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When I was doing my research while hugely pregnant last year, I came across babywearing. I’d seen it done, in various ways, and thought it was probably something I wanted to have a go at. After looking at various wraps, carriers, and slings, I decided a ring sling was going to be the best for me to start with. I bought an EllaRoo, which came with instructions and looked fairly straight forward. I didn’t start using it until I had begun to recover from anaemia, and was up and about more (by which time, the Muppet was fairly resistant to being in it despite wanting to be held/carried constantly, but we persevered, and he got used to it), about six or seven weeks in. I used it around the house, while cooking, hanging out the washing, short shopping trips, etc. Despite the instruction booklet, I found it very hard to get going with – it showed the hip carry and cradle hold, neither of which worked for us at that time. It didn’t impress the importance of creating a ‘seat’ for the baby – in the cradle hold the Muppet just ended up squashed and struggling for breath. My breastfeeding support group recommended going to see sling consultant Nicole at Blue Skies who showed me how to do a front carry.

We got used to babywearing with a ring sling, and as the Muppet’s head control increased and he grew bigger, we progressed to a hip carry. I found wearing him like this for longer periods of time quite tiring though, so did a bit more research and bought a second hand Ergobaby carrier. I knew the importance of maintaining the ‘M’ or frog-legged position while the baby is being carried, which influenced my decision to buy an Ergo. I wear this on my front, and can go for much longer without feeling any strain on my back, shoulders, or hips. I tried wearing the Muppet on my back a couple of times, but he wasn’t happy so we gave up. Just recently I’ve been thinking I could do a lot more if he was on my back – I’ve not done very much gardening since he was born, simply because I couldn’t with him in a front or hip carry, and neither could I put him down for long enough to get anything done. He’s quite happy to be put down now, but wants to come and help! Trouble is, he will inevitably start trying to eat soil or stones or leaves just when I’ve got my hands muddy, and can’t go fishing among the five teeth to remove the foreign body! I spent an uncomfortable half hour at the allotment the other day, balancing Muppet in the ring sling on my hip, trying to pick strawberries and gooseberries, and do a bit of weeding. I then saw a timely advert for a back-wrapping workshop at Blue Skies which resulted in a Eureka! moment, so off I went to see Nicole. We tried the Muppet in the Ergo on my back, but while he was fairly comfy, I was not. I hate anything tight round my waist, so didn’t much like the waist strap of the Ergo digging in. We talked about the wrapping course but decided I needed to learn front wrapping first. Nicole showed me a basic carry, and helped me try it on my own. I was surprised at how easy it was, and how comfy! The Muppet seemed quite happy with it too. So I hired a wrap and we’re having a go for a fortnight…

Since before the Muppet was born I’ve admired babies in these beautiful fabrics, wrapped tightly to their mums (and dads!), but thought it would be hard to get the hang of, and hot and probably uncomfortable for me. But it isn’t any of those things! Admittedly, we did get a bit hot and bothered trying it the other day, but it was only my third go, so I know we’ll get better at it! Now I feel like I can properly be part of the babywearing community: I know we were before, but somehow ring slings and buckle carriers don’t feel quite as valid as a wrap. I’ve no doubt other parents feel like this too, though we shouldn’t: this blog post says it beautifully. And while you’re there, check out the rest of the blog; it’s not been updated that recently, but I’ve spent a couple of warm, fuzzy evenings reading babywearing stories.

Now I’ve mentioned fabrics… well, don’t get me started. People say they get addicted to these beautiful swathes of cotton and I can well believe them. I think this post sums it up best: we like to wear our babies, our little loves, in the most beautiful things we can find; representing, in a way, ourselves and the beautiful relationship we have with our babies. With that in mind, I’ve been looking for a wrap to call our own, and am beginning to fall a little bit in love with Girasol rainbows

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