Thursday, 15 May 2014

Sling it, Mama! #6 Guest Post: Reminiscing about babies worn

Today's guest post made me proper belly laugh and get a smidge teary all in one read. Cheryl's reflecting on her time as a baby wearer now that her brood are all too big to be worn. Thanks for taking the time to dig out your old pictures, Cheryl! 

Hi. I'm Cheryl and I'm excited to be here talking about baby wearing.  I started my baby wearing journey about 12 years ago, which should explain why my photos look old. Most are pre-digital camera. I carried all three of my babies, just not at the same time.
Before my eldest was born, I researched the best carriers. I'm not sure we had baby sling libraries then, but I wish we had. I tried out a few slings before I found the one that worked for me.

I knew from the start that I wanted to carry my baby. I hated prams. Admittedly, my only real encounter with prams was other people's whilst out shopping. I could see what a hassle it was getting them in and out of shops. Easy access regulations were just a twinkle in the bureaucrat’s eye at that stage.

Of course, we did buy a pram. One of those first time parents' mistakes. It lived up to everything that I thought it would be. Big, awkward and developed flat tyres the first time it went down our country lane. (Tyre being mended for the 100th time, above) It refused to collapse, which was fun in the car.
When eldest was on her way, I was lucky to receive a few hand me down baby carriers.
  • One I can only describe as a cage that went on my back. I couldn't walk.
  • One I nicknamed as an octopus due to the number of straps that were meant to wrap round me. No instructions, so I gave up.
  • One was an over one shoulder type. Again no instructions and my attempts to wear it were uncomfortable. I abandoned it.
I didn't know anyone who wore their baby. So no advice.
Eventually I bought a front carrying buckle type. Like a Baby Bjorn. It worked perfectly until her legs grew too long for me to walk comfortably. Even my husband was happy to use it. I loved being able to chat to her as I walked. I would wear it round the house, if she was restless.
Roll on two years. Next baby. This time I had more success researching online. I found a sling that suited me. And it came with instructions. Not only that, but I could buy a matching dolly sling for my eldest too. She loved it. I am glad to say that her little sister stayed in her sling better than some of the teddies in her big sister's version, but she loved being like me.

This sling (mine, not the dolly sling) is the one I stuck with through to the point that the next baby, my son, no longer needed it. I must have walked 100s of miles wearing it. Whether it was dog walking, holiday outings or shopping, I carried my babies.

Waiting in the playground, I was a rarity. People were curious about the sling and tended to ask the same questions:
1. Does it hurt your back? No. Muscles build up as the baby grows to toddler, so it’s not a sudden big weight. Wearing it every day, helps with this one.
2. Aren't you afraid he/she will fall out? No. Never was a problem. Baby is held so close and I'm conscious of them that it felt safer than having them in a pram.
3. Can they sleep when you are walking? Erm, yes. The rhythm rocks them asleep. It’s handy for feeding too.
4. Don’t they pull your hair? Yes. Why do you think I spent my baby wearing years with my hair scraped back?

I still have it. Not sure why. Probably because it brings back lovely memories. It was so flexible and comfortable. I loved having my babies close. It doesn't suit everyone, but it suited us.

My days of baby wearing are over. Youngest is 6 years old and can walk miles. I can't help smiling when I encounter other people wearing their babies. I can't imagine another way.
Thanks for having me over, Hannah. It’s been fun reminiscing. 

Cheryl blogs at Time To Craft and Tweets as @cherylintheuk - please pop by and show her some love! 

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