Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Slingin' It

My good friend from high school makes slings - those comfy over-the-shoulder, wrap-around-the-body baby-wearing things.

In fact, I've written about her Thing-A-Ma-Sling's on this blog before.

She, and several of my other Mommyhood friends, are big baby-wearing advocates. Experts like Dr. Sears (a renowned pediatrician), say baby-wearing babies cry less, learn more, are smarter and get 'humanized' earlier.

There are all sorts of baby-wearing products out there:


(or wraps, as they're sometimes called)

But not everyone is sold on baby-wearing. Specifically, Consumer Reports is questioning the safety of slings. A recent post on their blog highlighted what they say is a link between slings and infant deaths or injuries.

Here's an excerpt taken directly from their blog:
"We know of at least seven babies who have suffocated in baby slings over the past 11 years.  The cause of other deaths in slings were undetermined or may have been misclassified as SIDS.  Additionally, we have reports of 37 infants who have been seriously injured in incidents with slings over the same time period.  Those injuries include skull fractures, broken bones, and serious bruises.

We have warned readers about baby slings before and put them on our list of products not to buy for your baby. The response: Strong criticism from advocates who believe that baby wearing is the healthiest way to transport a baby and builds mother-baby bonding.  But the growing number of fatalities and injuries associated with slings makes us even more resolute in our position on this product. We’re in no way opposed to baby wearing, but there are soft, wearable infant carriers that we believe are safer to use than slings."

You can read the entirety of the post by clicking here.

Now... since I don't have nuggets yet, I'm wondering your thoughts on this whole subject.
Do you baby-wear?
If not, what don't you like about it?
If so, what do you use?
Why do you like it?
Does Consumer Reports' findings and/or opinions affect your thoughts on baby-wearing and the myriad devices available to use?

I know there are plenty of passionate mums out there on both sides of the fence... so send me a shout out! 

Author's note: As an educated and professional journalist, I have tried to maintain a balance between both sides of this issue in this post. Did I succeed? You tell me.


  1. Well, as the owner of THING-A-MA-SLING, I am admittedly biased (by the way, thanks for the plug! You rock!), but I have to say, that there is a HUUUUUGE difference between the so-called "baby slings" that Consumer Reports was talking about and a REAL baby sling. The ones that are currently involved in recalls are not real baby slings! They're basically a duffle bag that you're encouraged to carry your precious baby in. They are designed to be carried far too low on the adults body & the baby's body is encouraged to curl up, and make the baby's chin curl into their chest, which is VERY dangerous! And to make matters worse, for many of these "slings", this is your only position to choose from.
    A REAL ring sling (such as THING-A-MA-SLING) is designed to be ergonomical and allow a newborn to lie down semi-reclining, if that is desired.
    I, personally, encourage people to carry their babies upright when they're not nursing. Not only is it more comfortable for parent & baby, but it's a heck of a lot safer! Your baby should always be close enough to kiss.
    The reason for the current recall is nothing short of tragic. In fact, it keeps me up at night sometimes.--The thought of something like that happening in one of my slings is my worst nightmare. But I also feel that it is the wearer's responsibility to learn how to use their carrier-of-choice correctly and safely.
    Lets also not forget, that babies are worn in every single country and culture in the world, and have been since the dawn of human-kind. Babies were born to be worn!
    (By the way, I think you did a great job showing both sides of the story, Trish!)

  2. I've used baby carriers in the past - usually only in the airport though or walking to the park with one in the stroller, one in the carrier.

    I know that a lot of women wear them religiously - don't leave the house without it. Or wear their child while doing household chores etc. I don't think I could necessarily do that, but it's nice to have baby close and still be able to use your arms. :)

  3. I'm a huge fan of babywearing. I always use it when we go shopping, around the house when we need to clean up (and I can't keep an eye on him), walking around town, or anytime he's a little fussy and just needs cuddle time. I've used the Moby, Ergo, and my new fav...THING-A-MA-SLING. They are all very versatile - front, hip, back. I found babywearing essential when Camden was a brand new baby - people are a lot less likely to come stick their face in his, or touch him, when he's up against your chest.

    Almost all mammals were designed to stay up close to their mothers...why have humans, especially Americans, decided that we are so different?? It definitely facilitates nurturing, safety, security, and feeding a baby or toddler.

    Abby took the words out of my mouth - the Consumer Reports article does not do a good job at specifying the difference between the bag carrier "sling" and the majority of other babywearing devices. I think most babywearing mommas that do their research realize the difference. It is a tragedy that the bag carriers described are what you find at the mainstream baby stores...moms that don't know better end up putting their child at risk when they really have the best intentions.

    TOC - great job at bringing this to our attention. I'll get off my soapbox now. :)

  4. LOVED my sling & loved wearing it. I am a fan of babywearing - and as others have said before - if you do your research and learn how to properly use whatever kind you have, the baby should be fine. Don't forget your mommy instinct, and if you don't like how the baby looks in the sling &/or you are uncomfortable - take the baby out! Don't wait and think you both will get used to it!