I am often asked why I came up with SnugBaby. Quite simply, I needed a comfortable sling, that could cope with my demands – easy to use, looked good, would last a while, husband could use it, and it could be washed!
When I had my first son, I admit I had never even heard of babywearing. We were given a structured front carrier, which we used for the two weeks we spent on holiday in Florida, when he was 12 weeks old, and then it was consigned to the cupboard. When we had SnugBoy#2, however, it was clear I needed to be able to keep him close, and happy, and look after SnugBoy#1, then 2 years old, aswell. I tried a sling, liked the concept, but the one I tried wasn’t very comfy. So I made my own, shaping it how I wanted it, adding padding, changing bits and making it my own. Babywearing was about to make my life a whole lot easier.
But, I hear a lot about people not knowing enough about babywearing to be able to make the choices they need to in order to have the sling they want. I am attempting to answer some of the more common ones here.
Do slings have age limits? Most slings, carriers, wraps and mei tais are suitable from birth, as long as they have a supportive headrest. If they don’t they may only be suitable from an age when baby can support their own head (usually around 4 months). The upper age limit varies from sling to sling, even within types. If they are tested to British Standards (and remember, not all are, so it’s worth checking) they will have an upper weight limit – which is usually anywhere between 12kg and 18kg. This is usually reached anywhere between 2 years and 4 years.
Are they easy to use? Any reputable sling will come with instructions, to help you get to grips with them. Some look easier than others, but they all have their advantages and disadvantages.
What about the different carrying positions? Some slings can be used in many different ways – on your front, hip, back, lying down, facing out. Different positions take different amounts of practise, but after a few goes, most people find them all pretty straightforward to do. I find mei tais a great compromise between ease of use, and versatility.
Can I share it? Many slings are suitable for parents to share, with varying degrees of ease. A pouch sling is sized, usually by lady’s dress sizes, and is not usually easy to share between parents. Buckle slings and ring slings can be shared with some adjustment, whilst wraps and mei tais are easily shared, with no adjustments needed.
So, which is the best? That depends on what you want it for. If you want something that you can easily pop baby in and out of, with no tying and untying, don’t go for a wrap sling. You would be better with a pouch. If you want something comfortable for long periods, a two shoulder carrier, such as a mei tai, would be great. You need to think about what you will use it for.
But isn’t it a bit, well, hippyish? Well, I guess it falls under the “natural parenting” category, but for me it is all about convenience. Parenting is hard, and anything that makes my life as a mum easier, has got to be a good thing in my book.
So, for me there are loads of reasons to use a sling…
- I can go places that I can’t go with a pushchair.
- I can hold my eldest son’s hand at the same time as keeping SnugBoy#2 close.
- I can easily walk the dog – hold the lead, walk across fields, and not run her over with a pushchair.
- I can fold the sling up and pop it in my bag, and only get it out when SnugBoy#2 gets fed up of walking
- I get to spend a lovely time chatting to SnugBoy#2, and he gets to see something other than knees.
- SnugBoy#2 is safe, and close to me – especially important at busy holiday times, as it means there is no chance of me losing sight of him!
If you have any questions about slings, mei tais, carriers or wraps, please ask and I will do my best to answer them all for you.
Visit the the Snugbaby website where you can see more, including some fantastic videos which show you how to use a sling . You can find Claire herself on Twitter and Facebook and she is always ready to offer advice and answer questions (even my 30,000 didn’t seem to be an issue for her!).
* Yes, the lovely model in the picture above is none other than Claire Lancaster from CheshireMum.
If you use the internet and are a parent, trying to conceive or are pregnant, you’ll have heard of Netmums (unless you live under a virtual rock!). What do you actually know about Netmums though?
I’ve been a Netmums user on and off since I fell pregnant with Kieran (so 2004). During that time Netmums has evolved into the parenting site to rival all others.
More than “just” a forum, Netmums is packed full of useful features, and is easy to navigate which is ideal for me who is a Mum without a huge amount of time, but who still needs information from time to time. I love the fact that I can set my page to my local area so that I can receive relevant local info as well as national. Days out, local services and news are just as important as the world-wide going-ons and it’s great to be able to access these without fishing around different sites. In fact, that is one of the big plus points about Netmums, at the risk of sounding like a cheesy carpet store advert – you really do have everything you could need or want all under “one roof”.
My favourite sections (those that have been the most helpful to me!) are:
What’s On? Local event’s and days out which I can view by month. A great way to find places for the kids to go, whether you are planning in advance or wake up and fancy a trip.
Noticeboard. Another local feature where local parents / carers can post offering information, asking for help. This works brilliantly alongside the forums (Coffee House) which has much more information but for a quick answer or short-dated info, this is the place to be.
Work & Finance. I don’t visit this section much any more having transformed myself over time into something of a frugality / moneysaving fan but when I first decided to leave my previous career behind to be at home with the then newborn Kieran, this was a well of easy to understand information and resources.
The Parent Bloggers Network. As well as being part of the network (which means my posts go out to Netmum members on the site) I have found some fantastic new (as in to me) blogs that had up until recently had fallen under my radar. There are some very talented, witty, funny and intelligent people out there!
Nearly new. Some great bargains are to be had here! Again a local feature where you can buy, sell or giveaway items. No fees or complicated set ups – just an easy to use way to shift the clutter.
Great content! Throughout the site there is great, regularly updated info, how-to’s, news and pieces of interest. A great way to keep in touch with what is going on it the world around you!
These are just a few of the fantastic things you can find on Netmums! What I do very much like is the atmosphere (if that makes sense?). This is a well run, glossy, up to date side that identifies with what parents and carers want – I know this because they are constantly asking us what we want! There is no moaning and bitching, just an easy to use place to find info to make your life that bit easier or for fun and relaxation. We’ve found some great family friendly recipes, games and projects on Netmums!
*I haven’t been asked to write this, I asked Netmums if they minded my doing a write-up of my personal experiences and if I could pinch a logo or two. These are my own thought based on my own experiences.
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