Would you… wear your baby?

Since having a little one I’ve been slowly getting to grips with getting around with a baby and all the stuff they require. Because we live somewhere so handy for those with children, the few weeks I spent not driving weren’t a hardship at all and I pushed the pram out often when we went on walks or for coffee or visiting local friends. When we drove I had Pete acting as Jeeves, which included getting the bags buggy. However, when by myself I quickly realised that lugging a pram around can be a royal pain in the behind and often opt to use our baby carrier. (This isn’t strictly news to me – I anticipated I would feel the same about being hands free and more mobile as I’m quite a ‘busy’ person.) Quite a few of you have asked so I thought I’d share my thoughts and ask your opinions on baby wearing too.

For this of you who haven’t heard of it, baby wearing is simply the practice of carrying your baby or child in a fabric or specially made sling or baby carrier. They range from technical contraptions to simple stretchy wraps and costs vary hugely. It’s a centuries old practice and women around the world wear their babies, with well known and accepted benefits to both baby and the adult carrying them. In short, babies are happier and cry less. Parents are more confident as a result and less frazzled as they can get on with their daily lives. Sold? I was.

We opted for the Ergobaby 360 – a new carrier on the market by Ergobaby and had to wait for it to come out. It’s not cheap – £139.95 at John Lewis and we had to buy the infant insert to make it suitable from birth too, for an additional £20. However we justified it with the knowledge this allowed us to carry Bea (and any future babies) right through to toddler and beyond as it allows baby to be carried facing inwards or outwards on the front, on the hip or later on on your back. We chose it over a BabyBjorn as it is supposed to be better for hip development by seating baby in an ergonomic frog leg position.

Once I started using it I loved the freedom, just like I expected. On my first excursion out of Chorlton on my own I took Bea in the Ergobaby on the tram (super easy not having to find space for the pram) to the sling library in Sale (most places have local sling libraries where you can try and rent out slings before buying your own and meet other mums too,) and back. The best thing about it is how convenient it is and that she sleeps in it much of the time she’s in there (much like a car seat,) due to the movement and her being all snug and cozy next to me. We have only used it front facing inwards as thats the only position suitable for her age right now, but it feels secure, brilliantly made and even at this stage is flexible to allow for her position and size.

The major downside for me is the weight of the actual Ergobaby itself – I do get backache wearing it, though I’m not sure if that is due to my ligaments still being stretchy post pregnancy. The Ergobaby has a waist strap and shoulder straps much like a large rucksack you would use for hiking or D of E in school and so the weight is well distributed and it’s comfortable otherwise. I don’t see this as a major negative as we bought it mainly for Pete to wear and for us to use when going places where it wasn’t convenient to take the buggy, and it’s perfect for that as well as the future hopefully.

The other negative I felt was it’s bulk and as Bea woke up out of her newborn haze, she started to get less keen on being put down unless she was in just the perfect stage of deep sleep. One thing that kept her happy of course was being held and I started to get frustrated that I couldn’t get anything done, particularly when Pete went back to work and I had to get on with normal life. I decided to look into a wrap style (this site was a really useful resource in finding more about the different types, as was the site of my local sling library,) to keep her close and happy whilst being light and cheaper, given our initial Ergobaby outlay.

After looking into the various wraps I chose a Victoria Slinglady, (very similar to Moby or Karime wraps), mainly because it’s brilliantly priced (£14.95 on eBay). Baby carrying is very individual and there are loads of different wraps out there but this was perfect for me and I have used it loads since. I did look into DIYing a stretchy wrap (there are lots of tutorials online) but the cost of the jersey was more than this ready made one and as the sling library helpers pointed out, this way I know the fabric dyes are safe if she starts chewing them. Since then we have been out for dinner using it and this post was written with her in it too. I love having my hands back and having her so close!

So, have you got a baby carrier. Do you use it? Or has it always seemed a bit hippyish for you to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts on baby wearing and reviews of the various options and types available…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Resources:
Little Possums sling shop
Sale Sling Library (also known as Harmony Babywearing)

*This post is the beginning of a new series to encourage discussion and promote the sharing of opinion on a wide variety of motherhood subjects. Please share your thoughts and knowledge in the comments!

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35 thoughts on “Would you… wear your baby?

  1. I loved babywearing. We travelled a lot when the children were young and I’m not sure we’d have managed without some form of sling, wrap or mei tei. One of my favourite memories involves my little girl strapping her teddy to her back with a scarf and heading out with me and her brother in an identical get up! So sweet.

    I had a Kozy which I adored and always rec to new/expectant mums. Jesse was a big boy and I carried him on my back up until he was about 3. It’s such a great way to explore the world together.

    Quite jealous seeing you so snuggled up with Bea in these pics. That time is so fleeting and while my big kids {5 and 9} give great cuddles, there’s nothing like getting cosy with a newborn! Enjoy!

  2. I love baby wearing! I don’t have any littles of my own but I am a nanny for a family of 4, soon to be 5, and I always carried their current youngest around until he could walk. They have the baby bjorn which I agree I don’t like as much as the ergobaby (a friend has it and I much prefer it!) but you are so right about the weight. I find I get back and sometimes shoulder ache with it. I can’t wait to try out a sling, either when the new baby is here, or when I have my own!

    P.S She is stunning, Rebecca and you look wonderful xxx

  3. I love baby wearing we started off with a solely baby wrap and then got an ergo baby carrier when my baby was 7 months old. Now she’s nearly 14months her favourite position is on the back.

  4. We have a Moby & I love it. I needed help in learning how to use it, & didn’t use it very early on due to the heatwave. Alice slept really well in it, also great for if I had driven somewhere & didn’t have to lug a buggy out, plus meeting up with nct mums in houses where there just isn’t the space for all the prams. Also Alice was a small baby so couldn’t fit into the DIY up part of the buggy for ages, she loved being in it to see the world rather than stuck horizontal in the pram. When I returned to financial work I could keep it in my work bag & use it to collect Alice. Having been apart all day it was so lovely to be close. Alice is a small 14months & I still use it sometimes. Wondering whether to get something else – any suggestions?
    My one baby wearing problem is that you still need to carry your changing bag & that can be heavy!

    • Yeah, that’s what made me fall in love with the stroller / pram for the long walks / city hikes I love to take on a daily basis: I am hands free. I can’t imagine carrying a diaper bag or backpack and the baby in a sling. For short walks, though it’s fine. Or… I take it as an extra for when she’s fussy. And then the diaper bag goes in the stroller. Otherwise, too much weight to carry around for long distances.

    • Yep the bag is an additional problem – I took mine with me to Sale on that day and it was ok, but I do keep it pared down to the minimum of ‘stuff’ and around and about local for short trips I often don’t take anything, just a purse.

      • Not sure about the new Ergo, but my old style has a zip pocket on the front which is just about big enough for a nappy, a few wipes, a muslin and purse – obviously no good for long trips out, but meant I felt prepared for any emergencies on the shorter ones!

  5. I loved my various baby carriers and couldn’t have coped with day to day life without one, as my little girl hated being put down.

    To start with we had a sling (New Natives- borrowed from a friend), which was great when she was really little and just wanted to snuggle and sleep. My friend wore it everywhere with her little ones, but I wasn’t as convinced that they were totally secure for long walks.

    Next, I used the Baby Bjorn Mesh, which was great for when Emily started wanting to look around and see what was going on. We wore her in that until she hit around 9 months and at 20+ lbs, it was all just getting a little heavy.

    Now we have a Mei Tei which we’ve had since E was 7/8 months old. I love it as it’s super light weight, and can be worn in so many positions. It does take a little bit of practice to get it right, but once she’s in it’s fine. She’s 13 months now and we mainly use it for her to travel on the hip or on our back. Although she’s walking now, which she seems to think is a far superior option to being carried in any way….

  6. I am a huge fan of baby wearing. As mentioned above, the only problem is carrying all the stuff you need so I had to abandon my pacapod for a rucksack. I always intended to carry a little, and we bought the original Ergo pre-birth, however she turned out to be a baby who hated the pram (and still does hate the buggy) so I used to carry all the time. She didn’t like the infant insert of the Ergo so I got a Kari Me which is just another stretchy wrap which was brilliant. We moved onto the Ergo without infant insert at around 4 months as she was a heavy thing (she could have gone in at 8 weeks but even though she met the weight requirements I preferred the Kari Me). 20 months later I’m still carrying her a fair bit. I did feel a bit like a packhorse at times, struggling on the bus with baby, backpack, shopping bags etc, but I wouldn’t have got on said bus if I’d had a buggy as there always seemed to be too many buggies on their anyway.

  7. Another babywearing fan here! I only recently stopped carrying Toby at 20 months, and we used both a Manduca carrier and woven wrap from birth. It made going about on the bus etc far easier than having to navigate with a buggy, or not being able to get on if there were buggies on already. Plus it was fab for at home when I needed to get stuff done but Toby had other ideas!

    You shouldn’t really be finding the ergo heavy – it may be that your core strengthens over the next few weeks and things get easier, but if not, it might be worth popping along again to a sling meet to try some more on – what suits one mum doesn’t always suit another

    • Hmm… I suspected I should be doing, not sure if I have the positioning right – but it’s pretty foolproof when the straps are all tight, or if i’m just a bit lacking in core strength as you say, I suspect it will be more Pete’s than mine, I may invest in another option when she outgrows the stretchy wrap in the future.

  8. I borrowed a Moby wrap for the first few months, which was a life saver with a refluxy, unputdownable baby – I managed to cook dinners, even do ironing all with T tucked in there! Sometimes it was the only place I could get her to sleep, don’t know what I would have done without it.

    Once she was a little bigger we got an Ergo which I love and still use at 22 months – in fact I’m off on hols in a week and travelling on my own with T so I think I’m going to rely on it to get through the airport and still have hands to carry things. It was a lot of money but has been worth it – and apparently they sell for virtually the same price second-hand.

  9. I love baby wearing but I had to “train” her to like it. Maybe it is because she spent 22 days at the hospital, and so, even though we did lots of kangaroo therapy, we did not get to put her close to us in the stretchy sling since day one, or because since the beginning she loves to “break free” and move (swaddling her arms did NOT help calm her down, on the contrary she wouldn’t stop moving and flailing. until her arms were unbundled again). She just does not like to feel trapped.
    But, we were planning to travel overseas with her at 5 months and so she had to learn to be in it because we were planning to use it at the airport / airplane, etc.
    I started practising for a while every day and she slowly started liking the comfort of being close and snuggled. Now she loves to nap in it and sometimes it helps her settle down.
    We have a structured carrier, the Maxi Cosi Easia and I love it because it is also anatomical (favouring the “frog” position in which the head of the femur fits in the acetabulum). And also, because it has hip and a panel for back support. (I kind of envisioned getting back pain from carriers which are just “straps” without extra support).
    We also have a stretchy jersey wrap and a woven wrap that were presents from my sister, but I’ve had less luck with those. I even went to workshops, I’ve watched all the youtube videos, I know how to do the knots, but when it comes to putting the baby inside, I just get lost / never get the feeling that she is secure and safe in it.
    Which means that I use the slings / wraps at home and the structured carrier for going out and about. (Though I have to say I absolutely love the stroller, and it is my favorite means of going out with her… I just get really warm with the sling after a while)
    I am looking into getting another carrier, that will be better through toddler-hood, I am considering the Boba 4 G orthe Lillebaby, maybe someone here has experience?

  10. I’m a huge baby wearing fan and have worn J from birth in a variety of wraps/slings. A moby wrap when newborn, then a connecta, a ringsling and my current one is a Babyhawk Mai tai which is great and comfortable for me. They’re such a personal thing though; what is great for one person is no good for another. I’m now looking for a legacy wrap for him to keep.

  11. We have a Connecta on loan from the sling library at the moment – It’s incredibly easy to use (I am far too malcoordinated for slings like the Moby or the Caboo), it is good for the baby to look out of even when they are facing into you, which is essential for Iris who otherwise gets frustrated, and it is anatomically correct. It isn’t as supportive for the parent as an Ergo or Baby Bjorn but I only use it for going round London, so it’s been fine so far. We also have a Baby Bjorn which my husband much prefers but I think she’s too little (at 2 months) for the “crotch dangler” position for any length of time.

  12. We have a stretchy wrap, which used for the first few weeks. Then at about 14 weeks, Ava decided she hated it. I never persisted after that.

    I also bought a Manduca which is a structured wrap, similar to Ergo. Ava hated it, until she was old enough to be worn on the back (about 6 months). Since then she has loved it, but not for long walks (just long enough to visit daddy down the fields, when he on his tractor, or to go mushroom picking).

    I’ve spent £100 on wraps, and not had a huge amount of use, but they have come in from time to time, and will be used with the next.

    Ava loves her pushchair, she did right from the start.

  13. I’ve been taking the wee one out and about in the Moby (passed on from another mum) and she seems to like it, or at least it puts her to sleep. I’m quite paranoid about checking her airway and making sure she’s visible/kissable etc but I’m sure as she gets bigger I’ll relax about that. I also find the fabric sags a bit after she’s been in it for a while so I need to keep tightening it, but that might just be because it’s third-hand. She’s almost at 7lbs, which is when we can begin using our structured carrier as well as the fabric sling. We went for the Lillebaby, which I think is actually the product that spurred Ergo to launch the 360 in competition – it was the first all-round carrier, it’s a Scandinavian company that seems to be much more popular in America than here. I don’t know how much the Ergo weighs, but the Lillebaby is only 600g and doesn’t need a separate newborn insert, so hopefully it won’t be too bad to carry her around in it. I’ll report back once I’ve used it! It’s also slightly cheaper than the Ergo 360 – score! The main advantage of a sling/carrier for me, as well as closeness and cuddles of course, is convenience. I live in a first floor flat and although we have an estate car, the dog takes up most of the space so the pram is just a pain to use a lot of the time.

    • Never heard of the Lillebaby but now I’ve seen it I want it! Not being able to turn baby around is the one downside to the Ergo I have and this looks great. Am going to bookmark their page for future reference. Thanks!

  14. We’ve been given a Baby Bjorn but I have heard rave reviews about the Ergo. The plan was to see if Baby (once born) even likes being in a carrier before we invest. We have a lot of sling libraries where we are in London so I figured I’d wait until Baby was here until we went to try them out – like you say, size and Baby temprement plays a large part in whether or not baby wearing is successful.

  15. Beco slings are very similar to Ergo. I hope your back gets better soon – everything is rearranging itself so soon postpartum (don’t even mention pelvic floor!), so hopefully it will sort itself out.

    I have loved mine, first used outdoors in 2010 to carry our 3 week old 3 miles through the snow for Christmas dinner with friends (would have been housebound otherwise). Most used to soothe colicky baby and get things done around the house. Brilliant for days out and festivals (no muddy buggy, and they stay warm and sleep while you stay out late). Last used last Sat to carry my 16 month old son on my back once he got tired toddling through the forest on a family day out. I love the fact this kind of sling can work so many ways, and at so many stages. Great quality, lasted really well (am going to give to a pregnant friend when I’m finished).

    It’s also easily thrown in the footwell of the car and no manhandling buggies into the boot. Brilliant on public transport (took both babies to London on my own for the day (from Birmingham) and great from bus to train to tube (easy stairs!).

    My other half loves it too as it looks technical enough not to emasculate him (there was no way he was wearing a ring sling!).

    And finally, hospitals and GP surgeries are far easier to negotiate with a baby in a sling (we go often, and the multistorey, fire doors, queing, and waiting room palaver is simpler).

    x

  16. Love baby wearing, although now at nearly 2 don’t get much opportunity as she’d rather run about! Would recommend Tula, they are fab and beautiful! Great for older babies. Also ring slings were a god send for fussy stage around 4 months where the only way to settle her was to breastfed whilst walking around- they are very good for feeding in even with large bust and quick to put up and down in.

    Shouldn’t be having much back ache with a new born in an ergo really. Watch some you tube videos on ergo baby wearing and see if a couple of little tweaks improve things.

  17. I would have really liked to do babywearing, I think my little boy would have loved it! I was ill after giving birth though so would not have felt safe carrying him around like that – I had a blood loss after birth and was anaemic, battling infections and fainting (!) for weeks afterwards. I think it was getting on for 12 weeks before I was strong enough to lift his car seat. We were also a bit limited because winter 2012 was very cold and it snowed a lot…Luckily my husband was working from home during this whole time so he was always on hand to help me get out and about with the buggy when I did want to go out. My baby was also really heavy to begin with, 10lb9oz at birth and he literally stayed at the top of the weight charts till he was 1.
    If I am lucky enough to have another it’s definitely something I would look into, I imagine with a toddler to look after being hands free would be a massive advantage.

  18. I’ve got the ergo galaxy grey, and still carry Lily (23 months) in it front and back. The zip pocket on the front is invaluable!! It’s my fave sling. Also I have a rose and rebellion which are full buckle carriers and very light! I had a Victoria sling lady when Lily was tiny and happily passed it on to a new mama in HK when she grew too heavy (spreading the baby wearing joy!) I’ve a didymos woven wrap which I still carry William in (3 years 5 months old). It’s an expensive habit but they last for years and just today after Lily’s swimming lesson I had to pop to the shops to pick up some spuds and rather that use the buggy I popped her in the ergo, because I knew she would be exhausted from swimming, & and there is nothing better than your baby falling asleep in the sling, all singly warm! I will cry when my two no longer want to be carried. Also the ergo is soooo easy to breastfeed in, a quick loosen of the straps and up goes the hood and job done! Baby wearing was essential for me as I had two under two in Hong Kong which is the least baby friendly place I’ve ever known! I’d tandem carry too (supermum huh?) fancy changing bags were swapped for practical backpacks as comfort and ease became paramount with two babies. I started baby wearing whenx William was 4 weeks old as he cried. A lot. And being upright after feeds helped with his sickness as he threw up. A lot. I wore Lily home from the hospital as I’d learnt from William that it worked well for us all. She ate, slept and pooped in the sling and was the easiest baby ever (bar feeding every 45 mins and not sleeping for longer than 3 hours until she was 21 months old!!) I never carried mine facing forwards as it didn’t feel right, plus I didn’t want to miss any cues, smiles or coos!

    Sling cuddles are the best x

  19. A little late to the party! I’m also a huge baby wearing fan. We have a manduca (similar to the ergo), a Moby (currently on loan to a friend and her gorgeous newborn squish) and a beautiful woven wrap which was released on the same day my daughter was born. My local sling library has been invaluable in finding the right carriers for us.

    I use a rucksack, as I’m still front carrying, and have abandoned my change bag for a skip hop pronto which can be popped into any bag and has everything I need.

    Love snuggling up in the sling whether its while I get jobs done around the house or go for a walk on the beach. Plus its quite a workout now she is close to 20lbs!

  20. Hi Rebecca, just been recommended your blog by your cousin Sam’s wife and just looking through everything. In a similar position as a dr (psych trainee) and pregnant! Loving all the wearing baby info, but a few qs:
    1. Is it too hot to do all summer? (Due June)
    2. Do you think you could manage without a pram completely?
    3. Can you manage to tie the sling wrap ok yourself?
    Lizzie xx

    • Hi Lizzie! Congratulations!
      1. Depends on the sling you choose – I’d say go for a wrap sling (like my Victoria Slinglady one) and you will both dress accordingly – baby will be lightly dressed and you can just wear a vest. It’s definitely warmer than not wearing a baby but if you’ve not got loads of layers on it’s fine – I’m finding it harder in this weather actually!
      2. I debate this from time to time when I’m getting fed up banging into things with the pram, not fitting through spaces and looking for lifts. The answer is yes, of course you could, there’s a lot of baby stuff anyone could ‘do’ without, but having a pram is at times more convenient. Mainly for putting other stuff in the basket if you’re shopping and for carrying your change bag. Unfortunately it’s not just the baby you need to lug about you see and once you add on carrying your changing bag, then if you also want to get some shopping you start to feel like a cart horse – although I know people who do it and use a backpack for that purpose. Do you have a car? Because the pram frame is also handy for getting them in and out of the car and on errands while sleeping in the carseat. Depends on the baby but getting them into a sling and out of it, to and from the car multiple times on errands could be problematic. I have done it (and left the sling tied on between errands then just put the baby in and out,) but it’s a mission! (Tbh so is doing errands with a pram tho!)
      3. Yes! It’s really easy once you get the hang of it. There’s a great tutorial here but I learned at my local sling library – try googling to see if there’s one near you? It takes me about 30 seconds to tie now.

      Hope you’re enjoying the blog and good luck!! x

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