Friday, October 10, 2008


At last, we arrive at the sling we (or rather I, since RF says he'd still rather carry Oona, aching arms and all) eventually chose.

There were not a lot of this type of sling in the net when I was first looking for one. Sure there was a growing number of it abroad but the merchandise hadn't reached local department stores yet. At the Newlyweds@Work message boards (offshoot of Yahoo groups Weddings@Work), I chanced on asking about baby slings and learned that members Jen and Ella had developed a product that was both functional AND stylish as well!

At first, stores around the metro had trouble keeping up with stocks as soon as these slings hit the local shelves. As they were just starting, supplies would run short and the more popular designs would get sold out. They were really so in demand and still are! I have had growing R'Jellybean sightings ever since last year when I grew aware of their existence. As a N@Wie, I was able to get in touch with Jen and was delighted to see new designs they were developing. She kindly offered me a sling from her own stock, but before I could take her up on it, we were able to snag one at SM Makati. It wasn't any of the posh designs and colors I wanted (saaad) but it was better than brown, the only other one left. Not that the brown wasn't nice, it was just that I'm not a brown person. Oona can wear brown, she's got that type of coloring and skin that makes brown rich. But on me, brown is too dark. So I got the stripey one in light orange, pink, white and dark, muted green. What I liked about it, more than the colors, was the textile used. It looked durable, felt durable and I knew this to be the type of fabric that was breathable as well.

Of course, it's one of those purchases that I was afraid would prove an unnecessary expense. Times are hard nowadays and I am guilty of being a closet shopaholic. However, it has managed to impress even my own husband who's often leery of my purchases (for purely practical reasons). I am proud to say that it's one of the BEST investments we've - - - er, I've made.

Next 9's R'Jellybean Ring Slings! It's proudly Filipina-made! WOOT!

Durable, stylish and very versatile. Quite close to the malongs and indigineous fabrics of my heart and culture! The designers even included an instructional video with every purchase to help you get the knack of wearing it and using different carrying styles.

With Oona getting to be more mobile, I thought she wouldn't be up to being hoisted around anymore. But, I was wrong! Oona still loves it at 14 months. She's already walking around and very very bibo. But I find that she still loves being cuddled and close to me when we're out. She's very quiet and relaxed, watching the world pass us both in the nested security of the sling and in my arms. She falls asleep faster, longer and better, even if it's a noisy environment when I'm out on an errand with her.

Everywhere I go, people stop and stare. Some are curious about the sling and ask if it's really safe. Yes, it is! The cloth is very durable, the stitches are very strong and the rings don't slip or snap.

Some ask if it's complicated to put on or if it's expensive. I always point them in the direction of the nearest department store in the vicinity and explain that it's very user-friendly and cost-efficient. I point out that RF and I barely use a stroller nowadays and can even go without it (on hindsight) as babies are better raised being close-carried by their parents in the spirit of attachment parenting. I can use the sling from infancy to toddlerhood since it's adjustable and breathable for the tropics.

Most importantly, I can use both hands when I'm slinging Oona, therefore making it easier for me to include her in more activities wherein I would normally have to put her down. The sense of belonging and involvement is priceless, as well as developing the child's natural awareness of her environment.

It also doesn't aggravate my sciatica. Prolonged lifting of course, still gives me a heckuva back ache but I can sling Oona for extended periods of time and not be debilitated for the next week as I used to be with the strappy carriers. I guess it's because when you use this type of sling, even with the wrap around Mei Tais, your center of gravity and balance doesn't have to shift that dramatically. You carry the weight closer to your body rather than away (which puts unnecessary strain and tension on your whole frame to compensate for the shifted center of gravity). To keep yourself from falling over with the weight of the baby (in a frontal carry) and the carrier's placement on your body as dictated by the straps (that really doesn't conform to your body's contours and needs) you put undue pressure on your spine and general back area. You can't even adjust the carrier to a more comfortable position.

Let's not forget that the strappy frontal kinds are hell on milk-engorged breasts, not to mention that it's harder to respond to the baby with all the snaps and straps restricting access. With the sling, it was easier to breastfeed Oona. I just sit, snuggle her closer and lift my shirt. So eazsyyyy! We even had the bonus of the loose fabric to double as a modesty cover of sorts when in a public place. I also use the loose fabric to shield Oona from sudden onslaughts of the wild weather we seem to be having, all the while running for cover.

I can't rave enough about ring-slinging and R'Jellybean. Even RF and my MIL agree that apart from being unique and back-to-the-roots, it's really very practical. Old school does it best...with modern improvements of course! I even got RF to use it every now and then, although he still prefers to carry Oona around minus the aid.

It's different for everyone, I guess. For me, this is true love. I'm already looking forward to using this again with our next little one. Or more likely, I'll be buying another one to use because Oona might still be "baby" enough to want to be carried with her stripey ring sling, that RF and I would have to wear one baby apiece! :D

Up next: Interview with Next9's Dynamic Ring Sling Duo: Jen Tan and Ella Ampongan!

Lilypie Breastfeeding Ticker


popcorn said...

Hi Laya, Is that UP Eng'g in the background ?

Ganda nga ng Baby Sling, sana may baby na kami :P

Laya Isabelle Garcellano-Florendo said...

Yes it is! We wanted to bring Oona to our beloved UP, naglakad lakad kami sa may Sunken Garden. Next time we're going earlier para may ilaw pa, pagabi na kasi yan e. Eng'g ka ba? UP Dil ka din? :D