Monday, September 29, 2008

WEAR YOUR BABY 4: BABY SLINGS

What to wear?

Being from a culture that is still exposed to baby-carrying using cloth slings, I was wondering if I could just use a traditional malong or similar piece of cloth the way some indigenous tribes still do. It was a short jump from using a blanket to secure her to us.

The malong garment is a woven length of fabric sewn together at the sides to make a wide, tubular garment. It can be worn any number of ways, has many varied uses and comes in a variety of colors and designs. Coming from parts down the southern Philippines, it is the multi-purpose garment one traditionally has from birth to death. It is similar to many other multi-functional clothing pieces (sari, sarong) around Asia.

I hunted for the malong I had when I was a kid but I remembered that it already became so threadbare as to be almost transparent. So no go. It might disintegrate, if it hasn't already.

<--- Maranao Dance to show the versatility of the Malong. Here, the Badjao girl demonstrates how the tubular cloth is transformed into a baby carrier.

Then looking in the department stores and checking out the price and make of today's malong, I am sad to say that not only are they more expensive, but they aren't made like they used to. I seem to remember that they were a lot thicker and sturdier back in the day. I would have to go to my father's home town to get one I could trust to carry Oona around.

Fortunately I didn't have to go on a long trip. I was browsing through the web and came upon different modern baby slings. Some had rings while some are tied up, but all very versatile and durable!

Modern Baby Slings

I chanced on The Baby Wearer site and checked out different styles and reliable suppliers. It made it easier to decide on what seems to be right for me, Oona and RF.

They're very reliable when it comes to carrier type comparisons, taking into consideration the products' suitability for newborns or older babies, durability, strength of the fabrics, breastfeeding-friendliness (the word!), adjustability, learnability (for us parents who are all thumbs!) and comfort.

So far, our choices were looking good. Now, I couldn't decide what to pick as they all appealed to me and the kind of lifestyle I wanted Oona to have: mobile but still developing close to us (I'm sounding like a parent!!!).

This one is by Sleepy Wrap. Yes it's an American company but with online shopping these days and overseas delivery, all you need to worry about is whether they ship to our country (they do via UPS) or if you have a credit card to make the purchase.

I love this because it seems to be so soft and comfy for both
Moms and babies. It looks to be very versatile, easily transformable into different wearing styles and very secure. I'm sure the babies are snug enough to fall asleep easily or observe the world from the safety of Mommy or Daddy!

I'm just afraid it might get too hot to wear for us in a tropical country. The loops and knots seem to be a bit complicated to me, however I'm sure once anybody gets the hang of it, it's going to be a lot easier.

I fell in love with this one though.

Isn't it so sweet?

It's the Peanut Shell by Goo-ga Style Inc. As with all parenting-friendly products, this was developed by working parents who still wanted to take an active role in raising their baby, then called "Peanut".

I imagine it to be comfy, easy to wear and snug for Oona!

Try as I might though, I couldn't find a local supplier then and it wasn't as if I could spend all my time trying to track down one pronto! I still can't find one but I don't really need it now. I already found a good match, but I'll tell you about it later!

I saw this one by Infantino but it was only perfect for newborns. It does look like a large shoulder bag, then Surprise! Inside, there's a strapped-in baby! It's really cute but for me, it's a luxury I couldn't afford. Sure it looks so cool, but after a few months, I wouldn't be able to use it anymore. Oona would be far too active to stay prone. She'd want in on the action outside her cute little bag and I'd be scared to death she'd pop out!

I know it's safe and all, but I was looking for something that would last far longer than a few months and would be able to "grow" with Oona.

Other slings and pouches I really liked:

The Mei Tai - based on Chinese Baby Carriers!

Combination Hip Sling and Mei Tai: The Mei Hip by Ellaroo
Next: Baby Ring Sling!

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