Getting in the sling of things with Sakura Bloom Pure Linen
What’s my favorite thing to wear post-pregnancy? Hands down, my son. If you ask me, baby wearing is everything. From newborns needing skin-to-skin to fussy teething babies and toddlers needing containment, baby wearing is a life saver. When my son was a newborn, I mostly used an ergonomic carrier with an infant insert. Perfect for the cool fall weather, it provided a blissful closeness that made mundane tasks like grocery shopping a sublime experience. Still, since I was hooked on the baby-wearing experience, I found myself eyeing other carriers and slings. Ring slings appeared to be everywhere — newborns, young toddlers…it seemed like everyone used and loved them. As I started doing more research, I found the simplicity and portability of ring slings very appealing. Before I knew it, I’d purchased my first Sakura Pure.
Let me tell you, it’s everything I loved so much about my first carrier but with the added benefit of being VERY diaper bag friendly. A single piece of lovely linen can easily be folded (read: wadded) into a diaper bag (or even a purse, not that I carry them anymore). It’s also very easy to clean — no nooks and crannies, no variation of fabric surfaces. When it needs more than a spot-clean, you can wash it whole. The manufacturer’s washing instructions are to wash it alone on gentle or hand wash. I…do not have time in my life for this, so I wash mine on gentle with baby clothes (at a friend’s suggestion, I unloop the fabric and protect the rings in a tube sock — brilliant!) and hang to dry. EASY!
Getting in the sling of things
Ring slings appear to be the easiest things in the world to use. And they are, but give yourself time to get used to it. The first time I ever tried one on was at Juju Monkey with Sara Moore’s assistance. Even on the first try, it was totally easy, mostly because I had an experienced instructor at hand. On my own, however, it took some practice. (Cut to my mother thinking she could easily throw my half-asleep baby in it while home alone with him, having never been taught how to wear it. This went over about as well as a fart in church, but I digress…)
Here is a picture of me using it for the first time outside of the store:
I don’t know how I managed the smile, because I remember my shoulder was screaming and I was wondering if I had made a poor decision buying the sling. My baby looks happy enough, but my shoulder, neck, and back sure weren’t. Now when I look at this picture, my mind races with adjustments and corrections needed to turn it into an appropriate hold. The rings are way too far away from my shoulder.
Here is the correct positioning on a mannequin – I have yet to capture an updated picture of myself with a better hold.
So using the sling safely and comfortably took a few tries — but seriously only a few. When I had my first successful wrap, it was HEAVEN. Hands-free, hip-carrying joy. My son loves that he can see more of the world and be held securely at the same time. For us, it’s most comfy if he’s facing me when he’s drowsy, and a back carry is fun for a walk — except that he really can’t see over my shoulders. So this blissful hip carry, I realized, is why you “need” multiple types of carriers. Incidentally, my ergonomic carrier has hip carrying option, but it is difficult to negotiate and much more trouble than it’s worth.
The trick to getting a comfy hold with the Sakura is figuring out where to place the rings before putting in your baby. I’ve found that, with more and more practice, it’s easier to adjust the rings once baby’s in, as opposed to taking baby out and starting over. Same with the placement of the fabric over your shoulder — I still tend to end up with it all snug against my neck, which is not desirable. However, it’s getting easier to adjust this too, even with the baby already “slung.” I love that I can sort of move him around slightly depending on what we’re doing. If I’m moving around a store or just walking to/from the car, I keep him on my hip and have my hands free. If I’m stationary and want to do more of a hug/mom-sway, I can shift him more toward my belly and wrap my arms around him. Again, heaven.
Better than Mom Jeans
The Sakura is seriously the most practical and functional fashion statement I currently own. As a new mom, my “fashion statements” ordinarily mean I am wearing clothing and swiped mascara somewhere near any part of my face. Occasionally I wear an “outfit,” and even less occasionally I will accessorize. (Such as the other day, when a friend pointed out to me at a play date that I was wearing two earrings in one ear and zero in the other.) My Sakura Pure, in Plum, is by far my new favorite accessory. That, with a darn cute baby attached to me, is more than enough to distract people from whatever questionable attire I may be wearing. I have played around with wrapping the tail of the sling around the rings, which looks super cute and is comfortable. Sometimes I just stuff the tail under the rings instead of doing a full on wrap-around. It’s easier and I get basically the same results.
Going for it
What officially prompted me to purchase a ring sling was a crazy Saturday home alone with the baby. He was cranky, I was getting nothing done. In other words, it was a normal day. Something about it made me feel like I “deserved” an impulse purchase. I eyed my coin jar and wondered a.) how much was inside, and b.) what purchase would be the perfect mix of impulse / extravagance / practicality. Few things can meet all of these criteria. I decided that another carrier would cover all the bases, as it would benefit the baby and myself at the same time. Full disclosure: My coin jar came with the words “Vacation Fund” painted on it, but in the past it has typically been cashed in for some awesome dinner dates with my husband. Apparently my priorities have changed. To Juju Monkey I sped! (Via the coin-counter at my bank.) I had a different brand of ring sling in mind, only because I’d been eyeing it for months in a certain purple shade. Naturally, when I finally had the means and motivation to make the purchase, the beautiful purple sling was gone. Sara Moore offered to order it for me and reminded me to let her know next time I want something so she can be sure to stock it. Excellent customer service aside, I was looking for an impulsive and spontaneous purchase! I have to admit, even though I loved that shade of purple I had been ogling for months, I was secretly relieved. The Sakura Bloom had become more and more of a forerunner in my mind, and this serendipitous turn of events forced me to check out what colors were in stock. Lo and behold, a different and equally awesome shade of purple Sakura Bloom was there with my name on it! (Not literally, but it sure felt like it was there just for me.) I looked at it for about five seconds before holding it in the air and proclaiming: “SOLD!”
Don’t tell my subconscious, but this was the most responsible “impulse” purchase I’ve ever made. It hardly counts as a treat because it’s so practical, efficient, and of such a high quality. I totally got my money’s worth, with no regrets.