Babywearing in the SCA

I originally wrote this in 2006 and today was prompted to move it over here.


I have been asked to give people instructions about the sling I use to carry Rose. I made it for attendance at SCA events, but now I use it all the time. It packs up small, is a useful piece of cloth to put Rose on when she needs to go on the ground, saves my arms when I want to carry her and it looks like it will still be useful when she’s 2 or 3 and can walk but refuses to walk any further.

Here are some pictures I have found of people carrying babies within SCA period (pre 1600). Please send me links for others if you find them.

From left to right:
-on the middle right, there’s someone carrying a baby on their back – 14th Century Paris
– a sling, 1501-1503 Italian
– a basket on a back – 14th Century French
– last one I don’t seem to have the web reference for but it’s painted by Giotto, which makes it 13th Century Italian
-1620, so a little out of period. Flight out of Egypt paintings seem to be a good theme to look for slings,

I guess the range of times and places suggests that the sling was a common solution to a problem everyone has if they are looking after a small person.

I also had a conversation with a Papua New Guinian woman when I was wearing Rose. She told me that she had seen many women “at home” using similar slings. They also had a string bag they used to put the baby on top of a load of firewood – I want to see one of those!

My sling

I made my sling from 2m of cotton fabric, approx 110cm wide. I used rings I bought off ebay but I’ve since made one for my sister with 65mm chrome plated steel rings I got at our leather supplies shop. You could probably get something similar from a hardware shop.

I folded it using the hot dog fold from this page, threaded the folded end through the rings, fanned it open to make a flat end and sewed it down. It ended up similar to the one at the bottom of this page. That link also has illustrations of the process of making a ring sling. I sewed one of the long edges down so I could tell the long edges apart. It makes it easier to adjust when you only need to pull one edge.

For wearing instructions I like this explanation.

I have looked at a bunch of other sites, but the site all these links came from is the best I’ve found.

Here is a photo of us using the sling:

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