I utterly adored ‘wearing’ my babies. There are so many amazing things about this and so many advantages. I have at some point carried all my babies in a baby carrier or sling.
In the early days with my first, she was so fractious following a traumatic delivery that a baby carrier was the only way I could get anything done. Breastfeeding or having her in the sling were the only times she was happy in the very early days.
Second time around I carried my baby because it was sometimes easier, when my then toddler didn’t want to go in the pushchair. However, I did have a double pushchair so I very much alternated between the two. He was a very content baby so he was very happy on a playmat or in a swing, meaning when I was at home I did not need to carry him.
Third time around I certainly used a baby carrier more and generally speaking my baby was happy in it. I used it more when I didn’t want to get the pushchair out or when this wasn’t possible. My third baby was also very happy in the pushchair and again a very content baby most of the time.
Fourth time around I had a little chap who loved to be cuddled and carried by his Mummy and was never far from my chest. With other children running around I always felt happier when he was attached to me, and I knew no one was sat on his head or putting something in his mouth or up his nose.
My carrier of choice has always been the Baby Bjorn. It was always comfy for myself and the babies, easy to wash, and very easy to get the babies in and out quickly without faffing around.
I found that my youngest was happy in here when awake, but also, when he was ready for a sleep, it was the best way to get him to sleep.
I wore it around the house to get things done and out and about to be hands free and it really worked well for us. I couldn’t have managed without it.
I thought for sometime that it would have been amazing if someone made a carrier that could be used in water. So for example on a beach or pool holiday, where you need to be hands free but don’t want your normal carrier to get wet. How amazing would it be to have a water carrier that the water ran through and that dried quickly.
When I started searching for such a thing I didn’t come across anything at all in the UK, so I extended my reach.
Both the companies I found to be producing these were in Australia, which I have to say didn’t surprise me given the weather and focus on living outside and keeping active. I tried out both of these slings on a holiday to Center Parcs.
The first thing to say is that despite very detailed instructions with both slings and having assistance to put the slings on, I did not find it easy to figure out how they worked. Now this could just be because I am very familiar with the Baby Bjorn carrier and not used to the ‘sling’ style of carrier. Nevertheless, I was not able to just strap my baby in and go, which I have to say I was hoping for.
There are various suggested ways to wear your baby depending on their age and I tried a few out. My baby was just 5 months when I tried them. He had good head and upper body control but I felt that he was stuck between being too big for the tiny baby carry and too small for the toddler carry. This, I think was the primary problem I encountered.
I would not say that this is a ‘hands free’ method at all. I felt as if I constantly needed a hand around my baby in case he dropped out of the bottom of the sling.
Despite these issues there were many really great features about the slings:
- Both dried very quickly and the mesh fabric allowed the water to run through it.
- My teething baby really enjoyed chewing on the fabric and playing with the spare fabric which was pulled through the ring.
- The sling allowed me to join my family in the water and gave my baby some security.
- The slings were comfy to wear and looked nice, like a scarf.
- The slings were cool to wear in a hot indoor pool environment.
- I was able to better play, interact and hold onto the other children.
With the Beachfront Baby sling the hold which worked the best was to the left above my hip. Again he was very happy like this and even fell asleep like this at one point. This was the best way to hold him when I was actually in the water.
After testing these two slings out at Center Parcs I was approached by Cheeky Rascals and asked if I would like to test out their Aqua Carrier. This hadn’t come up in my searches for a carrier suitable for use in water so perhaps something needs looking at in terms of optimising this carrier.
It was very different to the other water slings I tried. It has built in UV protection which is great if you are using it in the summer sun and It is made from fast drying fabric. According to the website you can even carry twins in this!
It is a carrier as opposed to a sling and you will need to take some time to establish how to wear if depending on the age of your baby/toddler.
This did take me a while to figure out but again I think this was mainly because I am used to the Baby Bjorn type of carrier.
Unlike the slings this is certainly a hands-free method of carrying your baby which is what I was looking for. I tested it out in the pool on a trip to Scotland over a half term and once I had figured out how to tie it it really was impressive. My baby was secure and positioned nice and high up, keeping his mouth away from the water. I was able to hold onto the other children with ease and help them in the shower afterwards with this carrier.
It was very comfy to wear and my little man was a very happy customer (see below)!
It dried very quickly which was a bonus, I just hung it on a towel rail for a couple of hours.
The only thing is would mention if you are thinking of getting an aqua carrier is not to leave fabric flowing, tie up any loose ends as excess fabric can hinder you in the water and feel cold on your skin when you get out of the water.
Of the three I tried I would most recommend the Aqua Carrier as this is very secure and hands free. There do seem to be others on the market these days though, so it’s worth shopping around.
Overall I think if you are going on a holiday where you will be in the water a lot one of these slings would be helpful but you will need to be prepared to experiment with different carrying styles.
One additional thing which occurred to me after trying these is how useful these are for showering at home. If you have a fractious baby or one you cannot put down to get in the shower in the morning, one of these slings could really help you out. I tried this at home for a few weeks, and it did make for less anxious showering!
There are loads of lovely colours to choose from so if you are a keen baby wearer or looking for a holiday or showering solution take a look.