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This is the original baby sling from Dr Sears. I beleive this to be the most versatile of all baby slings. It will fit almost all parents and can be used for a newborn child up until about 4 years of age. the sling itself is a large peice of cloth with padded "rails" for added security and a padded section to distribute weight across the parents shoulders. It can be adjusted a great deal by lengthening or shortening the "tail", a length of fabric that drapes down from the plastic rings. This particular model of sling is available in a very wide range prints and colours. My own is denim blue with blue tartan rails. It is machine washable, and mine has been washed countless times and still is in perfect condition.
Advantages: This sling will allow a much larger baby to lay down and sleep than a pouch sling will. It Provides complete coverage for Mothers who wish to breastfeed in public. Personally, even with the sling I felt akward and would seek out a private place, but you really cannot see anything when feeding with this. This sling can be used as a side carrier for as long as the parent is able to hold the child's weight. It is far easier than just carrying a child to have them ride on a hip with this.
Disadvantages: Although many women are very comfortable with these for the smallest newborns, I really preffered the puch for the first few months. There were also some cheaper slings with health and safety issues in the USA but there has never been a problem with Dr Sears sling.
My experiences: I found baby wearing to be a real life saver. It calms children almost instantly, allows free time with older siblings, meant we could go just about anywhere, and by keeping baby so close, allows you to just know babies needs without them needing to cry. As mentioned in my other sling review, my youngest almost never cried. On a very bad day he might have cried or fussed up to 10 minutes if you added it all up throughout the day and night, but usually less than 5 minutes, with episodes of crying usually lasting no more than 30 seconds. He slept well, ate well and was always a very easy child.
I was often told carrying my children so much would keep them from learning to walk. Although the youngest didnt walk until 11 months, he has superb balance and could jump before that. I finally decided he just didnt really want to walk and held a chocolate bar in front of him, which he immediatly walked after. My oldest could run at 9 months, walking properly at 11. they are both happy healthy an independent, with a sense of balance that a cat would envy.
Babywearing in general:
Babywearing has many benefits. Well known cultural anthropologist Jean Liedloff wrote "Infants whose continuum needs are fulfilled during the early, in-arms phase grow up to have greater self-esteem and become more independent than those whose cries go unanswered for fear of "spoiling" them or making them too dependent." Baby wearing promotes healthy independent children.
Babies who are carried about in slings:
Cry on average 43% less than babies who are not worn.
Spend more time in a a quiet alert state, the state which most promotes brain development.
Develop a secure attachment with caregivers and are more likely to be independent at an early age.
Have improved vestibular development ( controls balance and motor skills).
Are less likely to sucuumb to SIDS.
More info on babywearing: