Saturday, August 2, 2008

The Joys of Babywearing

Wow, kids get big so very fast. I look at my five month old little boy and know he wont be a baby much longer. I look at my two year old and wonder where the time went. I want to get as much of the love and snuggles that I can out of them, because frankly, none of us are getting any younger. One of the ways I've maximized our time together is I wear them. Yes, I wear my children. I still have a couple of other gadgets, a swing, a jump up....but they are more of a back up to babywearing for me, rather than my only resource for when I need to do the dishes, or vacuum, or do the laundry. They're also handy for going out and about; I have lost all need for a stroller for my littlest guy (and it's less expensive than one!)

I feel so good holding my sweet little one right up against me and knowing he's safe and happy while I go about my daily life. Babies long to be close to their mommy's and daddy's (and yes, daddy's should wear their babies too!). They enjoy the soothing, rhythmic movements of daily life.

It seems a bit tricky at first, but if you're the proud owner of a new sling and feel a bit confused, stick with it! I promise you'll practically be able to do it one handed in no time!!!

Here's some quick tips on slings:

1. Try to stay away from the "baby bjorn" type slings (this pertains to basically any sling you find at a Baby's R Us, a WalMart, or a Target at this point in time).

2. If you're looking at a sling that requires measurements, make sure you take them. There's nothing worse than a sling that's too big or two small and wrenching on your back. You wont be able to take that for very long. You're trying to make this easy on yourself, remember?

3. My personal rule is to find something with wide straps. The wider the straps, the more you can spread the weight of the baby across your back, therefore making it easier on your shoulders, back muscles, etc.

Here are the types of slings I recommend:

1. Wrap Sling.

Wrap slings seem highly cumbersome upon first glance. It takes a few tries to get the hang of it, but I assure you that these are among the most comfortable of slings. The weight is distributed appropriately, baby is snug, all are happy. Another plus of the wrap sling is you can wear your baby in many positions; facing inward, facing outward, on your back, on your hip, and across your front. I have successfully breastfed in a wrap sling as well.

2. Ring Sling

I have personally never used a ring sling myself, but I've heard fantastic things. They are attractive, they are easy to adjust, they have a wide strap for distributing weight.

3. Mei Tai

This is my personal favorite of all slings. You can throw it on quickly (the big one for me!), you can carry much heavier children than in the others mentioned so far, you can wear baby (or toddler!) on your front or back. You cannot wear them facing outward which is a deal breaker for some kids. The drawback for me on this one, is they generally have straps that I feel should be wider, and so prolonged use can cause your back to get a bit sore. I feel I can go probably two hours or so before I need a break, where as with a wrap for instance, I could probably go much longer. All in all, still my favorite.

This is a good mei tai with thick, comfortable straps. They unfortunately don't have much on Amazon:

4. Pocket Sling

These are generally easy on, easy off slings. They come in great colors and designs, and they keep baby snug.

5. Ergo

The Ergo is a variation of a mei tai. It has snaps instead of straps, causing it to stay put more easily. You have to fiddle with the straps to get them to the length you want, but once you're set you're good to go. I haven't met a single person unhappy with their Ergo.

Now that you know what to look for, happy baby wearing!


Ann said...

I am so glad you posted this information! I wanted to get a wrap this time with the new baby and had no clue where to start looking, or even what I was looking for....thanks Dani! :)

*Dani* said...

Yes, the moby wrap I posted is amazing. I have it in cream :)

ruth said...

I bought the Ergo on Craigslist a month ago and LOVE it. Sierra is now over 25 lbs and I can carry and nurse her in the Ergo comfortably. My friend let me use her Moby Wrap for a while and I did like it very much. After I had to return it I wanted to get my own but couldn't afford it. I found this site with instructions on how to make your own no-sew wrap. I saved about $10. Here's the link (read the instructions carefully you actually need less fabric if you only like to make one wrap) :-)