Many parents are very familiar with the benefits of carrying their baby or babies in the first few weeks or months after birth and others are receptive when I mention it could be useful if they have a baby who likes to be held close most of the time or if their baby is prone to reflux or wind and likes to be held upright. For many parents, including those in urban areas, living upstairs or with more than one child, using a sling or carrier can make getting out & about much easier.
Yesterday I was reminded just how many advantages carrying a child can have for them as well as for their parents or carers and and I learnt more about just how versatile and varied slings & carriers are. There really is a different way for everyone to carry their baby, as Mel at Wrap a Hug Sling Library demonstrated in her lively workshop for perinatatal practitioners! And with slings available to hire from just £5 per month, there may be financial and environmental benefits in addition to all the nurturing and developmental considerations.
It was particularly helpful for me to see some of the many ways in which stretchy wraps, woven wraps, ring slings and more structured carriers can be adjusted easily to enable mothers to feed from breast or bottle and I will feel much more confident about making suggestions to parents about this from now on. It was also interesting to hear Mel say that using a sling or carrier can make life much easier after a caesarean birth and useful to see that there are lots of options for carrying pre-term babies as well as for carrying two babies at a time or a baby and a toddler.
If you are interested in finding out more and are still pregnant, Mel suggests that the ideal time to make an appointment with your local Sling Library to experiment with different carriers using a weighted doll is around 30 weeks. However, if you have missed that timeslot, it's not too late to find out more about ways of safely carrying older babies, toddlers and children. Look out for local sling library demos or contact your nearest School of Babywearing Consultant.
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