Monday, April 23, 2012

What I think every mother needs

Aside from a live-in maid or a clothes dryer that folds and puts away laundry or a self-cleaning kitchen, the most useful thing for a mom that actually exists is a comfy baby carrier. My preference, hands-down, is for a good quality baby ring sling. They are so versatile you can use them to carry your baby from the time they're a newborn all the way up to a big toddler. You can carry them lying down, upright, facing in or out, legs tucked in or out, semi-sitting, on mom's front, back or hip depending on the baby's age, all with the same sling.

For mom, the sling supports your back and distributes baby's weight evenly when worn properly. Ring slings are adjustable to any body shape and size. Best of all, you don't have to spend a fortune on a good one if you have the slightest sewing ability. All you need is a length of sturdy material, a pair of solid rings and a sewing machine. There are so many good tutorials online for making your own, I'm not going to do my own here. One that I found very helpful for making slings, complete with info on choosing fabric and where to buy rings can be found here: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/jan/Baby/index.html.

Without my first sling, I don't think I could have done much of anything when Finn was little. I loved my original sling so much I've made two more for myself. One stays in the car, one I use around the house and the third is back up for when the others need washed. I can grocery shop, clean, do some cooking, even feed Beckett, all almost hands-free while. They are much more portable than a bulky stroller. The constant movement and closeness of being carried in the sling also seems to be comforting to my babies. Finn frequently fell asleep in the sling, and he was normally very hard to get to sleep.

My slings are so indispensable to me that I always tell new mom's about them. Slings have gotten some bad press lately due to some popular but poorly designed "bag" styles and improper usage. When used properly, though, a well constructed ring sling is perfectly safe. This link gives safety guidelines and tips for how to use them: http://www.sleepingbaby.net/wearing/bwsling_booklet.pdf

And, of course, a baby Beckett sling picture:

My newest sling with Beckett in a tummy to tummy position. He prefers to have his legs sticking out while he sits on the bottom "rail" of the sling. Please ignore the lovely bathroom backdrop.