Truly, when I first saw the item I thought it was some sort of bug keeperoutter thing. It sort of resembled a much smaller version of this:
I took it out. Contemplated it for several moments and headed straight back to Christy. I held it out as if to say, "What on earth is your sister giving me mosquito netting for?" Before I could ask what, pray tell, it was, Christy informed me that it was
the most magical piece of baby equipment ever made a sling.
Now, I swore by my Infantino SlingRider Baby Carrier when Garrett was a baby. I swore by it because the second my tiny tot was placed into it, he fell into a quick and sudden slumber. It was almost as though he was Sleeping Beauty and he'd just pricked his finger or Snow White and he'd just taken a bite of the poisoned apple. It was that fast. However, when I wore it, my neck and shoulder just swore. They let out a string of profanity. No matter what I did, I couldn't get them to stop cussing. Troy didn't have a problem with it hurting his shoulder and, well, I didn't care. I was willing to sacrifice my body for a napping infant. We used it. We loved it. It got us through many months of Garrett's babyhood. I never used the SlingRider much with Matthew. He liked it fine but he was so much fatter than Garrett that my shoulder couldn't handle it. Plus, Spud's always been a good napper so I didn't need to use the sling to induce instantaneous sleep.
I also used a front pack with Garrett. I've used it a few times with Matthew but it also puts pressure in weird places on my neck and shoulders. It's also slightly difficult for me to get into and by the time I manage to add the baby into the mix, he's usually shrieking. I love it if there is someone there to help me get Matthew into it but if I'm alone, it's not much fun.
Well, when Christy told me what it was and then she and another friend of mine, Michelle, who has a baby herself, began showing me how to use it, I started getting excited. There are several ways to carry the baby in the sling (you can watch some of them here) but Matthew's favorite is this way:
My hands are totally free and there is absolutely no pressure on my shoulder. The first night I had it, Matthew chilled like that for over an hour and then promptly conked out. According to Missy (the maker) "the material is solarveil which blocks 80% of the UV rays so if you have them in the stroller you can drape the wrap over the umbrella for a little added, ventilated protection. You can also machine wash it and hang it to dry. It drys in like 10-15 minutes. Make sure that you don't wash it with anything that has Velcro on it...it will adhere to the sling and weaken the material." So, since it blocks 80% of UV rays, I like to take him out in it and do this with the extra material: Another position that we've tried is with Spud sitting on my hip. I'm still hands free and he's still totally comfortable. I mean, he didn't say that in so many words but I figure if we can walk around for awhile and he never makes an unhappy peep, he's probably enjoying himself.
You can, of course, use it in the traditional way if you have a newborn. My son will not sit still long enough to let me take a picture of him in that position. He might miss something. He'd much prefer to see what's going on around him.
But, the best part is still coming. The other day, I wore it in the pool. I take The Rock Star and The Spud to the pool a lot these days and it's a challenge to hold them both at the same time. I can do it, mind you, but it's not as fun as, say, eating funnel cake. (Yum. I love me some funnel cake). Troy was with us during this particular pool excursion but I wore it anyway because Missy said I could. Matthew loved it and, after awhile, here's what happened:
Matthew does not cry in this thing. He loves it. I love it. I love how it doesn't hurt my shoulder. I love how it's easy to get on and easy to get Matthew inside. I love that I can use the excess fabric as a spit cloth. I love that it folds up super small and fits in my diaper bag without having to take everything else out. I love how good Matthew looks in blue--but that's not really important. I love that, what with the baby inside and all, I feel, somehow, as though I'm from Africa. Not that he's from Africa anymore than I'm from Germany but...nevermind...tangent.
So...because I love (did I mention LOVE?) this sling/wrap/most wonderful invention in all the world, I told Missy that I would blog about it. She sells them for $40.00 and that includes the shipping. I don't know for sure but I assume that she can do them in several shades. Michelle has a pink one so I'm certain that they, at the very least, come in blue and pink. Additionally, the fabric is super strong and Missy still uses it to carry around her daughter, who will be two in the fall. If you know anyone who wants to own the most perfect (did I mention that I LOVE this thing?), least painful, versatile baby carrier, you can email her at email@example.com.
I really, truly, quite seriously, not even kidding, totally recommend buying one from her.