Sunderland Sling Library



The Insanity of Slings and Babywearing!

Posted by BabywearingCalendar on March 23, 2013 at 12:05 AM

The Insanity of Slings and Babywearing!


Ten months ago I still had my growing bump and thought the girls I’d seen with slings at the baby groups were a little mad and looked like hippies. I thought,“What’s the point?” when I had my shiny new buggy waiting for my new baby.


Howthings have changed……. Now I really think I need to join slingers anonymous as slings have taken over and my shiny new buggy sits unloved and unused in the cupboardunder the stairs. The slings are taking over every room in the house………………


The Babywearing world I must admit to an outsider is totally crazy but you soon get sucked in and it starts to seem normal to be up in the middle of the night scouring the “For sale or trade” websites for their next fix of fluff.

The truthis there are 1000’s of women and men too whom have become a little dependant onthe excitement of postie stalking and searching for that seemingly mythical hard to find limited edition wrap.


There is the stereotypical image in most people’s heads of the typical babywearer: A bit of a hippy, breastfeeds, cloth nappies, co-sleeps, attachment parent, while this may be true for some it’s not for all. The Slinging world is very diverse with people from all backgrounds, races and religions. Many different parenting styles and views which sometimes cause conflict amongst the groups but for the most part co-exist in peacefully Slingland. You may even find yourself planning more children so you can continue using slings. It’s pretty crazy how much slings end up meaning to you, it takes you by surprise and will even bring a tear to your eye on the realisation that your slinging days are numbered as your children grow and actually want to walk instead.


So what is it that we are all hooked on?


For me I started out with a high street carrier which I found useful when it was muddy as I didn’t want to get my shiny pram dirty, in turn getting the car and hall carpet dirty so it was purely convenience. I was then intrigued by the woven wraps, yes I thought they looked a bit hippyish but since I studied fashion I was drawn to the fabric and also the skill involved in being able to tie your baby to you with fabric in such a way was something I wanted to learn, being a serial student it really appealed to me.


I found out about Sling libraries who are the pimps of Slingland, there are 100’s of them all across the country. I hired a woven wrap and was shown a basic FWCC (Slinglanders love acronyms) which translates to a front wrap cross carry and there are 100’s of ways to learn to wrap.


I loved the way it felt to have my son close to me it was also so convenient; you don’t put half as much clutter in your baby bag if you need to carry it. I found all I needed I could fit in my handbag anyway and only had a bag full of stuff before because I could.


I remember thinking that £60 for my first wrap was a lot of money but as I was only going to buy one it would be worth it……I didn’t see why you would need more than one or see why people spent lots of money on them but now I see it as a bargain price and £100+ is the norm, I have a huge stash of different types,sizes and designs of slings.


There are lots of different types of slings, some people have their favourite types and collect those. Others collect one of each type, some hoard their slings which become their “stash”, some churn their slings trading them with others and keeping them for a time then trading them again. No matter how you run yoursling stash having just one is not an option.


I soon bought a stretchy wrap as they looked soft and squishy for my little bundle… soon was followed by a SSC – Soft Structured Carrier or better known as Buckles then came a MT/ABC/Pod’s – Mei tai/Asian based carriers, RS- Ring slingsand pouches followed them. I hold my hands up I am a born hoarder and collector so I *needed* allllllll the slings.


Each ofthe different types of slings has a sub category of craziness:


Stretchy slings – they come in different brands, patterns and colours. They are the gateway sling drug of choice but inevitably you will move onto something harder….


WovenWraps – possibly the most addictive of slings as they come in a variety of patterns,seriously hundreds are available in unimaginable variety and colour combinations. This is one of the main reasons people start to collect them, whether you are a rainbows girl, brand obsessed, image wraps, colour collector, thereis always something to collect and catch your eye. Some collecting a theme of wraps and others a huge variety to match any outfit or mood they are in that day. As woven wraps tend to be made in quite small numbers the stalk and searching of that HTF (hard to find) wrap can be quite a thrill!

Woven wraps also come in different sizes which are suitable for different carries which is why you need one of every size! The cost of these wraps can be quite a shock at first as some on ebay have been known to go for several hundred! But there is a wide choice available so in theory you could spend as much or as little as you wanted.


Ring Slings – This is a great way of getting your fix of the woven wrap with out the meters of fabric, there are different types of shoulders you can get for the Ring Sling – Gathered which seems to be the most popular or pleated which can be sewn in a variety of ways. There are different coloured rings available to match the different wrap fabrics. One of the main addictions of Ring Slings is having your own made, you can pick your wrap, rings and type of shoulder and send them off to one of the many companies now specialising in this conversion epidemic.


Mei Tai’s– This is a type of cross between a wrap and a buckle type carrier, the long straps allow you to tie them to you a bit like a wrap but they look similar tothe buckle carriers. MT’s are like Ring slings in that you can buy them off the peg or have a custom carrier made. The whole custom carrier process is a little mad to a none babywearer – you can send a carrier maker your wrap and they will make it exactly to your size specifications adding extra’s such as hoods, padded waistbands, pockets these carriers can truly be considered works of artand easily can cost well over £100 sometimes plus the cost of the wrap you aresending them to me converted the whole thing can end up costing 100’s.


Buckles –Many people want something more mainstream looking but don’t get me wrong these are no high street carriers! They come in a variety of brands, sizes, and patterns which can be pimped up too.


No matter how you carry your child it all lures you in to the crazy world which seems so underground but once you are given the key and allowed to enter there are unlimited possibilities.


Many people carry because of the convenience especially if they have older children to run around after, but there are many health benefits too which act as a justification sometimes as to why you just neeeeed that other sling.


Lots of people justify to friends and family that there stash is necessary as different slings are suitable for different purposes, which is true up to a point but inreality you could just manage with one but where’s the fun in that?

When and where you use your sling is also key to this, if you babywear 100% of the time then you can always compare your stash value to what the cost of a pram would be but if like me you just haven’t quite took the plunge of selling your dust gathering glorified shopping trolley each time you see it little £££ signs pop up and you start to think of what slings you would buy with the money. If you are the occasional babywearer it is a bit easier to keep the crazy undercontrol but it’s only a matter of time…….


Where do all these crazy people hang out? Well mostly online on facebook where they spam pic’s of their LO’s (little ones) snuggled asleep in slings when you hardly ever see pics posted of babies asleep in their prams. Or on forum groups, they will meet up for Slingmeets or library sessions, occasionally on mass in public too, craft fairs and baby shows tend to be popular with the secret handshake of jazz hands to tell if each of you are in the secret sling club community. (well Jazz hands in the Northeast at least lol, sling mama’s tend to be a friendly bunch)

Online excitement stirs amongst the troops when a wrap release is looming, everyone fingerspoised on the refresh button to buy a wrap as soon as it’s released as they sell out within seconds – this habit is known as stalking. Many will join infor the fun and excitement intending to pass on at trade value to make another mama super happy. Some stalk for the opportunity to make a profit or to use the sling bought as leverage to trade for another wrap they are in search of. The slingworld is unlike many other baby items such as a pram which loses a lot of value once it has been used. Slings tend to sell on for a similar value to what they were bought for and in some cases especially wrap the prices can go up and up like a rare collector’s item, even using the wrap doesn’t necessarily mean the price will go down, it can actually go up! This is because some wraps need “braking-in”. Or have been made in limited numbers making them HTF (hard tofind) and very desirable.


So after all that why would you want to join this bunch of loopy people? When you have your son or daughter in the sling and they snuggle up and fall asleep so you can hear and feel their breath…. That feeling is why.


See youin Slingland! xx


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