Everything you need to know about babywearing

babywearing
To sling or not to sling? That is the question. Well it is the question I have been asking myself for most of my second pregnancy anyway. When Leo was born I was very much the mother who rarely had a moment without a newborn in her arms, I trained myself to do tasks one handed and some days it really felt like I just couldn’t ever put him down. When I found out I was expecting baby number 2, I had no idea how I was going to cope looking after Leo and a newborn, especially if I end up with a particularly clingy baby. That is why I am going to give babywearing a go this time around, I have been sent a carrier to try out from a lovely member of the family and I am really hoping it is going to make those early days easier. Those days when all my baby wants is to be close to me but where I will also, inevitably, have so much to do that unless I grow an extra pair of arms it will just be impossible. Before I embark on my babywearing journey I got in touch with a lovely Mummy I follow on Instagram who is always sharing pictures of herself carrying her toddler in lovely slings and carriers, and she’s also expecting another baby too! Cecilia has kindly agreed to take part in this interview and has answered  all the questions you could ever have about babywearing. I am hoping this interview will help mums, like me, decide whether babywearing is right for them and give them all the advice and knowledge they need . I will now hand you over to Cecilia, get ready to find out all there is to know about babywearing.

Interview – Everything you need to know about babywearing.

A bit about you.

My name is Cecilia and I am mum to Aaron (10), Emily (8), Isla (2) and bump. I was born and raised in South America but I have been in the UK for the last 11 years since marrying my husband, Ian. I simply love being a mummy and that is what I love doing the most. But when I am not at home being busy with kids,  I work as a midwife in a hospital setting. I love both aspects of my life and I feel they compliment each other.

When did you decide that you would use a sling/carrier for your child/ren? Have you always liked the idea of babywearing?
Babywearing started out of necessity rather than choice. 10 years ago when my 1st baby was born I realised I barely had any time to achieve every day tasks, even going to toilet or getting something to eat was difficult. He wouldn’t stay asleep alone for very long during the day and wanted carried a lot, my arms were tired and by the end of the day by the time my husband came home from work I was lucky if I had put the washing machine on!  I bought a baby bjorn sling  from a main stream retailer and loved the opportunity to have hands free time whilst carrying a content baby. My stress levels went down and baby became more content.
From there, the idea of babywearing developed and I started researching more and more into it and realised some slings are better for baby’s and mine comfort so babywearing as a concept for me was born.
What is your favourite sling to use for a newborn/older baby/toddler?
For a newborn, a stretchy wrap such as a hana wrap is my all time favourite. They are very light weight and because they are stretchy they allow a newborn to mold to your body freely and adopt the most comfortable, natural position for them. They are very easy to use for beginners and the bamboo blend on the Hana wrap regulates temperature through the different seasons.
From about 4 months, babies start to get heavier and start to wriggle about and often need a more supportive fabric than a stretchy. In my experience a woven wrap is the best for older babies until they start walking- a woven is just a long piece of fabric that you securely tie. They provide the opportunity to experiment different carrying positions, front carries, hip carries (great for nosey babies that want to see the world) and of course back carries.
Once they are toddlers they start to become more independent and often go up and down often: I find at this stage they want to walk and explore but then little legs get tired and they need to be carried, so for then I favour buckles or a ring sling. A buckle carrier – really is what it says, you clip the buckles on and you are good to go.
A ring sling is a piece of fabric with a round metal ring, you pass the fabric through the rings and usually baby sits near your hips supported by the fabric and it’s super easy to use.

 

What is your favourite thing about babywearing?

The fact I can go where prams can’t. Shopping is so much easier when you don’t have to wait for lifts, negotiate through crowds or narrow doors. I can get on a bus or train and not worry about if there will be spaces for the pram. When I go out I don’t have to spend ages getting the pram in and out the car. Going on holidays is stress free without having a pram to contend with, from security at the airport to negotiating cobbled and uneven streets ,all is much easier when you are babywearing. I can go on walks, take the stairs and pretty much do what I would do if I didn’t have a baby with me.

What (if anything) do you dislike about being a babywearing mummy?

That you and baby can get quite sweaty during the summer months. Using light clothing and a muslin between baby and you can really help. But at times it just can’t be avoided.

In your opinion what is the best baby carrier you’ve used in terms of quality, price and ease of use?

The Tula baby carrier has been what I have used the most with my youngest, Isla. It is a buckle carrier and super easy to use. You buckle up the waist strap, put the baby on, buckle the shoulder strap and you are good to go. Because I suffered with back pain in the past, the tula’s padded shoulder and waist straps have meant that my back not once has been sore even after 8hrs of daily use on very unsettled days. It has a handy pocket to keep your phone, keys, cards etc too. The standard Tula retails at around £98, but because of its quality it retains its value, meaning once you are finished with it you can sell it for pretty much the same price you bought it for.
It’s a win win 😉 some prints are so popular you can sell them for more than you paid for.
What advice would you give to a mum who is thinking of trying babywearing for the first time?
To look for a sling library and try different slings on before buying it. It can be confusing and overwhelming at first.
There are hundreds of libraries around the country easily found online. They stock the most popular carriers in the market, if you attend their meetings you can try them on and they can give you advice on fit. You can also hire them for a small fee and take the slings home for a proper test drive.  Alternatively, there are online sling hires  that will send you the slings through the post.

Is it possible to use a baby sling and not completely go down the attachment parenting route? Or once you start using a sling does your baby want to then co sleep with you and be in the sling all the time?
Yes you don’t need to go down the attachments parenting route if you decide to babywear at all.
They won’t want to be carried all the time nor will they insist on sleeping in your bed.
You may find it’s the other way round actually.
The more you carry your baby, the more secure they become about the world around them and being close to you it’s the best way to encourage them to be independent. The emotional and psychological benefits of babywearing mean carried babies sleep, play and socialise more independently sooner than those that aren’t kept close to their main care givers.
I try to put myself in a baby’s shoes : they were cosy and cocooned inside you for months and then they come out into this mysterious, cold and scary vacuum. If they are in this hugging and cozy environment when being worn, the world is now a good and safe place to be in. They can more easily go to sleep in their cot, moses basket, your bed or anywhere else you like with the knowledge that the world is a safe place to be in.
Are there any brands of sling/carrier you would advise mums to avoid? Why?
I would say avoid carriers that don’t support your baby to be in a natural position, those are narrow based carriers that makes your baby’s legs ‘hang’. Usually these slings give you the option to have your baby to face away from you , or facing the world.  There has been concerns about the safety of these carriers as they don’t appear to provide their hips and spine the correct support and I would encourage new parents to read up about it. Baby bjorn is an example of them. Ergonomic carriers have wider bases and support babies better.

Are wraps as complicated as they look to put on?
Haha they aren’t. But I wouldn’t had said that before I learnt how to wrap. It’s a bit like fitting a new car seat for the first time or putting your first babygrow on a baby with all those poppers . You sweat over it at first but then it becomes second nature and you can almost do it with your eyes closed. Also the more you use your wrap the softer and mouldable they become.
Is it possible to breastfeed your baby while they are in a sling?
YES! That’s another huge benefit of babywearing. It takes a little of practice but once you get the positioning right it’s plain sailing. I have fed my babies while walking on the school run, pushing a trolley at Tesco and cooking dinner very discreetly without anyone even knowing. Some carrier covers you up completely once you place the hood they come with over babies head if you prefer, so it’s very handy. Also no more looking for feeding rooms at stores or a dash to the car to feed while you are in the park with your older children or in the middle of food shopping. If you have a baby with reflux by feeding upright and maintaining an upright position after the feed is an absolutely life saver.
What are the benefits to you and baby when it comes to babywearing?
All that I have said above, but one of the best feelings is when they spontaneously kiss you, look you in the eyes and snuggle in. I also love babywearing in the winter as we keep each other cozy and warm during walks!
I find I relax more when I babywear, no more checking they are still breathing during their naps or worrying they are too hot or too cold, because they are right there next to you you just ‘know’.
You pick up on their cues so much faster when they are close to you, you know when they need fed, comforting or changing much faster. For babies, that’s what nature intended, their spacial awareness and sense of balance is greater than those who aren’t carried. They form healthy bonds with their caregivers and generally are more content.

Describe your babywearing experience is 3 words.

Bonding, relaxing and natural.
And finally, what are your top 5 tips for mums who want to give babywearing a go?
1 Don’t give up on the first try or the first carrier you try
2-Watch YouTube videos on baby carriers types and how to use them
3- join social media pages, the babywearing community is very friendly and are always there to help and give advice.
4- read up on safe baby wearing, such as correct positioning to ensure baby’s airways are open at all times.
5- enjoy the cuddles, loving snuggles on your chest, kisses and the closeness !

Thank you so much for your detailed answers Cecilia! I feel like I have learnt so much from this interview and hope these answered have helped you if you are considering giving babywearing a go. If you want to see more adorable photos from Cecilia and her family then please give her a follow on Instagram

Do you use a baby sling/carrier? How have you found the babywearing experience? Do you have any more tips that would be useful for a mum-to-be considering using a sling for the first time? Maybe you are pregnant and not sure if babywearing is right for you, has this interview helped you understand it all better? I would love to know your thoughts.

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33 Comments

  1. October 7, 2016 / 10:32 pm

    I’m always very envious when I see people looking very at ease wearing their babies like this. I always struggled with the wraparound ones. I have a 5 month old and 2 year old and need to get up and down 42 steps every day with loads of bags so now rely on slings. But I’m using my tried and tested Baby Bjorn (I got it for £5 in a local kids charity shop for my first baby). How he’s getting bigger I was thinking of switching to the Ergo Baby. However, after reading this post I”m tempted to try the wrap again. I’ve also never thought of using it for my 2 year old who often gets tired and wants to be carried when we are out for a short distance without a buggy. Thanks for sharing this post and interview with Cecilia – she looks so at ease with her bump and toddler! #thelist

    • Wendy
      October 10, 2016 / 4:52 pm

      I know, Cecilia looks like an absolute babywearing pro doesn’t she? I saw the Ergo in the shop the other day but was put off by the price. I can imagine getting up all those stairs would be an absolute nightmare, thank god for your sling hey?! Ohh I hope you have more success with a wrap this time around xx

  2. October 8, 2016 / 8:12 am

    Totally agree with trying as many as you can before you buy- I ended up buying a couple of different ones – just couldn’t get to grips with some of them. But it really is the way to go – makes life so much easier #fortheloveofblog
    Themotherhub recently posted…How To Be A Woman: Caitlin Moran in retrospect.My Profile

    • Wendy
      October 10, 2016 / 4:49 pm

      What one did you go for in the end? I have been sent a close caboo to try from my cousin, no idea how to use it yet but it looks like a good one. There is a sling library near me too that I will go to if this carrier doesn’t work. Glad to hear that it makes life easier, that is exactly what I’m hoping for xx

  3. October 8, 2016 / 12:00 pm

    I was the same as you and needed to be able to transport 2 kids around easily. I had tried a baby carrier with my 1st but only managed a few months before he became to heavy but i brought a brilliant one off e-bay for £10 and am still carring Charley around at 13 months. #Thelist

    • Wendy
      October 10, 2016 / 4:47 pm

      Wow, £10?! That’s a great bargain, some of the ones I have seen have been so expensive. Go on you for still carrying your little one at 13months, it must be working out really well for you. I am so excited to give it a go, the closeness and bonding sounds amazing xx

  4. October 8, 2016 / 12:20 pm

    This is fantastically useful and comprehensive for mums looking to carry for the first time! I had no idea about babywearing with my first and really regret that, I would have loved having that extra closeness with him. With my second my lovely mummy friends bought me a Connecta as a baby shower gift, I haven’t looked back! We love it so much. I still use the buggy, it really depends on how i’m feeling (certain times of the month my lower back feels a bit weak #ifyouknowwhatimean) I have a couple of friends who swear by their stretchies, wovens, tulas and more! I just wish information like this could be shared as standard in the classes expecting mums attend, I bet a lot more mums (and dads!) would carry if they knew more about it! Go for it Wendy, it really is a lovely, relaxing and bonding experience. I know I feel safer going out with them both if Rhyd is totally safe on me and my hands are free to hold Grays! xxx #fortheloveofblog
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    • Wendy
      October 10, 2016 / 4:45 pm

      Aww I am so pleased to hear you and Rhyd are having a great time babywearing, I really can’t wait to try it. Yes it would be good if midwives gave out information on baby wearing to new mums, just so those who like the idea of it can have a bit more advice and info on how it’s done. I am excited to give it a try and really hope it works for me and the new little one xx

    • Wendy
      October 10, 2016 / 4:40 pm

      I have heard a lot of good things about the connecta carriers, will definitely be looking into those. I have got a close caboo to try, no idea how to put it on but I am sure youtube has all the answers! Glad to hear you have had a positive babywearing experience xx

  5. October 9, 2016 / 8:21 am

    This is so helpful! I think I would love to give babywearing a go if I have another. It does sound so much easier than having to push heavy pushchairs and prams everywhere and I love that when you get the right position you can feed and wrap at the same time. We really are the ultimate multitaskers us ladies aren’t we? Thanks so much for linking up to #KCACOLS hope to see you back next time!

    • Wendy
      October 10, 2016 / 4:38 pm

      It sounds really good, doesn’t it? I can’t wait to give it a try, will let you know how it goes. Yes, us women are awesome! I do think wrapping and feeding will take a bit of practice though xx

  6. October 10, 2016 / 8:32 pm

    I can’t imagine my life without sling:) but sometimes I feel quite awkward on the street because people are staring at me:/
    #AnythingGoes

    • Wendy
      October 11, 2016 / 6:33 pm

      Aww, I don’t know why people would stare at you. I always think it looks amazing and I’m so jealous of mothers who just easily walk about carrying their babies while I struggle with a buggy whose wheels have a mind of their own!xx

  7. October 10, 2016 / 10:59 pm

    This is so interesting, I have never used a sling but starting to think about a toddler one for travelling to Australia as we will be in the plane for so long. This post is so useful for me 🙂 #anythinggoes
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    • Wendy
      October 11, 2016 / 6:35 pm

      I’m so glad you have found this post useful Bridie, that’s exactly why I asked Cecilia to do the interview. Babywearing is such a mystery to lots of parents but it turns out is not as difficult as it might look. Ohh taking a toddler on a flight to Australia does not sound fun..good luck!xx

      • October 15, 2016 / 10:30 am

        Just popping back again from #dreamteam – I shall update you when the time comes how the Australia journey goes…I guess I’ll just have to keep thinking about the sunny beaches and seeing my brother getting married to get through it 🙂 I agree it is a bit of a mystery, especially to me, but so pleased to hear it can be done. Thanks for linking up to #dreamteam Hope to see you next time xx
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  8. October 11, 2016 / 9:27 am

    I love this post, it is so informative and really shows the benefits of babywearing – and how much Cecelia loves it! Her photos are amazing, makes me wish I took more photos of me and my little one when we’re babywearing. One thing I would say is good to look up are the TICKS guidelines – they explain the correct positioning and the important things to look out for like ‘M’ shape legs, close enough to kiss, clear airways etc. Fab post #DreamTeam
    Something About Baby recently posted…Times to Treasure – Week 8My Profile

    • Wendy
      October 11, 2016 / 6:31 pm

      Ohh thanks you, I will have a look at the TICKS guidelines, I definitely don’t want to be carrying my little man in an unsafe position or anything like that. Aww maybe if you have another baby you could makie up for it and take lots of photos 🙂 xx

  9. October 11, 2016 / 9:55 am

    I loved baby wearing, I had a mix of stretchy and woven wraps and a ring sling just to throw on for short trips. Due to a bad back, I have two bulging discs, my baby wearing days are over but I still look at other mums and feel envious that I can no longer carry my babies close. Great post and so informative for anyone thinking about carrying their babies. #dreamteam
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    • Wendy
      October 11, 2016 / 6:29 pm

      Oh wow, you had lots of different slings! It is a shame you had to stop because of your bad back, I bet that was frustrating. Cecilia shared some excellent advice didn’t she, made me feel a lot more confident about giving it a try xx

    • Wendy
      October 14, 2016 / 4:20 pm

      It looks amazing, I can’t wait to give it a try. Glad you are having a lovely time babywearing xx

  10. October 13, 2016 / 4:00 pm

    Really useful post for anyone interested in baby wearing. I didn’t wear Rhys at all, but have done a lot with Nerys and really want to get a buckles carrier for her now she’s bigger. We used a stretchy wrap when she was a newborn and then moved on to a ringsling which I loved. x #KCACOLS
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  11. October 13, 2016 / 9:01 pm

    What a lovely interview! I just love all the different styles and colours of slings and wraps that are available these days. I really wanted to do babywearing with Sophie and we did try it out using our local sling library but she absolutely hates it 🙁 She doesnt like being restrained in any way so it’s definitely not for her. Booo for me though, I was really looking forward to it! Thanks for sharing on #fortheloveofBLOG
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  12. October 13, 2016 / 9:19 pm

    this is such a great and informative post. I Love babywearing and still regularly wear Ava who has just turned two. i thought the Tula was expensive when I bought it but it’s definitely been our most used product, I love it. Thanks for linking to #PickNMix
    Eilidh x
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  13. October 14, 2016 / 10:37 am

    I never really used one when I had my eldest and with my youngest I had a babybjorn when he was little which was a lifesaver for when you have to run around with a toddler! I started using a ErgoBaby one when he was over a year old and we were travelling to Hong Kong. In hindsight I wish I’d bought the Ergo sooner because it was super comfy! #KCACOLS
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  14. October 14, 2016 / 11:32 pm

    I’ve had three children and I never tried baby carrying but I sort of wish I had now. This sounds like a great way to bond with baby and I can see how this would make them more independent and content.

    Thanks for linking up to #AnythingGoes

    Janet
    Janet recently posted…The StrainMy Profile

  15. October 15, 2016 / 2:52 pm

    What a great interview. Very useful. I had a Baby Bjorn with Bella but with Bella I tried the Manduca which I absolutely loved! I used it all the time. It was a life saver because Sienna didn’t like the pushchair at the beginning so the Manduca became our way to transport her. Thanks so much for sharing this useful interview at #KCACOLS. It is not long now to meet your 2nd baby! How exciting! 🙂

    • Wendy
      October 17, 2016 / 9:51 pm

      I know, only a matter of days before my due date! Can’t wait to introduce him to you all :). Ohh it makes me so happy to hear of another mum who has had a positive babywearing experience, I really hope it will work for me and baby boy. The bond when carrying your baby looks amazing. Thanks for hosting lovely xx

  16. October 16, 2016 / 10:51 pm

    Interesting! I’m always impressed by these people walking around making baby wearing look effortless! I never took to it. Both my kids liked being held a lot, so I carried them around lots. I actually found carrying them easier than wearing them in a carrier or sling – I always found that felt odd! So many people seem to find it really easy and natural though, so not sure what I did wrong! #AnythingGoes

    • Wendy
      October 17, 2016 / 9:31 pm

      I know, lots of people make it look so easy. Leo never liked being carried either and I only used a carrier once as I was so worried he’d fall out of something. I am going to try a bit harder this time though as I don’t know how I can carry a baby around all day in my arms when I have LLeo to look after. ALthough, if this baby hates being in a sling too then I will come for you for tips on how to deal with two!xx

  17. October 21, 2016 / 6:27 am

    Thank you Wendy for this! Only now am I catching up with life 🙂 I think TICKS is very important, great that it was pointed out.

    I certainly love baby and toddler wearing and I am so glad to read it has been useful to you and other mums.

    Xxx

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