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If I had to choose one necessary baby purchase above all others, it would be this: the ergobaby carrier. A soother, a sleep device, a way to hold your child close yet have two hands free – it’s pretty much the answer to all your needs.
Before my first son was even out of the womb, I was pretty certain a carrier, or sling, as it’s called in our house, would be a must-have. A story from my own family goes along the lines that to stop herself going deaf from my high-pitched wails (the clue is in the awful nickname they gave me: Madame Screechalot), my mother wore me in the “papoose” nearly all the time. The minute I was plonked in that thing, apparently, the only sound to emanate from my gummy mouth was a single, contented sigh. As photos attest, I was not a slender baby, but my mum soldiered on with my chubby body glued to her - housework, hikes, holidays, who knows what else.
I had a strong feeling this disposition was likely to be genetic, so I put a lot of research into baby carriers. The ergobaby seemed to have it all - it held them in the right position (that’s the M position - good for the hips), it had handy pockets and a sun shade, a lovely cocoon for when they are newborn, it looked sturdy, and also - distributed the weight nicely for the person carrying bub.
The carrier lived up to the promises. It’s comfy for both of you, and you can wear it for ages – a five-hour shopping/art gallery trip (with some strategic nappy change/feeding breaks) or for the majority of a long-haul flight – without breaking your back. Really. You can hang things off it - muslins, an umbrella, some light shopping. And when they’re small you can still wrap them into your coat if its cold and do it up - the absolute ultimate in cosiness. The genetic trait also lived up to its promises (read: fears). I can’t count the number of times “Fetch the sling!” has been shouted over unexplained cries (ours and theirs).
Some things the product descriptions never mention but should: those lovely thick straps will also work as a teething aid, the sun shade doubles as a feeding cover, or an emergency muslin, and you can shove the whole thing in the washing machine. You will walk millions of miles with your baby in it - beautiful, serene walks yes, but also mind-numbing laps of your living room for hours on long, long nights. It will turn you into a superhero - you will cook meals with your infant strapped to you, carry ridiculous amounts of stuff … including perhaps another child, read books over the baby’s head because you only just got them to sleep and can’t move, or somehow breastfeed your child in it whilst in a bank queue (not entirely sure I advise this one).
There will be less screaming, but there will be a lot of audible sighs. And a big one when it’s finally time to hang it up, too.
Buy It Now: Ergobaby Original Baby Carrier, £99
Honestly, it’s life changing is a regular series where we talk about the weird and wonderful possessions we can’t imagine life without. Think of it as an ode to the mundane, bizarre and, sometimes, wholly unnecessary products in our lives.