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Our Experiences with a Snugli and a Sling

We started out with a Snugli front pack. I didn't use it much until Ellen was two months old--I didn't think she fit well enough before that, and Ellen preferred to be held in our arms. This meant that I got very little done (besides being a mom!) when she was a newborn; I spent most of my days sitting in a chair and holding and nursing her [see my article Encouragement for New Parents].

Ellen and I enjoyed using the Snugli. I wore her in it when we went shopping or to the park, so we didn't really have much need for a stroller while she was little. We used our Snugli until Ellen was about eight months old, but some babies outgrow them much sooner.

When Ellen was six months old, I first tried a sling after reading an article by Dr. Sears in a parenting magazine in which he recommended them. I soon gave up because we got too frustrated trying to figure out how to use it; I worried that she was too scrunched up, plus I kept feeling like she would fall out. I didn't really start using my sling until Ellen was 11 months old. I had just started attending La Leche League meetings, and some moms there raved about the sling, so I gave it another shot.

It took quite awhile for me to feel comfortable using it, but I learned to wear Ellen in a hip carry, and I used it with her until my bulging pregnant tummy prohibited me from doing so when she was 2 1/2. I carried her every once in a while at age three after her brother Calvin was born.

Baby sleeping in sling
Going for a walk at 8 weeks.
Baby in sling
Calvin, 11 weeks old--now he likes to face forward!
I started wearing Calvin in a sling when he was less than a week old. It honestly wasn't as easy to use as I hoped, but we perservered. At ten weeks, I felt like I was really getting the hang of it. For the first eight weeks or so he preferred being in the cradle position--so he could nurse and sleep, but after that he enjoyed sitting in a modified kangaroo position so he could face forward and see what's going on. He contintued to enjoy the kangaroo position until he was almost a year old, but we slowly started to use the hip carry more often since it's easier on my shoulder, and he started to like to have his legs hang down.

He still enjoys riding on my hip in it now, too, as a toddler. He's more of a cuddle-bug than Ellen was at this age--and he's heavier than she was, too--so the sling really helps me to be able to carry him more often and for longer periods of time than I would be able to without one.

I am pregnant again, and I hope to be able to use my sling even more with my next baby since I've had more pratice now! I'm not due until around the end of May 2001. I'll let you know how it goes.

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