april bracken-coulter“Babywearing” is possibly the cutest verb going in the dictionary; it means to literally wear your baby. You can do so with the aid of a piece of material, known as a sling. There are many, many variations of slings out there, and the choice alone can make the idea quite a daunting one to parents who are new to the concept. Babywearing Ireland are a brilliant, not-for-profit organization, who have a list of baby wearing consultants who can point newbies in the right direction. They even have a national sling library, from which you can borrow a sling for a small fee to see how it feels for you and your bub.  I have only recently invested in my first sling(A Melkaj Mei Tai, for anyone in the know) but I really wish I had learned about babywearing much sooner. Here’s why:

1. Constant Cuddle: One of the guides to knowing that you are wearing your baby correctly is that they are close enough to kiss when they are in the sling. Amazing. I find myself indulging in this constantly while Eli is wrapped up snugly against me; it’s almost impossible to resist. For more on the benefits of babywearing and how to wear your baby correctly see the Babywearing Ireland link above!

2. Hands Free: With baby held close to me with the wrap, I have both hands free to duck and dive after the toddler; if I had started Babywearing from Day One I could have avoided so many stressful chases in rainy car parks, described earlier in a frustrated post

3. Bye Bye Buggy: The relief of not having to fold and unfold the buggy in and out of the car is immense. Couple that with not having to steer around the local shop and my arms are eternally grateful for the double buggy’s hiatus

4. Pain Relief: Babies generally love to be held often in the early stages. Holding them in your arms for prolonged periods can cause all sorts of physical strain, but because of the weight distribution achieved with quality, correctly worn slings, you can comfortably carry your baby for significant periods. This means a happier baby, which leads to a happier parent. Everybody wins!

5.Accessibility: Stairs are no longer an issue with the sling, and public transport is much less hassle. You take up less space as a twosome, which means that moving about is almost effortless. Although I haven’t been brave enough yet, many parents take their children hiking in slings! They reach places no buggy would dare go.

6. Cost: Buying a quality sling is important, but if you decide to commit to babywearing, it can easily be much cheaper than going the route of double buggies. Slings also hold an unusual economy, another reason why I love them…

7. Valuable Entities: Believe it or not, a quality sling does not decrease in value when you use it. The more a sling is used, the softer and stretchier the fabric becomes, and the more comfortable a home it is for baby. This is why when you are selling on a sling, you rarely sell it for less than what you bought it for. So if you change your mind, decide you want a change or your little one has outgrown theirs, you can trade up for little or no extra cost. When your babywearing days are gone, you can then make back the money you spent; if you can bare to part with it, that is!

8. Choice, choice, choice: I am overwhelmed by the amount of fabrics, colours, and styles of slings there are out there. There is something for everyone, no matter your style. Our mei tai is reversible with bright flowers on one side and a deep brown on the other, which means my husband can enjoy babywearing while I indulge in my love of floral

9. Sling Meets: There is a whole social hub that comes with babywearing; sling meets are organised around the country, where parents meet to find out about wraps, try on, borrow, and chat with other babywearing parents. The exchange of information is invaluable, but so is the chance to talk to other grown ups! Because learning about slings is largely experiential, it’s great to see them for yourself, and become familiar with all the different types. The names form another kind of underground language, with enthusiasts referring to their sling collection as their “stash”!

10. Guilt Free Parenting: From when I brought our second bundle home from the hospital, I have always felt torn between my two sons, who are both constantly vying for our attention. I found if I started focusing on one I would feel like I was neglecting the other. With babywearing, my little one can enjoy close proximity and affection while I am playing with his older brother, and they both have a piece of their mama.

Babywearing grants so much freedom while parenting that I encourage everyone to give it a try..you might fall in love!

April Bracken-Coulter

(originally posted here