Choosing a baby sling or carrier - Where to start?
Choosing the right carrier for you, can be tough! Especially with the huge array of different options now available and especially if you've never used a sling or carrier before. This is why it's so important to try out different carriers before buying one. It's just like buying the right pair of jeans. Sling libraries offer a variety of events and services to educate on the topic of babywearing. I'd like to share my good friend (and colleague) Hannah´s story on how she overcame her struggles with babywearing, when she found the support she needed in her local sling library:
"There are so many shopping decisions, things to consider when having a baby. Currently I am expecting my third baby and even since I had my first, 8 years ago, the list has lengthened of those ‘MUST HAVES’ that I simply will not manage without! The one thing though that has featured on every list I have looked at, both then and now, has been a baby carrier.
But where do I start? When I was expecting my first, money saving was key, so I felt lucky to be passed a baby carrier by a friend whose child had grown out of it. It was from a well-known and established brand, so you can imagine my surprise when at just four weeks old, it became almost unbearably uncomfortable to wear, and I accepted, with great reluctance, that my babywearing days must be over.
This was especially unhelpful as what I hadn’t realised before giving birth to my baby boy, was just how much he needed the closeness and comfort that being carried would give him. He cried an awful lot, which I now know was because he was going through the huge adjustment of womb to world – a stage of babyhood we now refer to as the fourth trimester. All he had ever known was being carried in comfort and warmth in the womb, with the reassuring sounds of my voice and heartbeat, and now as a newborn, his world had turned completely upside down, and he craved the comfort that being in the womb had given him.
So, what had gone wrong? I continued to search for a carrier which would give me the thing I craved the most – support. Something that would support my baby’s weight whilst supporting my back, to be able to carry without pain or discomfort. What I didn’t know, was just how much difference, the position that the baby was being held in the sling would make. By holding him high and tight to me, with his knees higher than his bottom and his back supported not to slump down would make all the difference in the world to the level of ‘support’ the sling/carrier offered me.
After I had my second baby, I discovered my local sling library, which gave me the opportunity to try out a variety of carrying options, and get help from a trained professional on how to carry comfortably, and safely. Sling libraries have increased massively in popularity; there are now roughly 250 sling libraries operating around the UK. Demand has increased as parents and carers are realising that choosing a sling is a very personal decision, one which depends very much on our own unique needs and preferences, and cannot easily be made by reading reviews.
I then trained as a carrying consultant myself and now run that same sling library. We see hundreds of families every year, who have realised the intense need of their babies to be carried close, and are desperate for a solution which will support their baby’s weight comfortably, and give them their hands back to enjoy the little conveniences of making themselves a cup of tea, or even going for a wee! So, find your local sling library, or book an appointment with your local babywearing/carrying consultant – it will be so worth it!"