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Tell me - what exactly do you get done whilst wearing your baby in a sling?

(38 Posts)
Germanwife Tue 11-Feb-14 10:23:34

So, everyone always tells you - carry your baby in a sling so you can get stuff done. How does this work? Am I just a complete amateur? I never seem to be able to do anything whilst wearing one.

I am a huge fan of baby carriers/ slings and have been using one (a Manduca) for several weeks with 9-week old DS. I usually carry him if he is unsettled or when he won't nap. Sometimes he dozes off if I move/dance around.

So, apart from use my phone, write emails, reading books and magazines, I've never actually managed to do anything useful whilst DS sleeps or sits in sling. Every time I think of something to do, it turns out to be completely impossible. So, DS is like a huge bump on my front and so I can't reach into cupboards or the fridge to make some food. Not to mention cooking - there is no way I could reach the hob or see the chopping board. Same with making a cup of tea! The only thing I've managed to do is to put the washing on.

So tell me, how do you get stuff done? Are there tricks I need to learn?

Also, do you manage to go for walks in the sling when the weather is nasty?

Toowittoowoo Tue 11-Feb-14 11:03:24

I bought a sling for DD2 because I read on MN how wonderful they were and I thought I'd be able to get more done and still entertain DD1 but I hate it. It is like all the worst bits about pregnant but the baby is even bigger and heavier.

sorry I am of no help at all. Took my about 15 mins to chop some carrots while DD2 was in it once but I decided that maybe it was easier for me to put her down for 3 mins while I did it quickly the next time. Also i couldn't really bend down to get anything out of the cupboard so even if I could chop the carrot then I couldn't get the pan out to boil it.

Maybe we just have really short arms or something!

I think mine will be very useful in the spring when i am going for walks and going to the park with DD1 but i can't use it around the house personally.

Lozzapops Tue 11-Feb-14 11:47:40

I do manage some jobs, eg loading the dishwasher, putti washing in the machine/on the airer, but these all require bending to a crouch, which is obviously better for your back, but hard to keep your balance with baby strapped to you! I am also ok doing little bits in the kitchen, I once managed to make a cake with her in the sling! Maybe I have long arms?!

As for walking with the sling in the bad weather, I don't. I'm ok going out in the cold, I just put the sling on before I put my coat on, then put the coat on. Can't be doing with going out in the rain with it, I'd rather use the pushchair with a rain cover.

MrsMangoBiscuit Tue 11-Feb-14 11:50:32

DD2 has reflux so has to be upright for a while after a feed, and when she was tiny she only wanted to sleep upright, so putting her down to try and get anything done was nearly impossible. While she was in the sling I could make dinner, make cups of tea, hoover, clean, walk to the park and play with DD1, go to the toilet, basically everything except touch my toes to shower.

GingerMaman Tue 11-Feb-14 11:50:36

I couldn't get anything done. And hence my sling is sitting here almost brand new, ready to be sold off if anyone wants it. Any takers?

GwendolineMaryLacey Tue 11-Feb-14 11:52:29

I got nothing done. It was like being heavily pregnant again except I couldn't bend over in case she fell out. It was fine for mooching but no good for actually doing stuff.

cogitosum Tue 11-Feb-14 11:53:04

I love my sling and wear it most of the day even now ds us 6 months.

I don't cook in it but can prepare food (chopping etc). I can put washing in and hang it out but don't do much in the way of housework anyway!

I walk in the rain and use an umbrella!

pootlebug Tue 11-Feb-14 11:56:57

I think the easiest jobs to get done are ones that don't require too much bending down and up. So:

- Sorting washing into piles and folding (put it all on the dining table or somewhere to avoid reaching up and down).
- Clearing the table etc
- Wiping down worksurfaces
- Make tea! Make toast and have a 2nd hand free to hold the butter knife! Both of these are a challenge with an un-put-downable baby otherwise.
- Mop the floor
I can manage to chop stuff etc tbh but I do have long arms. Once they get bigger you can put them on your back but with a manduca-type-carrier they need to be around 6 months or so.

In the rain, if it's not too windy a big golf umbrella works well (and keeps you dry too, which is tricky when pushing a buggy). In more squally weather I nick DH's big gortex jacket and do it up around both of us with just baby's head poking out, with a hat on her head.

Pascha Tue 11-Feb-14 11:59:25

For me in the newborn stages it was more to do with DS2 absolutely refusing to be put down at all. Yes its more difficult to do virtually anything useful like make dinner/sort washing/tidy stuff away but it made it possible and that was the thing really. I had no chance of it while either holding my baby in one arm quietly or putting him down to scream scream scream all the time while I bashed my head against the wall.

I got to eat my dinner too.

TeWiSavesTheDay Tue 11-Feb-14 12:03:18

I found the get a sling advice fairly useless. It's nice for walks sometimes.

How, how do people feed babies in them? Even with nice soft ones my babies would have to bend in half to reach down to my boob. confused

Also as they got older (I have 3) they don't want to sleep all the time and start trying to climb out...

Decent bouncer and learning that it's okay if they cry for a minute while you put the kettle on/have a wee/answer the door is much more useful.

TeWiSavesTheDay Tue 11-Feb-14 12:06:57

Tbf, if I'd ever had a child that had colic etc, I'm sure it's a case of whatever works, I've never experienced it and it must be unbearable.

But generally I found with mine that lots of time on the boob Sat on the sofa was what they actually wanted and reduced screaming to manageable levels.

Germanwife Tue 11-Feb-14 12:09:33

Thanks all, for the replies! I am glad to see I am not the only one who can't get stuff done!

For those of you who manage to cook, can I ask how you do it? Do you have to massively adapt the way you do things?

KirstyJC Tue 11-Feb-14 12:12:21

Wait until you can get your LO on your back, then you will find it much easier! On your back, you can do pretty much most things - washing, cooking, hoovering, shopping etc.

Do you have a sling meet near you? Or a sling library? They would be able to give you some great advice and tips, and can help you put the sling on your back.

I found slings most useful for the school run - all the other parents trying to put up complicated pushchairs in the rain, I just stuck baby in the sling, got my brolly and walked off.grin

Germanwife Tue 11-Feb-14 12:14:21

Yes! This us exactly what I love about the sling! Up until he was 5 weeks, DS would not be put down. For a long time, DH had to feed me my dinner, but with the sling at least I can eat. But I'm still terrified I'll drop a fork on DS's head
!

KirstyJC Tue 11-Feb-14 12:17:23

DS3 often had pot noodle or custard cream crumbs in his hair/ear when he was taken out of the sling. Never managed to fork him though!grin

Indith Tue 11-Feb-14 12:18:39

Agree that once you get the hang of back carries you can get more done. Wraps are great for that as you can back carry from teeny tiny.

But so what if you don' get things done? So what if all you use it for is for baby snuggles and to settle your baby? That is what baby days are for isn't it?

Personally I found slings more "useful" in a practical, getting stuff done kind of way with dc2 and 3. Then I shoved baby in the sling so I could sit and play hands free with the toddler. I shoved dc3 in the sling to walk to nursery and then on to school and the reverse for pick ups so I could feed along the way, I could have hands free to carry school bags and hold hands to cross the road, when I put the baby on my back I could pick children up an give cuddles when they fell over or were just knackered and crying and didn't want to walk home. That is the beauty of the sling IMO.

Germanwife Tue 11-Feb-14 12:19:06

That's right, I can imagine it would be much easier once DS is on the back!

Haven't looked up any sling meets but I'm having trouble getting out of the house lately (DS refuses to nap so the whole day is spent trying to get him to sleep or calming him down because he is having a meltdown due to over tiredness. As he never naps on the go, it makes it so hard to go out as we 'll be out 20 min and he will go into meltdown mode)

Germanwife Tue 11-Feb-14 12:22:30

Kirsty- ditto the crumbs!! Oh dear, I thought it was just me. Thankfully the Manduca has a hood to cover dc. Still hesitate to eat soup or drink super hot coffee, just in case

Germanwife Tue 11-Feb-14 12:26:43

Indith - that's admirable! I haven't figured out how to feed in a sling.

Agree about not having to get stuff done. In fact, I've pretty much given up housework etc, and DH does all the cooking now. But there will be days when we're on our last clean babygro at 11am, or having no clean dishes, having to mop up spills etc.

Indith Tue 11-Feb-14 12:32:07

I was never much good at it, tended to be better just taking him out and feeding in one arm as I walked tbh but when you have school runs to do sometimes needs must!

drspouse Tue 11-Feb-14 12:38:46

If you are finding the baby is falling out when you bend over you may either have the wrong kind of sling, or be using it slightly wrong.

I found I mainly did sitting on the sofa, or simple kitchen tasks, but it was nice to have both hands for phone/laptop/knitting.

Mums of two have said it's handy for playing with a toddler too.

gingercat2 Tue 11-Feb-14 12:52:54

I think finding a type of sling that works best for your circumstances and baby's age is the key. I have a stretchy wrap for my 8 week old, and I use it daily, with her facing me on my front. If I use it for more than two or three hours of the day I do get very tired. I have just learned to nurse her in it (via YouTube), and that is a Godsend in the fussy time of the evening when trying to make dinner and get older child sorted.

MiaowTheCat Tue 11-Feb-14 14:02:33

I never managed to get much done - used a carrier a lot until about the 6 month mark but did naff all apart from go out and drink coffee! However I could never do back carries as I have such poor range of movement in my shoulder because of an old injury involving a bottle of wine and some very nasty concrete steps so that might be part of it.

drspouse Tue 11-Feb-14 15:23:44

I meant to say one other situation in which I found it really helpful was getting DS out of the car to go into a shop or similar - no heaving the horrendous car seat around.

You can tidy up and do washing (difficult to get in/out of machine depending on size of baby though)

I would never cook with a front sling, it's too dangerous IMO. It reduces visibility and makes it harder to judge distances, plus if you spilled something towards yourself it would go straight onto the baby, and it would take a few seconds/minutes to get them out which would mean the burn being more severe as the material is absorbent and would hold hot liquid or oil against their skin for longer. Really really not worth it.

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