Well, when I was pregnant with Gray, I was thinking about how this third baby was going to fit in. I joked that I was going to have to probably "wear him" in order to keep him safe from his big brothers and to keep track of all my kids. I was picturing the old woman in the shoe. And I only have three kids.
Then I went to a La Leche League meeting like a good little pregnant mommy- making plans ahead for nursing the new baby on the way. There I was in awe, watching moms actually wearing their babies (there was such a thing!) in beautiful cool slings. Babies happy and close to mama. Slings that looked more like fashion accessories than baby products. Function and Fashion? I was sold.
Right away I was online looking up baby slings and was amazed at how many different kinds there were. During my search, I learned of other wonderful benefits to wearing your baby. This was serious stuff!
Everything all just made sense, especially when Gray was just one day old and I put him in the sling for the very first time. Since day one he has loved it (and so have I!) It's hard to explain, but it just feels right.
When naming my blog, I kinda figured it as a play on words because yes, I do literally wear my baby in a sling. But also somedays I feel like I've got kids hanging off me and they literally wear me out. But isn't that just motherhood? I love it. Everyday is an adventure. So there you go.
I didn't like the idea of always boxing up the baby in a swing, play yard, or bouncy seat. Many babies are only held when being fed and then they are put down somewhere else so Mommy can do other things. I love the idea of being able to do those other things while still holding baby close, and giving them a better view of the world than from the floor, bouncy seat, or swing. That human touch is so very important, especially in the first year of life.
And I am not saying that I never put Gray down. He did start walking at 11 months and got plenty of tummy time and so forth.
There are no rules with babywearing. Basically you either have a baby sling and use it or you don't. You can be a "babywearer" and still own a stroller and put your baby in the cart at a grocery store. I do sometimes. Just depends on our mood. If my shopping trip warrants the sling, I'll do that. If the big racecar cart is available, then that's what you'll usually see me trying to maneuver around the store. It's basically whatever works. But I always make sure I have a sling with me!
Sometimes the sling is like magic. Definitely works like this for hubby. If I ever leave the house without Gray, I must - my life practically depends on this- leave the mei tai (say it like MAY-tie... not like the drink!) Hubby will notice when Gray shows signs of being sleepy or just needing to be held. He'll put on the mei tai and usually in an instant he's out like a light. This is still the case and Gray is now 19 months old.
When you have a baby that doesn't feel well and nothing else seems to be working, try the sling. It can work wonders. Being held close to your heart and snug & secure is most often exactly what the baby or toddler needs. And instead of being imprisoned to a rocking chair or in front of the tv while you hold a sick child, wearing them in a sling offers you freedom to move about and still do other things.
The most common question I am asked is which type of sling is right for someone just starting out. I usually recommend the ring sling. You'll see these quite often and I love my ring slings still. That was what I started out with Gray. You can see some lovely ones here at Nest. If you want to try one out, check out your local La Leche League. Most often they will sell slings or at least have some for you to try on! Also, if you already have a sling but aren't confident in knowing how to use it, check out The Babywearer.com here for great tips on how to use your baby carrier.
For newborn and young babies, I prefer the ring sling or an adjustable pouch. My ring sling is what I always have with me and is the fastest sling to put on. Lately my favorite way to wear him around the house or out on long walks is in the mei tai in a front or back carry.
All Natural Mommies offers some very nicely priced mei tais. My mei tai is a Free Hand Baby Carrier and I actually got it through a barter group online. Urban Baby Runway offers a great selection of different baby carriers. You should also check out The Babywearer.com's 'for sale or trade forums' for easy and inexpensive ways to get a new or used carrier in every style imaginable!
How many slings do you need? Well, I think you need just whatever suits you. One can be just enough! I used to have several but have since loaned quite a few out or given them away. I have a few ring slings (including a mesh water sling- I highly recommend for the shower and pool!!), an adjustable pouch, and my mei tai.
You and/or your baby will most likely develop a favorite. Gray doesn't discriminate and loves them all. How long will I wear him? As long as he wants to be worn, because I would gladly hold him forever...
Pictured above: black ring sling, red Mamma's Milk adjustable pouch, Free Hand Baby Carrier mei tai (by this photo he was just about to fall asleep!)
Also, please check out my Babywearing Tip of the Week every Friday!