Babywearing with Jess

Doll / toy slings and carriers

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Just like many other aspects of our lives, our children often seek to emulate and role play the activities they see around them, wearing a favourite teddy, doll or other “baby” is no exception for many kids.

My eldest has always had a fondness for doll houses, but dolls of the “baby kind” are never treated with great kindness in his games haha he is an older brother after all 😝 though, wearing his stuffed toy animals in a sling he is keen on occasion… Particularly when it is a chance to show off cause hes that kind of kid.

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Josh busting a move with his kookaburra in a ring sling at Kangatraining 😉

This one I made for Josh (as well as a replica one (you can cut two usually from a standard width material) for a friend of his. It is made using drill fabric (the kind you might make a proper ring sling out of) and is sewn the same as a standard ring sling design with two metal rings sewn into one end. Because this is not for a real baby, you can just use rings you would find in a craft shop, there is no need for specially designed and weighted tested ones like if you were making a ring sling for a baby.

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Little Frog Baby Ring Sling next to the drill fabric doll ring sling I made for Josh and his friend..

It was easy to make and I had finished hand sewing, including edging the sides, in less than an hour and half. The second took less time again as I knew what I was trying to achieve. The thing is though, sewing it this way, I think might make the functionality of it a bit too “real”… The times my eldest wears it he tends to be happily cuddling a wearing a soft toy one minute then the next, decide he wants it off and gets frustrated he can’t do it as quickly as he might hope. I think using a thinner fabric, given it doesn’t have to be hugely weight bearing for toys, could have helped. I have also seen designs where the “rings” part is actually attached with Velcro so the child can just tug it off if they like…

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Josh (3) wearing his rhino

My youngest son on the otherhand has quite a fondness for dolls and has a “baby” he likes to cuddle and drag around with him, whining everytime it slips from his grasp.. He wasn’t patient enough for me to get the ring sling I made for Josh secured to him, plus when he is still just crawling and starting to totter, I didn’t want him tripping on the tail or getting caught on anything.. So I wrapped a scrap piece of stretchy wrap fabric I had to him and he cuddled and kissed his baby for ages happily…

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So I figured, stretchy Pouch slings would actually be a pretty great option for our Playcentre family play section… Alongside the prams and cots and many other baby items.. Lots of Playcentre mums are also babywearers and I have been meaning to make some for some time but after considering the technical use issues with the ones I already made, I thought these might be a better hard wearing Playcentre option.. When I get around to it I want to sew some Mei tai’s also 😉

There are lots of patterns out there as to how to make these, if you haven’t already, check out the NZ Babywearing Marketplace group on Facebook, in the files section there is a link about making all kinds of different doll carriers

I have made a few stretchy wraps for Playcentre now but am yet to take them in and give them a test run! I also keen to make some “buckles” alternatives as a lot of the mums at our centre use soft structured carriers and I think the kids maybe even more keen on sijye! Will give ya some feedback when I get some, best thing about kids is you know it will be honest if nothing else! 

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