Garrett was a high-maintenance baby. I was never really sure what the problem was. Gas? Or maybe he just wasn’t getting enough sleep. I don’t know, but I couldn’t bring myself to just lay him down and let him cry while I worked.
I spent seven long weeks struggling just to get meals on the table. Back then, I didn’t even try using cloth diapers. I just couldn’t handle the extra laundry.
On the bright side, I did learn to do a lot of things with one hand.
Then one day, my sister-in-law let me try her ring sling. Cozied up in that thing, it took Garrett about two minutes flat to fall asleep. Amazing. I was instantly in love. Rachel gave me a pattern so I could make my own.
Two month old Garrett enjoying a nap
It’s changed my life. There are a variety of ways you can use a ring sling depending on the baby’s age (which you can check out on the Maya Wrap website). When we was itty bitty, Garrett liked to sit tummy to tummy with his feet wrapped up to sleep (the frog position). When he got a bit older (and bigger!) we started leaving his feet out. From about four months on, we primarily used the hip carry position.
At that point, I found a pocket sling. It was -and is- great for the hip carry. Plus, it’s smaller, so it fits in the diaper bag and is easier to put on. I’m not sure if I’d like it for a smaller baby, though as it’s not adjustable.
I love slings. Carrying Garrett around wears my arms out really fast. I can carry him a lot longer when he’s in the sling. I’ve heard really good things about the Moby Wrap as well, and I look forward to trying it with my next baby. But as with the sling, I have every intention of making my own.
Essentially, a Moby Wrap is a very long piece of fabric that you wrap around yourself and tie off. There’s no hardware (such as buckles or snaps). I’ve not used one myself, but I have seen them used and have been very impressed. They distribute the weight of the baby over both shoulders and the low back while keeping the baby fully supported. You can find a pattern here to make your own.
I can’t afford to buy baby carriers. Not when I can make them very easily for a small fraction of the price. It doesn’t take much skill. Believe me. As a seamstress, I’m a failure, but I can make a sling.
Amazingly, Maya Wrap actually has its sling pattern on their website. The instructions are very easy to follow, but I want to make a few notes about it:
- First, 2.25 yards of fabric is plenty unless you’re a very large person with a very large baby. I’ve considered cutting mine down shorter than that.
- Secondly, the instructions recommend 36-45 inch wide fabric. Go with 36. Even though you’ll have to hem the fabric all the way up the side. 45 is just too much.
- When I made mine, I wanted to use it right away, so I picked up the biggest rings I could find at the feed store (they were meant for something that involved cattle – not sure what). they were 2 1/2 inches. They work alright, but I plan to eventually replace them with 3” or bigger rings (preferably nylon). Having used slings with larger rings, I can tell you that they make life much, much easier.
The pocket sling I have is from Seven slings. I think this one would be slightly more complicated to make. Fortunately, they’re fairly cheap. The list price on them is $39.00, but from what I can tell, there’s always a promo code available somewhere (try here) so that you only have to pay to ship. Mine cost less than $8.00.
Despite what the reviews I found said, the sling fabric is very sturdy. As I mentioned, it’s a fantastic hip-carry sling. I’ve walked many miles carrying a little heavyweight in mine.
For new moms, I can’t recommend enough that you try a sling. As I said, it changed my life.
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