I learned about babywearing long before I became pregnant with my son when I heard about The Continuum Concept and then Attachment Parenting.
I'm a curious type who likes to plan things in advance and do a lot of research.
This was especially the case when it came to pregnancy and parenting as I was broody to be a mother for a few years before my husband said YES!
Early in pregnancy I asked in a forum something along the lines of 'What is the best first sling?'
There were many opinions and experiences to be shared. I'd heard about the Close baby carrier but I was repeatedly recommended a Gypsy Mama/Wrapsody hybrid stretchy wrap because they would have a longer life and can be used for heavier babies through to toddlerhood, and even for back carries.
I picked a colour that both my husband and I would like and swiftly bought a preloved Alyssa for £30 and got practicing with a teddy.
We decided our son would be a carried baby and bought very little for him before his birth except for the sling, cloth nappies and clothes.
When our son was 2 days old I decided it was time to try him in the sling for the first time and we would go for a short walk to get some fresh air and reacquaint ourselves with the outside world after being cocooned in our blissed out post birth state.
I very recently looked at my first babywearing photos again and was relieved to see that I had positioned his legs in the fetal tuck! I was dreading my first wrap job looking terrible and it wasn't too bad. Please excuse the birth pool in the background that we still hadn't emptied and I wasn't looking my best 2 days after giving birth!
I first tried a Front Wrap Cross Carry and he started at a good height but by the time I had finished he was asleep but his head wasn't quite close enough to kiss. It was generally tied a bit loose.
Being of a jersey cotton material with not so much stretch it took a bit of practice to tie it with just the right tension, but with a stretchier wrap you would tie it tighter.
In the sling library I have several stretchy wraps including Je Porte Mon Bebe Original and Basic wrap, and Hana Baby wrap. And of course the beautiful Wrapsody Hybrid in Brigid, the new name for Gypsy Mama. Each is so different so it can be worth trying a few out to see which you find easiest to use.
In my role as a consultant I have already in the last few months guided many new parents in the art of tying a stretchy wrap and getting their baby well positioned, and it feels so long ago that I was doing the very same thing with my son. It can take practice getting the correct tension and positioning your baby with their knees drawn up and their back and head well supported and off their chest, and I learn more and more each time as I hone my teaching style and adapt it to each parent.
There are many options for carrying from newborn including ring slings, mei tais and soft structured carriers but I recommend the stretchy wrap as a first option for new parents to try. Despite having a shorter life than other slings meaning you might have to trade up to either a woven wrap or a tie on or buckle carrier as they get heavier, they have many advantages.
Firstly they are very comfortable to wear for long periods of time and can be pre-tied so you can pop your baby in and out during the day. The three layers of tight fabric are fantastic at supporting your baby's back and drawing them in snugly to your body so they are not slumped and will be straight so their chin can be kept of their chest. Finally they offer the important head support before your baby can support their own head.
My first sling was my tool for bonding with my baby in the early days, keeping him near as he slept so I could check he was safe, and he got me off the sofa and with no excuse for my lack of housework.
It holds fond memories for both myself and my husband. Our Gypsy Mama sits at the bottom of our wrap pile waiting for another newborn to snuggle up in it.
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