Anyone who is a regular reader of my page will know that I’m a huge baby-wearing fan. I started when Alfie was about 3 months old and quickly fell in love with it. I have tried out a few slings, with the Caboo being my favourite for a newborn, and the Connecta being my go-to after about 5 months. I haven’t carried Alfie since I became pregnant because he was just too heavy and none of my carriers were comfortable or supportive enough, so I was really looking forward to being able to carry Henry when he arrived. You can imagine my excitement when It’s a Sling Thing got in contact with me to see if I wanted to review their service once the baby had arrived – I obviously jumped at the chance!
As someone who has tried a few carriers over the course of the past few years since Alfie was born, I’m a huge advocate of sling libraries. They are a brilliant way to try out different carriers to suit your specific needs without having to commit and spend a fortune on a carrier that might not be suitable. Whenever people ask for recommendations for a sling, I always recommend they go to a sling library first. However, some people are not lucky enough to have a good sling library near them, or be able to attend them on the days they run. As someone who worked full time before I went on maternity leave, I was never able to get to a sling library as they typically run during the week.
This is why It’s a Sling Thing is such a fantastic idea. Emily and Jenni are the lovely owners who run an online rental service, so you can hire a carrier from them to try out before you commit to buying one. Not only can you hire from them, but they will give you advice on what they think will suit you so you’re not just blindly picking something that might not be suitable for you. I think that is a really important part of the service as if you pick the wrong sling for your needs, you probably won’t get well on it and it may end your carrying journey before you begin! You then choose how long you want to hire your sling for, and it will be posted to you with instructions on how to return it at the end of the hire period.
My experience with It’s a Sling Thing was amazing! Firstly, I had a consultation with Emily on the phone whilst I was still pregnant to decide what sling would be best for me to try out. Being a reasonably experienced baby-wearer, I wanted to try something new and Emily asked me lots of questions to figure out what would be most suitable for me. I already had experience of a stretchy wrap and a buckle carrier, so I wanted to try something new but I had no idea what! We discussed using a wrap, but I felt I wasn’t confident enough to try this with a newborn, and we also discussed a ring sling but I owned one of these so decided I would prefer to try something I hadn’t tried before. This is when Emily suggested the Mamaruga Zensling. I’d not heard of it at all before, so I’ll admit I was a little wary as it sounded a bit daunting! So she suggested emailing me some information over so I could have a look at it myself and then make a decision. This was a great solution, as I could take her advice on board whilst also doing my own research. I looked at the links Emily sent me, and thought the Zensling looked really interesting so decided to give it a go. We agreed I would receive the sling in mid-February when I would feel up to carrying Henry, given I was having a C-section. If I hadn’t been an experienced baby-wearer, or had a C-section before, I probably wouldn’t have started carrying when Henry was only 2 weeks old, but as it was something I felt comfortable with, I was fine with carrying him this early on.
My sling arrived via Royal Mail and I was very excited to unpack it! It came with a returns envelope and postage, so make sure you keep these safe for when you need to return the sling. I immediately got the carrier out and loved how soft and squishy it was! It looked a little daunting, but very similar to a Connecta so I instantly tried to put it on – that was a mistake! I had no idea what I was doing, so I suggest you look at the guide online that gives very clear instructions about how to set the carrier up before you use it and then how to put it on with the baby.
The first thing to do is adjust the waistband to the smallest size to fit your baby. This is especially important for newborns as you need to ensure they are properly supported. Once the sling is set up to the correct size, it was really easy to put on. I loved that the buckles had dual adjustment – to the point that I now struggle with my Connecta buckles as they only adjust one way! The waistband was brilliant for the extra support and comfort and the straps were so comfortable over my shoulders. I honestly can’t explain how much I am in love with this carrier! As someone who has tried out a lot of different carriers and is a huge advocate of the Connecta, I felt a bit disloyal with how much I love the Mamaruga!
There are so many pros to this carrier – it’s comfortable, so soft and squishy for a newborn, it’s quick and easy to put on, and the buckles were so easy to adjust. The body of the sling is also adjustable so is perfect for finding the right size for a newborn, but also easy to adjust for bigger babies too. The colour was bright and really made me smile every time I used it – especially as it looked so striking in the shed load of snow we had whilst I was trying the sling out.
The only con I could find was the hood was a little annoying. There were no clips like the Connecta, you kind of just had to tie it which I found annoying as it never stayed up when I needed it to. But it was the only annoyance I found and wasn’t really that important.
I was really sad when I had to send the carrier back. I used it pretty much every day for 4 weeks – even in the snow -and it took a while to get used to using my other carriers. The whole service from It’s A Sling Thing was brilliant – from the initial phone consultation, to receiving the carrier, to the returns procedure. I would highly recommend using an online sling retailer. I was a bit sceptical about how easy it would be compared to visiting a sling library in person and trying out a sling, but it was such a great process and Emily and Jenni really know their stuff so you can be assured they will put the best sling for your needs. They also have a great facebook group that can be used for help and support which is brilliant for any questions you might have.
I would highly recommend checking out It’s A Sling Thing, and specifically trying out the Mamaruga Zensling. I promise you won’t regret it!
*Disclosure: I used the services of It’s A Sling Thing free of charge for the purposes of this review but all opinions are 100% honest.*