I’m Maria, I run Thames Valley Sling Babies and have a husband, two children, aged 11 and 7 and two cats. I home educate one child at the moment, although this often seems subject to change (different child, different schools, it’s complicated!). I also nanny for 3 home educated children part-time.
How did you get into babywearing and did you plan to wear your baby when you were pregnant?
With my first child I got bequeathed the usual set of dodgy carriers (I’m not even sure some of them had names and they were probably from the 70s!), I have back problems and none of them helped, so I carried my son in-arms and in ignorance for a year or so (he enjoyed this immensely and saw no reason to start walking early).
I did however become quite evangelical about cloth nappies and so gradually met parents who carried their children in slings. So when I fell pregnant with my daughter, I started shopping!
What’s your favourite wrap/carrier you’ve ever owned and why?
My absolute favourite carrier was and is Rosie, Didymos Burgund-Rosa, to give her her proper name. She’s a cream and red Indio wrap in 50/50 cotton/linen and is as strong as an ox! I have a particular obsession with red and a dodgy back and shoulders, and at the time Rosie was becoming something of a legend for softness and strength, so she was just what I needed to carry my daughter past the age of 2.
If money were no object, what wrap or sling would you own?
Hmm, I would love to try a Pamir (another unicorn wrap), I checked recently and prices are terrifying! I would have loved Rosie in a size 6. I would also commission Didymos to weave a Aqua Waves with linen, tho that might be to beastly even for me!
What do you like about babywearing?
The closeness, and the reassurance it gives, both my children struggle with transitions (moving from one place/state/situation to another) and wrapping really helped my daughter manage that.
I’ve also had the privilege of wearing friend’s children, we’ve swapped kids this way on occasion, depending on who was capable of carrying the weight!
What do or did you find hardest about babywearing?
The sweat and tears of learning to wrap from photos and Youtube videos! Having to stop wearing now my youngest is too big.
Does your partner join in with the babywearing?
He did, he didn’t get wrapping particularly, but had his own buckle carriers.
What kind of comments do you receive when you babywear out and about?
We live in a very diverse neighbourhood and different styles of babywearing are quite common these days, so I’ve been high fived by a few mamas who would see babywearing as a normal part of their life.
I’ve had wistful comments too “I wish we had those back in my day” (if only they had known!), it’s always been very positive.
Huge thanks to Maria, not only for this guest blog post but also for her help, support and knowledge whilst we’ve been setting up the Bracknell Sling Library. She does a great job of looking after the Thames Valley and the sling meets are very popular!