Those who know me well will know that my absolute must-have baby product is a decent sling. They are worth their weight in gold, particularly if you have more than one little monkey to look after!
Whether you want to follow attachment parenting principles by wearing your baby as much as possible, or you simply want a more convenient bit of kit than a massive (and expensive!) pram then I’d suggest looking into buying at least one sling or baby carrier. Perfect for using on public transport or on holiday – no folding bulky pushchairs! And major bonus, babies LOVE them. If they are fractious or tired then the warmth & movement is incredibly soothing, and if they are awake and alert then they also love the view up at your level.
Having tried my fair share I thought I’d give you a quick review of my absolute faves. All of those I recommend take into account the current advice on hip dysplasia – please do read up a little on that here if you have bought or been gifted a carrier already. I should also say that comfort is a major factor, so do try before you buy if possible – all babies, toddlers and body shapes are different! Find your local sling library and trial one if you can.
Kari-Me from £44.95 at kari-me.com
This was the first sling I ever bought and I still love it. Stretchy but secure and not too expensive, the whole wrap system looks really intimidating at first but trust me you soon get the hang of it!
The trick for those occasions when you need to get baby to car to sling on a rainy day is to put on your sling before you leave the house, so you can just pop baby in when you arrive the other end. Way less stressful!
The bonus with wrap slings is that they are super comfy and soft. I way prefer them particularly when babies are newborn and tiny. They absolutely love being snuggled inside. If you are a mama, buy one. If you are a friend of a mama, buy them one as a gift.
Hana Baby Wrap from £43.99 at hanababy.co.uk
I bought this wrap sling for my second baby as he was due at the end of the Summer and I sometimes found my black cotton kari-me a little hot in sunny weather. I was looking for another bamboo sling as I adored one I’d found at a little kids boutique in Brighton years ago, but they sadly were discontinuing and my old one had seen better days.
That’s when I stumbled across the Hana wrap – a mix of bamboo and organic cotton which meant it was way more stretchy than the one I had before but way more breathable than the Kari-Me.
The only downside is that because it is more stretchy it can lose structure and feel a bit less secure, so I found it needed to be tied a bit tighter than I was used to. If you’re having a Summer baby or live in a hot country I’d definitely opt for this one though out of the two.
Ergobaby from £104.90 at johnlewis.com
Ok this to me is the ultimate baby carrier that stands the test of time. Hubby used it with an insert from birth with Flora (he liked the more manly carrier look while I preferred the soft wrap), and then when she felt a little too heavy for the wraps I switched to this and LOVED it. So much so that I carried on using it for almost two years (toddlers get tired walking) and until I got pregnant. I’ve been using it all over again with Augustus and actually liked the snug infant inset for winter months . Mine is looking a little tired now, though I’ve recently invested in the lovely fleece lined waterproof cover and the teething pads too – all amazing additions well worth buying if you like this carrier.
They’ve since released loads of new models – one that also faces outwards whilst still maintaining safe hip positioning, a lighter sportier version that’s breathable, organic cotton styles and many more. They have also released their own wrap style sling too. On my wish list!
If you can afford to upgrade then this is always my first choice of sling or carrier once baby is a tad bigger, but if you are in the UK or Europe do beware of fakes. John Lewis is an approved stockiest here so head their first – though they seem annoyingly low on stock at the moment.
I’ve not included ring slings in my top three as they just never worked for me, but many Mummy friends rave about them so don’t dismiss that style based on my preferences! The great thing about sling wearing is that anyone can do it (Dad’s always look hot wearing one in my opinion!), and most babies tend to be pretty chilled in them even if it’s not with Mum. They fold up pretty small to fit in your bag, or under your pram if you prefer to be free of babe in arms more often but still want flexibility. They are also amazing if you want to walk the dog cross-country without having major pram vs mud issues.
Oh and if you are a seasoned wearer you can breastfeed in them too! Just the other day I was walking the dog, whilst helping Flora with her scooter whilst breastfeeding Augie in the sling hands free. I felt like superwoman. Then it rained and I put on the incredibly awesome fleecy rain cover… another sling wearing Dad in the park looked at me and gave me a silent nod of approval. Slings are the new sports cars. Kinda.