Wednesday 6 October 2010
I was dead against wrap around slings to start with. They looked so complicated, how would I ever tie it, get my baby in, sort it all out on the run??? I found a wonderful shop in a tiny Yorkshire village. They spent a long time with me looking at different slings. My first visit was whilst pregnant, and we had a very spooky conversation about the importance of baby wearing premature babies. Little did I know that just three short weeks later, I would have my very own tiny miracle.
Whilst rooming in during Joseph's last two nights in hospital, I took my sling, and practiced taking him around the ward. It felt normal, natural, and I felt whole again, with my tiny baby next to me.
Over the coming months I wore Joseph often, doing housework, going on trips to the shops, whenever I could.
Even now, at 17 months of age, Joseph is still worn, admittedly not as often, but still more than weekly. I have a fancy mei tai sling, its fashionable, comfortable and safe.
I was amazed to read on tweets today, the start of International Babywearing Week that in the US the practice of babywearing is under threat. What I love about Babywearing is the spirit of independence. All you need is a length of fabric and some knowhow. You don't have to spend hundreds of pounds. Slings are natural, they don't use a lot of carbon to produce them. They take up no room, you can put one in your carry bag.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is proposing to regulate the babywearing "industry" potentially this could mean that cottage businesses producing slings could go bust, and that "slings" will now belong to big companies.
It's true that there have been some deaths of babies associated with sling usage. Surely education, providing instruction to users, and setting good examples is the way of the future, not excessive and punitive legislation.
Baby wearing is a traditional, safe practice. Babies die in pushchairs and prams, but they are not legislated against. Babies die in cribs and cots.. Baby deaths in accidents are tragic, and sometimes preventable, and education is the key, not banning practices that have been around since time immemoriam.