Never tried a sling? Travelling abroad may be just the ticket to get you started on your babywearing journey. Here are my seven top reasons for using a baby carrier when you’re on holiday, particularly if you’re heading to the airport and boarding a flight to some far away destination.
1. GETTING THROUGH THE AIRPORT WITH YOUR BABY
That’s right. Don’t pack your sling in with your luggage. You’ll be reaching for it several times before you reach your destination.
Airports can overwhelm children (and adults!). A sling is a safe haven amongst the fluorescent lights, the announcements and the queues. Putting them in a carrier at the airport should help your baby or toddler settle down or take a nap.
With so much to keep track of at the airport – check-in, passports, tickets, boarding time – it’s reassuring to have your little one right in front of you. And with your hands-free, you can get your documents out easily and make last-minute phone calls.
2. BOARDING A PLANE WITH A BABY CARRIER
If you decide to take your buggy through the airport, unless it’s mega nifty and collapsible, you will have to give it up at the boarding gate or aircraft. This still leaves the likelihood of queuing to board, taking a bendy bus or going up external steps that make you feel giddy. With so much to carry, a sling at this moment is a godsend!
Once on board, you can navigate with ease to your seat with your little one securely attached.
3. SURVIVING THE FLIGHT
Most people opt to have their child on their lap (if under 2) which saves on the cost of a seat. Some airlines provide a cot for small babies, but a lot of children won’t sleep in a cot at home, let alone on a flight. If your baby is a bit wired, a sling can give your arms a break while you pace up and down the aisle.
If you’re afraid of flying, you will benefit from the release of the love hormone oxytocin when holding your baby close. It’ll also help you to observe their cues and tune in to their needs.
Remember a carrier isn’t an alternative to a seatbelt; you will still need to fasten your baby’s seatbelt during take-off and landing.
4. WHEN YOU LAND
On the other side, you arrive bleary-eyed and in a different time zone. You can wear your baby as you navigate passport control, baggage and taxi/car hire. Being close to you with your familiar touch, smell and voice will help comfort your little one in a new environment.
5. ADVENTURE AWAITS!
Your destination may be a big city, a picturesque village or a seaside resort. Perhaps there are busy roads, hills, narrow pavements or no pavements altogether! A sling gives you freedom and may be a safer or more practical option.
Ever tried to push a buggy through sand? Need I say more.
Babywearing gives you the freedom to move around otherwise hard-to-reach places. You won’t have to miss the ancient ruins, hilltop views or bustling markets you had your heart set on, and it means no family member gets left behind.
6. BEAUTY, STYLE AND COMFORT
Perhaps you’ve gone abroad for a wedding or a family celebration. These occasions can be magical but they also involve late nights and a lot of people. Elderly aunts, who your child has never met, will want to smother your baby in kisses or kidnap them for the evening. A hip carry in this scenario is perfect – your little one can look out and be admired but feel secure.
You may even decide to buy or borrow a beautiful sling for the occasion. Slings come in a range of lovely designs and many are made of soft breathable fabrics such as bamboo or organic cotton. Besides all the usual benefits, it’s important not to overlook the creative side of babywearing. Slings can provide an outlet for self-expression in the same way clothes do.
7. TIME TO BOND WITH YOUR BABY
We all lead busy lives at home. Time away is an opportunity to bond deeply with your baby and family. Carrying helps build secure attachments and is good for your baby’s emotional development.
And with a sling abroad your hands will be free to take family selfies and capture wonderful memories for years to come.