So, you’re sold on the benefits of babywearing, you’re all set to buy one and you have a quick look in Mothercare. The slings you see don’t seem to be very comfortable, and are quite expensive to buy without trying. You get home, you check Amazon and there are thousands of results – how can you narrow it down?
I’ve mentioned before about getting to a sling library/to see a sling consultant as they can go through many of your options with you and you can physically see and try on the carriers. However, it’s always helpful to have a rough idea of what you need/want, especially at busy meets where your time might be limited.
First of all it’s good to make a note of your requirements. These include:
- age of baby/child
- weight of baby/child
- height and size of user(s)
- whether you are pregnant/will become pregnant while using the carrier
- number of children you would like to be able to carry
- any medical/physical needs of the baby/child or person carrying
- the budget you have to spend
Then it’s useful to think about why you want to use a sling, and what features would be most helpful for you:
- being able to breastfeed in it
- able to adjust to fit very differently sized parents/carers
- how long you can use it for (as child ages)
- different kinds of carrying position (front, back, hip etc.)
- requiring a bit of skill/practice to perfect
- speed of getting baby in/out
- choice of colours, patterns
- accessories available
Knowing these things ahead of time can help your library worker or consultant narrow down the choice of carriers they bring for you. Many high street carriers can also be adapted to become ergonomical (more on this in part 2)! When looking online at purchasing a sling, remember to check that it complies with safety standards (these vary based on location of manufacture – they will normally be stated clearly on the label or packaging). This is important to insure that the buckles, stitching and even fabric dye used are safe and and tested.
Coming up in part 2 – types of carrier