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.
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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. 

What I hadn’t anticipated was how much Robin, at least at the beginning, would not like being put down.  In fact – and this is still the case – he often isn’t calm unless he is being held close in an upright position (preferably by someone who is standing up and moving).  So you can imagine how handy the sling has been.  Though initially I was mostly using the pushchair as a mode of transport I found that I preferred the sling;  I liked the feeling of having my baby close to me, but found it uncomfortable if I was carrying him for any length of time.  It was several weeks before I found out about Sheffield Babywearers and the Sheffield Sling Library.  

When someone from a mums and babies group told me about the Sheffield Babywearers and that they were ‘hardcore’, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  So I was pleasantly surprised to find just a normal group of parents who shared a passion for carrying their babies. I was amazed and impressed that such a community existed (and one which is incredibly friendly and welcoming too!).

At the moment I’m borrowing a Melkaj mei tai (an Asian style carrier) and finding it really comfortable though I’m still getting to grips with the long ties and making sure it’s tight enough.  I’m looking at borrowing a few different types – there are so many! – before buying one that is perfect for us.  Babywearing has so many benefits (I have my hands free, mobility is easier, Robin is calm and close to me) and I have all the support I need at my fingertips.

Babywearing doesn’t have to be ‘alternative’.  After all, it’s been around for thousands of years and was once considered normal and not at all unusual.  For me, it makes sense when it seems to be what my baby wants and needs.  

The first in our "Personal Perspectives", a series of blog entries written by our members. This was written by new mum and babywearer, Louise Swain.
Rachel
30/11/2012 06:51:28 am

Lovely read, thank you :)

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