Parenting

Adventures in Baby Wearing

Eleanor does not like to be put down. Therefore, I’ve ended up with a nice assortment of baby carriers all in a valiant effort to regain the use of both hands.

Eleanor and I both love our mei tai from BabyHawk. She likes to be held in the ‘snuggle hold’ (tummy to tummy with me), so she was comfortable in this one from the start. The head rest is stiff enough to be supportive, but I fold it down sometimes too so Eleanor can look around more easily. Oh, and the fabric choices are excellent! Mine is pink and brown, natch. The drawbacks: The shoulder straps are so long that they tend to drag on the ground and get dirty while getting the carrier on and off, and they also make it difficult to fold the carrier up. When you have time, you can fold the whole thing up into a nice little rectangle that fits neatly in your diaper bag. When you don’t have time, you end up doing what I do and just stuffing it into your bag in a wrinkly pile that takes up a ton of room.

My other two carriers are both slings.

Hands-Free!

The slings took more getting used to for Eleanor, but she’s happy in them now and I like each one for different reasons. The one that I’m wearing in the photo is from hotslings. It’s comfortable and it has minimal padding, so it’s incredibly easy to fold up. It also keeps Eleanor a little cooler than the mei tai. The only drawback is that it is sized very specifically and it isn’t adjustable. I’m not sure that it’s a drawback really, it’s just something to keep in mind.

My other sling is by Balboa Baby. It has padding on the shoulder strap and along the edges – very comfy but the padding makes it bulkier. It’s sewn into a slightly more structured shape too, which makes it harder to fold up. I like that it’s adjustable, but the padding on the strap makes it difficult to adjust and it’s not easy when your baby is still in the sling. If I were to buy another ring sling, it would be a Maya Wrap. There is still some padding in the shoulder, and there is a lot of extra fabric at the tail, but you can use that extra fabric as a nursing cover.

And speaking of nursing… I go out with Eleanor fairly often, and figuring out how to nurse her while she’s still nestled in a carrier will be liberating! We’re still learning, but these videos have been helpful so far: How to nurse in a sling and how to nurse in a mei tai.

p.s. I was able to take, edit, and upload that photo, AND write this post, all while Eleanor slept in her sling. Do you know how amazing that is? I typed with both hands and everything.

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64 Comments

  • Reply
    Chroma Lab
    June 17, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Super stylish and resourceful, as per usual. Congrats on typing with both hands!

  • Reply
    Jody
    June 17, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    Ha Nicole, I sympathize. My baby is 14 months old and I have yet to regain full use of both arms. I have made lasagna for 30 people, carried six ft long shelves and peg board through Menards, and have done every daily task you can imagine–all with a active, grabbing for everything, wiggling baby on me (and with her hand in my bra no less, because that is her favorite place to rest).

    As challenging as that is, now that she is walking she spends less time being held but now I must constantly watch her to prevent her climbing the refrigerator, opening the front door, chasing the dog, etc.

    So what I am gaining in hand use is being lost to toddler chasing.

    Have fun with her!

  • Reply
    christy
    June 17, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    Congrats! I found the sling to be so worth it! My son stayed in one until almost three, with him sitting up.

    I used a zolo wear ring sling & mom & me pea in a pod pouch. Not sure if either are still around as my “baby” is now 5, almost 6 years old.

  • Reply
    NancyV908
    June 17, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Oh, I’m so glad to see you’re using those carriers! I used a whole variety–mei tais, ring slings, pouches, & wraps (the hardest to learn, but totally worth it)–& loved them all. I wore my son till he was around three; I rarely used a stroller. It will be worth learning to carry Eleanor on your back, BTW, when she’s older. People will think you’re a weird hippie for wearing your baby–but ignore them! :-) Or maybe that’s changed a bit by now…I know where I live I’m now seeing more babywearing than when I was doing it.

    But be warned: they can be addicting. I bought, sold, & traded tons of them, & spent countless hours on websites looking at different fabric choices and styles. I just sold my last two leftovers. I just kept one wrap, which I use in lieu of curtains in my son’s room. I was tempted to keep all the carriers & just pet them from time to time, but in the end decided I had to recoup some money. :-)

  • Reply
    anika
    June 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    hooray for two hands!!!

  • Reply
    Nuit
    June 17, 2009 at 3:17 pm

    Good girl!!!!! that is awesome for both you and precious Eleanor… and also super stylish!!!

  • Reply
    kp
    June 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I must, must, must know where you got those lovely shoes!

    Eleanor is so adorable!

  • Reply
    Andria
    June 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    I have a four month old and she likes her Babyhawk, too, but she is very nosy and likes looking around and it doesn’t offer her the best views (maybe when she is a little bigger it’ll be better?). I got a wrap from Lovey Duds on etsy when she was two months and I love it. I can put her in facing forward and she can check everything out. The wrap, however, is just a looong piece of fabric so it is a little awkward to put on in, say, the mall parking lot but I think it’s worth it.

    ~Andria

  • Reply
    gabrielle
    June 17, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    I used to nurse my daughter Ella in her sling. I even did it in front of clients, they had no idea. Good luck, you figure it out!

  • Reply
    kristina
    June 17, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    As if you want to try another….but I totally recommend the Moby Wrap.

    My girl was two months early and also refused to be put down. I think it was becasue she spent the first 30 days of her life in the hospital alone in an isolette.

    She still rocks the Moby at almost six months, but now only likes to face out. I guess she’s too “big” to snuggle tummy to tummy with her Mama.

  • Reply
    liz
    June 17, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    My daughter turns 2 next week (holy moly!) and, while we tried multiple slings/carriers, the one she liked the most from 2 weeks until now is our Ergo Carrier. It’s expensive, but I’m 5’4″ and my hubby is 6’7″ and it fits us both great, Hazel slept in it as a baby through whole church services, and she still jumps right up to go to the grocery store or mail box now! If you have a friend with one, borrow it to try! you’ll be hooked!
    Thanks, too for all your great sharing. I love reading your blog :)

  • Reply
    Jennie
    June 17, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    Oh yes, baby carriers are a must. Life is so much easier when the baby is straped on to mom.

    With my first, I liked my mei tei and my hotsling. But then he got too big for either, and I got an ergo which I used everyday for the next 18 months.

    With my second, we loved our moby wrap, our linen ring sling, and our beco butterfly. She liked being upright which ruled out the pouch sling.

    If you like the mei tei, you’ll probably like a soft sided carrier like the beco or ergo a lot. They are easy, comfy, and you can use them for years.

  • Reply
    cvjn
    June 17, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    yeah! i was one of the vocal proponents of the sling, so i’m glad it’s worked out for you. i used mine (the new native carrier) with both my kids and loved every minute of it. when they’re a little older, you can still use the sling and they sit cross-legged in them with their heads poking out. it’s an awesome way for them to see the world!

  • Reply
    Michele renee
    June 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Yeah to the sling! Babies love to face the parent so I sorta cringe when I see little babies facing outwards. And when they are bigger you can sling them to the side or even to the back. When mine was 9 mos. a sling on my side at the airport was great.

  • Reply
    Mandi
    June 17, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    Eleanor is such a cutie! You definitely have your fill of baby slings but just in case you want to check out one more my friend makes awesome slings all by hand! Here’s her website http://www.polkadotpapoose.com/. Enjoy!

  • Reply
    Laura
    June 17, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    I know you are enjoying your hiatus, but I hope you come back to Smart&Lovely soon–I need your help on a project : )

  • Reply
    Corie
    June 17, 2009 at 4:44 pm

    I loved wearing my babies and it made life SO.MUCH easier. You’ll be so much happier, too, when you can just strap her on instead of putting her into a nasty shopping cart as she gets older, even with those FloppySeats it’s nice to have them on you instead of on, um, GERMS!! :) You know what else? My oldest son, who’s about to be 4, still loves it when I wear him on my back. He’s a little guy so this still works out really well for us on long walks and trips. Enjoy your new found freedom and all that extra cuddling with sweet Eleanor!

  • Reply
    Max
    June 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I’m another huge fan of the Moby Wrap. (I tried the sling carriers–Balboa, Hotsling, and one other one that I forgot the name of–but they always made me feel unbalanced, for some reason.) My son is three months old and I work from home, and I can sit and write for hours while he naps in it. It’s so cozy! I’m also in the process of learning to nurse in it, but haven’t quite mastered it yet…

  • Reply
    darah
    June 17, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    I would have been lost without our slings – especially because I worked from home! I’m so glad they’re working out for you. It makes things so much more manageable. Now that our daughter is 2 1/2 we still wear her and it’s like magic for a tired girl.

    You’ll figure out how to nurse in one. It took me a few months to do it well, but man it was SO worth it. Good luck and Eleanor is just beautiful.

  • Reply
    elizabeth
    June 17, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Are most of these readily available at baby stores? It seems like it would be useful to “try before you buy” since fit is such a personal thing…That could get expensive!

  • Reply
    rhonda
    June 17, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    I also have a hotsling which I purchased when my daughter was newborn; she is now 19 months and I am still using it! I actually really like the specific sizing, I bought mine to fit snug, when she was newborn and all scrunched up she fit and now, all long and lean sitting on my hit, she still fits perfectly!

  • Reply
    katieh
    June 17, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Hey! You won the 48 hour challenge?!!
    Congratulations!!!!!!!

  • Reply
    Jamie
    June 17, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    my EXACT reason for not getting a Mei Thai again! A great alternative is a Becco! I plan to get one for this next baby. i’m in the process of making a Mei thai (baby hawk style) sling that will eliminate the dragging straps issue! I’ll let you know if I decide to sell them anytime soon! so glad you are loving babywearing! It’s one of my favorite parts of being a mama!

  • Reply
    Suzy
    June 17, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Congrats on your beauty! I had mine a few weeks before you had yours. I have the Peanut Shell, which seems to be a lot like the Hotsling–great for around the house, parties, or short walks, but it hurts my back too much to carry her for long with it. The Ergo, which is much more comfortable (and also more bulky and less stylish), I use for long walks, running errands, etc. It’s so much easier than lugging a stroller up and down subway steps. Good luck

  • Reply
    Katie
    June 17, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    I find the Moby to be the most comfortable for me and my 4 month old right now. But the Ergo is incredible and I can’t wait until my little one is sturdy enough for it. I also have the Babyhawk Mei Tai and just haven’t gotten over the inconvenience of the long straps (the Moby has long straps too, but it’s so comfy that I like it for long walks and outings). I never got into the slings because I was so worried about my baby being too scrunched and not being able to breathe properly, but being able to nurse on the go would be amazing.

    Congratulations on winning the 48 Hour Challenge!

  • Reply
    Teeni
    June 17, 2009 at 7:31 pm

    Fairly new lurker, but had to add my vote for the beco. I now have two of them. I am confident that they are the best money I’ve spent since having kids. Both my kids are old enough that I can wear them on my back now, but they worked great when they were tiny babies, too!

  • Reply
    The Higher Nest
    June 17, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I never was much successful with my Hotsling…but I think it was just operator error. I wish I could — you’re right that it’s much more portable than other carriers.

    I did just get a woven wrap today (a la Moby), and I’m in love. Of course, it doesn’t make anything LESS complicated — but it’s airy, and the boy likes it!

    Yours looks darling!

  • Reply
    Rebekah
    June 17, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I got a hotsling when my daughter was 9 months old and wished like crazy that I’d gotten it sooner. I was only ever able to use the hip-carry position, but I think she would have loved being in it when she was small.

  • Reply
    priscilla
    June 17, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Cutest accessory ever!

  • Reply
    Molly W.
    June 17, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    My hot sling was hands down the best investment EVER! Enjoy!!

  • Reply
    Amy
    June 17, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    I loved my babyhawk more than any other carries, however I did like the moby wrap a lot up until about 6 months. It was the most comfortable all-around.

  • Reply
    desiree fawn
    June 18, 2009 at 12:19 am

    Yay for babywearing!
    We love it over here — we have two ring sling, a cuddlywrap & our mei tai and another sling are coming in the mail!
    I wear her EVERYday :)

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    June 18, 2009 at 6:07 am

    I, too, wear my baby and have had a lot of success nursing him while doing so. I use something like a moby wrap only mine was 4-5 dollars…5-6 yards of jersey fabric wrapped and tied up. The best position for us was when he would be scrunched up (tummy to tummy) in a frog position. He latched on and in seconds (okay , maybe a couple of minutes) he was out! We could go anywhere or do anything which was important since I also have a toddler. Something I did was wear a wifebeater tank under my real shirt to avoid exposing my wrinkly-baby-stretched-out-belly that I’m not so secure about. The arm holes are long enough to stretch over your food source, and plenty long enough to cover the belly. It sure beats those pricey nursing shirts and lets your wear from your pre-pg wardrobe.

    Enjoy being a mama and congrats on your big $5000 prize. Make more pretties around your house.

  • Reply
    April
    June 18, 2009 at 8:02 am

    So fabulous! Can I just say that aside from the cute sling I was totally excited about your shoes!!! They’re so sweet!!!

  • Reply
    msmezzo
    June 18, 2009 at 8:03 am

    I ran into a friend of mine with her new baby in a sling, walking down the street nursing and talking on her cell phone. Nursing, walking and talking on her cell. That is one multitasking mama! You gotta do what you gotta do.

  • Reply
    msmezzo
    June 18, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Oh, and congrats! You so deserve it. AND you look so beautiful with your little one.

  • Reply
    Jess
    June 18, 2009 at 9:09 am

    I LOVE this photo. Oh, and your shoes–fab!

    I’m bookmarking this because I hope to run into this problem soon ;)

  • Reply
    michelle
    June 18, 2009 at 11:02 am

    check out the ergobaby – my friend had one and her daughter loved it and wore it until she outgrew it. on the back, in the front, good posture, easy to use, they can nurse in it… http://www.ergobabycarriers.com/babycarriers/category/carrier/

  • Reply
    Vonnie
    June 18, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I tried this when I was caring for my grandson. Everyone thought I was crazy, but they saw how happy he was when I had him strapped to me. I think all mothers should try this, it’s a great help when they get heavier, too.

  • Reply
    Dewi
    June 18, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    Come join the baby wearing community at Mothering.com
    The best to you!

    http://www.mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=245

  • Reply
    Franziska
    June 18, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    I read your post with big interest. I’ll check all the links. Maybe I find a favourite, too. Although by now I sometimes have the feeling mothers are speaking in another language. :D I think that will change soon ;)

  • Reply
    Dewi
    June 18, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    This is an a sling with no d rings, that i I always loved and found to be an improvement on the hot sling design.
    http://www.kangarookorner.com/c-8-adjustable-pouches.aspx

  • Reply
    kayla_d
    June 18, 2009 at 1:36 pm

    We’ve found that our pouch slings are the answer to our baby’s need to be held, too. I made 2 slings as soon as Cora was born (the day before Eleanor!)–one in my size and one for my husband. I posted about them on my blog. http://justlikesewkayla.blogspot.com/2009/05/wearing-baby.html
    The fabrics are Michael Miller asian prints that we love, so it is a great ‘accessory’ when we go out. Yesterday, mine was in the wash, and it was a rough day!
    I, too, want to figure out nursing with one.

  • Reply
    Kristin Wolter-Canfield
    June 18, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    I borrowed one of these from a friend once and am investing in one for my next baby! They are amazing. Very comfortable and have a lot of support.
    http://www.ergobabycarrier.com/
    She still uses it and her baby is one.
    Congrats on winning the challenge! I look forward to all the new projects.

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    June 18, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    What a relief baby-wearing can be! My family is very old-fashioned and thought it was completely strange that I had so many carriers, but they each do serve a purpose. (Plus, it starts to get addictive after a while. Instead of salivating over purses and shoes, I found myself longing for beautiful carriers.)

    Now that my little guy is 35 pounds, I’m selling my carriers on ebay. If anyone’s interested, I’ve started with my two favorites… BabyHawk and Beco. I’m planning on putting on my slings within the next couple of days.

    Here’s the links to the auctions:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=130312430317

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&item=130313225521

    Have fun wearing!

  • Reply
    Jess
    June 18, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    Love your Hotslings pouch, we have the same print! It can become quite an addiction with all the gorgeous prints out there, something to go with every outfit – my husband even has two pouches of his own. Babywearing has been a total lifesaver for us and our three boys. So sad my slingin’ days are almost over. I do wish there were more options available in stores (ours were all purchased online) so that more people could take advantage of the great stuff out there.

    GORGEOUS shoes!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    June 18, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    My youngest son was the same way! I think he liked the closeness and the movement, considering that salsa dancing in the middle of the night was frequently the only way I could get him to go back to sleep!

    Anyway, I never got around to trying slings, and ended up with an incredibly huge left bicep that I used to beat all of the boys I teach at arm-wrestling… It was cool feeling strong, even if it was a bit one-sided!

    Love your sling, dress, shoes ensemble.

  • Reply
    lindsay
    June 18, 2009 at 10:17 pm

    I have a 2 week old and whenever I try to put her in my sling (baby ktan) she acts like she’s being murdered. very frustrating, I’ll have to look into these other carriers that have worked for you. I would love to ha e 2 hands again someday!! congrats btw

  • Reply
    Tommy Bahama Bedding
    June 18, 2009 at 10:24 pm

    Great photo of you & baby :) She looks so peaceful.

  • Reply
    Mim
    June 19, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I loved wearing my son. I miss the tiny cuddles.

  • Reply
    Marie
    June 19, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    http://www.prettymommasling.com/store/WsAncillary.asp?ID=91 — My son and I were models (use that term lightly) for breastfeeding in a sling — it took some practice — but with a handful of different slings on hand, we did it for a while and through the different phases of growth.

  • Reply
    jaime
    June 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    I have several carriers as well… I just spent 4 days at inservice (I’m a teacher) and my Ergo carrier came in very handy for nap times… I can’t wait to wear him on my back! I bought the Ergo for my husband to wear, but he’s still skidish. I also have a pouch sling but Aiden doesn’t like that too much. My childhood friend makes beautiful ringslings from fancy fabrics (bronwenhandcrafted.com)and after a lot of practice and youtube videos, I like it for short periods of time.

  • Reply
    Sarah
    June 20, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Baby wearing is great! My son was in one carrier or another for his first year. My favorite newborn sling is the Moby wrap. But I also had big success with the Beco Butterfly and the Maya ring sling. Sounds like you and your little one are off and running!

  • Reply
    Pencils
    June 20, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Wow, you are lucky. Aurora also did not like to be put down, ever, until she learned to crawl (and now she wants to be down all the time, unless she’s tired or cranky or missing mommy, etc.) but she hated all slings & carriers. And we tried more than a few. Nine months later, I now have some great arm muscles. Eventually she learned to tolerate the baby bjorn, but only for very short periods.

  • Reply
    azra
    June 20, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    try Ergo Carrier when she is about 6 months. It is the most comfortable carrier plus very easy to nurse in.

  • Reply
    sturmhaus
    June 21, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I adore my Ergo – I liked the more structured ones when I tried ’em on. Today I was so proud of myself… managed to jiggle the baby into place on my back, alone, in the parking lot at Target! (the Ergo will do 3 carry positions, front, hip and back – now that my girlie is 1, the back position is getting easier)

  • Reply
    Cassie
    June 23, 2009 at 7:24 am

    I have the New Native sling and though my big baby boy didn’t fit well as a newborn in it, it helps support his bottom and distributes the weight now that he can sit on my hip. I’m glad we held on to it.

    And although not very chic, the baby bjorn was our savior. And now that he’s a hefty 20lb 7month-old, the Beco supports him and saves our back as well…plus the fabric design is super stylin.

  • Reply
    Clarissa
    June 27, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Hi Nicole,

    First of all congratulations for your baby, she’s lovelly.
    Because I didn’t have enough courage to have kids yet I make ring slings for my friends’ babies :)

    Because they’re not very popular in Brazil, most parents don’t know how to use it here. That’s why I usually give a demonstration with a doll…

    Your refined taste make them even more special.
    Love your work.

  • Reply
    Kiley
    July 7, 2009 at 8:27 pm

    I moved from Oregon to Korea when my baby was 8 weeks old. I had a Baby Bjorn and a wrap sling but I found that I loved the Korean baby carriers the most. I had a structured back-pack style carrier (similar to the BabyHawk but not as stylish) that we used until she was about 3, and a simpler, more traditional cloth wrap sling (similar to a mei-tai). The Koreans were crazy about foreign babies, but especially when they saw me carrying her in one of THEIR carriers. Now that my daughter is going on 4, she has her own play mei-tai that she carries her baby doll around in.

  • Reply
    daisy mae
    July 25, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I got a hotslings too and I was so glad I did. My son refused to be set down and didn’t like it when I sat down either. It was still hard to do some things, but I managed to crochet with him happily holding the yarn. Fun times!

  • Reply
    Kristi
    April 13, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    where did you get those fantastic shoes????

  • Reply
    Making it Lovely | Transforming the so-so. » Blog Archive » Twenty Pounds Lighter
    June 21, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    […] a strict exercise plan or diet. I went on more walks and for longer distances, and I often used a baby carrier for Eleanor instead of a stroller. I had been reading a lot about opting not to partake in the […]

  • Reply
    M
    August 27, 2010 at 10:28 am

    Crazy, I have the same hotling & Dwell shirt for my little girl. Small world.

  • Reply
    victoria
    January 24, 2011 at 10:59 am

    I just read this – months and months after you originally posted it. I have a Maya sling and I absolutely love it! I got it used @ diaperswappers.com for something absurd like $20 (it’s originally $60). I also think cutiepoopsandbottoms in Orland Park sells it. At first, we tried a cheap sling that can’t be adjusted and it shrank in the dryer..so it’s practically useless to me.

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