It started innocently enough, a bit of late night browsing on the internet made me think that maybe I should try something new. I’ll admit I was a little nervous at first – I didn’t want to seem naive or inexperienced but I had so many questions that needed answering that it wasn’t long before I had joined dozens of speciality groups online, all advising on how to explore this new interest. I was amazed to discover that, unbeknownst to me, there were even dedicated shops (one very close to my neighbourhood) that specialised in advice and equipment for my new obsession. But really it all started with that first Google search; I could never have known the murky world that it would draw me into…
My name is Claire, I’m 33 and I’m a sling addict. It’s been 20 minutes since my last sling browsing session. I bought my first sling when I was pregnant – a lovely little stretchy number which I lovingly refer to as my “Gateway sling” ; my son and I adored our stretchy and it’s fair to say that we spent the majority of our time snuggled up in it. My husband even encouraged me at first – in fact we would take it in turns to baby-wear. But it wasn’t long before I needed another fix – buckles – enter the Ergobaby 360. Although I didn’t know it at the time Ergos (as they’re known by experienced users) retain a high street value even when they are “pre-loved”. Because of their high demand many unscrupulous sellers offer fakes, undercutting the authentic sellers. In fact, the fakes are so good that Ergobaby themselves cannot always tell the difference. Thankfully my Ergo came from a licensed seller and it wasn’t long before I was sampling the delights of outward facing, hip and back carries as well as the classic inward facing. Soon after I discovered my local sling library and, intrigued by the idea of a ring sling, I decided to try one out. Sadly I couldn’t quite get the knack, but I did come away with a Scootababy (hip carrier with buckles). It was at this point that I thought I might have a problem but I wasn’t able to admit it yet.
My birthday was coming up – in previous years I may have asked for perfume, jewellery or a good book but this year I had my eyes on an entirely different type of prize. Using a cheque from my Granny to fund my habit I bought another buckle carrier, this time a beautiful reverse mint lace Lenny Lamb – it was love at first sight and I swore no other sling could tempt me again. The other gifts I received were those which I had carefully selected to enable my new passion – beautiful baby-wearing fleeces and jackets. I have also purchased numerous other paraphernalia to indulge my habit such as large dome umbrellas, baby balaclavas, rucksack changing bags, holster bum-bags and extra long baby socks. But it was only when my husband discovered a sneaky Mei Tai stashed under the stairs that I realised that things had escalated. I explained that it had been unbelievably cheap, that I simply couldn’t say no – but I was met with him shaking his head incredulously at me. What’s worse is I have dragged my friends into it all – slyly adding them to Facebook groups like ‘Sling Dippy’ (raffles for slings with some money going to charity – “but it’s for charity” I justify) or ‘Cheap baby-wearing slings and related items £50 all in max’ (you are welcome) not to mention the numerous second-hand selling pages for specific brands. I have even found slings I think friends might like and tagged them in the posts – living vicariously through their purchases. One friend, Yasmin (name changed to protect her anonymity), has told her husband that one of the slings she has bought is actually on loan from me (it isn’t). I’m not sure but I think we might need help.
I’m currently obsessing about getting back to wrapping and trying my hand with a little woven number. So if you happen to see a beautiful Fispi (that’s Firespiral for the newbies) in a size 6 please hook me up. I won’t tell anyone, I promise. It can be our little secret.
Like this? You can read Claire’s last fantastic Motherload blog about contraception here
If you want to find out more about baby-wearing, click here
For The Motherload®’s Top Five Baby Carriers click here
33 year old first-time mum muddling her way through one nappy change at a time. Lover of yoga, music, walking, roast dinners, cosy nights in and chocolate.
Image credit: Claire Sanders