Baby Z snoozing contentedly in a ring sling made by her Grandmommy Beryl
I mentioned a while back that in addition to sewing up dozens of cloth diapers, my mother also made us a whole host of baby carriers for wearing little Z. And Masheka and I took an excellent free Babywearing 101 workshop at Metro Minis in Manhattan to learn about five major types of baby carriers (pouches, slings, mei tais, soft structured carriers and wraps) and how to use them safely. The safest position for small infants is an inward-facing front carry, tummy-to-tummy with baby up high enough on the sternum that you can kiss the top of her head. Baby's head is to the side, with plenty of clearance so she isn't chin-to-chest.
The above is one of the ring slings my mother made, my current favorite for around-the-house babywearing. She just used a piece of reversible upholstery fabric she got at Jo-Ann's with some baby-wearing-quality ring slings purchased from SlingRings.com. Slingrings.com also has links to a bunch of sling-making sewing patterns. I'm not sure which one she used, but it has a pleated shoulder and a handy pocket on the tail and she tells me it was a super-easy and quick project (not to mention much less expensive than commercial ring slings).
Except when we're sleeping, either Masheka and I hold and cuddle Baby Z nearly every minute she's awake (and much of the time she's asleep). She's not fussy or colicky, but it's pretty clear she far prefers lying on our chests to lying in her cosleeper or crib. So without a way to carry her hands-free, I'd be hard-pressed to even make myself a sandwich or make a phone call, and I'd be even farther behind on my email than I already am (which reminds me--apologies if you've emailed me and haven't heard back!).
Oh, and here's Masheka carrying Baby Z in the neutral gray mei-tai-style baby carrier my mom made in deference to his tastes. This photo was taken barely a week after she was born, so I still look a bit preggo:
Anyway, if you want more information, I recommend the forums and articles at TheBabyWearer.com. And I swear that someday there will be a sewing-related post here that isn't about baby stuff... really!