This is a stretchy wrap. Specifically it's one of these, though mine was a gift. It is very comfortable, and you can almost not feel it at all, even with a big chunker baby in like mine. It is slightly unusual still to see someone wearing one, though I still don't expect the odd responses I sometimes get. Luckily the nice comments usually outweigh the bad.
Today specifically, while taking Sam to the toilet in town I heard "oh, she's carrying a baby in that... thing..." with a tone bordering on disgust. It made me laugh, as I walked hands free and able to help Sam, and go to the toilet without having to disturb Henry, while said woman struggled to hold her littlie and stop her toddler running off, while also trying to get a bottle ready. And no judgement on that, because who hasn't been there. I wasn't smirking at her, it would have been nice had she returned that courtesy. But back to 'that thing'.
Many people carry babies. When we had Ethan I started with a BabyBjorn, which attracted no comments, but was incredibly uncomfortable. I have heavy babies, and I couldn't carry him for long, and once he got to about 5 months I couldn't carry him at all, and before then I didn't carry him much anyway. That's when you stopped carrying kids, when they were too heavy, as I wasn't interested in a big frame carrier, and what else was there really?
When I had Sam, a friend sold me this sling - a tricotti - which is simple, but this is Sam at 8.5 months and actually the last time I carried him - he seemed happy enough but I decided it couldn't be right to have him all squished up like that anymore - he's actually cross legged in this picture, and not just a photo-shopped on head! So we stopped again. But it was so much more comfortable than the BabyBjorn because the weight was spread out rather than the skinny straps. Very helpful with my big chunkers!
In between Sam and Henry I learnt a lot about slings, particularly the ones you tie yourself. The ones I was looking at were scary expensive, but my lovely friend Harriet pointed me in the right direction and in fact bought me the blue one up there, and has lent me a non-stretchy woven wrap for Sam and when Henry's a bit bigger. I'm currently saving up for my own woven wrap as Harriet will be needing hers back at some point, but they're a bit expensive to just pick one and buy.
In the interest of keeping it real, I've left this photo as is. Please excuse bathroom detritus and toothpaste-y mirror.
There's evidence out there that suggests wrapping is good for avoiding hip dysplasia in little ones too, as a wrap supports all the way to the knees rather than having legs dangling. I also think it must be more comfortable to have a sort of seat of fabric. There's also stuff out there about bonding being easier among baby 'wearers' but I don't think that's something that can really be quantified really. More practised mothers can even breastfeed without taking their baby out.
So, sneery woman in the baby room, why do I carry Henry in 'that thing'? Well, I do it because it means he's close to me, he almost always falls asleep, and my hands are free to deal with my two dirty great cheeky monkeys, one of whom is a flight risk. But most of all, I do it because I want to. And when it comes to my children...
In other news, Henry is 8 weeks, and has been checked over and declared fine, and huge. School holidays are upon us, and we are actually coping quite well. This week Ethan and I made a magic wand for him, which he decorated with so much glitter glue that we had to wait all afternoon and overnight for it to dry. Next week - tie dye! I am apprehensive to be perfectly honest - last time I dyed fabric I was in secondary school, but we'll wear old clothes and go with it. Sam has developed a healthy obsession with ice-cream vans and runs to the window to watch them. He hasn't yet connected the fact that he went to the ice cream van at the park and actually got an ice cream, and that the ice cream van on our street also sells them, so we've not got to the "muuuuuummy can I have an ice cream?!" stage thankfully, as it's been coming every day recently. They are both very excited for our holiday (2 weeks to go!) as are Rich and I. Henry is blissfully unaware of any surroundings as long as he has a light fixture to stare at and boobs on tap, so I think he'll take it in his stride :)
Update: This blog has now moved to www.undomesticaited.wordpress.com - Hope to see you over there!