The Best Baby Sling

While I was pregnant I did a lot of research about baby slings. I picked out one that I really wanted and when Maraika was 3 days old, Ben and I took her to try a bunch on – settling on the original one that I had chosen.

We chose the Pippalily, which is the simplest type of sling there is. Here’s why I chose it:

  • It’s simple, and I like simple things.
  • It is not a ring sling, so you buy it fitted, it is not adjustable. This works for me – knowing myself as I do, I would not be bothered to adjust the thing and would walk around without it fitting properly.
  • It’s made in Toronto and I like to buy local.
  • They are made from really beautiful fabrics. Although both Ben and I chose simple black, there are some other nice ones.

After a year and a half of using it, here is why I still love it:

  • Ben and I each have our own. With almost a foot in height and 70 pounds in weight separating us, we were not going to be able to have the same sling. I love that we each have our own – even though we purchased the exact same colour, store them in the same place, and use them the same way – it’s nice to have our own.  Especially when we need to make a quick switch from one of us to the other – which we do a lot – there isn’t any time wasted on adjusting.
  • At 17 months and almost 30 lbs Maraika is a huge kid – and she still cradles in the sling to take a 2 hour nap at her cousins’ house. That’s amazing.
  • Maraika loves her sling and will go to the closet and ask to be carried around in it, out of the blue. It’s never a fight to get her in.
  • Even though she looks like a monster on me, I’m still comfortable carrying her for several hours in the sling.
  • It looks as good as the day I bought it. They are really nice looking slings and the fabric has held up amazingly well. I’ll be wearing Maraika in the sling for at least part of my sister-in-law’s wedding, and it’s nice that the sling is going to compliment my outfit, rather than compete with it.

I work in a baby store a couple of times a week (the same store from which I bought the sling) and I try to get everyone turned onto these things. I can take my huge toddler on the subway and over long distances without fighting with a stroller and both she and I are comfortable. Then, once we reach our destination, the sling is small enough to fold up into my pocket. If she’s having a clingy day, I can put her in the sling and still go about my business. And when she was tiny, Ben would carry her everywhere in the sling – sound asleep most of the time – and people didn’t even know she was there.

Here are some of the things that I have heard about slings likes this, and why they didn’t apply to us:

  • It’s too expensive to buy one for each parent. This is a good point, but if you do the math, it really isn’t that big of a difference. The ring sling that they sell at the store I work in is $110, while the Pipalilly is $70 – that’s only a $30 difference – which, for all of the benefits that we’ve found in having two slings, is a worthwhile cost. This would be even more so for parents with different senses of style – one could get a floral pattern and the other a solid fabric.
  • It’s hard to get the baby in. Ben was a pro at putting the baby in the sling right from the first time he tried. I was not. It took quite a few tries before I could do it on my own and a couple of months before I was really really comfortable with it. This is especially true for women right after you’ve given birth – your body’s curvier than you may be used to. But after I got comfortable with it, I became very quick at popping her in and out.
  • The baby can’t use it for long. I hear this all the time in the store. People will humour me and try the sling on with their newborn, but then they are completely in doubt that it will still work once their baby starts getting bigger. Last Saturday I actually got Ben to bring Maraika in so that I could show a few people just how big the baby can get. My child is off the charts for her age, and at almost 30 lbs she still cradles in the sling for a nap – and was a very willing model, luckily. People are always in awe when I put her in or take her out – it may look like stuffing clowns into a clown car, but she’s comfortable. We don’t even use the hip or back hold yet, we just use the kangroo pouch and the cradle – same as we always have.
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