Since first discussing them with a fellow London dad, I’ve always liked the idea of slings to carry baby around. It keeps both hands free, feels cosy and close, and seems just so much of a more practical solution to either public transport, or managing an excitable dog at the same time. There are a bewildering array of options when it comes to slings, from what looks like a huge shawl, to mei tais to full-on papooses with belts and buckles and clips.
So, needing some help with options, never mind assistance in the secure fastening, I popped down to the local sling library at the children’s centre. This was a free, fortnightly event, where people could drop in for advice, try on different slings, get help with putting them on and then, if required, hire one very reasonably. I wasn’t sure what to expect, not least because I was going to be turning up alone, as a man, without a baby. But I couldn’t have been more welcomed, and offered endless help, with a wish that more men would embrace a sling as a fantastic way to bond with baby, and to settle it. Never mind the great benefits of giving mum a bit of a reprieve, whilst still having your hands free. I can imagine walking the dog will be a lot easier whilst using a sling, than trying to control a pram at the same time!
I thought I’d end up being in favour of a modern clip and buckle arrangement, or perhaps at a push a mei tai that someone kindly gifted me. The wraps, essentially a huge, elasticated shawl, just seemed a bit precarious to me before attending the sling library. But as it turned out, it felt really safe, secure and close, while not feeling like a physical burden at all.
Personally I can’t wait to take our daughter out and about in it!