Thursday, 12 January 2012

Baby Wearing

I always wanted to wear my baby, I didn’t know any of the benefits, and to me it was an idealised image of women working in fields with babies attached to their back. The simple idea of keeping your baby close to you appealed to me.

LM in kari-me sling at about 3.5 weeks

But when I started to look in all the big named childcare shops in Ireland, the only slings I could find were the structured, unsupportive baby carriers, which definitely did not appeal to my idealised image.
I didn’t really want to buy online without trying the sling on, so I was stuck. I now know there are numerous places to see, try out and buy slings in Ireland, which I will discuss later.

So Little Man (LM) had reflux*, which meant that after each feed he would get milk up, and a lot more if he was lying down. So we spent all day with one of us having him up on our shoulders. The poor little fella. If we tried to lie him down, he would seem uncomfortable, and cry and spit up milk. Many a top puked on, and on, and on, we needed to regularly wash our huge amount of Moses basket sheets, until we thought of putting a towel and muslin cloth under him, so could do an easier change without needing to remove sheet and wipe down mattress protector. He always had a bib on, until I’d say he was about 10 months.

We were starting to go mad, especially when hubby went back to work and I had to “cope” on my own. It is overwhelming enough, but when you can’t even put your baba down for 5 mins to go to the toilet or make a cuppa you start to feel you will slowly (or quickly) go insane.

So something had to be done.  So when LM was 3 weeks old, I went to my first Cuidiu (ICT- Irish Childcare Trust) breastfeeding meeting. My huge growing LM, looked soooooo tiny compared to the colossal 2, 3, 4, 13 month olds. The women were so nice and I discussed reflux and got some tips, and I also asked about a sling recommendation. I met a lovely lady, who said she had the perfect sling for me, a “Kari-me” wrap sling. It all sounded like a foreign language, but I was learning. Her family were actually immigrating to New Zealand 2 days later and she said she no longer had a need for the sling, her youngest was 14 months and not using it as much and she had a similar one in NZ anyway. Score! So after the meeting I called around to her house and she showed me the sling, popped her little assistant in, she seamed like a pro, made it look so easy and natural. I was sold.

So our adventures in baby wearing began…

I downloaded the Kari-me instructions that evening and we, 2 engineers, tried to decipher how to put this huge piece of material on. We weren’t as put off as we could have been as we had seen a real life demo, and seen the ease which the lady had put on sling and popped happy toddler in. We were confident it was actually easy to use, just not for us at that moment! So we persisted, and within a day we were getting the hang of it. Within a week we were sorted, I could put it on myself, no assistance needed, and then the world was my oyster!
I could now feed LM and then pop him in the sling and make myself a cuppa, have some breakie, watch “One Tree Hill” (an obsession that began, as they had conveniently decided to show it from the beginning when LM was about 4 weeks old), go to the toilet (a little unsure at first, but needs must!), walk, sweep, go on trains, buses, go for lunch, treat myself to day long shopping trips, museum visits, and sooo much more.

I have included some safety tips provided by the Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers at the bottom of this post. **

Good Websites discussed/mentioned in this post:
  • Cuidiu Irish Childcare Trust:

  • Baby Wearing Ireland
Also has a sling library available

  • Breastfeeding Resource Website:

  • Dr William Sears website- good breastfeeding, babywearing, attachment parenting info, plus much more

  • The Baby Wearer

  • Attachment Parenting EU - Ireland

Places to buy slings in Ireland:

Slings I love and use/used extensively:
  • Wrap sling: Kari Me
  • Soft Carrier: Rose and Rebellion

* Reflux :  great article on Breastfeeding Website:

** A simple way to remember Baby Wearing Safety:
When using a baby sling, the advice provided by the Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers is to follow these basic principles: When you’re wearing a sling or carrier, don’t forget the T.I.C.K.S.
In view at all times
Close enough to kiss
Keep chin off the chest
Supported back

Tight – slings and carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. Any slack/loose fabric will allow your baby to slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and pull on your back.
In view at all times – you should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. The fabric of a sling or carrier should not close around them so you have to open it to check on them. In a cuddly position your baby should face upwards not be turned in towards your body. If you breastfeed in the carrier, you must make sure the baby has an open airway (through his/her nose).
Close enough to kiss – your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head or forehead.
Keep chin off the chest – a baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.
Supported back – in an upright carry a baby’s back should be supported. If a sling is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. A baby in a cuddly position should be positioned carefully with their bottom in the deepest part so the sling does not fold them in half pressing their chin to their chest.

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