Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Baby-wearing: Of slings and harnesses...

One of the tenets of attachment parenting with which I completely agree is baby-wearing. Not because I think my child is going to be psychologically traumatized by being pushed around in a stroller, but because it's pretty dang convenient.

As I've mentioned before (for instance, in the title of this blog), my son was a huge baby, and I was often recovering from abdominal surgeries in his early months. I never got him one of those carseats that doubles as a carrier because I couldn't imagine ever being able to lift the thing. My baby was heavy enough without adding 20 lbs.

Strollers seemed like an okay option, but they required two hands, and my car is kind of tiny. (The few times I used his stroller, it had to ride in the front passenger seat, since there was nowhere else to put it.)

So I had one of the Munchkin brand Jelly Bean reversible slings shown in the picture. And, in the words of "Yo Gabba Gabba", "THAT...WAS...AWESOME!" (What? DJ Lance Rock says it every time after "The Super Music Friends Show". Hatas, don't even be pretending like you don't know.)

He loved the sling and would often fall right asleep in it. I loved it because it kept him close and secure, where my newborn mommy brain liked him, and it left both my hands free. It also put all the weight of carrying him on my back and shoulders, which were some of the only parts of me that didn't hurt. I carried him in the sling until he got so long his feet dangled out the end of it. (If you want to check them out for yourself, click the link. http://www.munchkin.com/products/detail.html?pID=1132)

When the sling was simply no longer an option, we moved up to a baby-carrying harness. (It wasn't a Baby Bjorn, it was a knockoff. You know how expensive those things are? Crazy.)

The harness was pretty cool. When he was younger and his neck muscles weren't as strong, he rode in it facing towards me, and he found it just as snuggly as the sling. When he was a little older, I put him in it facing forward, and he loved being able to see and interact with people at eye-level.

The only hard part was getting him in and out of the harness. He had to go in it, and it then had to go on me, with an assortment of adjustable straps and buckles to keep him secure and me comfortable. I found the easiest way to do it was to just open it completely up, and then lay him on it like I was changing his diaper. I'd get him all set, secure everything, and then just slide it over my head and shoulders. I got it down to where I could do this in a parking lot.

But, my little man has been walking for some time now, and the sling and harness are just gathering dust in a drawer. And every once in a while, when he's splashing in the sump under the reef aquarium, or dragging my poor, poor cat around the kitchen by the tail, I think of how much easier it would be if I could just strap him up against my chest and carry him around with me.

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