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.
We attended our first sling meet
, together as a family, when Evelyn was just 8 days old and that's where I really learned the ropes - we tried a ring sling
and a stretchy wrap. I was amazed at the variety of baby carriers on offer as well as the simplicity of the babywearing process. I went home that day and put our baby in the home made sling. At first the tying got the better of me, the first few efforts were somewhat clumsy, nonetheless I persevered, and I am very glad I did. Within a week we were the owners of a Maya ring sling and started looking at all sorts of other carriers.
Not only does babywearing enable me to have that closeness with my daughter, allowing me to develop my bond with her, it also serves as an incredibly useful way to get around and carry on with every day activities such as supermarket shopping, making sandwiches and shooting zombies.
Now at 7 weeks old we are at the point where the misses and I are arguing over who gets to wear the baby. I can honestly say, that for something that started out as a whim, it has been thoroughly worthwhile.
Babywearing is fantastic for fathers as it gives them an opportunity to bond with their little ones and it doesn't have to be expensive. It has given me bonding time that I might otherwise have missed out on. I feel incredibly close to my tiny daughter.
I think I can say that I'm hooked and looking forward to babywearing for the forseeable future.
Thank you to Ben Hinchliffe, Sophie and Evelyn for sharing their babywearing journey.