Slings, carriers, wraps – there are a whole range of baby carrying options out there for parents who aren’t keen on the pushchair option. But as a first time Mum, I must admit that I was a little bit wary of the whole ‘baby wearing’ thing. I’m not the most balanced person in the world thanks to Ehlers Danlos syndrome, and the fact that my knees have a penchant for giving way without notice was also cause for worry. The carrier that I bought for the Wee Man remained an ‘Other Half only’ activity, and he certainly didn’t try out the nursing position it claimed to have!
Second time round however, I felt a bit more confident – lucky really given that without my hands free to attend to the boundlessly energetic Wee Man life would have been very difficult in those early days.
Also lucky was the fact that Bubby D loves the Close Baby Carrier, and will happily sit in it snuggled up nice and warm for extended periods of time – as long as her head is free of the material that is. As soon as I tried to put her in one of the positions where her head is supported by the fabric, frantic thrashing ensued. And given that the breastfeeding position entails supporting the head inside the sling, then it goes without saying that that position has never been successfully completed.
So I did begin to wonder if it was ever actually possible to feed a baby whilst they were actually in a sling. It’s not the concealment issue that I was after – I’m quite happy with feeding in public. But I have had always heard tales of being able to feed AND be getting on with things, which seemed like it might be a useful option to have fairly frequently.
Then, in a magical puff of smoke, the Babasling appeared!*
I was a little bit dubious at first, as it’s a sling that goes over only one shoulder. I already have a wonky back and I’d rather not make it wonkier – something that other ‘one shoulder only’ activities have managed to do in the past. I also wondered how Bubby D was actually meant to stay in it, given that it had no crossover straps to hold her up like the Close Baby Carrier…
Putting these thoughts aside, however, the promised ease of breastfeeding positioning (it has not just one, but TWO breastfeeding positions!) spurred me on to give it a try. And so, after reading through the instructions I adjusted it accordingly, then cautiously gave it a go.
Turns out its actually very comfortable! It does take a few goes and a little patience before achieving the perfect positioning, but once you’ve found it, it works really well. The aforementioned wonky(er) back I had feared never emerged as the sling distributes Bubby D’s weight well across the body, and she is supported by my hip, making it comfortable for her as well as me. The ‘railing’ part of the sling does an excellent job of keeping her safely and happily ensconced, and whilst I was initially dubious about how she’d stay in it given that she’s quite wiggly these days, now that I’ve used it a lot I feel very confident having her sit there while I have both my hands free.
Whilst she isn’t too keen on the facing outwards position (little joey) she loves the hip position, and the facing inwards position (aptly named ‘the koala cuddle’) is great when she’s a bit sleepy and wants to snuggle up to me.
And then of course there are the breastfeeding positions (easy tiger, and sleeping tiger). Well, all I can say is, I managed to successfully manouvre myself, Bubby D and a pushchair onto a bus the other day while she was in the middle of a feed, without disturbing her feed and without needing to support her myself in any way. The usual scenario would involve interrupting her feed, leading to extremely vocal protestation, followed by a hurried attempt to either hold her whilst attempting to steer the pushchair one handed into the bus, or put her into the pushchair watching her face turn a deep shade of red as she lets all the cringing passengers and the worried looking driver know exactly how annoyed she is by the bus turning up just at that moment. Or of course I can miss the bus and wait for the next one, which inevitably will involve a LOT of waiting.
So, needless to say I am extremely happy with the feeding and walking aspect of the BabaSling! And for those that are a bit more worried about feeding in public, its very discreet too – no-one has ever really noticed that Bubby D is actually feeding while I’m walking around with her.
You can even – if you’ve got hands that work properly unlike mine (I have to get someone to help me) – undo the buckles when your little one has fallen asleep, and lay them down without them waking up! That was a definite impossibility with my previous sling, with all the wiggling and jiggling required to get Bubby D in and out of it comfortably.
It isn’t the easiest of slings to adjust once its on, as I find that my arms don’t contort in the manner required to be able to pull on the adjustment straps myself and actually get them to move, but since I can generally adjust it to the required fit prior to putting it on now that I’ve been using it a while, this isn’t too much of a niggly point. I also think that its not a sling that I’d wear day in, day out as you do start to feel the weight of it after a couple of hours – it suits me fine as I’m not a constant babywearer, but if you want something for walking up and down mountains all day then probably not such a good idea!
It comes in its own little compact bag for when its not in use (and I can actually get it back in without it appearing to be twice its previous size, unlike many other baby equipment such as my pushchair raincover, which I don’t believe will ever again fit into the bag it initially arrived in…) and is really easy to put on and off and adjust once you’ve used it a few times. I also love the pocket it has too, just big enough to safely hold my wallet, house key and phone for when I’m just nipping out for a little while and don’t want to take a bag or a coat.
So, to all the breastfeeding Mums out there who’ve maybe dreamed about being able to feed and move at the same time, just like I did on occasion, I say to you that the BabaSling is well worth a try. I do still love the closeness and relaxation time that feeding Bubby D can give when I can take time out and just concentrate on watching my beautiful little girl enjoy being snuggled up to me, with her little hand resting gently on my chest and her eyes staring deep into mine. But for the times when I’m juggling a hungry baby, a toddler, a pushchair, and a thousand things that need to be done with not enough time to do them in, the BabaSling has been a real asset. I’m sure I’ll be using it often for many months to come.
*may not be entirely accurate description of usual Royal Mail delivery method…
I was given a BabaSling to review, and that has formed the basis of this post, however I was not required to write a positive review and all the words you see are my own and this is my honest opinion of the BabaSling.