When Harry was a newborn I didn’t know the first thing about baby wearing. We had a baby bjorn that we were very kindly given by family but Harry and I struggled to get on with it. I always saw mothers out and about with their babies cuddled close in beautiful wraps, whilst I had Harry screaming in the pram, and thought how lovely it must be to carry your child around like that and enjoy all those magical cuddles whilst still managing to get things done.
I went to a sling library whilst Harry was still small but it was busy and we didn’t get chance to speak to anyone about how to use a sling and what would work for us. I left feeling deflated and accepting that baby wearing just wasn’t going to happen for us. Harry was getting bigger and heavier so I assumed that carrying him would be harder, especially since I hadn’t got the experience of doing it since he was small.
It was when Harry was about 6 months that I started to think that maybe it wasn’t too late for us and I should try baby wearing again.
Whilst I was pregnant I started talking to some lovely ladies on an antenatal group on Mumsnet. I never thought it would become anything more than online friendships but a year on, our bumps became babies and now toddlers and those random strangers are now some of my closest friends.
One of my lovely new friends is the baby wearing queen! She has the most beautiful slings and could open her own sling library if she wanted, she has that many! She always talked so passionately about using her slings and the positive impact baby wearing had on her and her family. One day when I was round at her house drinking tea and stuffing my face with chocolate whilst Harry screamed and her son slept in the sling, she suggested I try some of her slings with Harry. She suggested the Tula as I had been used to a buckle carrier and was nervous about wrapping such a heavy baby.
From the second I tried it on I had to have one. Harry didn’t feel heavy like he had in the bjorn. He cuddled straight into me which was amazing as he wasn’t the cuddliest baby, he’s fiercely independent and usually preferred to be put down.
I went online to do some research and was amazed at how many beautiful designs there were. I finally chose the arrows design and couldn’t wait for it to arrive. When it did Harry and I tried it out straight away. Harry loved being cuddled close and able to see what was going around him.
Almost 9 months on from our Tula arriving and I am well and truly converted to baby wearing. The Tula comes with us everywhere and at 16 months old Harry is showing no signs of wanting to stop going in it. In fact, he often brings me the Tula to tell me that he wants to go out.
Here are our favourite things about baby wearing:
- No lift, no problem! The stairs whilst carrying Harry is good exercise and saves a fortune on a gym membership!
- Narrow aisles in the shop? We can fit through! No more having to take him out and leave the pram unattended in a shop entrance.
- The cuddles. Harry still sleeps quite happily in the Tula whilst we are out and about. Harry wouldn’t fall asleep on me from about 2 months old. He just wanted his space. These sleepy Tula moments are the best cuddles ever.
- Hands free for drinking! (OK so this is a joke picture, they weren’t both mine but you get the idea! Hands free is always a good thing.)
- The Tula is much smaller than a pushchair. If we go away as a family and need to fit lots of things in the car we can sacrifice the push chair and still have a way to carry Harry if he gets tired.
- Harry can see the things around him so much better from in the Tula. He points out what he can see and we talk about it. I’m sure that this extra time when we watch the world pass by and he points out all the things he wants me to name for him is good for his communication skills.
- Now that Harry is older he wants to walk more. He doesn’t want to be confined to the push chair. With the Tula I can let him do that and have both hands free to hold his hand and keep him safe whilst still having a way of carrying him comfortably if he gets tired.
I wish I’d made more of an effort to baby wear earlier. It’s such a shame we missed out on all those months. But it’s definitely better late than never. We will continue to use the Tula until Harry outgrows it or doesn’t like being carried anymore, which I’m hoping will be for a long time yet. And if we are fortunate enough to be blessed with another baby one day, I’ll be going straight to my friends for sling advice and baby wearing from day one!
For information about how to baby wear safely visit: https://www.nct.org.uk/parenting/sling-safety