Since Sam was a newborn, I’ve taken to wearing him in a sling. Babywearing suits me because I’m quite active and don’t like being restricted about where I go, and it has seemed to suit Sam who usually spends most of his time in his sling asleep.
I’ve had a jersey wrap sling which has served us well once I got the hang of tying it right (basically it’s a long piece of fabric that you wrap around yourself and over your shoulders three times), but he’s now getting older – nearly five months – and nosier, and I’ve been looking for an alternative that gives him a little more freedom to look around.
So I was pleased to be invited to review a Lifft sling and when I browsed the website I was struck by how simple they looked to use.
The Lifft Sling was created in 2007 by a mum who wanted a stylish, comfortable and simple-to-use baby carrier that would also appeal to men. The innovative design includes a stretch panel to fit snugly around the baby.
The sling is a single piece of fabric which is folded double. The baby sits in a pouch created by the two layers, and you make a smaller baby more snug by pulling the excess fabric over your shoulder.
Lifft Slings is now owned by Alex Duxbury, who lives in Sheffield having moved there to study 17 years ago. Before leaving work to have her daughter, she was a researcher at Sheffield Hallam University in the field of maternal and infant health.
“I have always been interested in attachment and different parenting practices including babywearing, extended breastfeeding and social support networks,” she said.
“My husband Michael and I knew we wanted to carry our daughter. We have used a range of slings to carry her from birth and still carry her most days.
“The opportunity to inspire and enable more families to carry their children came about when the Lifft Slings business came up for sale.”
Alex and Michael acquired Lifft Slings in September 2015 and have since relaunched the brand by updating the logo, building a new website, growing their social media presence and introducing a wider range of colours. Lifft slings are all made in the UK by Alex’s mother-in-law.
Whereas babies outgrow other slings – my jersey wrap, for example, only lasts until about six months – one of the unique features of the Lifft is that you buy the sling to fit your frame, then it can be used from three months to three years old.
There are also no buckles, clips, wrapping, straps to adjust or knots to tie. As much as I love my jersey wrap sling it is a bit of a pain and palaver to get on and off and it took a bit of practice to make sure I had tied it so it was just tight enough.
I tried out the Lifft sling when we were on holiday camping in south Wales last week. The campsite was at Caerfai Bay, right by the sea, and the sling made getting up and down the cliff to the beach so much easier. It was also handy to have something to pop him in to give my arms a few minutes’ rest when just pottering around camp. The Lifft sling sits over one shoulder so it’s comfortable to leave on when the baby’s not sitting in it – like when Sam first dipped his feet in the sea!
It’s also really handy to roll up and carry around in your bag in case you need it. One day, for example, we went to Bosherton for the day. Despite being advised the path around the lily pond lakes was suitable for buggies we found the going too rough so I switched Sam into his sling and we made much easier and quicker progress.
Now he’s a bit older and nosier, Sam seemed to like that in the Lifft he could turn his head and look out more easily than he can in my wrap carrier.
There are a range of carrying positions you can use with the Lifft. With Sam being just a few months old, I carried him at the front but I imagine when he gets a little older I’ll favour the side carry as well.
The University of Central Lancashire conducted a biometric analysis of an adult carrying a baby with or without a Lifft Sling to prove that using a sling improves the carrier’s posture, by keeping the spine straighter and reducing sideways lean.
I’ll definitely be taking the Lifft sling with me on our tour around Europe.
What do you think? If you’re a parent, how do you feel about babywearing?