To sling or not to sling? That is the question. Having attempted a holiday without a baby-carrying device, I strongly urge you to take the plunge and hoist that little rugrat up if you’re travelling.
The baby sling I personally recommend is the Ergobaby 360 (seen in most of the photos below). It’s great if you have back problems as the weight is dispersed more comfortably around your hips rather than your shoulders and you can wear the kiddo facing out (the ONLY way my baby wanted to face in order to see everything going on) and like a rucksack on your back. For a tinier baby, there’s also a padded newborn insert that fits inside the sling.
You may also want to have a look at the Moby Wrap and BabyBjörn for tiny babies, although I found the first quite fiddly (not great for travelling through airports) and the latter very easy but awful for shoulder and neck pain.
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Here’s why a baby sling is a travel essential:
1. A sling is an essential baby travel item…for stress relief at the airport
If you’ve arrived at the airport with a toddler who’d give Houdini a run for his money in the art of escaping and enough luggage to equip the residents of a small village, you’re going to need some free hands. Add to that a leaking nappy and a range of extra liquids (calpol, milk, Ella’s pouches…etc) that you have to remove at Passport Control and unless you have the skills of an octopus and the patience of a saint, this is one occasion where having a tiny ninja strapped onto you will save you a lot of money in gin-relief. It’s also so much more practical if you’re herding several little ones or have a tiny babe.
2. A sling is an essential baby travel item…when there aren’t any seat belts
If the country you’re visiting takes a more relaxed approach to the the whole seat belt thing, a baby sling can make your precious bundle feel a wee bit more secure. Strap’em to your chest in taxis, tuk tuks, golf buggies, boats and so on for extra safety peace of mind.
3. A sling is an essential baby travel item…when you want to go shopping
While I try to avoid shopping with little ones at all costs (it’s just too stressful and normally ends with me having to dash out of changing rooms naked), perusing the odd market while you’re abroad is a definite must. Strap that wriggly human into place on your body, take a ton of snacks for distraction/bribery, stay just long enough and you’re golden!
4. A sling is an essential baby travel item…when you want to go exploring
Most buggies are not made for off-roading and repeated punctures, mud on the tyres and a soggy undercarriage are all things I’m sure you could do without when travelling. Not to mention the difficulty of pushing the thing in the first place. Of course, they’re great for shady snoozes and saving your backs, but a baby sling or rucksack (below) is just so much more flexible for exploring, particularly on mixed terrain.
5. A sling is an essential baby travel item…on public transport
Escalators, crowds, a gap to mind…It’s bad enough getting on public transport with a heavy bag let alone a couple of mini people and their paraphenalia. If you can use a baby sling for at least one of them, I think your fluster levels will be much more manageable.
6. A sling is an essential baby travel item…when you need to be a packhorse
Even when your children have long since mastered the art of walking, 95% of the time they will still demand to be carried. Baby slings can assist with the number of children you can carry at once…much like a packhorse.
7. A sling is an essential baby travel item…when you find yourself in an exceptional situation
Travelling has a way of throwing you into unique circumstances that create crazy memories. Say, for example you and your 10-month old get offered the chance to drive a boat down the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok…if you’re wearing a baby sling, your multi-tasking skills will be second-to-none.
8. A sling is an essential baby travel item…for everyday travelling life
Hats off to you if you’ve managed to avoid burning, garrotting and impaling yourself while going about your daily life with only one hand, while the other balances a baby. If you haven’t evolved extra arms since having a child, then a baby sling can make all the difference in completing household chores – only really works with tiny bubbas though…
9. A sling is an essential baby travel item…when you need to strike a pose
If there’s a sunset and you feel compelled to strike the ‘classic Egyptian’ pose as I like to call it, then a baby sling provides you with use of both your arms with which to achieve this. And if that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.
What crazy sling situations have you found yourself in? Let me know in the comments below!
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