Elli writes…Â When I first peeked into the world of baby-wearing, I remember feeling totally bamboozled by choice. I knew the right thing to do was to go to a baby carrier specialist shop and try some on to find out what would suit me, but something held me back…
I’m not proud to admit that in the end I based my decision on a smart marketing line, which went something like: imagine yourself being put in a parachute harness and carted around all day with all your weight between your legs. Now imagine being placed in a hammock and gently rocked as you went about your business. Which would you rather? “The hammock, the hammock!”, I found myself declaring enthusiastically to my computer monitor, shiny-eyed – and thus, the decision was made. I hit buy and aÂ BabaSling was ours.
Concept: If there was a continuum with baby carriers like Baby Bjorn at one end and a-long-piece-of-fabric-which-can-be-wrapped-round-mother-and-baby at the other, the BabaSling would sit slap bang in the middle.
The ready-to-wear hammock shape means the baby is worn as in a sling, but you do away with the need to re-wrap your baby in and out each time you use it.
In use: I must admit that our BabaSling hung from the back of the nursery door gathering dust for a few weeks when our daughter was born. One of my top tips would be to have someone at hand when you first put baby in. I dutifully practiced with the sling while pregnant using my stuffed ET, which is handily newborn-sized. However, ET isn’t nearly as floppy or fragile as a live baby (you don’t say) plus my enormous bump was in exactly the wrong place for a useful trial.
This meant that when it came to the live event, I didn’t feel particularly confident and appreciated the extra pair of hands offered by my other half. You cannot adjust the sling once baby is in, so it takes a bit of fiddling to get the strap length right and really you need someone with you when you first do this. But once that’s sorted, you’re off.
There are seven carrying holds which are explained with diagrams on the ‘How To’ sheet. They have adorable names like Little Joey and Piggy Back. I was impressed that my 2-week old daughter was able to make it absolutely clear which position she preferred Â – very much not lying down in an Easy Tiger hold (waah, waah, waah), but much rather upright and nestled into my chest, otherwise known as Koala Cuddle.
Positives: Easy once you know how and unisex enough for my other half to feel suitably manly when wearing the baby. Oh, and a big draw when my daughter was very small was that the sling guaranteed a nap – memories of walking the streets of north London enjoying a refreshing Twister ice lolly, baby gently snoozing.
Any negatives: You are advised to swap periodically between carrying on the left shoulder and the right shoulder. This involves repositioning the buckles each time so that the top buckle is always shorter than the other. Once you’ve found your comfortable strap lengths, it’s easy to do this by eye but it’s not the smoothest operation at first. Another quite personal drawback for me was that my parents and in-laws were not confident in loading her up and heading off – whereas they happily used my sister’s baby carrier when her daughter was little.
Where can I buy one?: Buy online direct from BabaSling for Â£39.95 and delivery is free. There are seven colours to choose from, including geranium (pictured right), scarlet and midnight blue. (It’s probably worth price-checking against Amazon, which was offering them for less a few days ago but the prices have since increased.)
Overall: I am very attached to my BabaSling and like having it handy as an alternative to the pram. Now that my little girl is bigger (six months old this week!) I probably wouldn’t get very far carrying her – but I’ve seen other mums with toddlers nipping round the shops, baby on hip in the BabaSling, so it is possible and probably comes in handy for those sort of errands. Another nice bonus is the feeling of entering the BabaSling club. The logo label is reasonably conspicuous and it’s easy to spot a fellow wearer and exchange a knowing smile.
Verdict: 4/5. It would have been full marks if it was possible to adjust the sling once on.