I had been feeling very happy and secure in my role as a new mum, but then for the first time I felt stressed, unable to do anything. Hannah was asking for constant attention. I could not put her down for a single minute, not even when she was asleep, as she’d wake up again instantly. My hands were tied, and I couldn’t do anything, barely even make myself a sandwich…
We had a regular baby carrier at home, which I started using. It didn’t feel secure though, as Hannah’s head was jostling from left to right, and my shoulders started aching pretty quickly. After doing some sling and baby carrier research online I decided to buy myself a baby wrap carrier. When I used it I got hooked instantly. It was incredibly comfortable, and I was having Hannah with me in the wrap for hours at a time without problems to her or me. Apart from the emotional security it offered to both of us, it allowed me to get on with daily life, while she was cosy and contented or asleep in the wraparound baby sling.
But then the weather got warmer. And the warmer it got, the less I could use the wrap as we both got sweltering hot! I really missed the comfort and convenience of using it. Having to use a buggy instead made life much more complicated. Wheeling it through busy shops or on London transport – it didn’t always run smoothly….
I made myself a thin wrap carrier, just so that I could continue wearing Hannah. It did the job, but it wasn’t very elegant, and it wasn’t the greatest fabric. I then started thinking about what fabric would be ideal for this purpose, not just cool and comfortable, but also good for baby and planet. The end product is Hana Baby Wrap, a wraparound baby sling made of bamboo fabric with added organic cotton and a touch of elastane. Bamboo grass grows incredibly quickly and does not need any pesticides or fertilizers, and only uses rain water to grow, which makes bamboo one of the most sustainable fabrics around. Bamboo fabric has many other great benefits. Some of these are that it’s thermo-regulating, making it cool on hot days, but keeping you warm when it’s cold. It is also more breathable than cotton, all of which make it very comfortable to wear. Thanks for reading; I hope you’ll enjoy Hana Baby Wrap as much as I have.
Melissa – Product Designer.
This independent review was written by Elke at Draagbeest.be, and she has been so kind for us to translate it and post here.
The British brand Hana Baby was born from the little girl Hannah, who did not want to leave her mother Melissa and hence was carried in a wrap most of the time. They both however got too hot in a regular cotton baby wrap, and due to the lack of a baby wrap that was cool enough to carry her little one, their bamboo stretchy baby wrap was born. Now they also have a soft structured carrier in their range, of which we received a sample. This carrier specifically targets smaller babies so that they can be used right from birth/3.5kgs.
The carrier is made up of soft, organic cotton canvas, and comes in 3 neutral colour ranges. The sturdy C-shaped waist belt closes nicely and fits well around the waist. The padding feels rounded to the edges, which makes it comfortable to hold. The buckle closes in the middle, slides well but not too much and does not loosen.
The panel is very soft and floppy for a canvas carrier. It has 3 width settings, which can be adjusted with the use of pop snaps. The two pleats in the front panel provide a nice deep seat. At the knee cavity there is a very small amount of extra padding applied. On the back panel is a small, beautifully finished pocket. The pocket will only hold some small items however, such as some keys or cards. The panel length can be best comparable to a Boba 4G.
In contrast to the super soft panel, the shoulder straps are firm with stitching running through them. Because they are so firmly filled, they are not very “puffy” but give a lot of support. The shoulder straps can be worn both straight and crossed. Our testers had a strong preference for crossing the shoulder straps, as this distributes the weight better. Thanks to the PFA’s (perfect fit adjuster) front, the shoulder straps can be customised.
The baby carrier offers superb fit and supports, including to a very small child. The seat is easily adjustable, retaining the side support that young children. At the top however, there is a small weakness for the very small – the top of the carrier does not fit snugly around the baby’s neck. However, as a result of the excellent support the carrier offers in general, I’d imagine this to be solved easily by rolling up the sleeping hood or a muslin to place around the neck.
Our newborn baby was sat too deeply in the carrier. This however can be resolved by flipping over the waist belt (as a apron) and positioning your child in the carrier in this way. The support and weight distribution that the waist belt offers when flipped over is not optimal, but because you use this technique only for very little children, that is not a problem.
Not would you have to use it this way for a long time, a couple of weeks perhaps, as a baby size 56-62cm fits perfectly in the wearer without any adjustments.
For a slightly larger child, whose shoulders and arms are outside the panel, the carrier ensures that their upper body stays close to the wearer.
Thanks to Sien, Mathis, Florian, and their mum’s Anja, Ilse and Liesbeth for testing and the pictures.
Thanks to Hanababy’s Melissa to make this test possible.
Breastfeeding in a sling with my first daughter Nancy was an exciting new skill learnt, a little ‘get me, look how I’m coping’ moment, convenient, fun. Breastfeeding my second daughter, Eula, in a sling was for survival, to keep up with my toddler, to feel like we could still do those things we once did, life hasn’t changed, we can all do this. Then it was a chance to bond with this small new person, who just slotted into our lives, flexing to the rhythm of the first born, like we had bent and flexed and changed two years previous.
The most important thing to remember is it takes practice and patience. That’s parenting summed up in two words right there! Even the most skilled and confident had to start somewhere. As a trained breastfeeding Peer Supporter I would say learn to feed your baby in the most simple way first. Take time to sit down, relax and get to know the basics so they are inbuilt. Don’t rush to get on and out and multitask. You will not get this time again.
When you feel you and your baby are ready then it is possible with most types of sling, Stretchy, Ringsling, Buckle carrier, but as with all aspects of carrying, you will find what suits you best. Try your local Slingmeet, a chance to try before you buy and speak to a trained Babywearing Consultant.
Feeding in any type of sling requires the same key principles, lowering baby a little, maintaining a good amount of snugness so that there isn’t a fall risk. Depending on the size of your breast certain details will be adapted to you but I suggest bringing your nipple up to your baby as opposed to taking them too low. I would urge against the cradle carry. For both general carrying and feeding there are many risk factors, it is much harder to keep a clear airway for baby and maintain control. Please familiarise
yourself with the TICKS guidelines.
You should always aim for the fundamental rules for a successful latch. Nose to nipple, this would be the same what ever position you are feeding, sling or no sling. If they don’t go on right, try again. If you need to practice in front of a mirror, sat down, do so. Build your confidence and familiarise yourself with the sling and how it works. Slacken the tension of the sling, with a stretchy untie the knot, holding the tails in one hand and gently bounce baby, supporting them all the while with the other hand, firm on their bottom/ lower back, until they are lower, facing your breast. Latch and retie. Use the wrap or a hand to support babies head. The same applies for a Ringsling. Loosen the fabric slowly through the rings, all the while supporting babies body. Once in position latch and retighten until it feels secure. There are many brilliant YouTube videos that can help. You can watch in real time, pause, practise, try again. Just remember if you’re struggling to get it right, you’re not the only one. We all started somewhere.
I wouldn’t recommend feeding in a sling to someone with a newborn, who has limited breastfeeding and/ or babywearing experience. See it as something to work towards. Get the ground work done first, learn your babies cues, get them feeding efficiently and comfortably first.
When children come along you’re warned of the lack of sleep they will cause, maybe you’ll have sore breasts for a while whilst establishing breastfeeding, endless laundry, baby equipment taking over your home, we accept these things, knowing that the love we feel for this tiny new person will make up for it all.
What we are not told about is the guilt we are cast into, over so many things, the guilt that follows you through so many stages of your parenting life. It starts with what kind of birth do you plan, will you feed on demand, co-sleep, do baby led weaning, are the fabrics you put your child in organic? Will you use cloth nappies? How long will you stay home from work? All of these questions come with preformed opinions attached to them, misconceptions and sometimes judgements, what’s the right answer?
I have come to the conclusion, after a few years of bumbling my way through this motherhood lark, that you must do what comes naturally to you, otherwise eventually you will burn out, it takes a lot more effort trying to be someone else, live someone else’s life, be true to yourself instead. We were born to do this, trust in yourself.
My closest friends can tell when I’m not at my best and will help come up with ways I can makes things better, at a time when maybe I can’t think straight because the lack of sleep is clouding my thoughts, or if it’s just a rant I need they will sit there and sympathise with me then cut me another piece of cake.
I’m pretty sure I once said my children wouldn’t have more than half an hour of screen time a day, ha! They’re watching the second film in a row as we speak because it’s wet and cold outside and I just don’t have it in me to go out and playing equals squabble this week.
Once upon a time I would have felt guilty about this, as though someone was watching me in my own home and passing judgement, but I know now it’s ok, today the scales are a little unbalanced, but tomorrow will be a new day, we’ll have a BBQ on the beach for lunch and my girls will run free. No harm done.
Be kind to yourself.