Why the Sling is on My (Very) Short List of Must-have Baby Products
The Thule Chariot Infant Sling is a game changer for active new mamas! Read the review to discover why it’s our must-have baby product!
When you’re pregnant with your first baby, you get duped into thinking you need a lot of stuff that ends up being a total joke. At one point we had FIVE places for our newborn to sleep. I have bags filled with adorable clothes I never got around to using, and piles of breast feeding accessories that all the websites insisted were “must-haves” that just sit in a cabinet. Let me just say that “My Breast Friend” was not, as I anticipated, actually my best friend.
But you know what was my best friend as I adapted to living in survival-mode with a tiny human being that was entirely dependent upon me for EVERYTHING? The Thule Infant Sling. Seriously. Natalie (master of Two Wheeling Tots) gave it to me at my baby shower and I never intended to write anything about it. But then I loved it so much I wanted to shout it from the rooftops! And I really did give it a few shoutouts on Instagram. 🙂
The first few weeks after giving birth were a shock and a blur, to say the least. I felt like a prisoner in my own home who had been hit by a train and was being tortured with sleep deprivation for some unknown crime. As someone with a super active lifestyle, waiting for my body to heal so that I could get outside to exercise was like a prison sentence! 2 weeks postpartum and I wasn’t out running 3 miles??? What was happening???
Reality check, girlfriend. Life is different after you have a baby. You’re grateful to be walking relatively pain-free even 4 weeks post birth. And really, I craved any opportunity to get OUTSIDE and feel somewhat like my old, active self. Thule Infant Sling to the rescue! It was often the only sane hour I had in an entire day.
So if you’re a runner, an athlete, or just love to be outside, keep reading and I’ll tell you why the Baby Sling is on my (very) short list of must-have baby products.
To Start, What Even is this Sling Thing?
The Thule Infant Sling is like a little padded hammock for your baby! It’s designed to fit inside Thule trailers (that convert to strollers) so your baby can safely come along for the ride before they are big enough to fit in the normal trailer seat. The sling keeps your baby safely and comfortably secured in the trailer while you’re strolling along. I’m using the Thule Cross single trailer, but it can also be used in a double trailer with a sibling in a regular seat right next to the baby.
Here’s the Quick and Dirty Low-down on the Infant Sling:
(1) You can only use the Infant Sling in STROLLER mode, not jogger or bike trailer mode.
Let me repeat. You can ONLY use the Infant Sling for stroller mode in a Thule trailer. Bike trailer mode is strictly forbidden, and jogging mode is a little more murky, but my pediatrician said no. Weak little neck muscles make fast motion and sudden stops potentially dangerous. So don’t buy this thinking you’re going to strap your newborn into your trailer and go on a bike ride. While technically you COULD, that would just be dumb.
So while it stinks that you still can’t run with your baby until they are about a year old, that goes for ANY baby jogger. I’ve come to grips with my new power-walker status and am actually quite enjoying slowing down a bit and savoring my time with the babe. While I started walking a week after giving birth, the one-month mark was about the time in my postpartum recovery that I felt up to walking anything remotely resembling long distances. And by the time the babe is 10 months old, she’ll be about big and strong enough for me to take on runs and rides.
(2) You can use the Infant Sling starting when your baby is just 1 month old up until they are about 10 months old.
I love bonding with my baby while being active. I also feel like I’m training her young to get outside and be an athlete! HAHA! But most importantly, by the time my baby was a month old, I was crawling out of my skin to get back in action. While I wasn’t running (let’s be real – by body wasn’t ready to run yet!) it helped me start to get back in shape so running wasn’t such a distant reality.
We’re currently at about the 4 month mark and we’re enjoying a little more exploration. The babe is definitely already an athlete and loves a good day hike with the family! (Please note that while we put the jogging wheel on for this outing, it was because the trail was a bit wet and it was easier to navigate with the jogging wheel than with the stroller wheels. We did NOT actually go jogging, which is not safe for young infants.)
(3) You don’t attach your child’s car seat to the jogger stroller (like the Thule Glide 2.0) – your child lays in the sling that is temporarily attached to the inside of the trailer stroller .
Remember, the Thule Baby Sling is designed to be used with bike trailers that can also convert to strollers and joggers. As a result, its design is a departure from traditional jogger/strollers that require a car seat adapter and have your infant sitting in their car seat until they are old enough to ride in the jogger/stroller on their own.
To be fair, some people love the traditional design because they want to use their jogger as their primary stroller as well, and it’s just easier to keep your baby in their carseat when transporting them in and out of the car around town. These jogger/strollers also tend to be more narrow and weigh less because they aren’t also bike trailers. This style is found on popular joggers like the Thule Urban Glide or the BOB Revolution.
But for me, there are several benefits to the Infant Sling design:
(A) My baby HATED her car seat during her first few months of life. For whatever reason, it put her in a very uncomfortable position and she would scream bloody murder. Not fun. I hated going anywhere in the car. On the other hand, she LOVED the Thule Infant Sling. She even looked comfortable in that thing. And as much as a newborn can express excitement, I could tell she loved riding in it.
(B) One of the main reasons I have the Thule Cross (bike trailer with jogger and stroller kits) and not the Thule Glide is because I wanted the versatility a trailer/jogger/stroller can provide. While my baby is young, I’m confined to stroller mode, but come the year mark, I’m going to regularly be switching from stroller to trailer and jogger mode to train my little girl to love running and biking and just being active.
(C) Another reason I prefer the Thule Cross stroller is because I can zip that front cover down and keep my baby totally contained. So whether we’re out on a family outing, playing tennis, or surprising her siblings at recess, strangers can’t touch her, balls can’t hit her, and she’s able to sleep really well all nestled up in a little cocoon! When she gets older and has sippy cups and toys along for the ride, run, or stroll, I also won’t have to worry about her dropping or throwing them out the side while I’m trying to get my fitness on!
(D) An added benefit of the Cross in stroller mode is that it has four wheels. 3-wheeled strollers with the single wheel in front become unstable when going down off a curb. While I’ll obviously have to deal with that eventually when the Cross is in jogging mode, I wanted the option to have the stability of a 4-wheeled stroller – especially when the baby was new and I was overly paranoid about everything! 🙂
(4) If you’re using the sling with the Thule Cross like I am, that trailer comes with a weather cover and a sun shade that are lifesavers!
I live in Texas and probably would have never purchased a weather cover, but it comes standard with the Thule Cross. While the weather cover is mostly for rain, I actually use it all the time just to block the wind. I’m able to take the baby out in the winter and keep her pretty toasty and warm, even when the weather is in the 50s. (That’s a cold Texas winter!)
And the sunshade is so easy to use and adjust – along with the UV side windows, I took that new baby out on sunny days and she was able to sleep in the shade and her delicate skin was protected.
What Else This New Mama Couldn’t Live Without
So, Thule Infant Sling, thank you for saving a new mama from certain insanity. I thank you. My whole family thanks you. And if you’re wondering what other baby products are on my short list of “Could Not Have Lived Without”, rounding out my top four are:
(4) Graco DreamGlider Bassinet Swing – This is where the baby slept at night for the first 2 months.
(3) Boppy Pillow – Once the baby hit about 1 month old, she loved being propped up on this. Also a HUGE help with Tummy Time.
(2) Marpac Dohm Sound Machine – CAN’T. LIVE. WITHOUT.
You can read the full review of the Thule Cross here.
If you’re interested in researching other bike trailers, check out our 10 favorite bike trailers list.