It’s International Babywearing Week and i wanted to kick it off with the story of my first kind of sling.
I first started babywearing 18 years ago, when i was just 20. Babywearing didn’t even cross my mind, in fact, i don’t think i can recall ever seeing anyone wear a sling or carrier EVER, except for African parents on the TV. What i do remember is thinking ‘wow’ that’s quite something to be able to do that. Let’s be honest i still think that! Kanga, Kilkoys or Kitenge wearing is an art and not one that i am a great proficient at, (not for the want of trying anyway). I guess i am too used to over the shoulder versions?
The first carrier i used was a Wilkinet, one most people will have heard of. It was given as a gift by a family member and i used it whilst indoors from about 4-8 months. Back then i had no clue about safe babywearing, or even that it was a term. I just knew that my daughter loved being in it and close to me, and that i had hands free to get on with things around the house.
I still find it bizarre that all those years ago i was doing something that would lead me to a career in the babywearing industry and moreover that back then, despite having no knowledge of the benefits of babywearing, i knew that it was something positive and helpful.
With my second child, who was born in 2003, i used an original version BabyBjorn Carrier, it was used more as a transportation method, when one hand was holding her elder sisters hand walking back from the supermarket. Although the shops were close i found it so much easier to carry a bag in one hand and another to hold a hand and not have to worry about pushing a buggy to. I didn’t drive at that time and a carrier was great on public transport, it just made my life that bit easier.
It was in 2009 with my 3rd child, that i found wrapping. I didn’t have my trusted Wilkinet or BabyBjorn any more (although i can’t recall where they went?) So after a recommendation by a friend, i bought a Moby Stretchy Wrap. It got minimal use, partly due to not really knowing how to use it properly. The term sling library was only just starting out and there was nothing even remotely close that i could find.
It was in 2011 that the wrap came into it own with the birth of my second son. With only 18 months between the 2 boys, i needed something that would allow me hands free to look after a very active toddler, but also to save me having to buy a monstrously huge double buggy. It was pretty much on all day every day and at night too whilst pacing the floors with a newborn. My son was 2 days old when i first put him in it. He loved it, i loved it and it gave me the freedom i needed to get on with life as a busy family of 4 kids.
I still have that Moby wrap, i still use it and still love it as much as i ever did, even better is that it has been leant out and used to enable and help many other parents over the past 5 years. Its the wrap that inspired me to open a sling library, that became a talking point with many other mum’s and its the wrap that started me on the journey i am now.
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