Why would I carry my child in a sling?
A child needs affection
The need for affection is equally
important with nutrition, sleep and other basic needs. Think of a
mother and a child doing their every-day routines. Babies are carried
many times during the day – sometimes for quite long periods.
Babies are also on the lap or in mother’s arms when nursed, burped,
put to sleep, chatted with, comforted, looked at, read to, played
with as well as then when the baby is unhappy anywhere else but in
someone’s arms. The lap is an important place both for small and
bigger children; carrying the child belongs to parenting. A carrying
sling is an excellent tool to satisfy the needs for affection. If one
is carrying the child anyway, why not in a sling?
Carrying is beneficial for the child’s
When the baby is being carried, it is
involved with her carrier’s movements. It can also keep eye contact
with the carrier. This is very comforting for the child and it feels
itself secure. At the same time the nerval, muscular and breathing
systems get stimulated. In addition the sense of balance and movement
are developing. The child is actively involved in action instead of
passively following it from the distance. Therefore carrying brings
both physical and psychological benefits for the development of the
Babies need to be carried a lot.
However, sometimes the carrying arms are very much needed for other
jobs as well. Surely almost every mother sometimes finds herself
thinking: “Why my baby cannot be happier for a longer period on the
floor, I should take care of the other siblings / food is getting
burned on the stove / surprise visitors should get something to
drink.” In the sling the baby is content in the mother’s lap or
back and she has free hands for washing up, sandpit activities or
even for playing with the older sibling. Slings are a truthful
“hands-free” accessory for the parents.
Baby in the sling, in the middle of the
The carrying position in a sling is
anatomically right and very firm. In the sling the baby can follow
what mother or father are doing as well as safely study strangers and
happenings outside the home. It can actively join in the action right
from the start of its life. However, when the world is providing too
much stimulation and the baby gets tired or distressed, all it needs
to do is to turn its head down to mother’s or father’s chest and
have a little refreshing nap. The parent can then pull up the sling a
little bit and support the baby’s head.
Living with a colicky baby
Those who have experienced a colicky
baby know how those screaming hours can be. Carrying and motion are
often the only way to comfort the child (it is also worth checking
the nursing mother’s diet and trying zone therapy). When the parent
stops moving, it’s a matter of seconds before the crying re-starts.
That is tiring even for the strongest of carrying arms. Slings will
make the carrying physically easier. The colicky period will
eventually pass and the sling will ease up the challenging phase a
Does the sling replace the buggy?
Many mothers have been very surprised
after the first use of a sling: the baby has fallen asleep within a
minute or two after putting the baby into it! A baby who sleeps in a
sling is comfortably and safely next to the parent. The best place
for a baby to sleep is near the mother or father! The sling has been
especially pleasant for those whose baby has needed complicated
ceremonies in falling to sleep. Motion (walking, dancing, rocking or
any other suitable form of moving) will make it even easier for the
baby to fall asleep and have an undisturbed rest. The sling is
equally as good place for a nap as the buggy.
Others like to move the sleeping baby
onto the bed whereas others like to carry the baby throughout the
nap. There are some tips to move the sleeping baby onto the bed: you
can loosen up the sling and lift up the baby and put it onto the bed.
Or alternatively, you can loosen up the sling, lie down together with
the baby and slip out of the sling. Then the sling will stay as a
blanket for the baby and the temperature will remain the same. The
baby is less likely to wake up with these tips.
It is a perfect time to have a walk
outside and enjoy the nature and sun while the baby is sleeping in
the sling. No need to rush to comfort a crying baby, or to be on
constant alert in case it wakes up – the baby is right there where
Not all babies are happy in a pram or a
buggy. For some babies it is just impossible to settle in the pram.
However, there is still some use for the pram if you have one: the
baby is in the sling and the shopping is in the pram. Convenient,
Most sling users also have a pram or a
buggy. There is a time and a place for all slings. As an answer to
the question: yes, a sling can replace the buggy. However, both sling
and the buggy can also be used side by side.
When you carry a baby in the sling you
can easily get to places where you couldn’t go with the pram.
Trekking, day-trips to the forest, staircases and shopping trips to
small boutiques must be given a miss if you are pushing a pram.
In addition, slings are light-weight
and easy to store. Over-the-shoulder – slings have proven to be a
very life-long investment: keep a sling in your pocket when out with
a toddler. When a child is saying no more walking, it’s time to
take the sling out of your pocket and slip the child into the sling.
That is all you need to do.
Woven wraparound slings have so many
benefits that it is actually difficult to find even one reason why
not to use it.
Slings can also be a hobby. They are
beautiful, often colorful and multi-usable. Though a dedicated user
might have several slings, they all have a purpose. Not even
mentioning the re-selling price, if the owner has the heart to give
them away. Slings, especially a long one, can even be handed down
from generation to generation.
Text: Anne Paakkanen