Slings And Carriers

Slings and other carriers are great - they are basically a hands-free kit for your baby. You can't wear them while driving, mind you.

But a sling is excellent for holding baby close and keeping them happy while you get those other day-to-day jobs done, like washing reusable nappies.

When Kit was first born, he was a tiny thing. In my mind he was about the size of a grapefruit or a small cantaloupe melon. Mum insists that he was significantly bigger than that, but the point I'm making still stands.

For the first couple of weeks I could basically balance him on my palm while I made a cup of tea or cooked something. He also spent a lot of time sleeping on Mum and was fairly unintrusive overall.

As the time wore on, however, he just kept on growing - up to and beyond the point where it was no longer practical to hold him in one arm and do things with the other.

How do we face this problem? Well, I'm sure there are a few different approaches but we were lucky enough to have a baby sling to hand, which I'll get into below. We now also have a backpack style carrier which is brilliant.

Why a sling?

A sling worked well for us because Kit didn't really like being put down and left alone for longer periods - while we loaded the dishwasher or made dinner or whatever.

This is pretty normal, baby has been a part of mum for nine months and probably hasn't really realised that he's now an independent being! So I imagine being left alone is pretty weird.

Also, as you know, baby is in a sort of larval stage when he first enters the world - lying prone or supine is about as active as they get. While tummy-time is important, physical connection and closeness is also essential. Wearing the baby like this means you can do the things you need to do, while baby gets to have a nice warm cuddle.

A parent-facing sling is also better for baby's back and hips than being left in a bouncer or a seat (or a forward facing sling) - at least for their first few months

 As Kit gets older, he still likes being held close although he is now more happy to do his own thing. But sometimes, his own thing is pretty much antithetical to the thing I want to do - for instance, he wants to pull everything out of his nappy drawer whilst I want to tidy all of his nappies away.

Putting him in a sling or in a back carrier is great because he's curious and wants to see what's going on, which this allows him to do, and he feels included while I can get on with stuff. If I were to just put him aside and make him stop playing with his nappies he would not be a happy bunny.

Woven sling vs stretchy sling

There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of wraparound slings - stretchy material, and woven (non stretchy) material.

A stretchy sling seems to be a bit more comfortable for a tiny baby, and it can support baby even as they grow - however once baby gets a bit bigger you might think of changing to a woven wrap. There is less give in it, so he is less likely to end up sagging down to your knees.

For a stretchy sling, I would recommend something like the Moby wrap, Boba wrap or Cuddle Bug which are reviewed below. As baby gets bigger, you might consider moving on to a buckle carrier, such as the Boba Carrier reviewed below, or perhaps you would want to stick with a wraps in which case a woven wrap may be a better choice.

They are very similar to stretchy wraps but much sturdier - no stretch. As a result, they come in different sizes to fit - I'd recommend visiting a sling library and borrowing some to find what works best for you.

How to wear a sling

This video show you how to tie a Moby wrap, which is pretty much exactly the same as for other wraps. As you can see, it's really simple! There are a few safety checks you can do to make sure that baby is safe in there, which are outlined in the video - basically, make sure baby isn't suffocating. Easy peasy!

Backpack carrier

Finally, we more recently got a backpack carrier. This is great for outdoors stuff, like hiking, walking the dogs and even gardening (to some extent). The main downside is that Kit is all alone in it; he's still right next to you but he doesn't get the comfort that he does in a sling.

Also, beware the sun - ideally, get a model with a sun shade (and a rain cover too). You should also only use a backpack carrier from about six months, when baby is able to sit up on her own and support her own head, so they're not suitable for younger babes.

Sling & Carrier Reviews

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