Adventures in babywearing

At our friend’s cabin upstate, Toby loved the friendly grown-ups and wanted to be in the middle of the action at all times. But Alex and I could only chase him around and keep him from falling off the dock for so long, so the sling turned out to be a perfect way to keep him happy and immersed. Here, we’re fishing with friends–it was the first time for both Toby and me! (We caught nothing:)

Another early, chilly morning during our trip, we walked by a babbling stream and paused to watch the water flow by. It was so relaxing (I caught myself thinking that it sounded just like a noise machine, ha!), and Toby’s head rested more and more heavily on my chest until I realized he had fallen asleep. (My other clue was a stream of drool flowing down my decolletage, such that it is.) So I sat down on a bench while the pink sun rose in the sky, and read Operating Instructions while he slept. I wish I had photos of that sweet moment, but Toby and I were the only ones awake! I took a mental snapshot, though. :)

Anyway, the sling was such a lovely addition to the weekend and a wonderful way to have adventures with a baby as a trusty sidekick.

(The only catch is that it makes it tricky to drink a pre-dinner PBR.)

P.S. This post is part of the Sakura Bloom Styleathon, hosted by my friend Leigh. Read more here, if you’d like. Thank you again to Leigh for introducing me to the genius of slings, which are becoming part of my life in beautiful and magical ways.

  1. I never thought of using a sling, the baby backpack we have has always worked fine. I’ll have to try the sling, love the blog by the way!

  2. oh god your little baby is so adorable! A s mom I’m so proud about you.

  3. Your sling is absolutely gorgeous! Did you get the single layer or the double layer?



  4. Thanks so much for your article, very helpful info.

  5. hi Joanna,
    How nice to read a post of you on babywearing, it’s a subject that has been on my mind a lot as well lately. In fact I wrote a post called ‘Adventures in babywearing’ on my blog as well about two months ago! It’s about my own ‘struggle’ to find the perfect way of babywearing, cause there are so many possibilities and you have to find out what works for you and your baby. To be honest I have no idea how I would have had to comfort my baby in so many situations without wearing her in a carrier, she can be quite fussy and then all she wants is to be carried around, sometimes for hours!
    We ended up with a few beautiful handmade mei tai’s, which I think are very easy and comfortable carriers, and we also have a Beco butterfly, but I have to get used to that one a bit more.
    I hope reading this post of yours will encourage more people to wear their baby, it’s still not a very common thing here in the Netherlands but I think it can be such a help and comfort in so many situations!

    (you can find my blog post about the subject here:

  6. anna says...

    uwielbiam twój blog!

  7. Can you please share what sling you’re using and how you tied it? I searched all over the internet trying to figure this out for myself. Maybe a Motherhood Monday post? Cheers!

  8. oh i was so looking forward to wearing my future baby, i’m glad to know that you think the ergo is better for long walks. although now things are changing, (and i’m bursting to tell the entire world) because at my 1st ultrasound yesterday, we found out that we’re having identical twins!! that was shocking, since the dr. had found 1 heartbeat in the last 2 appointments. now hubs and i need to get 2 of many things, but at least we won’t fight over who gets to snuggle with baby in a carrier on walks :)

  9. erstwhiledear, what a great idea! xo will do.

  10. Joanna, I’d love to see a post sometime of your favorite new-Mom books. I’ve read Operating Instructions and saw it on that little LA Times recommended list ( and then Babble has that 50 Books list…

  11. Anonymous says...


  12. Anonymous says...

    These pictures look so relaxing and Toby gets more beautiful each time I see your posts!

  13. Hi pretty! Your weekend looks like it was so much fun and Toby gets cuter every time I see him. Oh, the mental snapshots…I do hope they last…I take them all the time, too:) xx

  14. Merrilyn says...

    Operating Instructions is brilliant. I absolutely LOVED reading it when my babies were actually babies. Have you read any of her other books? She is one of my favorite authors. And I am getting all sentimental seeing pictures of you wearing Toby. I have such sweet memories of having my now 6 and 3 year olds cuddled up to me in the sling.

  15. Aaah the baby sling. I remember those days! I had to give up on the sling relatively early to save my back, but I carried my daughter around in an Ergo until she was almost three!

  16. elissa, yes, they would hurt your back if you wore them for a long time on a long walk, i would think. but i wear them either while i’m sitting (like if toby is going to take a nap in the sling when we’re at a friend’s house, on a plane, or at this cabin), or when i’m standing for short periods (like fishing, or just doing things around the house, or going to a party at a friend’s house). for those times (either sitting for a long time or standing for short periods), the sling is PERFECT!

    but if we’re going on a long walk, i’ll either put him in the stroller or wear him in the ergo. the sling isn’t as comfy for long walks. xo

  17. I LOVE that you’re drinking PBR. Makes me like you even more than I already did. (:

  18. just so lovely and beautiful – I love it- you are obvs a wonderful mama, toby is vv lucky :)

  19. monica says...

    Joanna, i’ve been reading your blog for two years now and i still can’t get over how effortlessly pretty you look! you are one gorgeous mama! :)
    p.s. toby is gorgeous as well!

  20. melissa, yes, just tie it around the rings :)

  21. Joanna – I just bought a Sakura bloom too! How do you tie it so that there isn’t a long hanging piece? Just wrap it around the rings?

    You look lovely.

  22. when i read your ‘motherhood’ posts it makes me want another baby so… but you only get that first baby ONCE, where you have the freedom to give 100% of your attention to that one little person. of course siblings are gift in their own right. i have such sweet nostalgia for my first “baby years.” i can tell you are fully enjoying all the moments. xoxo

  23. i read operating instructions soon after my lil one was born (now 9 months old) and felt so validated by Lamott’s experiences. plus she completely cracked me up (i still remember her description of her sagging belly).
    love the photos! wish i could afford that fabulous sling!

  24. You are a sweet, gorgeous, lovely mama ( and overall human!)

  25. You look so sexy and casual and just…present in those fishing shots.Well done. I can’t wait to wear a sling. Seems so natural.

  26. Maybe an easy questions, but I keep seeing mama with the tail of the sling tied up over the rings. It’s so much cuter that way. Do you just sort of wrap it around? Or is there a special knot?

  27. PBR is my jam. so good. so cheap

  28. You guys rock my socks off. Yay for babywearing, yay for fishing! You do everything with such style and grace :)

  29. I must say I love the wine colored swing.Looks very nice on you.

  30. Oh no, not PBRs! I need to send you a sampler of delicious Upstate craft beers ASAP!

    Isn’t fishing great?! So zen. I am an avid fly-fisherwoman, a great way to unwind!

  31. I love love LOVE babywearing! The Sakuras are absolutely beautiful. I love putting a fussy Jude in the sling and having him konked out in a minute. Let’s momma cuddle with baby and get things done at the same time. : )

  32. i saw that little snapshot of you and toby by the water’s edge in my mind. you are a beautiful mama joanna. toby is a lucky fellow.

    p.s. that lake trip looked amazing. next time i’m going to sneak into the sling and make you take me with you!

  33. I love getting a glimpse of your family life! I love my sling; makes me feel close to my daughter and productive at the same time.

  34. Operating Instructions is one of my favorite books ever. A good friend gave it to me when I graduated from college (quite instructional) and it was the first book I thought of when I found out I was having a boy. My copy has been read to pieces, loaned countless times and is signed by Annie herself. :-)

    By the way, that lake looks so dreamy. I am counting the days until I go to New Hampshire in August.

  35. I love this sling series! getting a baby sling is one of the things I’m most looking forward to about having a baby (due in late October). They are so chic/cozy/snuggly and I can’t imagine a nicer feeling than your bub falling asleep in one.

    I’m loving reading all the Sakura Bloom posts (yours and others) and hearing about mamas who use and love them.

  36. do you find the sling allowing you to do different things than the ergo or a moby wrap? and is it cooler in the summer months???

  37. 1. In response to a previous comment, I think this is probably one of the least sponsor-y sponsored posts I’ve read in awhile. Jo, you’re a good writer and a great blogger and you’re able to talk about the products that help you as a mother, wife, woman without being obnoxious, so I for one am grateful to have your example.
    2. It’s hilarious to me that this is the second post that exhibits Toby reaching desperately for your beer. They start so young. Lol.

  38. omg that kiddo loves his beer!!!! too much! xx

  39. I love your sling and I LOVE Operating Instructions, every new Mom should read that imho.

  40. Ah, adventures in babywearing. I distinctly remember a family picnic with my then-month-old baby when I accidentally dropped some lentil salad on her head :)

    Loved Operating Instructions!

  41. laura, i’m so sorry about that! i’m doing this for my lovely friend leigh and because i love babywearing. i’m not getting paid for it, fyi.

    otherwise i don’t do any sponsored posts. xoxo

  42. lindsay, the ergo is comfier for long walks, but the sling is much cozier if you’re just hanging out or your baby wants to nap. it also is so much prettier — so it’s great if you’re going to a party or a wedding or something. :) hope that helps!!

  43. Joanna- the sling is so beautiful! How does it compare to the Ergo? Are you able to wear the sling for an extended period of time without discomfort?


  44. AWE, too cute

    After reading your post and the one Bleubird vintage wrote, I finally sucked it up and bought the sling! THEE best sling we have ever owned. this is hands down the only one (plus the ergo) you will need!

    My husband and I have different body types and it fits us perfectly! I love the linen, it’s so comfortable and perfect for the hot weather, she sleeps soundly in it…

    A great marketing idea you all have! Worked for me
    ; )

  45. laura says...

    to be honest, these sponsored posts turn me off from your otherwise lovely blog.

  46. Beautiful shots. I love that he loves the sling. Mine hates any form of being snuggled like that – she’s too wild. :)

  47. My mom wore a sling with at least my little sister…I don’t know if she used it with my brother or me. She also had a baby-backpack-carrier thing, which was worn like a backpack and the baby was behind her, facing forward (the same direction Mom was). That worked better for long hikes or walking but wasn’t as comfortable for long-term use, and obviously wasn’t much for cuddling. But it kept baby close and Mom’s hands free. :)

    You and Toby are both beautiful…love these pictures. :)

  48. Baby wearing is fabulous. I put it up there next to nursing. Those are such special moments. We had the moby wrap and now that my youngest is two we use the ERgo. Goodness, the Ergo is GENIUS! When my little girl is cranky I just put her on my back and work around the house…yesterday, I made dinner with her on my back. Bless you, Ergo maker.

  49. thanks for these really sweet comments! as for my hair, it was wet from swimming, haha :)

  50. littleredclogs, this sling is the basic linen sling from Sakura Bloom. (i linked to it at the beginning of the post, if you want to click through to their site.) i love it! xo

  51. Anonymous, exciting that you guys have babies on the brain :) the sling is really comfortable, honestly! i adore wearing it, and the best part is, it keeps toby really, really happy and calm (much calmer than when he’s in the stroller and can get fussy). and it just feels so sweet and good to be so close! :) if the weather were crazy hot and humid, though, i would probably put him in the stroller. there have been times when i’ve worn him in a sling or the Ergo, and we’ll both be totally soakingly sweaty on our bellies — not attractive, haha! :)

  52. ooh, a manduca carrier, i haven’t heard of that one, going to look it up right now!

  53. melissa, i KNOW! it’s the BEST!! she is totally hilarious. i keep doggy-earing pages because the lines are so funny/true. i’m about a third of the way in, but i’m trying to read slowly so it doesn’t ever end, haha :)

  54. tara, good question! the sling doesn’t hurt my back at all, but you have to wear it in the right way (for example, spread out the fabric on your back so that the weight is distributed correctly, etc.) luckily, it’s easy to get the hang of.

    also, i wouldn’t wear it for long walks or anything. if we’re going for a long walk or going shopping, etc., i would put Toby in the stroller or wear him in the Ergo. the sling wouldn’t be as good for long treks, in my opinion. but it’s perfect for hanging out, sitting together, doing things around the house, and, most of all, taking naps! :)

  55. Anonymous says...

    I too live in NYC. Whenever I see mamas toting their babies around in a sling in this summer heat and humidity, I just think…ugh. So tell me the truth ladies…even though it frees your hands and looks adorable, is it uncomfortable? I don’t have a baby yet,but my husband and I seem to be much more aware of babies everywhere we go now. We kind of have babies on the brain!

  56. Ah, I loved carrying my baby in a sling when she was tiny, but as soon as she was a couple of months she started demonstrating her independant streak and ability to constantly move! So that was that for me. You’re so lucky to have a calm baby! Enjoy!

    We used the baby bjorn one so that my back was supported and she was more ‘secure’ (ie tied down!)

  57. What a sweet little boy! Gotta love fishin and drinkin’ PBR while slingin’!

  58. Anonymous says...

    Toby looks as if his hair might be red? You look great!

  59. Cute pictures. Such precious moments with the little ones. They grow up way too fast! My babies were all so active. They didn’t like to be stuck in a sling, but they sure loved to be held all the time!

  60. What a sweet boy you have. I wish my little guy would fall asleep on me still :) Your trip seems like it was a perfect getaway from the city.

  61. you make me miss babywearing way too much!

  62. You are a genius I loved this post, looking forward to read more…

  63. love your hair in these pictures!!

  64. LOL! My son does the same thing with my beer!

    What kind of sling are you wearing here? It’s gorgeous. I have a Moby wrap which I love, but I’m thinking I must have one like yours too. ;-)

  65. Oh Joanna you are in for the biggest treat!’Operating Instructions’ was given to me when my daughter was a baby and I just about keeled over from laughter while reading it. It’s BRILLIANT. How far in are you?

  66. I love when your posts are pictures of you and your family! The photos are always so joyful :)

  67. hahahaha Toby ahs a thing for soda ;)

  68. I hope I will be able to look as stylish as you do during motherhood someday… :) You always amaze me!

  69. it’s absolutley lovely that you’re showing off babywearing here. the best way in the world to get around with your child and provides so much closeness and comfort <3 for both mom and child! as he grows up a bit i can highly recommend a manduca carrier :)

  70. Looks like the perfect getaway. Just curious is there any discomfort for your back carrying baby like that?

  71. Sometimes mental pictures are much better than digital ones :)

  72. M. says...

    you guys are super cute!


  73. awe… fishing with toby. so cute! i love that he’s trying to grab your PBR. birdie likes to grab at my “cold one” too. ;) lovely post as always joanna! xo.

  74. Motherhood suits you so well. I am loving all these shots of you and curious little Toby. Ps… your hair looks great!