I read the articles on infant feeding this morning. I read the information from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) too - and I cried. As someone who calls themselves an "infant feeding practitioner" rather than a breastfeeding supporter, because it is not my business how you feed YOUR baby, I found all of this made me rage and not for the reasons you might think.
My over-riding sensation was how very broken our culture must be for me to be seeing these headlines. What kind of culture do we live in where the RCM felt a need to tell midwives not to shame mothers? What kind of culture do we live in where the media are allowed to take one sentence from a large general document and turn it into a massive assault on both midwives and breastfeeding advocates, without any concern for them or the mothers who now feel pressured and didn't before?
We love babywearing at BabyCalm.
We understand though that for many parents wrap slings can be daunting, we also understand that many (especially dads!) are keen on the idea of a more structured buckled carrier – one that they can simply “click and go” and one that looks a little more mainstream and a little more like the baby carriers sold in most high street shops. Enter the ‘Soft structured Carrier’ – a baby carrier that carries baby in an ergonomically/physiologically correct position and one that is comfortable for the wearer. A carrier that can be used on the front and back (and often hip) and can often be used well into the toddler and even preschool years.
There is one problem though – the huge choice – what one should you buy? We would always recommend trying one of first, but if that isn’t possible for whatever reason there are a few points to bear in mind:
Boba 3G – £89.99 from Slumber Roo
Review by Gwen – her son is 3yrs old in this picture
Connecta Solarweave – £56.99 from Connecta
Review by Claire – her daughter is 16mths old in this picture.
All in all a Solarweave Connecta is very versatile choice with lots to offer – but in my opinion a holiday must-have whether it’s sun or snow!
Ergobaby – around £95
Review by Alexandra – her son is 20 mths old in this picture
you have to buy a newborn insert, the body of the carrier is not adjustable and the simplistic settings do not allow optimum adjustment. I know many parents who had invested in the newborn insert and found it inconvenient and difficult to install correctly. On the other hand it is perhaps the simplest SSC: no accessory to the basic version, no zips (except for the two pockets/pouches on the panel), no safety button on the buckle belt (which makes it easier to un-clip with one hand), a single point of control for the belt and suspenders. The adjustments are thus simplified but less accurate. A strong point in the settings is that the straps can be unbuckled, allowing a hip carry or to cross the straps in the back.
It was our 1st SSC and I found the Ergo rather limited with our 20mth old boy. A large part of the belt is not padded and “dug” into my, rather not flat, stomach (when use for a back carry) and I didn’t really appreciated the shape of the belt on my lower back. I also found difficult to use it higher on my back. My husband who is quite thin didn’t find it uncomfortable though. I have since tried out the Manduca with my son and found it more comfortable and more flexible. The Ergobaby still is compact, lightweight and the fabric is nice.
Manduca – from £99.99 from Cheeky Rascals
Review by Kate – her son is 7mths old in this picture
padding in the waist department and found tie wraps have a tendency to dig in and slip after a long wearing session. Not so with the Manduca. It’s incredibly comfortable and the push and click locking buckle at the waist gives that extra peace of mind that its not going to pull or pop open if strained. I also really like the thick padding on the shoulders which feel much more comfortable than some of the other lesser padded slings.
I prefer the cross over front carry at the moment as my baby is only 7 months old and I like to keep him “close enough to kiss”. However, I can see the back carry becoming a favourite once he’s a toddler and we can play “piggy back” comfortably.
My husband is very happy with the Manduca as not only is it stylish and modern (and doesn’t make him look like a hippy!) but it feels secure, is easy to adjust and he loves the “click and go”aspect which is perfect when you’re rushing about and the weather is not so great – the last thing you need is trailing straps of fabric dangling in puddles while you’re trying to tie it in a downpour!
I can’t recommend the Manduca highly enough especially those who are new to Babywearing and perhaps a bit intimated by the huge varieties of fabrics and ways of tying fabric wraps. It’s been an interesting and educational journey for us so far and I’m really glad we’ve found a sling that suits all our requirements – I’m especially looking forward to snuggly winter walks in the snow.
Tula Toddler Carrier £103.99 Tula
Review by Emma – her son is 4yrs in this picture
weighs 19kg – carnivals and festivals are a regular occurrence on the Isle of Wight where we live. We use the optional leg extenders with it now Alfie is so big and it has meant that this carrier has lasted us a long time.
I recommend this carrier for larger toddlers and into preschool years.
Every year, families around the world get together to celebrate ‘International Babywearing Week‘. What is it, you might ask? And why the need to celebrate what is actually something simple: carrying your child? Is there anything novel about that?
For thousands of years, women carried their babies everywhere: in the house, at work, outside… It was the best – and possibly the only way – to keep them safe and warm. Then it became usual to place babies in various contraptions away from their mothers – from buggies to car seats, rocking chairs, cots, even walkers. As usual with these things, you might have noticed that the tide is turning. More and more parents (re)-discover that it is practical and convenient to carry their baby. And it is actually a good thing.
Parents can be at a loss to understand their newborn. Why is he fussing? Is he hungry, tired, does he need a clean nappy? Carrying your baby close helps you understand his signs much quicker, establishing the early foundations of communication and satisfying his needs before he gets to the full-on cries. A much nicer experience for the whole family.
The extra cuddles and closeness give the baby just the reassurance he needs to transition from the womb to the outside world. It can be bright and noisy out there but snuggled up against mummy or daddy’s chest, it’s alright. The closeness allows baby to sense his parents’ reactions much better and gradually makes sense of his experiences.
If you have to be separated from your baby for work or other reasons, carrying him closely in a baby sling while you are with him – perhaps on the way to nursery – is a good way to catch up on closeness. It is also true for working fathers who might not be able to see their little one as much as they want during the week. A baby sling is not just for parents: try lending a baby carrier to your childminder and show her how you use it. She will be able to comfort your baby throughout the day even if she has other children to care for.
‘Babywearing’ is not just for newborns and babies. There are numerous child carriers who have been designed to fit toddlers. They allow you to carry your child right up to about 20kg (45lb). You can help him catch a nap on your back in the middle of a busy day, or encourage him to walk independently knowing that if he gets too tired, you can pop him on your back. A baby sling is a good way to keep young children safe in busy surroundings – at the market or when you’re travelling on public transport for example. Perched on your back, they have a good view of their surroundings (probably less scary that if they were much lower on the ground, surrounded by what must surely seem like giants!).
So why celebrate International Babywearing Week? Because parents all around the world are choosing to parent their children a different way, a way that suits the whole family. Because carrying their baby or their toddler in a comfortable baby carrier allows parents to live the life they want to live with their child.
To find a babywearing event near you visit: www.babywearing.co.uk