I can still feel the softness of my baby on my body! I’ve just now come and sat at my laptop to write this article – after cozying her into sleep. I nursed her first and then carried her in both my arms with her body close to my chest and my face touching hers. She likes my cheeks against hers. And, I relish her feel. That feeling of holding your baby so close – so very close that you can melt into her warmth and softness, this emotion is beyond the realm of words and expression. Yet, you know what I’m saying…
Some days she likes to sleep by being carried in my arms, other times she just wants me to tuck her into the bed while I sit close or lay near her. There are no rules out here. But, mostly, she loves my touch, the warmth of my voice (“mamma is here” or a song or mantra) as she drifts into sleep.
Having experienced such close contact with my babies – first Pari and now Sufiana, I can’t fathom how babies feel and thrive when they are carried in those container-like things – those basket-like hand-held carriers dangling at knee level. Or, babies snapped into a stroller, almost completely draped with a blanket, being pushed around in isolation. No contact, no touch, no interaction. My heart really shrinks at such sights.
On the other hand, a baby in arms or in a sling/carrier – snuggled with the mother – the mother nursing the baby or talking to him/her, the baby feeling secure due to the touch, the warmth – I resonate with that.
So, this blog post today is unique. Because, this topic is close to my heart. And, there’s something for you and your baby to win. There’s a giveaway! A ring sling for all you mammas and papas (and, would-be parents) from the beautiful mamma of two – Chinmayie of Soul Ring Slings. It’s a worldwide giveaway. So, don’t hesitate to enter – no matter which part of the world you live in.
Carrying my baby – in arms or in the sling is beautiful and beneficial in so many ways – for my baby’s emotional needs, health, learning. We have no stroller or any other carry-device. I think a stroller not only isolates my baby and hinders communication and touch between her and me, it’s also inconvenient and impractical – specially here in Goa with beaches where-ever you go. A stroller can’t be pushed around on sand; one has to end up lifting it from point A to B. Even in crowded streets and places where there are steps or pavements, I feel it’s hard to maneuver the stroller. A ring sling or a baby carrier, in comparison, can be a boon when outdoors.
There are so many benefits to carrying your baby up and close – in arms, in sling or a carrier. I’ve been researching a on this topic and felt like I must share in this blog post, some of the key points.
The miracle of touch!
A baby who’s in close contact with the mother will be more content, happy and alert; will sleep better and grow well. Of all the senses that infants experience, the sense of touch is the most profound. The warmth of the mother’s skin helps regulate their body temperature, their heart rate, breathing, their overall sense of well-being. So much so that preemies (babies that are not full term) or full term babies who are underweight can gain health and vigour by being round-the-clock with their mother in skin-to-skin contact or Kangaroo Mother Care. There is no separation of the mother and her baby.
The Next Nine Months!
Babies need and want to be touched, held, snuggled for a long, long time after their birth. It’s said that the nine months that the babies live inside the womb is not long enough for their gestation to be complete. They take birth because they have to – due to the large size of their heads. But, the gestation continues for the next nine months after the baby is born. Their growth and brain development happens if womb-like warmth is provided by keeping in affectionate touch (and loving communication) with the mother for the next nine months.
Encourages Exclusive Breastfeeding
It’s been seen that mothers who carry their babies in arms, sling or carrier are more likely to nurse them often, interact with them and involve them in their daily activities. When the baby is close at heart – and at eye-level, the mother can take cues to nurse in a timely way. And, the baby doesn’t need to cry it out to be able to communicate. Less gap between feedings will mean more fat content in the breast milk that the baby will get.
Baby-wearing (hmm…odd name!)
You might find it strange, but I didn’t know, until recently, that carrying your baby in a carrier or sling is called Baby-wearing. Well, yes – the name baby wearing sounds odd to me because it conveys you WEAR your baby on yourself. Infact, I’ve read and heard many mothers talk this way, “I wear my baby…”. Why would you “wear” your baby? Is she/he a piece of clothing, an accessory?
I wear the sling and carry my baby in it. Or, I hold my baby in it. Even, I snuggle my baby in it. I feel, we should use the words properly. For, words can shape our thoughts.
But then, even though the term baby-wearing sounds inappropriate, the intention and science behind carrying the baby in a sling or a carrier is based on sound research and study. (article by Dr. Sears)
Receiving The Soul Ring Sling
Hence, when Chinmayie of Soul Ring Slings contacted me recently to ask if I’d like a Ring Sling for my baby and then review it, I said yes.
And yet, I took a while to say yes.
For one, I hesitate to review products on my blog – that dilutes my focus and purpose of this blog. I’ve always put my energy and intention into sharing stories and learnings from my life – as an unschooling mother and as a life-long learner.
Secondly, I have a baby carrier from when Sufiana was two months old that she rejected again and again. I never got around to using it because she didn’t want to be carried in it – even though it’s the best that I’ve found here in India. It’s ergonomic, made of soft cotton. But, Sufiana refused to stay in it. And, I retired it to the cupboard after a few trials. Hence, I wasn’t sure if the Soul Ring Sling by Chinmayie would go down well with my baby.
Finally, Sufiana was already into her active crawling and standing stage when Chinmayie wrote to me. And, I was more comfortable carrying her in my arms – when indoors. It gave me the flexibility to pick her and leave her to play and explore independently more frequently and with ease, than a carrier would allow.
But after some thought I went ahead and said yes to Chinmayie. I thought I could try the sling option of carrying Sufiana when outdoors; specially at the beach. I love to take long walks on the beach but carrying her constantly in my arms or Avie’s can be tiring and back-breaking.
I thought, if it would work for Sufiana and for me, reviewing the Soul Sling on my blog would open up options for other mothers and babies, especially in India – where we’ve had no ring slings so far in the market. So, I drew an exception to review this particular product.
Our Soul Ring Sling
As I received this gorgeous yellow ring sling in high quality fabric, I couldn’t wait to carry Sufiana in it. I went through the manual and a video of how to wear it to carry your baby. And, off we headed for a long walk along the fields.
We were in for a joyful surprise.
The very first time Sufiana sat there – wrapped by the Soul Ring sling – taking in the beautiful sights and sounds as I walked briskly, pausing every once a while to show her something or the other, she was comfortable. She never once protested as she had done in the carrier. I walked along for 10 minutes. She was happy. Another 10 minutes passed. I was heading further and further along the fields. It was almost dark by then. But, both she and I were so happy, I couldn’t stop. Good for us that Avie was with us so we could negotiate back home in the dark – the fireflies glowing in the paddy fields. I could walk that whole distance and back home – all by myself, without handing her over to the hubby, which we normally do when we carry her in our arms – I hold her for a while and then he takes over. We take turns.
But, with the ring sling, I could carry Sufiana the whole time with ease, while Avie walked with Pari. Pari was glad for the exclusive company of her father. And, Sufiana was happy in the sling – amused by the dangling fabric on my right side and the ring on my shoulder!
After that evening walk by the fields, I’ve carried her in the ring sling when walking on the beach mostly. The soul ring sling has made our beach walks much more relaxing. I must add that, before i put Sufiana in the sling, we spend ample time playing with her in the water. I never put her in the sling right away because that would deprive her from free play in the sand and in water.
At home, I still prefer to carry her in my arms because I feel that gives the freedom to her to move around a lot and come to me to be picked up when she wants. Carrying her in arms means that I can put her back on the floor (for play) more frequently.
Practical and Convenient When Indoors
If your baby is younger, the Soul Ring Sling can be a great help indoors too. You can carry your baby when doing chores; your baby can be a part of your day watching and learning from the real world, at the same time being in close contact with you. Let’s face it, however much a mother may want to be with her baby for as long as possible, there are chores to be finished, meals to be cooked, other kids to attend to and care for. So, the ring sling helps you do both – you can be with your baby while you’re going about your day.
Independent Play, Quiet Time and Physical Activity is Equally Important
As much as I recommend carrying babies in sling (for intimacy and convenience), I feel one need not (actually, must not) carry the baby for long hours. I feel that when my baby is happy and content, she should be given the freedom to be by herself exploring her environment at her own will and pace. Our babies are far more wise and intelligent and capable than we think them to be. They ought to get their own quiet time to relax, reflect and just be. They don’t need to be continually stimulated by our adult world.
Also, babies need physical activity as much as we do. They need to stretch, curve, roll, raise their arms and feet to gaze at them, put their feet in the mouth. They want to lie down on their back and tummy. All this physical activity is excellent for their growth and development, including brain development. Hence, being strapped or wrapped for long is not ideal. Sufiana, for one, never wants to be carried for long – at home or outdoors. The moment she’s at the beach, she wants to be in water!
Intimacy with Mother is Vital for Babies’ Content
The fact is – for babies to be content and happy (so they enjoy their own quiet time and play independently), they must have received their intimate and quality time with the mother – her touch, talk, interaction, love, cuddles, nursing. A good ring sling can go a long way in ensuring all of this. And, the Soul Ring Sling, in my opinion and experience, can provide this experience to the mother and the baby.
The Soul Ring Slings come in a range of heart-warming colours. And the fabric they’re made of is soft, breathable cotton linen, which is gentle on the baby’s body. Check out Soul Sling’s Pinterest page.
I’ve experienced that wearing the ring sling right is the key. Wear it wrong and you can end up with strained neck or shoulder and stiff back. So, check out the Soul Slings videos to see how you can wear your ring sling.
In the picture above, I’m carrying Sufiana in our yard. This was the first time I wore the sling. As some of you have figured out, I’m NOT wearing it right – the fabric on my right shoulder is gathered up rather than being spread out and down. So, though I didn’t realise the strain then, I felt it later.
Now, for the Giveaway
Chinmayie has offered to give away this mint-coloured cotton sling from her latest Classic Cotton Linen Blend series. It’s soft as cotton is and sturdy as a Linen. It’s good to carry your infant or toddler. The fabric is soft, so you can adjust it easily and wear with ease no matter you’re a beginner wearer or experienced.
This giveaway is open to all of you around the world – no matter where you live.
Chinmayie is also offering a flat 12% discount on any sling they you buy from her website. To avail the discount offer, use the coupon code ‘MOMMYLABS12‘.
The coupon will be valid starting today (Nov. 19), for a month.
How to Enter the Giveaway:
To enter the giveaway, I request you to leave a comment below sharing why you’d like to win this Soul Ring Sling. That’s it.
But, hey. Wait! You can get a second entry – by sharing a story about your child – a story that highlights the bond between you and your child.
But, this is optional. Share if you’d like a second entry in your name. Share, even if you don’t want to win the sling. Who wouldn’t want to read such lovely stories of mammas and babies. I sure do!
The giveaway ends on November 28 – until midnight – any time zone.
Chinmayie is celebrating her son’s first birthday today. Head over to Soul Slings facebook page to share your greetings and join the celebration.
Finally, what’s your experience and learning with regard to carrying your baby – indoors and outdoors? Did you use a sling or a carrier or did you prefer any other way? Do share if you feel like. And, enter the giveaway to win for yourself or for a mother/father (because fathers want to carry their babies too) and baby you know, who might find it useful.