by Lexi Rodrigo
Why would anybody need 6 baby slings? If you have to ask, then maybe you’ll never understand. Or maybe you just haven’t experienced the joys of babywearing.
My first ever baby sling was an Over the Shoulder Baby Holder (OSBH), a gift from my sister in the States. It saved my life. My baby then would not stay asleep if you put her down. So in the sling she went and I happily went about my day with her asleep in the sling. I enjoyed taking her out shopping because she would sleep and sleep in the sling, the rocking motion of me walking keeping her in a deep slumber. The sales clerks would remark at how well my baby slept.
Then came baby #3 six years later. I’m convinced global warming is true, because this time the OSBH became much too hot for tropical weather (whereas I have a picture of baby #2 in the OSBH while we were at the beach). I could strip the baby down to his diapers but I would still be drenched in sweat. So I bought a very lightly padded, pure cotton sling. Ahh, what comfort!
And then I heard about solarveil slings. Living in a tropical country back then and making frequent trips to the pool or the beach, I just had to have one. It was wonderfully cool and dried up quickly. Plus, it gave my baby sun protection.
But when baby #3 started getting squirmy and wanted in and out of my arms frequently, I knew it was time for a pouch. I’d read that it was easy to pop baby in and out of the pouch because you didn’t have to adjust it. Besides, a pouch had less fabric than a sling and so would be even cooler and much easier to pack in a bag. I sewed my first pouch, but my baby soon outgrew it.
So I went on a hunt for an adjustable pouch. There aren’t many, but they do exist. I investigated pouches with buttons or snaps. I chose the kind with velcro. I thought it would be great for DH to be able to wear baby, too, but he preferred to simply carry the baby in his bare arms. My adjustable pouch was great for when the baby, by now a toddler, wanted my attention while I was making dinner. I would pop him in the pouch, swing the pouch behind me and have the little tyke watching over my shoulder. He’d be contented and we could eat.
Then the toddler started getting too heavy for me. I have a bad back to begin with. I read that a wrap carrier and Asian-style baby slings were good for Moms with bad backs because they distributed the child’s weight evenly across both shoulders. Of course, I had to have one, too. To cut down on costs, I sewed it myself, following instructions I found on the Internet. I made a hybrid mei-tai carrier with long straps like a wrap.
It was comfortable on my back, but it was extremely difficult to put on and take off. It took me several minutes to tie all the straps together. If I wanted to carry baby on my back, I needed another person to make sure I didn’t drop the baby. I’ve seen videos of women doing this all by themselves, so I know it can be done. However, I didn’t trust myself. And then when the baby wanted down, I fumbled for a long time with the knots I had tied so well to keep baby secure. What’s more, it was hot! I gave that carrier away.
Now I’m left with 4 baby slings. With baby #3 turning 2 soon, I hardly ever carry him for extended periods any more. He has truly gotten much too heavy. I’m packing away the slings. No, I’ll probably donate them or sell them on Ebay, because I don’t think there will be a baby #4.
It’s been a sweet time, my babywearing days.