Babywearing in a pandemic by Elisa Smith, SSL member
Hi, I’m Elisa, a full time Mum with a premature baby.
How had babywearing helped me through the COVID19 pandemic you ask?
Well, let me tell you…
Some may think that babywearing is an outdoor thing… but how useful they can be indoors is something I’m only just realising as a first time mum. (It’s been an eye-opener!)
Having a newborn is a time when the parenting books say ‘let anyone who visits do something for you’, or ‘take any help you get offered’, but there are no visitors like you imagined, and there’s definitely nobody popping round for a cup of tea and an offer to wash the dishes or cuddle the baby whilst you shower. So the dishes pile up, and the cup of tea you really wanted to make doesn’t happen, as you don’t dare to move the comfy sleeping baby in your arms… And it’s great to just sit and cuddle your new baby, for a time! But there will come a day when all you wish is to do something other than watch Netflix or daytime TV…
Then in comes the sling – whether it’s a ring sling, a pre-tied wrap, or one continuous, beautiful piece of fabric… there’s absolutely a babywearing option for every parent.
I was sceptical, I won’t lie, as to how a piece of material was going to change your life, and turn your clingy reflux, albeit rather cute, baby into a dream child – and then I put baby into one…
They were able to cosy up into me, I could keep them close, they could hear my heartbeat just like they wanted, I was able to make sure they were breathing (something you don’t want to admit you’re searching for quite as often as you do!) and I could DO THINGS!
The first few weeks I didn’t feel I could use a babywearing option, due to my baby’s prematurity, but once they had been weighed and hit the minimum weight allowance for the Close Caboo Cotton Blend carrier – we were away! (And now I realise we could potentially have had cuddles like this sooner if we’d used a ring sling!)
It’s the silly things… feeling like a little teeny bit of a burden by not only never cooking tea due to breastfeeding a bubba (they always pick THE most inconvenient times to nurse ) but pair that with the never washing up, as baby wants to be cuddled full-time – something I’ll love forever, but realised my poor husband might slightly be starting to resent me for(!) it’s the perfect storm in a teacup towards some good old mum guilt..!
Plus, on a completely mum-centric note; having a warm meal, that can be eaten with – wait for it – BOTH HANDS(!) is truly a miracle to be celebrated – thank you babywearing!
As soon as I had got to grips with the Close Caboo, via Sling Library and YouTube resources, we started to expand our baby wearing collection (my apologies in advance, as it absolutely happens!) It was inevitable that once lockdown measures were relaxed ever so slightly, and we started to head out in the sunshine for walks; we were wanting something a bit lighter and breezier – and in came the ring sling! We went for a preloved, but safety-tested, Je Porte Mon Bebe (JPMBB for short) ring sling – it felt a teeny bit intimidating at first glance, “how will one piece of a fabric and some rings safely hold my baby? I’ll never let go!” though after following some YouTube tutorials we were away!
This then led to our third, and hopefully final(!) purchase – a structured carrier – from Mamaruga, the Zensling… I’m not going to lie, I fell head over heels for a pattern and colour combo , though once we saw how adjustable and accommodating it could be for a smaller baby I was firm in my need to ‘add to basket!’ Again we went for a preloved, but safety tested model; it honestly looks brand new!
Now baby and I have an option for every occasion; inside the house snuggles in a light ring sling, a cosy cuddle on a windy walk in the close Caboo, and a let’s go hiking for miles in a (slightly) structured carrier option!
If you’re unsure if babywearing is for you, why not try your local sling library for a test hire; as soon as we realised our baby loved being worn, we’ve never looked back… The stress of trying to settle a fourth trimester baby into a Moses basket is a thing of the past…
… as is eating with only one hand!