My name is Nafeesa and I am a Mum of two. I’m originally from Australia, and now call Sheffield home. My slinging journey started with the birth of my daughter in Australia in 2009. In fact, it was my husband who was really keen to use a sling, so it was he that planted the seed that started my love for them!
In the last few months of my pregnancy, we were shopping around online for a pram, and my husband saw a Tomy baby carrier on special and was keen to purchase it, saying he’d always admired other dads carrying their babies and thought it looked really cool! When my daughter was born, we started using it at the ripe age of a week old. She fell asleep instantly and was incredibly content with it. Unfortunately, we had a few teething problems with it. She never looked comfortable enough, and I found the straps incredibly confusing – not so much a fault in the carrier itself, but more so me finding it confusing. In retrospect, the reason my daughter did not look comfortable was because the carrier was positioned quite low in relation to me, though I didn’t quite realize it at the time. I put it aside, where it gathered dust. When my daughter was about 8 weeks old, I joined a mother’s group run by the local health nurse, and met a woman carrying her daughter in a Bubba Moe sling. I was really impressed with how comfortable her daughter looked, and further research on parenting forums led me to discover the ring sling. I was really impressed so I bought a simple cheap drill cotton one made by a work at home mum. It was a lovely sling and I found it incredibly handy for popping my daughter in and out when needed. Within a few weeks however, I ran into more teething problems, and found the sling to be uncomfortable, not really realizing that I needed to spread the fabric over my shoulder and wide over my back! It joined the Tomy Safari in the corner, and was soon quickly forgotten about!
A few months went by, and I quickly accepted my fate of using a pram to try and maneuver my way around the shops. I found myself feeling quite isolated at times, because without a car, I was unable to get around, and public transport in my area was very unforgiving towards even the smallest of pushchairs, let alone my massive sport buggy! When my daughter turned 4 months, I pulled out my Tomy carrier and sat with it one evening just fiddling with it. I decided to put my daughter in it, and presto – the light bulb switched on! My daughter, who was much more alert and interactive at this point found baby wearing to be an absolute delight, and loved being able to see the world. I relished in being able to catch the bus into town, meet my friends and explore the world on a new level without having a pram dictate my route of choice! I explained to my husband how to adjust the straps correctly, and he was one happy daddy, finally fulfilling the dream of slinging our daughter! At four months, however, she was quite obviously outgrowing the Tomy, and I knew my days were limited. Jumping back on the forums again, I started asking questions. Many of the responses suggested that the Ergo Baby Carrier was a fantastic alternative to my Tomy. Not only was it parent-friendly, but the science behind the way baby was carried in it made it a great option for their developing spines. I managed to purchase one, and it is by far the best baby purchase I had made for my daughter! The difference between the Tomy and the Ergo were like chalk and cheese! As my daughter’s first year went by, I did a lot of flying up and down the east coast of Australia, and had the opportunity to live in Singapore for a few months, and the Ergo proved to be so helpful. We had the privilege of travelling around Malaysia and Thailand, where roads were not optimal for using a push chair, but we never had that problem, because our daughter was always carried!
When my daughter was 9 months old, I discovered I was pregnant yet again, and knew from the very start that I wanted to baby wear. Having done so much research for my daughter, I decided to skip the ring sling and go straight for stretchy wraps, as I knew it would be awhile before my baby was old enough to be worn in the Ergo. I also knew I wanted to explore the world of woven wraps because I was expecting another summer baby, and knew that a woven would be a lot more breathable than a jersey knit stretchy wrap. I purchased a Sa-Be stretchy wrap, and an Ellaroo woven, both of which were used to their full potential when my boy was born! With the 18 month age gap between my two, it was impossible to tend to both individually, and so carrying in my newborn in a sling was a necessity. With still no car, I was able to continue getting out of the house and running my usual errands with my newborn close to my chest and both hands free to push my daughter in her pushchair. Anyone with two young children close in age will tell you that routine for your second is virtually impossible, and having a sling meant I could still get him to sleep and with him so close to me, he had the chance to sleep as long as he wanted to, and I could still get on with what I needed to do.
Now my youngest is nearly a year old, and I’m a bigger sling fan than ever. I’ve discovered that woven wraps are my carrier of choice and have built up a collection. I love that slinging has become a hobby as much as it is a necessity. My daughter is now 2 and a half and loves walking everywhere, and slinging makes this so much easier. I simply pop my youngest on my back, hold my daughter’s hand and off we go! Funnily enough, I really enjoy ring slings too now. It took a long time to get the hang of them, but now that I do, I love the convenience of quickly putting my baby in and taking him out – the perfect sling for car trips. My beloved Ergo is now in the big sling library up in the sky, but we have since purchased a Manduca buckle carrier, mainly for my husband to use, and for occasions where I don’t feel like getting my pretty wraps overly muddy or dirty.
Now my only concern? Making sure my little boy doesn’t grow up too quickly. I’m making the most of carrying him as much as I can!!