May 17, 2010

Safe Sling Love

Holy crap it's been a long time since I have posted! Geez.

Well, to ease myself in slowly I am posting a link to another, much more famous, celebublogger, if you will....

I have been really sad reading all the slack that slings and babywearing mamas are getting since the recent recalls. I simply could not imagine Zane's first year without the Maya Wrap, HotSling, and our Ergo. I loved wearing him and would do it again in a heart beat.

Amy Corbett Storch, who authors the blog, Amalah, discusses here the differences between the recalled slings and other slings and the importance of using slings SAFELY, which means wearing the baby up high, in an almost upright position, and always always being able to feel their breathing and see their face at all times.

I love her last paragraph, and feel very similar about our experience using slings:
I publicly praise slings a lot simply because of the convenience and hands-free aspect of them. I could carry Ezra around and nurse him…while fixing myself a sandwich or writing a blog post! Brilliant! But another thing that a really well-designed sling will give you is an INCREDIBLE sense of connection to your baby. And that’s something I really don’t think those over-padded and over-structured baby duffels provided, thus leading to a nightmarish scenario where a baby suffocated while his mother had no idea there was a problem. When Ezra was in our favorite sling (the Rockin’ Baby), the thin fabric allowed me to feel his little warm body and every movement. His head sat up on near my chest and heart, and even though I used the sling for hands-free activities, my hand still cradled his shape or stroked his face and body inside the sling every chance it got. It was not a utilitarian piece of baby transporting equipment, it was a really wonderful bonding tool, and a place where I could truly keep him close and safe and loved.

I especially appreciate some of the comments left as well, such as:

actually, the danger is less the fabric closing over their face than the lack of support – the child gets curled up with his chin pressed against his chest, and his windpipe can collapse, like a kink in a hose. A pouch or sling that holds the baby high and tight is safer, and a carrier that holds the baby upright against your chest, like a ring sling or a mei tai, is even better. All slings can be used unsafely; the problem is that the Slingrider cannot be used safely.
The members of The Babywearer are actually very angry over the whole thing, because Infantino has been warned of the risk of suffocation multiple times since 2006, and have done nothing.

And as so many of the commenters pointed out, it's always a good idea to not only read the instructions and watch the videos that often come with slings to ensure a safe fit, but a baby wearing class or fitting should also be considered. I did attend a baby wearing class offered at a local Mom and baby place and found it really helpful not only in understanding safe baby wearing but also in finding the right product for me.

So that's it. Just wanted to share a little article in defense of slings and using them safely.