On slinging the baby.

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Now, you are a big fan of slings. So much so that you were going to write a post for International Babywearing Week, except your success in finessing Twitter had to be recorded first.

Yet you struggle to take the term ‘babywearing’ seriously. Mainly because it seems to be something of a philosophical position and the fact that you wear slings a lot is, in your view, simply a practical choice.

There are lots of stairs to your flat and you use public transport a lot so it saves heaving a buggy up steps and over commuters’ toes. It allowed the Star to look passers-by better in the eye and smile at them, which he enjoyed, and it allows the Comet to better grab hold of interesting leaves, iron railings and your hair, which she enjoys. It also keeps your hands free to snaffle the Star as he attempts to sprint off in the opposite direction to the one you want. And the Comet, except on very rare occasions, doesn’t seem to enjoy being in the pram attachment to your pushchair*.

Anyway, you now consider your self, after two babies and four types of sling, something of a sling connoisseur.

There was the bag sling, reviled for its overheating issues, but incredibly easy to get on and with a cave-like atmosphere your newborns seemed to enjoy. You never felt you could let go, though, and you did need to watch that they were getting fresh air. The next was a Baby Bjorn. You always felt other people were having all the fun with the Star there as he was turned away from you. Whispering in his ear just wasn’t the same as being able to exchange grimaces. He, of course, loved it. Then there was a lightweight backpack. Bit of a struggle to get on but the main disadvantage was that the Star used to use your hair to steer you. Ow! And you say again, ow!

So given that you had never quite found that perfect solution with the Star, for the Comet you took advice from a fellow sling enthusiast and bought an Ellaroo wrap.

It’s a bit ethnic looking. Very Peruvian pan pipes.

Other than that it is hands down the best of the lot and you say that despite the fact that you haven’t gone much further than the front cross carry position. It’s more comfortable, has lasted longer already and it doubles as a breastfeeding cover, unless of course you are just going straight for that most useful of functions, the ability to feed her without removing her from the sling. With a bit of pointed wiggling, readjustment, and the inevitable nipple flash, of course.

But you’ve never been much of a one for wearing the sling around the house, particularly now you have a toddler, and today you were reminded of why.

There you were, happily wandering down the riverbank, hand in hand with the Star, the Comet growling away somewhere under your chin. When suddenly, ‘Kaka! Kaka! Kaka!’ shouted the Star.

You remained calm. You located a bar, marched the Star through it, and fended off the publican who tried to direct you to the baby change area.

You arrived at the toilets unscathed and proceeded to start stripping your son. The Comet got in the way. The Comet objected to being squashed between you and the Star while your unsighted hands wrestled with the zipper. The Comet yelled and screamed and thrashed and objected.

Eventually, you got the Star perched on the seat of the big toilet, clutching your hand, but otherwise unworried at the prospect of falling in backwards with a splash.

The Comet roared on and tried to fling herself out of the sling backwards, but you relaxed and waited for the plop plop plopping to begin.

And suddenly, there you are, kneeling on the floor of a public toilet in a cramped cubicle with a small alarm system strapped to your tummy, and someone is pissing in your face.

Because you had forgotten to ensure that the Star’s pipiska was pointing downwards in all the confusion. The Comet’s cute little coat** got a bit of drenching too.

So while you love your Ellaroo, you are counting the days until someone solves the ‘can’t bend and twist elegantly and with ease’ problem which all slings have currently.

*You gather this because she cries. Energetically. Unless she is parked under a tree. She likes trees.

**Look, she’s a lamb! Look at the ears! Awwwwwwwww.

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13 responses »

  1. I remember young Comet in a pram, wailing IN BETWEEN trees and cooing as soon as we were under one. It was quite impressive. WAAAA oohhhh WAAAAA ooooohhh WAAAA all the way down the avenue. I thought it was adorable, but then, I’m not putting up with it all the time.

    As for the lavatory adventure, I’d LIKE to say I didn’t laugh heartily, but I did, and I’m sorry, because, DAMN.

  2. I predict that your next sling (if you buy another one, that is) will be a podaegi.

    It’s better for older babies and it is fairly easy to carry a kid on the back in it.

  3. I hop Comet’s coat can be washed. I think babies in coats with hoods and ears are very cute.

    While I used slings for both Boy and Girl, there is enough of an age gap that I was not wrangling a toddler at the same time. I do think the term baby wearing is weird though. To me, you wear the sling not the baby.

  4. I just recently got an Ergo carrier and it’s great as a backpack for older babies (except when I forget he’s there and bang his head on a door). You can also use it as a front carrier with baby facing in or out. And a hip carrier for when you feel like cooking lopsided. Pretty cool and very easy to put on =)

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