There’s a new activity going on with young parents all over the UK – babywearing. It sounds like some odd sort of sport – just what is babywearing? Well, it turns out that babywearing is the term used to describe carrying babies in slings and harnesses – you’re not carrying them these days, you’re wearing your baby!
There are all sorts of slings available but they basically fall into two types – wraps and crotch-danglers.
Wrap style carriers/slings are usually long lengths of fabric that is wrapped around both parent and baby and tied securely. There are so many styles of wrap and some have extra bits and accessories for ease of tying. Some of these seem quite expensive at first, but there’s a thriving market in used slings and some of the designer styles actually fetch more second-hand than they cost new, especially limited edition models.Crotch-dangler is the term used to describe harness type slings that are something like a rucksack that you can wear on your front or back with baby supported from beneath the crotch. Although this style of infant carrier has grown in popularity over the past twenty years or so, it’s now thought that these put undue stress on baby’s back, forcing the baby into a ‘hollow back’ position that is not ideal for spinal safety. Wearing baby on the front and facing outwards is thought to be the very worst way of carrying.
If you’re thinking of carrying baby in a sling of some sort, then there are plenty of baby wearing support groups on Facebook where you can get advice in order to make an informed decision. There are even local ‘sling meet’ groups that you can join as a parent and baby social gathering. These groups also encourage members to trade (sell or swap) their slings, which makes it all a lot more affordable and means that you can try a few different styles to find out which suits you and baby best.