Think you can get by with just a buggy and a little one? I’m sure you probably can..if you have the skills of an octopus and the patience of a saint. If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of investing in a sling, I strongly urge you to take the plunge.
I originally put this list together for My Little VIP and I’d like to share it with you here. Read on for my occasions when it’s better to hoist that little rugrat up in a sling or baby carrier.
Haggard, flustered, sweating, muttering profanities under our breath at each other and the increasingly unhelpful budget airline staff. Yup, this is is how I imagined how family holidays would go.
We have arrived at the airport with enough luggage to equip the residents of the small French village where we are headed. How does something so small need so much stuff?
“No sweetheart, you can’t get down”, I am wrestling our one year-old who is wailing in frustration and writhing in my arms using Houdini-esque escape moves that I’ve seen covert operative Tom Cruise teach Cameron Diaz in the film, Knight and Day. Despite my desperate frustration I’m secretly impressed with her skills. We have a buggy with us, but she’s a determined little creature and I’ll be damned if I can control her thrashing limbs for long enough to strap her into it.
I feel eyes burning into me, pitying and smug. My husband has just repacked our entire bag whilst people behind us tut amongst themselves. “What are you doing, you don’t need to do that”, pipes up Ms Baggage Checker after ten minutes watching him. I stifle a scream.
We incur an oversized baggage fine for being 4kg over – she’s rounded it up. If my overtired, impatient mood was bad before, now I’m feeling positively evil – woe betide anyone that tries to impede our progress with further unhelpful senselessness. Next up, Airport Security and the mother of all queues. This used to be a tedious affair, but now we have Calpol, toddler lunch, milk and a wriggling eel-child to contend with, it’s about as fun as a leaking explosive-diarrhoea nappy. God I need a gin.
Why not take a sling? Why indeed. This at least would have contained the squirming oik leaving us with hands free to punch someone…I’m joking of course.
1. The Airport
Of course take your buggy and check it in as free baby equipment but if you’d like to avoid harming another human being, leaving your partner and ‘accidentally’ doing a ‘Home Alone’ then sling that baby up…
2. Around the house
Hats off to you if you’ve managed to avoid burning, garrotting and impaling yourself whilst going about your daily life with only one hand whilst balancing a child on your hip. However, there’s no denying that you’ve despaired at not having evolved extra arms during pregnancy. Unfortunately this only really works with young babies, after that it’s back to summoning your inner octopus.
3. The Tube
I’ve never done it, there are plenty of people who have and I salute them. But just the thought of it fills me with about as much pleasure as hearing a friend without children complain about how ‘tired’ they are after a heavy weekend, completely oblivious to the layers of bags under your eyes and the slightly possessed look you now sport.
Escalators, crowds, a gap to mind…It’s bad enough getting on with a heavy bag with people in denial of your existence, desperately pretending they aren’t aware of your struggles. The logistics alone of boarding with a Buggy containing your pride and joy make me feel as queasy as crying coming from the monitor when you’ve had one too many Sunday night drinks… Just please no.
I once naively thought I could nip into M&S with the little one in a buggy to update the skank that was my nursing bra. Silly me. I thought I’d cracked it when I managed to balance the unhappy toddler precariously on the roof of the buggy, I even managed to half try a bra on before having to dash out of the changing room half naked in order to retrieve my newly-mobile offspring. The sling should guarantee you a few extra minutes of peace.
5. Country walks
Not all buggies are made for off-roading and an innocent stroll round the block in the countryside can leave you with an extra load of housework you could do without. Repeated punctures, mud on the tyres and a soggy undercarriage. You must also master verge mounting for oncoming tractors, navigating narrow pathways and fording gigantic puddles. Opt for a sling or backpack instead.
7. As a new mother
Looking back now it seems ridiculous, but at the time it brought me out in a cold sweat and tummy-tightening fear. You know what I’m talking about…the first trip out to the shops in the car with your first newborn baby. It is beyond me why baby equipment – even the most popular is the least intuitive kit I’ve ever come across. Mix that with a baby-fried brain and you have an emotional time bomb on your hands. If you manage to disable the buggy and ram it still in it’s upright position into your car, whilst making sure nobody in the Mothercare carpark clocks what an rubbish mother you are, you’re doing well. Disguise baby-equipment phobia in the first few weeks with a professional-mama-looking sling.