Unlike breastfeeding and cosleeping, wearing my baby is something I don’t remember thinking about before I got pregnant. I don’t remember how I learned about it either. Perhaps it was in one of Dr. Sear’s books. Still, I didn’t prepare for it.
Then Rhiannon was born, and I wanted to hold her a lot. I carried her for the last 9 months. It didn’t seem right to stop suddenly. So I bought a sling—a Maya Wrap—when Rhiannon was about 6 weeks old. I regret not having it at birth. It took some time to learn how to adjust it and Rhiannon was already getting so big; I was sure if I’d used it from birth, she would have taken to it better.
I didn’t start wearing Rhiannon in the sling often until she was almost 6 months old! Through the fall months we practiced using the sling while going down to get the mail. I was determined to make it work for our cross-country trip at Christmas. We succeeded! The sling made it so easy to carry Rhiannon around the airports and nurse her, and we didn’t have to lug the stroller around.
I prefer wearing Rhiannon up close to me in the sling, rather than putting her down in the stroller so we can talk to each other more easily, and so she can see what’s going on instead of just looking at everyone’s knees.
Now Rhiannon rides in the hip-carry whenever we go shopping at the mall or stores without shopping carts. Sometimes I still use it for walks down to the mailbox. I hope I can continue carrying her into toddlerhood, but she is already 26 pounds at the age of 9 months, so we’ll see…
Where I got our slings in 2001: Maya Wrap
September 24, 2002
Rhiannon weighs 29 lbs now. Not much gain in the last 6 months, but she seems a lot heavier. That’s probably because she’s more active. She has such a strong drive to explore, so she wiggles to get down more often. Still, we get quite a bit of use out of the sling. Since I wrote in March, I have learned to push her around toward my back so she can watch me prepare dinner sometimes. In August, we took a cross-country trip, just the two of us. I wore Rhiannon in the sling, carried the car seat in one hand, and pulled along our carry-on bag with the other hand.
In May, Rhiannon fell asleep in the sling at the mall, while we were waiting for portraits to be developed. When I went back to get the pictures, I had them take another, of Rhiannon in the sling!
February 2, 2003
At 20 months, Rhiannon doesn’t sling that often, but when we do, it’s amazing how comfortable it continues to be. The other day I regretted not bringing the sling with us into the mall when our quick trip became longer than planned. My arms tire from just a few minutes of carrying her without the sling, but I can sling her for an hour easily! Well, nowadays she’d prefer to be down running around on her own, so for that reason it’s unlikely I’d sling her for an hour, but if she was happy with it I could!
At 25 months, Rhiannon weighs about 35 lbs. I can’t remember when we last used the sling. Not only is she getting rather heavy for it, and she prefers to walk anyway. In fact, she likes to run. I’m looking forward to using the sling with Caroline from the start. I’ll probably bring the sling to the hospital. It will really help to allow me to play with Rhiannon while holding and nursing Caroline. I just need to buy a big coat that will go over Caroline in the sling, for when we go out.
November 20, 2003
I’ve been lazy. I did bring the sling to the hospital as I planned, but didn’t actually try using it until a couple of days ago. It’s just been so easy to just carry Caroline around without the sling. She’s growing fast though, so I’d better start making a point of putting her in the sling a little every day so we can get good at it. She doesn’t mind it now, but I remember Rhiannon didn’t like it when I first got it when she was 6 weeks old.
October 21, 2004
I did start using the sling regularly with Caroline, and still do. I even figured out how to breastfeed with Caroline in the sling, which has been very helpful on outings. I have nursed her while walking around the park with Rhiannon! Caroline is very comfortable in the sling and it’s very much a part of us. On the rare occasions I’ve put her in the stroller, it feels strange. Recently we could be seen slinging at the natural history museum in D.C.
December 10, 2006
One of the first times I put Ian in the sling was when the girls were clamoring for breakfast and he was fussy. I don’t know how moms of multiple children manage if they don’t wear the baby.
There was a short relearning period for me–I haven’t worn Caroline since sometime in 2005, although she wanted to try it out a couple of days ago and still fit–but Ian and I quickly began using the sling easily and regularly. I remember being so awkward with it for months with Rhiannon. I never wore her in the cradle hold because by the time we got comfortable, she was big enough for the hip carry, which I found easier. Caroline did well being carried chest-to-chest, and we didn’t cradle hold much either. But for some reason, Ian somehow fits better in the cradle hold and we haven’t done chest-to-chest after the first attempt. Several times he has been fussy and when I bounce while he sits cradle style in the sling, his head in my left arm, he stares up at me until he can’t keep his eyes open any longer and falls asleep. Then I can pull the fabric up to support his head–when he’s awake he usually does not tolerate things on his head!–and I have two hands free!
February 22, 2008
I used the sling a lot in Ian’s first 6 months. It was extremely important to our survival on a trip to Disney World when he was 6 months old! But we used the sling less and less in the second half of his first year, and now hardly ever. His desire to explore is too strong to put up with being carried for very long!