Carrying a baby in a sling

Yesterday, a good friend of mine forwarded me a link to a news article about the fact that using slings and baby carriers is becoming a bit more mainstream. 

You see, I’m one of those “hippy” mums that carries my baby. Actually, Lia has never been in a pushchair, pram or buggy. 

When I had Libby, we bought a nice off-road buggy, so that we could take her walking on the hills. At the time, I was in touch with a friend from school via Facebook and I noticed that she was into something I’d never heard of, called “babywearing.”

What I loved about my friend’s passion for babywearing wasn’t the fact that I could see it was convenient for her that she could carry her babies with her hands free. 

It wasn’t the fact that she could go wherever she wanted, unrestricted by steps and uneven surfaces. It wasn’t the fact that it was easier to walk the dogs without having to push a buggy along as well. 

The attraction, as I saw it, was the fact that my friend was babywearing because it was better for the baby. And it wasn’t long before I followed her lead. 

You see, I do understand the attraction of a nice, shiny buggy. I can understand why people enjoy the convenience of not having to hold the baby and having somewhere to put the bags when you’re shopping. 

I do understand the status thing that is associated with people showing that their children have the very best because they are being pushed around in buggies that cost over £1000. 

I do understand that. Because despite the fact that everything about me screams that I don’t care what people think about me, actually I do. 

I would love for people, just occasionally, to look at me and think that I look nice or that I’m doing well for myself. Really I would. 

And maybe a shiny buggy would be a great way to do that. 

Call me cynical though, but for all the convenience and status, I’d much rather do what’s best for my children. 

So, let’s go back to the advantages of the sling. 

Babies are less likely to suffer with colic, reflux or flat heads. They will be calmed easier if they’re fussing, breastfeeding can be easier to establish and it can assist with bonding with the parents (or siblings if they’re old enough to carry them). 

Aside from all that, they are right there with you all the time. They feel you breathe, hear you speak and sense that you’re there, comforting and protecting them as you should be.

Photo courtesy of Melanie Chadd Photography

Photo courtesy of Melanie Chadd Photography

And therein lies my problem with buggies. They are designed exclusively with parents in mind, with very little regard as to what’s best for the child. 

I see beautifully preened mothers pushing along babies who are at arms length away from them. As they get older, the babies don’t even face towards mum.

Toddlers aren’t allowed to walk, because it’s not convenient to push a buggy and hold hands with a toddler. And they are too slow to walk for the whole journey.

So you end up strapping them in, kicking and screaming. Then complaining when they get a bit bigger and become reluctant to walk. 

So next time you see me lugging a hefty baby around, carrying a bag and holding hands with a chatty toddler, don’t judge me.

There is a reason why I do it. I may not shower them with expensive gifts, but I love my babies just as much as you. 

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9 Comments

  1. March 24, 2015 / 11:03 pm

    I love babywearing. I do both but usually wear Ava in a sling. I use her brothers pram I didn’t bother getting a new one as it was such good condition after bit really being used with him. The seat unit also faces you which was one if the reasons I bought it. I love feeling my babies close to me and they love it too x

    • monsterid March 24, 2015 / 11:06 pm

      Thank you for your comment. That’s great that you’ve found a good balance. I also love having the baby close to me. Even Libby loves to go in the baby carrier given the opportunity and she’s nearly 3 now so it does seem like they love it too.x

  2. March 25, 2015 / 5:09 am

    Ah, they love being carried, don’t they. I am pretty sure that’s why James is so chatty and advanced with speaking because he’s been carried more than not. I wear his brother now and he walks or goes in the pushchair but he still absolutely loves it when I tandem carry. Great photo by the way!
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    • monsterid March 25, 2015 / 6:40 am

      Thank you Helena. Libby is just the same, she walks everywhere now but until Lia came along she was always carried and she is excellent at speaking. Maybe too excellent, I’d sometimes love some peace and quiet 😉

  3. monsterid March 25, 2015 / 8:15 am

    Thank you! I totally agree on the sleeping thing, even when Lia would hardly sleep at all I found she would sleep in the carrier on our dog walks. Didn’t mean I got any sleep of course, but at least she got a bit 😉

  4. March 25, 2015 / 8:52 am

    I don’t have kids and probably never will, but nothing annoys me more than having to squeeze past giant oversized buggies in the supermarket aisles when mothers have stopped right in the middle of them to have a chat!. So, bravo to you =)

    • monsterid March 25, 2015 / 3:42 pm

      Thank you. Don’t get me started on the inconvenience of buggies for other shoppers, I’m with you on that one, drives me mad! 😉

  5. March 25, 2015 / 9:17 am

    I love the buggies that I have used, I chatted along to mine constantly, even before they could talk back (I’m a chatterbox!) Forward or parent facing, I wanged on about the birds in th sky and the things going on.

    I did buy a ring sling when my eldest was a few weeks old, but it made his colicky silent reflux worse, and he wanted to be held with my arms. But u used it until my PGP in pregnancy number 2 made it impossible (not long really). I really wanted to like baby wearing but it just didn’t work, maybe I didn’t find the right sling for me, my body shape and height but also, I just couldn’t be bothered when I could walk along with both boys and have a good old look at the world.

    Buggies do seem to be becoming a status symbol and that makes me sad. A buggy should make your life easier and be nice for the baby. Not tell the whole world you like to waste money. Glad it works for you and I’m a bit sad it didn’t work for me but ho-hum

    • monsterid March 25, 2015 / 3:44 pm

      Absolutely, it’s about what works for your family. I totally agree about the status symbol thing though, I find it very sad that spending money on our children in whatever form is seen as the only way to show that we love them.x

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