Whether you’re a parent of one or eight children, there are probably a hundred times every day where you think “why haven’t I got more than one pair of hands”. Demands on your time, household chores, other family members needing you and a baby or toddler who just wants some cuddling time can often leave us feeling like we need at least four more hours in the day, along with 8 more arms.
For this reason, many parents turn towards slings or baby carriers which enable them to give the much needed cuddles, but also enable them to keep doing the other million things that need to be done. I know for myself as a self-employed Newborn Photographer, trying to run a business & a home with a new baby was very tricky, he always seemed to need a cuddle just when I was about to do something. For this reason I found a sling was one of my must have items. It allowed me to get the house work done, some editing & admin time while I had my baby in a sling, snuggled against me.
Slings have many benefits; you’ll have your hands free to do other things, you’ll have baby/toddler close to you so you can prevent them from crying and clamouring for your attention and you’ll be able to take five for yourself. So, once we’ve established that slings are good, what do you need?
When you’re buying anything for your baby or toddler, you need to ensure that it’s safe for them. Slings and carriers are no different and with that in mind, the UK Consortium of Sling Manufacturers and Retailers have written some guidelines on correct and safe baby carrying. These are known as the TICKS Guidelines and essentially say that when you’re carrying your baby you should ensure that they are:
- T – Tight
- I – In view at all times
- C – Close enough to kiss
- K – Keep chin off chest (that way, the airway is opened)
- S – Supported back
In addition, you should consider the way your baby’s legs are when they’re in a sling. If you hold a baby in the air under his arms his legs will automatically rise into a “frog” position which is the most comfortable position for the legs to be. There are some slings which support this and are known as “wide base slings”. These are the best for baby’s hip and leg development. Some older versions of carriers and some of the high street brands don’t support the baby in this way and instead have a very thin seat. You might hear these being described as “crotch danglers” and they can be very uncomfortable for baby.
There are so many slings and carriers available it’s difficult to know where to start. You might hear of stretchy wraps, woven slings, mei-tai’s, buckles and ring slings, and each is very different. Baby wearers, as it the term people who choose to carry like to use, tend to have a favourite whilst babies themselves might also favour a type of carrier.
The best way of finding out your type is to try them. This doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend a fortune on every type of sling (although it’s possible to), but finding a sling library where you can get some expert advice as well as trying on a variety of carriers and even lending some to see how they fit into your life, is definitely advised.
We have our very own sling library right her in Chesterfield. You can follow them on Facebook here