Sunday, May 23, 2010

Babywearing Adventures

While pregnant, I researched cloth diapering as well as babywearing.  Both seemed overwhelming at the time, since there was SO much information available on both topics.  But while I sifted through the cloth diapering information and sorted out the kinds of things I wanted to try, I remained overwhelmed about the information available on babywearing options.

(I think that has to do with how overwhelming the Babywearing site is compared to Diaperswappers.  I also think it's because I could buy a used diaper for 5 bucks and hold it in my hand and figure out how it worked - buying slings and wraps is a bit pricier.)

I registered for a Hotsling on a popular cloth diapering website.  Noone bought it for me for showers, so I bought it myself (on a laptop in the hospital!) while waiting for the wee one to arrive.  I pored over the sizing instructions on the Hotslings website, and then Cotton Babies sent me the wrong size.  I didn't realize it until after I had washed it, so I didn't bother to fight with them about sending it back.  It was fine at first (5 pounds 13 ounces doesn't take up that much room!) but I abandoned using that sling earlier than I probably would have if it had fit properly.

I didn't get into the habit of carrying the sling with us, so we ended up at the mall one day without a carrier or a stroller.  I ended up buying a baby sling at a kiosk in the middle of the mall.  It was a sling by Baby Bella Maya (they seem to no longer sell them, so no link), and it has an interesting design.  You adjust the size of the sling by velcro flaps.  This is supposed to make it easier to pass the baby in the sling off to someone a different size than you (so mommies and daddies can use the same sling).

Because of this, I found it to be a little hard to adjust for me.  She seemed to slip down all the time, and when I would check her (BECAUSE THATS WHAT RESPONSIBLE MOMMIES DO WHEN WEARING THEIR BABIES IN A SLING, CPSC) I would often have to adjust her.

At a discount store I found a carrier for cheap.  Because it doesn't adjust properly.  We tried it, didn't like it.

I had seen a video (link autoplays) about how to tie a Moby-style wrap.  But after spending 50 bucks on the mall sling, and getting a crap carrier, I wasn't up for "wasting" more money on a baby carrier.  While at a lunch with some friends, one mama mentioned that you don't have to buy one, just go buy some fabric.

I had heard this before on discussion boards, but had thought there had to be "more" that I needed to know.  She said just find some slightly stretchy material, get about 6 yards, and wrap it up.  She showed me how she wraps it, and it was just like in the video I saw.

The next time we were at the fabric store, I found a luscious blue drapey, stretchy material that I loved.  I forgot how many yards she said, so I guessed.  And I guess ... a little short.  I have to tie it in the back rather than bringing it around to the front, and it doesn't feel as secure that way.  I cut the fabric in half lengthwise (cutting 6 yards of fabric down the length - straight - isn't easy.  Especially in the back seat of a car!).

One day at Wal-Mart I found material I thought would work.  Okay, here we go, trying this baby carrier thing for the FIFTH time.  I got 7 yards (I think) and it was perfect (I'm a plus size mama, so if you're not, that might be a little too much).  This time, rather than just cutting it in half, I measured over 20 inches and cut that length, then cut another 20 inch length, and had another length that was 19 1/2 inches.  So I actually got three slings out of one piece of discount, clearance fabric.

One I keep in my car, one I keep in my mom's car, and one usually floats around at home somewhere.

That's the wrap you see in many of my photos, including our trip to the zoo, and others.

Now that my little one is getting bigger, I'm thinking about looking into ring slings.  If there's a way I could wear her on my hip, or at least to the side, that would be great.  Last night she wanted to be in the carrier, but I needed to cook.  I can't chop veggies very well if her head is in the way ...

So, suggestions about ring slings would be welcome!


Laraf123 said...

Sorry--I tried slings and carriers with both my boys. No luck. They were so big and heavy, neither of us could get comfortable. I wanted baby-wearing to work--seems like a lifesaver for SMCs. So glad you and your daughter are still enjoying it!

Sara said...

Have you thought about the mei-tai style carriers, like a BabyHawk? Because then you could review that for me as well. LOL. (I'm not exploiting you and your child for my own personal scientific research or anything.)

Funky Mama Bird said...

Ring slings are OK with bigger kids; we use one from time to time, but I would recommend if you use one do this:
Buy extra fabric, enough so that after you put her in the sling, you can wrap the material around your waist, up between her legs and then into the ring again. This will take the pressure off your shoulder, and put some on your hips. This is the way I make my slings.

I also have some extra, heavy duty rings I can let you have cheap if you want. I bought too many. =)

We also love our mai tei, but I'm thinking the Ergo is the way to go from here on out, since at 21lbs, he's really starting to kill my back!