A lovely older couple who we see out walking their dogs each day on the pre-school run, asked me today “how do you do that by yourself (meaning wrapping Anna on my back)?” I replied with “practise” (and then we got chatting about how I was a babywearing consultant and running a sling library). On reflection, I think I sounded flippant. I didn’t mean to, I really believe practise is crucial. It got me thinking about my earlier experiences of babywearing, and what advice I would give to myself. So here are my tips for babywearing success.
- Believe in yourself and what you are doing
Mama, Dad, whoever is reading this, you’ve got this. You can totally do this. Babywearing is awesome. Children thrive when they are being carried. They love it. It is a fantastic practical parenting tool as well as a great way to connect with your baby. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you are not making a rod for your back by cuddling your baby. This advice is true for whatever age or stage your baby is at. Big kids need carrying too! It’s good for them as well.
2. Get the right sling and carry
This is important. There are so many slings and baby carriers out there it can be overwhelming choosing one, but that is where Sling Libraries come in. Different slings work for different people. Different slings can work for different ages of baby. There are some slings that will work right the way through from newborn to toddler for one family, but not for another. Sometimes it is just a little tweak that needs to be made that can make the world of difference. Knowing that babywearing is great for you and baby isn’t enough if the sling doesn’t feel right. Babywearing shouldn’t be uncomfortable and most definitely not painful. If it is, something isn’t right.
Carol and I have chatted so many times about wishing we had a magic wand that we could wave over you to make babywearing really easy, first time. Parenting is hard, it’s a very high pressure job, and add to that a combination of a wrap or new buckle carrier, and a wriggly baby can be tough. I’ll be the first to admit that. But I promise you, with practise you will master this. Maybe not today (although I am in total awe of some parents who come to a sling library session or book a consultation and nail it 1st time), maybe not even tomorrow, but you will! Babywearing is such an amazing thing to do, and it really is well worth the time and effort. Here are some do’s and don’ts for practising babywearing
- DO – watch some youtube videos (I reccomend Wrap you in love)
- DON’T – watch so many that you are overwhelmed and can’t remember what to do
- DO – get a spotter. This can be really reassuring the first few times you babywear
- DON’T – try and practise a new technique when baby is tired/hungry or you’re in a rush
- DO – accept that it may take a while to learn, this does not mean you have failed.
- DON’T – worry if you feel like you want to throw your wrap or carrier across the floor. We’ve all been there! Put it down, and try again tomorrow
- DO – get help! Come along to a sling library session, book a consultation or come to a workshop!
And remember, you’ve got this!