Sophie tells us about her experience of babywearing with Multiple Sclerosis, a condition which can affect the brain and/or spinal cord, causing a wide range of potential symptoms, including problems with vision, arm or leg movement, sensation or balance. It's a lifelong condition that can sometimes cause serious disability.

When I had my first daughter I carried her absolutely everywhere. I was quite the sling addict… or possibly a hoarder! When she was around 30 months old I was unable to carry her due to the start of what I know now to be Multiple Sclerosis.

Last year I gave birth to a beautiful second daughter. I was extremely worried about how I would parent due to my disability.

Multiple Sclerosis is often described as a snowflake disease because it affects each person differently. In my case it has affected my vision, my balance, the dexterity in my hands, strength in my arms and my ability to walk due to pain and numbness in my feet and parts of my leg.

I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to carry my second child at all, but this hasn’t been the case, it is just a very different experience to my first.

I tried and struggled to use a woven wrap due to the poor dexterity and lack of strength in my arms, but this hasn’t stopped me babywearing. The sling I have used most this time is a ring sling.

The great thing about ring slings is that they are quick and easy to use. When I need to walk short distances with my crutches but my baby wants to be carried, I can pop her up and tighten the rings very easily as it doesn’t require much strength to do so. Or if I need to go up/down steps and need to hold two hand rails I can do so safely because she is safely secured next to me. I can use it while in my wheelchair or mobility scooter and my daughter can be nice and close but also see everything that is happening around us without me having to use one arm to hold her.
I have found as she has grown up and become more interested in the world that sometimes she leans out while in the ring sling, I try to tuck her in and pull it tight so that she is safe and doesn’t affect my balance.


babywearing with multiple sclerosis
babywearing with multiple sclerosis

I visited a sling library when she was 7 months to see if something would work better than a ring sling due to her leaning. I borrowed a half buckle from the Sevenoaks Sling Library who couldn’t have been more helpful. I think that it could have worked well but I found tightening the straps a little tricky and the buckle wasn’t the easiest to unclip. So I decided to get one of my shorter woven wraps converted into a ring sling by Opitai.

Using slings helps me as it is difficult for me to use a pushchair with my mobility aids or carry her without any support, especially now as she gets heavier.

My daughter is a lot more content while being carried and it means I can take her out without needing the assistance of others. This is particularly helpful when I take my eldest and youngest out together. It also helps me at home when my youngest needs comforting or has separation anxiety.

My baby is now 10 months old and this is what has worked well for us up to now. I can see it working well until she no longer wants to be carried.

babywearing with multiple sclerosis