The sling meet: learning to wear an older baby in a woven wrap

Over five metres of intricately woven cloth have hung in my hallway for almost a year. My Storchenwiege woven wrap, a birthday present from my parents, has been draped over the banister, mocking me.

Repeatedly, I picked it up, flung it about my shoulders and cast it aside in frustration. I could put a baby in stretchy wrap with my eyes closed. What was so different about this?

I looked at YouTube videos and kind of got the gist but for some reason it just didn’t feel right. I also lacked the confidence to experiment. I’m not sure why. That’s just the way it was.

But I really wanted to be able to use it. My soft structured carrier, the Ergobaby, was comfortable and easy enough but I missed that cuddly feeling of being wrapped up with my baby.

I know some people go on using their stretchy wraps with toddlers but by the time Talitha hit around six months, my Moby was no longer as supportive. I realise this may have more to do with my physiology than the wrap itself.

Every time I mentioned my woven wrap angst on Twitter, Jax from Live Otherwise kept telling me to go to a sling meet. I meant to. I wanted to. But I kept finding reasons not to go. I hate being the novice in a room. It’s ridiculous but true.

Well, today, I finally went. A babywearing friend with a very pretty Beco carrier offered Talitha and I a lift to the Bristol Sling Meet.

We ate cake, drank tea, discussed how long we were thinking of co-sleeping for and the best attire for elimination communication – we’re living, breathing natural parenting stereotypes, I know. It was surreal having these conversations in real life because I usually have them on the internet.

A table was laid with every kind of sling or carrier you could think of. Well, almost.

Then came the moment of truth, someone offered to show me how to tie the woven wrap. She demonstrated with her wrap and her toddler who is, incidentally, three pounds lighter than Talitha. I copied with my little heavyweight and my Storchenwiege.

I couldn’t believe how simple it was. It was building on everything I’d already learned from having carried her in a stretchy wrap. Why I couldn’t get this from looking at pictures, reading instructions, following videos, I just don’t know. Maybe it was just the added confidence of having someone there to look at what I was doing.

I repeated it when I got home to make sure it wasn’t a fluke. It wasn’t. Talitha seemed so at ease. It was almost as if she remembered the feeling of being wrapped and liked it. She hasn’t been wrapped for almost four months.

As for me, it’s as comfortable as the Ergo. It’s just as supportive. I don’t feel any strain whatsoever. And it’s got a lovely softness going on since I’ve washed it. I’ll likely do a full comparison on here at some point.

I’m really looking forward to taking her for a long walk in it tomorrow. At nine and a half months, our adventures in babywearing continue.

[Excuse the bad wrapping, I have since learned!]

10 Comments

  1. Honest Mum
    March 22, 2012 / 7:11 am

    Looks fab-will have to look into it for when Number 2 arrives!

    • March 22, 2012 / 10:35 pm

      I have so enjoyed it and never thought I would. I never really liked having anyone in my personal space.

  2. Motherwifeme
    March 22, 2012 / 6:07 pm

    Aw, I used to love having the Tinkerous Toddler in a sling, unfortunately those days are behind us now she is 2yrs+, my back just can’t take it! Have a lovely time on your long and cuddly walk tomorrow!

  3. March 22, 2012 / 11:55 pm

    It’s amazing the difference an in-person demonstration makes. I had the same with the ring sling, though still preferred the stretchy wrap, which we used till Eleanor was over a year. Never got a woven wrap, though, and I think we’ve passed that point now. Enjoy!

    • March 23, 2012 / 7:42 am

      I was telling the friend I’ve lent my stretchy wrap to that she can definitely keep wearing her baby in it past when I stopped. I don’t know why it just didn’t feel as comfortable for me anymore. Was Eleanor quite little though?

  4. Anonymous
    March 23, 2012 / 9:21 am

    I’ve been toying with which sling to go for next, as like you I find my stretchy ring sling less supportive now, but doing more baby wearing would make things so much easier with a toddler to deal with to.

    You’ve inspired me to get some help and thanks to you and google I’ve found Norwich sling library who meet once a month. Thanks. 🙂

    • March 23, 2012 / 10:54 am

      Brilliant. I’m sure you’ll find something that suits you. At the Bristol sling meet there were slings and carriers there I’d never heard of and I thought I was well-versed!

  5. Scattymumofboys
    March 23, 2012 / 11:33 pm

    We’re off to the zoo tomorrow and planning on taking my sling for Pooh Bear. He’s 11 months now and doesn’t like sitting in the pushchair all day but it way to heavy to carry in our arms. Not worn him gore ages and your post has made my mind up to wear him again tomorrow 🙂 thanks

    • March 24, 2012 / 9:11 am

      Have fun! You may find that you’ve got to rebuild the strength to carry him though. T is over 20lbs and I don’t find her heavy simply because I wear her all the time but I’d imagine if I took a break it would be hard to go back. I hope you don’t find so.

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