Keep Them Close
Babywearing always just 'made sense to me'. Before my daughter was born, I picked out the beautiful pram, as you do... knowing fairly well that it would not be our main way of getting about with our baby. Now she's 14 months old it has always been used much more by Grandma than us. We live on a farm for a start! The road outside our front door is a 60mph country lane with no pavements, so it's impossible to walk out of our front door with a pram to do the 4 mile round trip to the nearest shop. Out back however, the walking opportunities are pretty awesome, with Arrowe Park, Royden Park and Thurstaston accessible through fields, all without crossing a road!
So a sling was a natural choice. When I say 'a' sling – I am not being entirely honest. One stretchy wrap, one ring sling, one mei tai and two soft structured carriers later and we are still enjoying every moment of our babywearing journey.
I bought my first carrier, a Hana Baby wrap in my favourite colour (http://www.hanababy.co.uk/store/p7/Hana_Baby_Wrap_Purple.html) a couple of weeks before Cora was born. Even after her difficult birth, I got to wrapping straight away and two weeks in, it was part of my morning routine. Up, washed, dressed... WRAP! I'd tie the wrap (a long rectangular piece of fabric) over my clothes each morning, then just slip Cora in and out all day. We barely touched that expensive pram at all for quite some months. It was so easy when out shopping to stand at the car door, lift baba out and slot her into the wrap that I was already wearing and off we'd go. I'd see other new mummies struggling with a buggy and blankets and raincovers and it all looked such a faff.
When in a stretchy wrap like this, newborns regulate their own body using your body temperature. So even for my November born baby, as long as she was wearing a sleepsuit, vest and hat – I'd pop her in the sling and away we were! I did at some point in that first winter buy a parka a size too big for me, which even now zips up over the two of us when Cora's on my chest in her carrier.
I made one, slightly expensive 'mistake' along the way, in buying a ring sling without trying one. I could not get on with it at all and ended up selling it on Ebay, for rather less than I paid for it. Though other mama's I know swear by theirs. We've since had several more carriers, each a little more supportive than the last as our girl piled on the pounds, and now mainly use a Close Caboo (http://closeparent.com/caboo-dxgo-carrier-2482) which is great for chest and back carries alike.
I could talk all day about the importance of baby-wearing to me, and often do to my clients with newborns! I've worn Cora for long walks on the beach, hikes up mountains and to music festivals. I've carried her to get her to go to sleep and to allow her to 'join in' more than if she were laid down in a pram. I've worn her whilst I'm cooking, cleaning and even to work. I've worn her because she loves it and because so do I.
If you're considering babywearing yourself, YAY! I don't know anybody at all who has tried it and not loved it. Firstly, if you're a Wirral mum or dad you should really go check out Wirral Sling Library in Birkenhead https://www.facebook.com/thewirralslinglibrary/ run by the amazing Wibke. She has all types of slings for you to try and is a fountain of knowledge and experience.
Secondly, familiarise yourself with the TICKS Guidelines for safe babywearing. http://babyslingsafety.co.uk/Happy slinging!