Slings and Baby Carriers – AKA Lifesavers

I mentioned at the Birthmatters café how slings/wraps/carriers can be lifesavers if you have an unsettled, refluxy or just a very cuddly baby.  Many parents will find themselves cuddling, rocking, bouncing and dancing with their baby for more hours than they knew existed in a day.  This can all be made easier using a sling as it spreads your baby’s weight across your body, meaning less neck and shoulder tension – even when they’re tiny, keeping this up for long is still exhausting.  It also gives you both hands free to do something else as well (like open the wrapper to that chocolate bar that’s going to get you through til your partner steps up to do the next stint of baby soothing!).

Not all carriers are equal

Carriers that are good for your back and for supporting a baby well need to:

  1. give the baby a wide base of support (ie their legs are supported by fabric right across from one knee to the other knee, not just under their crotch)
  2. have the baby facing in towards your body (otherwise their bodyweight hangs forward off your shoulders and neck rather than being added into your centre of gravity if they are carried high up on you and facing inwards)

For guidelines on how to safely carry a baby in a sling (and a huge amount of further info) see http://ruckingmarvellous.com/?page_id=262

Finding the right carrier – borrow or hire first

There are many, many types of baby carrier out there so the important thing is to find one that’s right for your family (dad’s love babywearing too, just some need an extra nudge first to give it a go!).  The very best way to do this is to get along to a local Sling Library so you can hire a few different styles to see what suits you.

 Nearby to Maidenhead we have:

Bracknell Sling Library.  All the details of meeting dates, location and hire costs can be found at: https://bracknellslingmeet.wordpress.com/sling-meet-dates/

Here are a few words from Clare and Gemma who currently run the library:

“Bracknell Sling meet is a group of local parents who originally joined the Facebook Group “Bracknell Sling Meet & Natural Parenting”. The idea of the group was to get local people together to share their knowledge and try out different kinds of slings before committing to buy anything.

In early 2015 they set up a “Sling Library” where parents could borrow different styles of slings and baby carriers on a short term loan basis to see what suited them and their babies. Loans cost just £6 for a two week hire period, plus a £40 refundable damage deposit.

They have a large range of different kinds of slings including buckled carriers, stretchy wraps, mei tais, woven wraps and ring slings to try and will help you adjust them correctly to ensure the sling your hire is comfortable and safe.”

Thames Valley Sling Babies hold meetings in Hurst and Reading https://thamesvalleyslingbabies.wordpress.com

Henley look to be going to have a library soon too, currently just their Facebook page is up and running https://www.facebook.com/HenleySlingLibrary

Give babywearing a go, you won’t regret it!  If you or your partner have underlying back problems and you don’t think your body will be able to manage it, please come and see me for a check up.  Good slings are so supportive that a couple of osteopathy sessions to improve how your back is functioning, along with the right sling is likely to make all the difference.

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