My Favorite Baby “Tool”

Toddler nursing in a slingHannah Z., Northern California

There are very few items of baby gear I consider essential for parenting, but a sling is a must-have for me.

I stumbled upon slings when my first child was 18 months old. When she was a newborn, we briefly used one of those baby carriers where the baby is strapped to your chest and facing forward but those were never particularly comfortable for me. So, when I read a thread about baby carrier slings in an online parenting group I belonged to, I was intrigued even though my daughter was older.

I happened to find a ring sling on clearance at a local store one day. It was a little awkward attempting to use it with my daughter since neither of us were used to it, and honestly, we never used it on a regular basis.

By the time my daughter was three years old, I had a newborn again and I was determined to use a sling from the start. I researched different types of slings, and a friend actually gave me a new ring sling as a baby gift.

Wow! It made such a difference to use a sling from the beginning. Now that I had a busy toddler in addition to a newborn, I loved having my hands (or at least one hand) free when my baby was nestled in the sling. I was able to meet my son’s needs for closeness and could easily nurse him in the sling while carrying on with tasks at home or outside of the home. The sling felt like it was an extension of me.

This list is by no means complete, but here are a few things I could do more easily while wearing my son:

  • Prepare food.
  • Complete household chores (vacuum, dust, pick up toys).
  • Answer emails, other work-related tasks on computer.
  • Hold my daughter’s hand.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Push my daughter in the swing.
  • Run errands.
  • Push the cart in the grocery store.
  • Nurse discreetly in public.
  • Help keep baby from getting too distracted while nursing.
  • Prevent baby from feeling overwhelmed by too much noise/movement both at home and while outside.
  • More easily keep from having to pass baby around when visiting friends or relatives.
  • Use extra sling material as a burp rag if I happened to forget to pack one (my son spit up quite often in the early weeks) – washing the sling as soon as possible, of course!

Before I became a mother, I wasn’t familiar with baby carriers like slings at all, so discovering this parenting tool was such a relief. I hope this helps someone else if they haven’t discovered baby wearing yet!


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