We got our youngest boy (James) when he was 10 months old. He came to us a very quiet little boy who was just starting to sit up and engage in the world around him. He wasn’t used to lots of carrying having spent most of his time in the buggy (he’s a big boy so fully understand why FC did this).
We looked into ways of building a bond with our baby which still allowed us the freedom to play with his elder brother who arrived at the same time (Tom, then 3). We had a buggy but found this was difficult to get into our local park and I wasn’t spending anytime with James.
Not long after the boys arrived we started a round of long train rides for hospital appointments with James. These would be impossible with a buggy and I found the conventional rucksack baby carriers uncomfortable as I’m not that big. A friend lent me her soft structure sling (Boba 3G), I was apprehensive, I am quite a small build and at the time he weighed around 11kg. It was fantastic. I was able to negotiate the trains and buses with ease, I kept him on my front to enable me to sit with him on me for short trips. He loved it. He even slept in it while I was running from the bus to the train!
So I took the step of buying a sling. They are so expensive! The Boba my friend had is about £90, more than my buggy! Eventually I settled on an Ergo Original (about £70). I was slightly nervous about spending so much money but it has been worth it.
I carry James in it at least 8 times a week for the nursery run, I can put it on my self in less than 1 minute and run with another small child in tow (we’re always late). James loves snuggling in and I feel it has helped us bond when we’re out. I have taken him to the park in it to play football and go on the roundabout, even hung out the washing while using it. It has been amazing. The longest I’ve had him in it is about an hour, I would say that you do need reasonably good core strength to use it for that long.
I am still carrying him on my front facing me most of the time as he loves looking at me and I find it the easiest / quickest way to put it on. He now weighs over 12kg and I still find it comfortable (I’m only 50kg if that helps with the picture).
I feel that by having him close we have developed a strong bond, he loves snuggling in and gets excited when I get the sling out. I have carried Tom in it a few times as it holds up to 20kg (he’s 19kg) but can’t go further than 10 mins as he is heavy. It has been beneficial for Tom too as when he came to us he didn’t know how to be carried or how to hook his legs around and would just hang there, it was hard work to get him used to it and we have carried him quite a bit to help build a sense of security.
If you do have the opportunity then I would recommend a sling and the soft structure ones which carry toddlers are great. We feel they have helped with bonding and are very practical. In adoption we can miss out on the newborn close contact and I felt this replicated that as much as possible.
Most places have a sling library where you can hire them, unfortunately our town is too small and only has them a few times a year so were no use to us. As a side notE most buggies only hold 15kg so I can see I will be using it a lot more (on my back) over the next few years.
Here are a few websites I used when searching for a sling / baby carrier.
Here are some pictures of me and my 4 yr old using the slings. The picture at the top of the page is with my 1yr old but I though the 4yr old gives a clearer picture of their uses.
(Sorry about poor picture quality, they were too impatient to take more! Also first one done in a mirror on my phone, also hands on the back not necessary for support, I was trying to get into position and using a timer).
I found the Ergo easier to put on front and back by myself and I find it more comfortable. However I think the Boba’s with their extended back give more support for an older child as you can see in the picture (You can’t get a Boba 3G anymore, they’ve replaced them with Boba 4G).
Please note I have no affiliation nor have I received any incentive to write this from either Boba or Ergo. Prices are from Amazon.