A belated Happy New Year to all our blog readers! 2013 has arrived and we have a raft of fun ahead - we've already put our New Year's resolution into action (more exercise) with a walk out to Forge Dam, had fun at MegaKidz and enjoyed cake at Rosie Lea's in Hillsborough. Please see Upcoming Events for more details of our meets this month, and beyond but we're off to Meadowhall tomorrow morning!
To start this new year we would like to share some photos of our children "baby wearing" their dolls and toys. My eldest daughter has even carried her sister, momentarily - she is 3 and half, her sister is 21 months ... and while it was hugely impractical I could not refuse their enthusiasm. Unfortunately, I could not capture this moment for posterity, but I regularly capture both girls carrying their toys in slings on various occasions.
When my partner first told me about slings and babywearing I thought she was a bit mad, after all prams are the norm, why would we want to use anything else? Of course, being the good partner that I am I indulged this idea, begrudgingly, thinking that she would easily get bored of the idea within a few weeks and we would just use the pushchair like "normal people".
In the interest of not spending much money whilst still indulging the idea we decided to have a go at making our own stretchy wrap. So, I helped my heavily pregnant partner measure out and cut the fabric (I even bought her a sewing machine!). Of course, as soon as she got her new toy I had to try it out. Now baby wasn't here yet so we tried it with a teddy. I have to admit I felt daft, after all there's a huge difference between a baby human and a stuffed toy.
We had the general misconception that our daughter would be a fragile little thing and were both scared to put her in the sling at first. As coincidence would have it, Evelyn Rose arrived at the beginning of International Babywearing Week, so that was handy.
Last week saw the turning on of the Christmas lights in Sheffield and a number of our members popped down with their families. Here they are, sharing the benefits of babywearing at a busy, public event.
"Mya usually becomes overwelmed by characters/mascots, with them being so big, but she was perfectly happy for me to approach 'Pooh Bear' and for her to give him high 5 as she has re-assurance of me being right there for her to snuggle into."
"I enjoyed the ease with which we could interact with the characters - my son, the fire brigade bear and I all played peek-a-boo till T was screaming with laughter as the sling meant he was high enough to see over the barrier and I had my hands free for peek-a-boo!"
I started off my babywearing journey by borrowing a friend's homemade stretchy. The fabric she has used contained a lot of polyester, which was very hot and sweaty for the summer so when I went into Fine Fabrics in Hillsborough with the intention of buying some fabric to make my own I opted for some thin cotton jersey fabric and made my own, which you can see in this photo of me carrying my 8 month old son Daniel in a front carry for a 5 mile walk in the peaks around Hartington.
I think they still have the same fabric in stock so if you want to make one like this you can!
When I was pregnant I remember watching a woman at Sheffield train station put her baby on her back with a long length of fabric. I realise now that I must have been staring. I was impressed by her technique but just assumed that I wouldn’t ever carry my baby in this way. I didn’t even give it a second thought, in spite of seeing what a good idea it was.
I’m a new mum to Robin who is now eleven weeks old and I never knew there was such a thing as ‘babywearing’ until after he was born. Like most things with this journey into parenthood, I have picked up knowledge along the way.
Whilst pregnant, I liked the idea of carrying my baby in a sling and had read that it might be useful to have one as well as a buggy or pram. I bought a Caboo Close carrier (a hybrid stretchy carrier) from ebay for a bargain £25. I’m not sure what made me choose this one over one of the mass produced type slings but I read some good reviews and thought I’d go with this one. My husband and I spent hours practising with a doll but we never got around to actually using it until Robin was about two weeks old.
The theme of International Babywearing Week this year is Carrying on Traditions. As babywearers, we know that parents have carried their babies since the dawn of modern man, first in arms and then in slings. We love the fact that we are getting back to a way of interacting with our children that pre-dates car seats, prams and bouncy chairs (useful though all these things are). But this year's theme made us wonder, what are the babywearing traditions we are creating nowadays?
Our favourite babywearing innovation! We at Sheffield Babywearers are very proud of our Sheffield sling meets - friendly, accessible, regular and helpful. We're having a special weekend sling meet this Saturday 13 October, 2-4pm in room 5 of the Showroom Cinema, Sheffield (many thanks to the Showroom for donating use of the room). We hope that babywearers new and old who can't attend our usual weekday meets (we're thinking particularly of dads) will be able to come along.