When I was pregnant with Little H we did NCT antenatal classes. During one of ‘post natal’ training sessions, we were talked through slings and carriers that would allow us to carry our baby upon our person rather than in our arms or putting them in a buggy. At the time I wasn’t really sure when I would wish to do that but we decided to get a carrier anyway – the NCT Close Caboo. Little H arrived and whilst I put her in it a few times, I found it uncomfortable (for me) and felt it was unsupportive (for her). So I mainly used the buggy. To me, such a little being seemed safer in the buggy when we were out and about.
But as she got bigger, it seemed handy to be able to take her places buggy-free. A friend had an Ergobaby carrier which had a good reputation for body position (of the baby). So one sunny day in town, I splurged on one. And we did use it. A few times. Even Sam did. For being outside, it felt solid and secure. It also had plenty of straps and belts to stop us getting back ache. But even if I had felt the need to, it was a bit too heavy-weight for indoors. It didn’t matter massively though as I only had Little H and by about 3-4 months she’d nap in her crib giving me time to do my jobs during the day.
Roll forward and cue the impending arrival of Little Z. I dusted off the Caboo (concluding I must have been doing it wrong the first time) and purchased the infant insert for the Ergobaby. I wanted to ensure had a way to keep the new baby safe whilst also looking after Little H. Not long after Little Z was born, I tried her in the Caboo. After trying it quite a few times and tweaking the fit, it was still so uncomfortable for me; I concluded it’s because of my height. Then, when pondering my next move, I spotted an Instragrammer singing the praises of a company that make slings – FreeRider. They had a simple sling for £40 and the instructions for using it didn’t look that hard. So I thought “Sod it.”. I have not looked back. So much so that I soon bought a second, lighter sling for warmer days and to give a bit of variety.
You see the second venture into parenthood, I have discovered, ain’t like the first. Namely because there is another child running around. In my case the rather active and demanding Little H. I didn’t want to have to leave Little Z alone whilst dealing with Little H. Nor did I want to leave the Littles alone together when going to the loo. I quickly discovered that strapping my youngest to me was no longer luxury but a necessity.
I have since come to appreciate it gives me more than that though. It’s allowed me to be active when Little Z needs to be close. No longer do I only get chores done on the few occasions I get Little Z to sleep down in a crib / carry cot. Nor have I had any incidents of being pinned to the sofa under a sleeping baby whilst desperate for a wee or parched, wishing only for a glass of water. No, now I can (so far) get Little Z to sleep on me in the sling with relative ease even when I only want to sit down with a snack or do some computer admin. She’s happy and, even better, I get to have her near to me and know she’s safe.
Then on days with Little H at home, Little Z will quickly nod off on me when tired regardless of the pre-schooler din in the background. If Little H decides she’s now willing to go for a walk, we don’t have to wake for Little Z to wake up to get out and about. And when family come round and Little Z finds it all a bit much, it’s a lovely way for her to be close to be and feel that comfort. And in all honesty, I love having her there and only have to look down to know that she is safe and well.
I made a very deliberate decision to start wearing Little Z whilst young to build up my strength and stamina for carrying her. As she gets bigger, it’s becoming more and more of a physical challenge for her long naps. But all the benefits out-weigh those occasional aching shoulders when my head hits the pillow at night. And whilst I don’t think I’ll be a regular sling user up until she reaches the maximum weight of 36lbs (which isn’t much lighter than Little H is now), I hope to be wearing her for a long-time to come!