You know how I feel about baby toes, so the banner of Rebecca’s new blog caught my eye (and melted my heart) at once. Babylove is a celebration of all things baby, and after perusing its inaugural posts about babywearing and cosleeping, I can see that Rebecca is a kindred spirit.
My mention of baby slings yesterday brought this question from a reader:
Do you have any tips for how to wear a baby? I have never been able to get slings to work. When my first three were tiny, they would just scream if I put them in a sling, and they all got so big so fast that I couldn’t carry them in front carriers very long; they just *weighed* too much. Ditto for backpacks as they got older. I can’t really wear both twins at the same time in a sling (mine are 6 mos old), but if there are more children in the future, it’d be nice to know how to do the sling!
I have used the same Over the Shoulder Baby Holder with all five of my little ones (the bairn is snuggled in hers at this very moment—see somewhat grainy photo I have just snapped). I also have a rebozo—a long, lightweight cotton shawl—that I like for very hot summer days. I knot the shawl over my shoulder and slip the baby into the pouch. But for newborns I prefer my OTSBH. I wear it backward at first so that the shoulder pad is in front, under baby’s head. The first few times I use it with a newborn, I always nurse the baby immediately after putting her in the sling. She falls asleep that way and then I walk around a little bit to accustom her to the feel of riding nestled close to my body.
Proper fit is crucial. When Jane was born, I borrowed a sling my neighbor wasn’t using, and though I got several months of use out of it before I bought my own, I later realized that it had been too big for me and the baby hung too low. One reason I like the Over the Shoulder Baby Holder brand so much is that they offered a petite size which is just right for my shrimpy frame and keeps baby snuggled right by my heart.
However, the front-cradle position is only one way to wear a baby in a sling. The position I like best and find most useful is the hip carry. This doesn’t work for newborns, of course; the baby must be old enough to hold her head up. To moms whose newborns didn’t take to the sling, I would offer this advice: try again when they’re four or five months old. By that time, you’re toting the baby around on your hip most of the time anyway. The sling lets you do it with your hands free. I’ve slung my babies on my hip all the way through toddlerhood. Jane went through chemo in the hospital in hers.
To Angel, who asked the question above, I would suggest trying your six-month-olds in the hip carry (one at a time, of course) and see if they like that better than they did newborn cradle position. With twins, I’m sure you of all people could use a free hand!
UPDATE: Be sure to click on comments for more babywearing tips from a helpful reader!