The why and why knot of slings.

We first discovered slings when Kezia was about 3 months old. I had one given to me whilst I was pregnant but it was a ring sling, which I just couldn’t work out. Then I ended up with a high maintenance baby who needed holding a lot, feeding a lot and needed to be upright. Suddenly slings became a necessity. Since then slings have become items that I love, they mean I can hold my baby close enough to kiss and yet have both of my arms free. I’ve always found that slings soothe my babies, they love being in the sling as they can see more, be held close and can poke me 😉 My personal favourite sling for front carries is a woven wrap as it is supportive and versatile.  I love the Mei Tai for back carries and for keeping tied on when out and about so I can slip the toddler in and out as needed.  I found out recently that baby wearing can burn an extra 16% of calories too, so an added bonus if you are looking at losing the post-baby weight.

Pilates with Priya: Baby in sling 1

Pilates with Priya: Baby in sling 1

Here are my top tips on slings:

Check to see if you have a sling library and advisor in your area. In Southampton we have a fabulous Sling Sling Meet. This meets twice a month, you can go along to get advice, try out a sling, make sure you are wearing it properly and borrow a sling for a month. A truly fabulous resource.


Newborn babies’ have a C-shaped spine, a good sling should allow them to remain in this rounded position and not slouch down when asleep. The fabric shold come up high enough to provide head support.

As with most things in life there are good and bad slings. Meaning there are slings that hold your baby in a good position and some that are not good for baby’s posture and specifically hip development. Forcing the hips into a stretched out position too early can lead to hip dysplasia. You want your baby to have their legs in a “froggy” position or M shape when in a sling, much like the fetal position. Their bottom should sit lower than their knees to allow for the balls o f the hips to sit in the sockets. This takes the pressure off the hip joint. Check that your sling allows this and doesn’t cause the baby’s legs to dangle down, unsupported.

Look out for second hand slings on preloved sites and ebay, you can save a fortune. Also check out you tube for great videos on how to wear your sling, I’ve learnt so many different carries this way.

Be very mindful of your posture when using your sling. It is very easy to let your shoulders round forward and and your neck jut down. This will lead to neck and shoulder ache and will not help with healing a diastasis. You need to focus on your core when using a sling, as when you think about it you are lifting something! So you need to think about  your posture and core. Focus on standing tall, lengthening through the crown of your head, bring your shoulder blades down in your back and lifting through your mid back without pushing your ribcage out. Draw in your lower abdominal and lift your pelvic floor, holding a medium contraction in these muscles. If you get tired then rest. I found a few positions where I could prop myself up on the sofa or bed and have a nap with baby sleeping in the sling!


Embrace the mummy tummy.

A sensitive topic. Mummy tummies and post baby bellies are something that I deal with on a regular basis. I know how much pressure mums can feel to lose the baby weight and get back into their skinny jeans. I felt it myself after my second baby especially. Social media and the media shows us how some celebs look like they’ve never had a baby just a few weeks after giving birth. There are posts of mums doing all kinds of crazy in order to lose weight and tone up. Whereas actually if your body has just had a baby doesn’t it need to rest and isn’t it perfectly natural and normal for your body to not ping back to normal after 9 months of stretching and carrying an extra person around inside it?

I’ve had 2 babies. I’m a Pilates teacher and a dietitian. So I eat well, I exercise and I didn’t put on too much weight with either pregnancy. Yet I still took 6 months to lose the baby weight. Here I am 4 weeks after baby with a definite bump still there.

Pilates with Priya: Post Natal Tummy Week 4
Pilates with Priya: Post Natal Tummy Week 4

Reasons to embrace the mummy tummy:

1. If you are breastfeeding then your body needs to have some reserves to make milk. Breastfeeding can help you lose weight but your body may not let you lose it all too soon. It’s a pretty sensible system really isn’t it. There is some built in protection for baby in those early months.

2. It’s taken 9 months or so to create a baby, you’ve done a stunning job of carrying baby around and feeding baby.  All of that takes a toll on your body, it uses your nutritional stores. Now your body needs to recover. 9 months on, 9 months off is the commonly said phrase and I agree with it. It may feel like a long time but it really isn’t in the grand scheme of life.

3. Obviously you don’t want your weight to stay higher than normal for ever, but initially it’s a rite of passage and a sign of mummyhood. Try to savour those early days. Spending time with your baby and looking after yourself is the most important thing.

4. Getting back into high intensity exercise too soon can be damaging. Your pelvic floor needs to be strong enough and any abdominal separation fixed before you start running, jumping or high impact workouts. Stick to swimming, postnatal classes or specialist pilates.

Look out for my next post for top tips on how to lose that mummy tummy.