picnic rugs and blankets, and fantastic sunshades in the car, cutting down the amount of faff you take with you. You can just shove a sling in the washer, I put mine in a pillow case, and wash it at 30. Easy.




Noah and Chris at The Roaches Trig


I got Chris' sling from ebay, for the princely sum of £4. I bought some iron on patches and made it a bit funky! I also put a certain patch on the centre bottom rail, so it was easy for him to judge how to position the sling.


Noah and I in Buxton


We tried a few slings, stretchy wraps, woven wraps, pockets, a few different ring slings, but always went back to the Huggababy. Their design works really well for us, and I've always recommended them to passers by who have asked were we had the slings from. I've tried contacting them a few times with some questions and a few issues about wear and tear - as we have used the same slings for a long period, and never had a response. I had some joy through facebook, but I don't think they took me too seriously. I think we've about worn out my original sling, it has started to fray, and I replaced it through the wonder of ebay again for £7. Fab stuff.


Noah and I going walking around Tiitesworth Res.

Now that the boys are bigger, we can both use Chris' sling. This is good because we can get away with one, unless walking a long way. The sling evolves with the child, and there is and infinite amount of carries that you can modify to suit your child and yourself. When the boys were young, I was able to tighten the top and bottom rails right in, to support them, keep them safe and secure.

Different Carries

One of the main benefits of most ring slings is that they are infinitely adjustable, and quick to get on and off. All it needs is a bit of practice for you and baby to find a good way of using it. I tended to use a "newborn snuggle" type carry for breastfeeding early on, but soon evolved it into positions in which the boys could "see out" and explore the world a bit. I'll add some more newborn pics when the next one arrives, hehe.

Newborn and Breastfeeding

I personally have always found 'head to rings' position easier for breastfeeding, but I thing this is very dependent on your body shape etc. and the position your baby is in before feeding. For example, here I am lowering the sling by slackening the rings, to adjust baby for a feed:


Noah and I at Tittesworth Resevoir
 
And here, loosening the rings to lay Noah's head in the opposite position:

Noah and I walking along the canal in Endon, Staffs

Here are some of my third child, Conor. He was born in September 2013 and we are still using the sling, now in conjunction with a babywearing coat, that is keeping us dry on the school runs!
Newborn baby Conor
 
 
Conor in a newborn front hold

 
 

Hip and Front Carries

Once baby has more head control, it becomes possible to alter the positions in which they sit. Practice in the house, and always re-adjust if baby feels unsafe. Remember that you need to be attentive to the safety of the carry. 
 
Here, Noah is in a froggy carry, he's sitting like a little budda, slighly to one side. Remember, try and position baby above your tummy button. You should easily be able to kiss his head:

Noah and I at Tan Y Bwlch, Ffestiniog Railway

Here is a similar carry, but as he's older, his legs are out. He's facing in as the weather was quite inhospitable, and this position allows me to shield him, keep him warm, and be able to pull the sling up around his ears:

Noah and I at the Roaches Trig station, highest point in Staffs

A hip carry allows you to have your hands free to do something else, and have a close conversation with your little one.

Noah and I at Gun Moor Trig Station

Back Carries

Once the lads got to that toddler age, and needed the sling when tired we could use a back carry. It helps support the weight of a heavier child I find. It also allow you to use your hands when the terrain is a bit rough.


Jacob and I on Anglesey - Giant stepping stones!


Jacob and Chris at Park Gynliffion


Useful Links

If you have any useful links to add, get in touch!

http://www.huggababy.co.uk - Huggababy website, plenty of hints and tips.
http://www.slingmeet.co.uk
- Find your local sling meet and try some out!
http://www.thebabywearer.com
- A babywearing forum and guide.
http://www.naturalmamas.co.uk
- A site about natural parenting