I always wanted to wear my baby, I didn’t know any of the benefits, and to me it was an idealised image of women working in fields with babies attached to their back. The simple idea of keeping your baby close to you appealed to me.
But when I started to look in all the big named childcare shops in Ireland, the only slings I could find were the structured, unsupportive baby carriers, which definitely did not appeal to my idealised image.
I didn’t really want to buy online without trying the sling on, so I was stuck.
<-babywearing 3.5 week old in Kari-Me Sling
So my Little Man (LM) had reflux, which meant that after each feed he would get milk up, and a lot more if he was lying down. So we spent all day with one of us having him up on our shoulders. The poor little fella. If we tried to lie him down, he would seem uncomfortable, and cry and spit up milk. Many a top puked on, and on, and on, we needed to regularly wash our huge amount of Moses basket sheets, until we thought of putting a towel and muslin cloth under him, so could do an easier change without needing to remove sheet and wipe down mattress protector. He always had a bib on, until I’d say he was about 10 months.
We were starting to go mad, especially when hubby went back to work and I had to “cope” on my own. It is overwhelming enough, but when you can’t even put your baba down for 5 mins to go to the toilet or make a cuppa you start to feel you will slowly (or quickly) go insane.
So something had to be done. So when LM was 3 weeks old, I went to my first Cuidiu (ICT- Irish Childcare Trust) breastfeeding meeting. My huge growing LM, looked soooooo tiny compared to the colossal 2, 3, 4, 13 month olds. The women were so nice and I discussed reflux and got some tips, and I also asked about a sling recommendation. I met a lovely lady, who said she had the perfect sling for me, a “Kari-me” wrap sling. It all sounded like a foreign language, but I was learning. Her family were actually immigrating to New Zealand 2 days later and she said she no longer had a need for the sling, her youngest was 14 months and not using it as much and she had a similar one in NZ anyway. Score! So after the meeting I called around to her house and she showed me the sling, popped her little assistant in, she seamed like a pro, made it look so easy and natural. I was sold.
So our adventures in baby wearing began…
I downloaded the Kari-me instructions that evening and we, 2 engineers, tried to decipher how to put this huge piece of material on. We weren’t as put off as we could have been as we had seen a real life demo, and seen the ease which the lady had put on sling and popped happy toddler in. We were confident it was actually easy to use, just not for us at that moment! So we persisted, and within a day we were getting the hang of it. Within a week we were sorted, I could put it on myself, no assistance needed, and then the world was my oyster!
I could now feed LM and then pop him in the sling and make myself a cuppa, have some breakie, watch “One Tree Hill” (an obsession that began, as they had conveniently decided to show it from the beginning when LM was about 4 weeks old), go to the toilet (a little unsure at first, but needs must!), walk, sweep, go on trains, buses, go for lunch, treat myself to day long shopping trips, museum visits, and sooo much more.
This was 8 years ago now, and at the time there were no BabyWearing Ireland Sling Meets or Demos that I knew of, but we are spoilt now! With monthly and bi-monthly meets going on all over the country, it is much easier to see slings in real life, borrow from libraries and find your perfect sling.
I have since gone on to train as a Babywearing Consultant (foundation, advanced and Certificate) with Trageschule Babywearing School. I also volunteer with Babywearing Ireland and facilitate the monthly East Meath Sling Meets and Sling Walks in Sonairte, Laytown.