Our baby is just over three months old and hasn’t ever sat in a pram or buggy. We carry her in a sling when we are out and about, and decided to do this for a number of reasons:
- We live in a small house. Owning less stuff makes sense for us. Slings and wraps fold away much smaller than a buggy.
- Our house has steep steps up to the door. In a sling, we can get our baby into the house without waking her up. In a buggy, we would wake her.
- We walk and hike on muddy and uneven countryside footpaths. These often have kissing gates and styles, which we can navigate easily with a sling. In a buggy or pram, this would be much more challenging.
- Freedom. Carrying our baby in a wrap or sling gives us two hands to eat and carry items.
- Holding our baby close. We like to think of it as giving her a hug, whilst on the move!
We are not against buggies or prams, we just haven’t needed one yet.
Our choice of sling and wrap: Freerider and Moby
Slings: What we’ve learned so far
At 3 months old, we have walked 287 miles and for more than 100 hours with our baby. She loves the slings and wraps, and so do we.
Here is some of the stuff we would have found helpful to know about slings and wraps before using them.
1. Consider fabric weight and stretch
The weight and stretchiness of the fabric is different for different slings.
Our baby was born in July, in 30 degree heat. The Moby wraps were heavy and sweaty; the Freerider slings were lightweight and more breathable, and we preferred them.
We also preferred the way there was relatively little stretch in the fabric of the Freerider slings. This meant that the fabric stayed put, which in turn meant our baby also stayed put! This was not the case with our stretchier Moby wraps: when we walked, our baby often travelled lower as the wrap stretched. This meant we often adjusted and retied the Moby wraps whilst out and about.
2. Consider length
Fabric wraps come in different lengths. My husband and I wanted something that we could both use in the same way. Freerider slings hit this mark; the Moby wraps did not, as the fabric ‘tails’ were much shorter on my husband’s body.
3. Be prepared for a lot of conversations
People in our home town carry babies a lot, but we get a lot of comments and questions. These come from strangers in the street and incredulous family members:
- Is that a baby?!
- Hadn’t you had enough of carrying her round after 9 months?!
- Isn’t that terrifically sweaty?
- Aren’t you worried you’ll never be able to put her down?
- You’re spoiling that child!
This can be a great, or can feel like a chore (largely dependent on our mood!).
4. Consider washing instructions
We use our wraps a lot (often multiple times per day, and for multiple activities). This means they get covered in poo, milk, dribble, and sweat. We didn’t want to be stuck inside whilst washing them, and so we definitely needed more than one.
Our wraps have different washing requirements, which has practical implications. The Freerider slings require a delicates cycle in the washing machine, whilst the Moby wraps can be washed on a standard programme. However, the Freerider slings dry much quicker than the Moby wraps, as the fabric much is lighter.
5. Dressing yourself and the baby
Carrying a baby is warm, as you are sharing core body heat. In our antenal classes, we were told to dress ourselves and then add one layer for the baby. This was not true with her in a sling!
We referred to a blog post from Wear My Baby for advice, which suggested considering yourself and the sling each as a layer of clothing for the baby. We also used hats and sun hats, based on the weather.
Slings: What next?
As our baby gets bigger, we are likely to need a new carrier for her. Although Freerider slings and Moby wraps are tested up to babies of 30 and 35lbs respectively, these may be less comfortable for bigger babies! We haven’t yet chosen her new carrier, and are looking at a number of different options.
I’d love to hear about your experiences with wraps, slings, and babywearing in the comments, or over on @wholemealmum. How did you get on? What did you like and dislike? What slings or carriers did you use?