A Letter to Every Sling I’ve Ever Loved (IBW 2014)

Ours isn’t a lasting love. The nature of our relationship is such that it’s destined to end some day – my son won’t want to be carried forever and any other children I have will grow up too. I accept that though, and it makes these days even more precious.

Some people think I’m crazy for loving you as I do. They find how much money I spend on you outrageous and they can’t understand my excitement when you arrive at my door and I throw my arms round you like a lost relation. They don’t understand why I need more than one of you; they don’t see that you’re all different and all amazing, and choosing between you is like picking just one chocolate out of a whole decadent selection. But they don’t need to understand us – none of this is for them.

I do admit that there’s a superficial physical attraction. So many of you are utterly beautiful, and more than once I’ve wished I could afford to own you all without selling my home, all my possessions, and my husband. I have a particular weak spot for rainbows. But beauty isn’t everything in this world, a place of weaves and warps and wefts, blends, bounce and buckles, it’s what’s underneath that counts, that warm space between us where my baby sits.


I don’t let just anyone carry my baby. The only arms to have held my son I trust never to drop him, never to let him down, to always keep him safe. You have carried him more than anyone else besides me and his daddy, and that’s amazing to me, that I trust you so much. He has chewed on you, dribbled on you, slept on you, thrown up on you, sneezed on you, rolled around on you and yes, pooed a little bit on you too, and you’ve gone on holding him, caring for him and letting him wipe his snot on you. 

What you might not realise is that you’ve held me too. On most days at some point I will doubt myself as a mother, but you pick me up, wrap your straps around us both, hold me close to my boy and tell me I can do it. You help me believe there’s nothing I can’t do and nowhere I can’t go, and there’s nothing that can conquer me, my child, or my fierce love for him. Motherhood hasn’t been the easiest ride for me, but without you it would have felt insurmountable. I can only thank you, and promise you that even though our relationship must end one day, my gratitude never will.

But you’ve given me more than the gift of confidence and closeness to my son – you’ve let me have the honour of watching my two favourite people in the world wrapped up tight together, completely connected. There is no feeling more wonderful than looking in on their relationship, and they are never more bonded than when you’re holding them close. My husband now knows a taste of how it felt to carry our little boy, to sense his every breath and respond to each little movement. It melts my heart and I want to be part of it, except I know that the magic of it is that it’s theirs to share, and only theirs.

But it’s not all about us, or even our baby. I’m lucky to be a member and admin of a wonderful group of babywearing parents, all who have their own stories  to share – their own loves – and I can tell you there is nothing more beautiful than watching a parent and child inside that bonded, sacred bubble that you encase them in. There are tiny newborns, nestled against their mothers’ chests, secure and safe, reassured by the same warmth they felt in the womb; older babies, exploring the world with new eyes, keen to learn and enjoying the view from grown-up height, but able to turn their heads away when it gets too much; and toddlers and preschoolers, little ones who walk most places but want to rest their tired legs and enjoy a comforting nap after a long day of adventuring; even older siblings can enjoy the benefits of having a mummy or daddy hands free after the arrival of a new baby – you make all that possible. You bring so much happiness and I’m fortunate to see it every day in so many content, secure children.

I can’t imagine my life without you, and even though I will stop carrying my own children one day, I hope to keep helping and enabling other parents, and maybe one day in the distant future I’ll even carry my grandchildren! So perhaps this will go on, in some form or another, for as long as there are little people who want to be held and parents who want to hold. 

Thank you for all you do.

From this grateful mama, with love x