- Family and Parenting
Baby Wearing - All the Best Babies are Doing It!
A Sling Baby Is a Happy Baby!
My babies lived in a sling from the moment they were born. So comfortable for them and me too! I tried other baby carriers but always came back to slings. They are much more versatile than most other carriers, but at the same time far simpler to use. No buckles or straps to mess with; no holes for this body part but not that body part. Sometimes low-tech is truly the way to go!
Look for my special FRUGALICIOUS TIPS!
Hold Your Babies Close
Studies show that more physical contact increases baby's health AND intelligence quotients!
This low-tech baby carrier is far more versatile than any new-fangled, high-tech carrier on the market. Baby can sit in at least four different ways in the sling, and all you have to do is pull on the tail to tighten it around his body and yours at the same time. Also, you can use the same sling from birth to two or three years of age! In the picture (no, that's not me) you can see how roomy the sling is - the cloth goes up to the baby's head in back and to his chin in front!
Newborns can be cradled completely inside the sling. Mom has both hands free! It's great for nursing discreetly, too. I have sat through many church services and other events quietly nursing with no one the wiser but me and my little one.
Very early, mine loved to sit facing outward, with their legs curled up tightly near their bellies (as in the photo). I got many comments on how uncomfortable they looked, but my comment that until very recently they had been wrapped up even tighter always brought a comprehending look.
As they get older they will sit up a bit, as shown in the picture (below) of my dad. Their chubby legs hang out below; cup the cloth under the bottom so they are sitting down inside the sling.
They can sit facing your chest in this position, especially if their legs are curled inside, but as they gain better head control and get heavier and their legs hang out, you will naturally shift them to your hip. I carried my babies in the sling until they were quite large, near two years or so. I often got comments about how they were surely too big for that sling. My answer: It is easier to carry them on my hip with the sling than without it!
The final simple position is on the mom's back. I didn't use this much but that's my personal preference; it is fairly simple to put the baby on your hip in the sling, and shift her to your back, then retighten the sling. This leaves your arms completely free and baby can peep over your shoulder, something she will love to do!
Photo source: Maya Wrap
My father, with his 8th grandchild. He had not ever used a sling before but took to it like a pro!
Would you use a sling carrier for your baby?
Have You Carried a Baby in a Sling?
Wonderful Baby Slings - Different styles of sling for your baby.
There are two basic choices with slings. The first is: padded or not? A sling is basically a long rectangle of cloth with or without padding along the long edges of the sling, which somewhat reinforces the support they offer. I started with a Nojo padded sling, later made a padded sling myself, and ended up with an unpadded Maya wrap which was by far my favorite! The unpadded edge gives perfectly good support and is far more flexible for wrapping exactly where you want it to go.
The second choice, tail width, makes more of a difference. Most slings narrow at the end where the cloth goes through the tightening buckle (see the pic of my dad, above), but the Maya wrap does not, and the tail is extra-long compared to narrow-tail slings. The tail is the same width as the rest of the sling (see the pic in Keep Them Close, above), which gives it several benefits over the narrow-tail slings:
~~ The tail is wonderful for throwing over baby's head to provide shade or shelter from wind, sun, snow, and prying eyes.
~~ Since the tail is the same width as the sling, you can easily and separately adjust the front, back, and middle parts of the sling, impossible with a narrow-tail sling.
~~ A narrow-tail sling will not fit a wide variety of body sizes, since it will lengthen only to where the tail narrows; a Maya wrap, however, is nearly infinitely adjustable for different body sizes, as it will lengthen as long as there is tail left!
~~ BONUS: when you toss it over baby's head, it goes over your opposite shoulder for a very dramatic look for you! ;-)
This Maya wrap is almost identical to my beloved sling, and shows the facing-out position my babies all loved! Mayas come in a wide variety of solids and bright patterns, and are available with a roomy pocket on the end that hangs free.
Moby Wraps were just coming out as my last baby outgrew her sling, so I never tried one. Similar to the Maya, but a bit more actual wrapping is involved.
I love the pocket in the middle of the sling on this one. Convenient for mom, and when baby faces forward, a nice toy pocket!
Padded edges and a narrow tail, with shoulder padding to distribute baby's weight across your back.
When you have two babies,
or a toddler and a baby,
one can be slung on a hip
and the other carried on the
other hip when the need arises;
hard to do that with a carrier
with lots of straps and buckles.
You can even use two slings!
Plus, you'll have done
your weight lifting for the day!
Make Your Own Baby Sling - Making your own baby carrier is cheaper, and you can make a personal statement with your fabric choice!
FRUGALICIOUS TIP: There are lots of free baby sling patterns out there, and it is very easy and quick to make your own (especially a Maya wrap style) from cloth you have on hand - even a sheet! You can purchase a pattern if you need one, but it will still be a significant savings over buying a new sling!
- Maya Wrap-Style Sling
The Maya wrap is probably the simplest style of sling to make, since it is basically just a big rectangle. Plus, it is easy to just reduce proportions to make your toddler her very own doll sling!
- Elizabeth Lee Padded Sling
This is the pattern I used when I made a sling. It makes a narrow-tail sling very similar to a Nojo or Over-the-Shoulder Holder.
- Karma Baby Sling
Step-by-step instructions for a loop-type sling that drops over your head, with no tail to tighten. Includes advice on which cloth to choose, instructions for carry positions, and pictures of moms with babies in slings.
- Rebozo Baby Sling
Step-by-step instructions for a traditional Mexican tie-on sling.
- Crocheted Pouch-Style Infant Sling
This crocheted pouch sling looks like a big purse, with a strap that drops over your head. Fun!
Baby #3 loved to go to sleep just like this, snugged in the green/blue sling, with my thumb in his mouth.
How to Use a Maya Wrap Sling - The Maya Wrap adjusts slightly differently than other slings.
The ONLY Baby Book You Need! - Dr. William Sears gently and thorougly addresses all your parenting questions!
My "baby" is five and a half ... and I still can't bear to give up my Baby Book! What if one of my friends has a question? This is THE book to give expecting and new parents.
Boppy It Baby! - Boppies are great for tummy time and assistance sitting up.
The Boppy is a thing of beauty, and the other thing besides my sling that I could never have done without. I kept at least two: one in the house and one in the car so I would always have one handy! It is a nursing pillow, a tummy-time pillow, a learn-to-sit support pillow, a playtime pillow, and just about anything else. It even has a removable cover for washing and you can purchase extra covers in a wide variety of styles and colors.
FRUGALICIOUS TIP: The Boppy does quadruple duty as nursing pillow, a safe place to lay baby (the wings keep him from rolling away), support for tummy time, and support for baby just learning to sit up (simpler than piling pillows everywhere which will just fall away when she tilts onto them).
The basic Boppy, without a cover. The round shape makes it very flexible for fitting around your tummy while nursing, or baby's bottom as he learns to sit up.
It's wise to have at least two covers so you can keep one on while the other is in the wash. This 2-pack is in attractive muted rainforest colors.
My oldest daughter with her doll in a sling I made, which matched the sling I made to carry her baby brother.
All photos and text copyright © tandemonimom unless otherwise credited.
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