5 Reasons to carry your baby
If you asked me why you should carry your baby I could give you many answers, it's not always as straightforward as a list of bullet points. Some days you carry your child because they need you and it's the easiest way to be close; others you find it's because you need them but have to get on with life – other children need to be fed or the shopping has to be done and that little body snuggled up next to yours is keeping you sane!
I didn't think about carrying my first daughter. I was given a sling along with a car load of baby equipment and clothes by a wonderful friend. I was so excited when she unloaded it all past my big bump and into the 'nursery' (a room that was in fact never used). It was left gathering dust for some months whilst I recovered from a difficult c-section. In the meantime my sister gave me a stretchy wrap and I read the instructions and followed videos but never felt confident. It was frustrating as I had a baby who it seemed could never be put down. Then a friend recommended a different brand to me, it was black, functional and most importantly for me, felt secure. For the first time I felt confident to carry my baby and walk around outside with her in it.
Finally I had some freedom. I used this carrier for some months, enjoying London with a little one but never straying too far as it was uncomfortable on my shoulders. One chilly winter's morning when she was about six months old I walked half way across South London to get to a playgroup (the days when I had nothing much to do and no restrictions on my time!!). I arrived tired and uncomfortable and was greeted by a vision of calm, maternal loveliness and a lady carrying her baby in the most beautiful carrier I had ever seen. I bought one the next day.
If I look back at those first six months of carrying my first daughter I can see a number of reasons why I needed to carry her and wanted to use a sling and they were really about freedom. It didn't matter that what I had was functional or even uncomfortable what was important is it allowed me to do things and that's how I saw it. When I bought my SleepyNico I found several other reasons – comfort, closeness and style!
So why carry your baby in a sling?
1. Freedom – however you look at it, having your hands free allows you to do so many things. If you have other children you can hold their hands whilst carrying your baby. You can carry shopping, do the cooking, paint a picture, bake a cake. All this activity can go on whilst your baby remains close to you. You can travel the world, visit a zoo, take a walk, go dancing. You are free to be yourself and care for your baby at the same time. It's an amazing feeling.
2. Security – for your baby, being close to you is the safest thing possible. Your smell, your temperature and your heartbeat. This secure feeling is good for them and it's good for you too. Keeping your baby close is helping bring up a confident, happy child and that makes the whole family happy and gives them greater health and mental stability for the future.
3. Style – this isn't a reason for everyone but for me, wearing something beautiful felt great and I was often stopped in the street and asked where I had bought my baby carrier from. I liked that I looked confident and happy and that my daughter did too. One day I went shopping on the Kings Road in London (it's where I got married) and was spoken to by so many people who wanted to comment how peaceful my baby looked or what a stylish way to transport a baby around.
4. Sleep – some babies do but mine never did, not unless they were snugly in the sling snoozing on my chest. It's the way I rocked both my daughters to sleep every night and how I could be sure that in a strange place they would still eventually nod off.
5. Conversation – my final reason to carry your baby is all about talking. My girls never stop and although sometimes it drives me mad, it's wonderful how they have so much to say. It all started up there in the sling, I would talk about everything I could see and then point it out as they were at the right height. I loved taking them to the zoo because they weren't in a buggy, low down but could see into the enclosures or up over garden walls with me at all the flowers. When they were older they had an amazing viewpoint on my back and we would discuss everything and tell stories and sing. I truly believe their curiosity and incredible creativity began in the sling whilst we walked and talked.
My babies are bigger girls now and my slinging days are behind me but as the owner of SleepyNico I want to encourage parents everywhere to try out a sling, the benefits are amazing. We all have different needs but carrying your child is something that we have to do so why not find a way to do it that is comfortable and beneficial. We offer carriers in two sizes for babies and toddlers and they are all made here in East Anglia. SleepyNico also offer a custom made service so that you can create something special or unique, continuing the amazing head turning experience I had all those years ago on the Kings Road.
Enjoy your parenting journey.
First published on The Parent and Baby Show website