My babywearing evolution

When I was pregnant with Claire, all my friends with kids told me that a Baby Bjorn was an absolute must-have, life-saving item. I immediately put it on my baby registry, and was positively thrilled when I received one at my baby shower from one of my closest friends.

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One of the reasons I liked the idea of the Bjorn was that it doesn’t require any kind of extra infant insert when your baby is still tiny. We still waited a few weeks before giving Claire a test-drive in the Bjorn, but once we did, she seemed to really love it!

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We moved back to Kenya when Claire was about 2 1/2 months old, and we initially moved in to a furnished apartment, which happened to be right across the street from a big shopping center with a supermarket. We only had one car at the time, which Jesse used for commuting, so I literally went to the supermarket every day on foot, buying as much as I could carry back to the apartment (and up the 5 flights of stairs!). The Bjorn got a lot of mileage in those days! It made grocery shopping (and carrying everything home) with a small baby feasible. For that, I will be eternally grateful.

After a while, I started to read up about different baby carriers, and saw the reviews that carriers like the Bjorn might not be great for babies’ hip placement and development. So on a trip to the US, I bought an Ergo Baby. It got rave reviews, was supposed to be ergonomically designed for baby’s hip development (hence the name), and almost every parent I knew in Nairobi had one. Plus, you could wear your baby on your back – how cool!

Except that Claire HATED being worn on my back. And she didn’t like the front carry in the Ergo, because she had to be facing me, which meant she couldn’t look around at what was going on. We tried using the Ergo hip carry a few times, but it was complicated, and I quickly realized the Ergo wasn’t going to work for us. (We’ve still got it, and we’ll give it another go when BM2 arrives.)

Around this time, I bought my first ring sling from my friend Rocio of Watoto Slings. It was AMAZING. The moment I put Claire in the sling, I was overcome by how NICE it felt – like I was hugging my baby, but I still had my hands free. I walked home that first day (about a 20 minute walk), feeling so happy and close to Claire. She was happy as could be, sitting close to my hip, wrapped around me, and still able to see everything ahead of us. She fell asleep on that walk home, and I remember thinking, “This thing is going to change my life.” It really did.

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Since that day, the ring sling was my go-to carrier. Jesse doesn’t care for it – it’s too colorful and not manly enough. He did wear it once at the beach, but I don’t think he would every willingly carry Claire or BM2 in a sling. As for me, I still love it. Once Claire started walking, she used the sling less and less. I loved it, because the sling was so lightweight and easy to just stuff in a bag (which cannot be said for the Bjorn or Ergo). So I kept it handy, if she wanted it. Over time, it became something we use only when Claire is particularly tired or edgy and needing some attention.

I fully intend to use my ring sling as my primary baby carrier for BM2, when she arrives. The Ergo will be on hand for when Jesse wants to do some babywearing, and maintain his manliness…  🙂

I fell so in love with my sling, that I decided to start making them myself! Contact me if you’d like to know more…

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2 Responses to My babywearing evolution

  1. Lorna says:

    Mama-to-be here, so still learning about baby wearing. How big does your infant need to be to start using the sling? Do you know if Watoto slings will ship to the U.S.?

    • Mama Mgeni says:

      Hi Lorna! You can use a ring sling from birth! I carried my baby in one as soon as we got home from the hospital. My friend who makes Watoto Slings is now living in Spain – and I’m not sure if she does international shipping. But there are lots of places you can get ring slings in the US as well! The industry standard is Sleeping Baby Productions. Her shop only opens periodically due to high demand, but her work is second-to-none! I would also recommend joining a local Babywearing International chapter, where you could likely borrow a ring sling to see if you like it before you invest! I hope this helps! 🙂

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