Babylove and Babywearing

April 23, 2006 @ 4:54 am | Filed under:

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.

SlingProper 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!

For more sling advice: Danielle Bean just surveyed her readers about the best brand, and there’s a thread going at Real Learning as well.

UPDATE: Be sure to click on comments for more babywearing tips from a helpful reader!

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7 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Rebecca says:

    Wonderful info on babywearing and I LOVE the photo of your little one nestled so sweetly (and taken from mom’s viewpoint)! The little toes in my banner belong to none other than my now 6ds when he was just three months old.
    I am amazed to know that your OTHBH is still going strong after 5 “slingsters”! That says alot about their quality.

  2. Alice says:

    I remember Jane’s sling days well. Seeing the new little darling in that familiar blue sling does my heart good!

  3. radmama says:

    When my now ten year old was a toddler, I briefly sold OTSBH’s and learned a few tips for encouraging reluctant slingsters.

    Very helpful now that I have another batch of friends with babies!

    Here are the highlights; I probably have a blog’s worth.

    1- Try putting baby in while asleep. For this, it’s helpful to have the sling on while you nurse baby to sleep (bonus if it gets milk on it, it will smell better to baby) and then, once baby is deeeeply asleep, slip him or her into the sling in a cradle hold.

    2. A good guideline for trying new positions is to think about how you are currently caring your babe in arms sans sling. i.e. if you are carrying them front facing a lot, you can try the kangaroo position, if you’re carrying baby on your hip a lot, time to try that one.

    3. Always try the sling for the first time when baby is in a good mood.

    4. THere are some awesome tutorials on the web. Complete with photos/videos. There are a few for twins, as well. Most families with twins choose to put one baby on each parent, but some with lighter babes do carry two at a time.

    5. If you’re new to baby carrying and baby is past the newborn stage, go easy the first few times. If you haven’t had the strength training experience of carrying a gradually growing baby, then it can be hard on your body to log too many hours at once.

  4. Rebecca says:

    Dear Lissa,
    In my mommy fog, I did not tell you how grateful I am that you mentioned Babylove on your lovely blog. You are sure a sweetie!

  5. Angel says:

    I’m just catching up on my blogs today; thanks very much for your tips! It all makes so much more sense to me now. It sounds as if I may have been trying to use a sling that was too big for me, since I am pretty short.

    And yes, you’re right. I could *definitely* use a free hand occasionally.

  6. Mama Squirrel says:

    I sewed Babyclose slings for two of our squirrelings–they were SO EASY…I’m talking easy enough for a not-very-good-sewer to sew in the short space of a new baby’s naptime. Just a big tube of fabric sewed down with a few reinforcing seams. Our first used hers well into toddlerhood–she particularly liked squirreling inside it during too-noisy after-church coffee times. It also made a good nursing coverup.

    Unfortunately I think the Babyclose pattern has been discontinued–at least I can’t find anything about it online now.

  7. Gem says:

    After being adamantly anti-sling for my first two children and just not thinking about it for my third, I was all geeked up to buy a mei-tei style sling from Kozy Carrier for my fourth — I remember thinking after the miscarriage, so irrationally, “I won’t be able to use my sling now!”. Even now, I’m so ready to buy one in case hubby and I ever hash out the “are we going to have another one” discussion!!!