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Baby Sling Smackdown, Part II

By Amalah

Photo from Ergo Baby

Hi Amy!

So I had the question about slings a few months ago and thought I’d follow up. You know in case any of the commenters wanted to know if I put their excellent suggestions to good use.

After carefully reading all the comments and finding out that huh, it sort of depends on your preference…I ordered another over the shoulder baby holder sling (in red, my favorite color). Since I knew it worked on my body and it is reasonably…well not inexpensive exactly but not break the bank expensive either. Which worked great for the baby and he loves being in it. Baby experienced his first Day Out with Famous Tank Engine with big brother, first walk in the mountains to see the fall leaves and numerous outings to the park to wear big brother out in the OSBH. The only problem is that said baby was 10 pounds at birth and now weighs in at 12.5 pounds at 2 months so for longer-term babywearing, I was going to need another option sooner than I planned. Someone in the comments suggested the Belle Baby carrier. I liked the look of it so I got one off e-bay (still in the box) for 50% of retail. I think it is going to work fabulously. We’ll see as the baby gets bigger but for now, I really like it. And my husband much prefers it to the sling…he gets all nervous that the baby is going to fall out of the sling and likes the more strapped to his body style of this carrier.

Several comments raved about the wrap type carriers and I really considered them. Particularly given that I have an ACTIVE 3 yr old to chase after. But I tend to be hot-natured and apparently give birth to little radiators so I knew this option would just make both me and the baby way too hot. Pouch-type slings were also considered and rejected given my large bosoms and long-torso. And despite all the raves about the Ergo (brilliant advice columnist included) I just didn’t think it looked comfortable and frankly thought it was sort of fugly.

I personally didn’t have much luck looking on Craigslist as most of the baby carriers there were the REI hardcore hiking backpack type (we live in CO) or the useless Infantino or NoJo slings. But as I said, E-Bay worked out great. I got a new carrier (the seller bought it to try with her son, never got around to it and now he’s too big) for a steal!

And finally, we didn’t get a double stroller and haven’t needed one yet. Mostly I pop the carseat into the stroller frame (best invention ever!) and my 3 yr walks along with us.

Thanks for posting the sling smackdown as the comments were very helpful!
M

Yep, personal preference is definitely first and foremost when it comes to slings and carriers. What worked for one person may not work for another. In fact, it very most likely won’t, which is why there are 400 bajillion options out there.

And yet it’s SO hard not to get overly-passionate about what worked for you — even I let out an involuntary squawk at the idea of the Ergo being UNCOMFORTABLE, OMG, I wore my second son, Ezra, in that thing (front and back) for up to 10 hours a day at the BlogHer conference, whereas I haven’t been able to keep him in one of the over-the-shoulder slings for more than an hour or two since we switched from cradle hold to hip carry. (This again, is a personal thing, as I have TERRIBLE problems with my neck and shoulder muscles even without babywearing — I clench a lot, so I absolutely need a carrier that soundly keeps the weight on my back and hips and doesn’t shift and tug at my shoulder.)
bella_baby_carrier.png

As for the not-super-prettiness of it, it is indeed a rather utilitarian take on the Mei Tai style. But for us that’s been a benefit, since both my husband and I can take turns while we’re out and about. It fits us both, we both swear by the comfort of it, and while my husband, Jason, would use my reversible pouch sling, he could never get used to the hip carry position and — like your husband — was always paranoid that Ezra was about to fall out. I totally love the look of the Belle Baby carrier…but not being able to use it as a back carrier is another big personal negative. (Ezra loves being on our backs, it’s super comfortable and allows our arms to have total freedom to wrangle Noah or carry a cup of coffee without fear of Ezra’s grabby hands or spilling something on his giant head.)

But! I swear! I did not decide to publish your question just so I could ramble on about the Ergo some more. I actually recently picked up a whole new sling at a maternity/baby consignment store. THAT’S what I really intended to ramble about.

Since I like to fancy myself to be such a hardcore babywearer now, determined to use some form of carrier or another until Ezra heads to junior high, I figured I’d try one of those formerly-intimidating ring slings. I found a practically new Maya wrap, complete with original packaging and the instructional DVD, for over 50% off the regular price. In my size and everything! In a funky striped pattern that totally matched what I was wearing RIGHT THEN AND THERE. Clearly, I had to buy it, even though Jason rolled his eyes and pointed at the looooong flowy fabric tail on the package and stated that there was No Way He Was Wearing That.

Men! They’re just so close-minded to us superior, Earth-Mother types, right?

I figured the padded shoulder of the Maya was the solution to my current sling issue — Ezra is perfectly content in our Rockin’ Baby Sling, but as he gets bigger and more wiggly I’ve had problems keeping it properly positioned on my shoulder, so after awhile, I feel like Ezra’s pretty much completely hanging from my lower neck. This…um…hurts. (Don’t tell Motrin!)

And indeed, I brought the Maya home and looped it up and plopped Ezra in and spent five minutes crowing about how comfortable it was! Oh, yes, this is so much better! And so pretty! Hooray! Then I pulled it off and tossed it in the wash, because original packaging aside, it totally reeked of cardboard-box-in-the-attic.

The next day was my first trial run — a quick trip to the farmer’s market. I carefully re-threaded it and put Ezra in. And started having issues less than 10 minutes later. Ezra fussed and twisted in protest like I’ve NEVER seen him do before, and with every twist, the fabric kept slipping from the rings and loosening up and pretty soon I had to take him out and start all over. Re-thread. Double-check the edges of the fabric, make sure they aren’t folded over, carefully spread over the ring, carefully position on shoulder. Put baby in, attempt to tighten and adjust the sling again…WTF, how did it get all twisted over on itself again? 10 minutes later, Ezra was slipping down my torso again and the padded shoulder part was hanging down somewhere over my boob.

MAN, did I look like a rookie. Also, an idiot.

I’ve tried it…oh, twice since then. I’ve watched the DVD. I’ve studied the website. I swear I’m not doing anything obviously wrong. Despite the instructions’ assurance that you shouldn’t have to re-thread that often, I have to re-loop it through the rings every time, especially if I’ve tossed it on the backseat of the car or into a diaper bag — the fabric never seems to stay untwisted, so the rings can’t do their job of keep the sling tight enough. And of course, the biggest problem is that Ezra really doesn’t seem to like it, and I’m guessing it’s because the Maya doesn’t have a padded rail like our pouch sling. The fabric digs behind his knees and he kicks and bounces around, thus putting more strain on the rings and pulling it out of position and off my shoulder.

So. I am bummed. A combination of baby preference and mother stupidity has left me with a lovely but mostly useless sling that will likely end up right back at the consignment store. And right now I’m sure there’s somebody who LOVES their Maya wrap with the heat of a thousand suns and can’t believe I am saying such terrible things about their preshussssss. I know! I am clearly a bush-league babywearer. I’ll be over here with my stupid black Ergo, awkwardly bending backwards over this here couch to get my baby on my back so I avoid vacuuming graham-cracker crumbs out of my cleavage at the end of the day.

Don’t forget to visit our first post:
– Baby Carriers & Baby Slings Reviewed

Don’t forget to visit our follow-up posts: 

Soft-Structured Baby Carriers Reviewed
– Baby Wraps Reviewed
– Ring Slings and Mei Tais Reviewed

 

 

Amalah
About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch

Amalah

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to amyadvice@gmail.com.

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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