Photograph: A. Hirani
Before parenthood, my husband and I assumed that we’d need to spend money on a pram. Wrong. We assumed that our baby would happily fall asleep in a pram. Wrong. We assumed that we could buy one of those cute baby carriers from a baby shop and all should be well. Wrong.
My other half purchased the best-reviewed carrier online and we (rather uncomfortably) carried our eldest as much as we could, especially for walks, short naps and trips on the tube. We liked the versatility and the cuddles. Our baby liked the comfort and the warmth. We also thought it was some unwritten law to train your baby to sleep in a pram and many unhappy hours were spent jiggling the buggy, or once finally asleep, avoiding potholes, sirens and dog-walkers with their barking packs – we’d avoid certain shops with harsh lighting, or smooth floors, or those with steps and heavy doors. Whatever the ambience though, he always contentedly nodded off in the carrier. I tried to carry him as much as I could, but the straps dug into my often-engorged breasts and my back moaned and shoulders groaned.
I’d heard of stretchy wraps and bought the cheapest I could find online. My husband was the first to successfully tie it, using YouTube as his Guru. Little one looked so snug and seemed even happier that once my third bout of mastitis had cleared up, I was excited to try it, too. I had one outing and looking back at the photo, I now wince at the result: saggy, baggy and certainly not close enough to kiss. I tried a few more times with the wrap, but I quickly got baffled and lost in yards of fabric; my baby grew tired and frustrated, so I soon gave up and banished it from sight.
Until our second baby was born. By this time, I’d heard of Sling Libraries and realised that there were real life people- actual flesh and blood- who could tangibly help me with what I now know as ‘Babywearing’. While he was still little, I organised a family day out- a forty minute drive to our nearest Sling Meet and was soon discussing…