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Have sling, will travel!  In this edition of Men in Slings, we are thrilled to feature new dad Vincent and his adorable son Leland.  From their local coffee shop in Vancouver to the other side of the world, read on to learn about the places they go in their Sakura Bloom baby sling!

What is your favorite thing about a baby sling?
The physical and emotional connection that you feel when having your baby close to you.

We hear you traveled to Hong Kong and Toronto with just a Sakura Bloom sling and nothing else (no stroller).  Can you tell us about that? Our boy was just under 20 lbs. when we were traveling so it was very manageable to use a sling all day. In fact, the freedom and mobility is unbeatable when traveling in urban cities that are cramped and full of stairs. We did get a lot of stares however mostly because a) dads generally never carry their kids and b) slings are ultra rare in Hong Kong.

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What do you wish other fathers knew about using baby carriers?
A baby sling is a lot more comfortable for both the baby and dad than most carriers. Also, babies like to be close to you. Eye contact and touch is extremely important and strollers deny them of these needs.

What is your Sakura Bloom sling of choice?
Pure Organic Raven – gender neutral color, breathable, strong fabric

Anything else you’d like to add?
The slack fabric is great for covering the baby when it’s sunny out but still allows him to see through it! Also, the packaging for the sling is very well designed.

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(Thank you to Vincent, Leland, and their behind-the-scenes photographer Grace from everyone at Sakura Bloom!)

img_26571(and do dishes!)

Welcome to a special edition of our Men In Slings feature! Sakura Bloom is a family company owned by two sisters, and here we present an interview with our brother Eric in Boston. Eric has been slinging his now 11 month old son, Gus, since he was just a few days old. Here they are in the Storm sling from our new Sakura Bloom Men’s Collection.

Your two sisters (Lynne and Carole) own Sakura Bloom, so you pretty much had to try out a baby sling with your son. But, even with knowing how much they loved slings, what surprised you about using a sling?

The biggest surprise was probably how effective it was. I am still amazed how the simple design of the sling works so well at carrying and calming a baby. A calm, relaxed baby equals calm, relaxed first time parents, so the sling quickly became a key part of our daily routine.

How long does it usually take for your baby to fall asleep in your sling?

Usually 10 minutes or so. Walking with Gus in the sling seemed to help settle him down, so I would take laps around the inside of our house- around the 8 or 9 minute mark the snoring would inevitably begin. It took a little practice to master the transfer of a sleeping baby out of the sling, but it soon became second nature.

How long can you carry your baby barehanded? how long in a sling?

I never realized what a workout it is to carry a baby. After 15-20 minutes barehanded, the biceps start to burn a bit and I’ll need to start switching him from arm to arm. Big difference with the sling- I can carry him as long as needed and still do other things with my hands free.

What would your ideal sling look like?

I’ve been asking Lynne and Carole to work on a nice Scottish plaid sling that looks like it could’ve been used on the set of Braveheart, but as of yet, no luck…

What’s the strangest thing you ever found in the pouch of a sling?

A bunch of Cheerios and a quarter. The quarter went right into Gus’ college fund.

(Thanks to Eric and Gus from the whole SB family!)

Who says slings are just for women?

Across this country and around the world, fathers carry their children too. In this Men In Slings column, we’re featuring an interview with one of our customers from Chicago–Allan with his adorably handsome son—shown here in our gorgeous, but no longer available Green Tea sling from the Artisan Collection.

How did you discover baby slings?

I discovered them through my wife. She is very proactive at finding the best parenting practices.

What experiences has carrying your child let you have that you would’ve missed out on otherwise?

Every time that I carry my son is an opportunity to develop a healthy, close relationship with him. It recently occurred to me during a walk with my wife–during which my son was napping on me–how unfortunate it is that so many parents aren’t aware of this simple, proactive choice they can make. Just today, for instance, we went for a walk along the stone wall of a riverside, which is a walkway ill-suited for strollers and too dangerous to allow a toddler to surmount. As we walked, I was able to point our two ducks swimming and negotiating the light rapids of the river, to which my son said, “I want to do that!”

Also, almost every Saturday (when its nice outside), my son will take his nap while I’m carrying him on a walk with my wife. As he sleeps, he will intermittently give me hugs and squeezes, and it makes me feel like the happiest father in the world.

Have you convinced any of your friends to use slings with their babies?

By practice and through conversation I think I have convinced several of my friends and family members that “baby-wearing” is a clearly superior alternative to strollers. Slings are particularly wonderful for infants, and I have some long-time friends who live in Texas who decided to use a sling after they stayed with us for a weekend before their child was born. I think that once you’ve been around a family who integrates baby-wearing into their everyday life, it would be difficult to rationalize not using a sling or at least some kind of baby carrier.

What is your Sakura Bloom sling of choice?

Anything double layer. I trust my wife to make the pattern choice!

Anything else you’d like to add?

Yes–using a sling has been particularly important in the formation of a healthy, deep bond between myself and my adopted son. We’re in the process of adopting a little girl and plan on using slings again when we bring our daughter home. There really is no substitute for closeness in the parent-child relationship, and using a sling makes achieving this ideal accessible and convenient.

(Our thanks to Allan and family, and congratulations on the newest member of your family. We hope she’s here with you soon!)

Welcome to our first installment of Sakura Bloom’s Men In Slings!

Our first father is Marco from Fremont, California, pictured here with his beautiful daughter. We love how comfortable they look, his daughter’s sweet polka dot pants, and that West Coast foliage in the background!

Read on for Marco’s insights on why baby slings are just as good for dads as they are for moms:

What is your favorite thing about a ring sling?

This is a bit selfish, but I love the freedom and independence it gives me. I’m able to do things without lugging around a huge stroller or worrying about accessibility.

Describe the moment you *got* it.

My wife has worn our daughter from her second week of life, so I’ve always seen that she was happiest that way. At first we had a Bjorn, but it pulled on my shoulders. I used it for a bit and then my wife did a lot of research and found out that Sakura Bloom ring slings are much more ergonomic and enjoyable. So after many conversations and trying out her slings, I got a Sakura Bloom of my own.

What do you wish other fathers knew about baby slings?

I wish other fathers knew how wearing your baby helps you to carry on doing the same things you did before you had the baby. I think a lot of dads think they’re stuck on the floor playing with their kids without being able to do anything else. I do chores, I am on the computer, I cook, I work on the garden, and I know exactly where my daughter is.

What is your Sakura Bloom sling of choice?

Although we own several Sakura Blooms, there is one that is just mine: its a Storm Simple Linen.

What do you use your sling for most?

I use it to put my daughter to sleep at night. When she’s really fussy and in a mood, cradle carry and a song puts her to sleep in 10 minutes!

(A big thank you to Marco from everyone at Sakura Bloom!)

Just in time for Father’s Day, we are launching a new feature on our blog:

Men In Slings!

People often assume that its just women who use baby slings, but no. Slings are for fathers, too.

So, starting this week, we’ll be showcasing fathers carrying their children in Sakura Bloom slings.

Dads who use slings will tell you that they can be like magic: soothing an unhappy child, perfect for nap time, and fun for a walk.

For those of you who haven’t yet discovered baby slings, here’s some encouragement from the SB Men In Slings home team:

Top 10 Things a Man Can Do While Hands-Free in a Sakura Bloom Sling:

10. Walk around Home Depot.

9. Play Tiger Woods ’08.

8. Watch the Red Sox.

7. Clean bottles.

6. Fix stuff.

5. Tie flies.

4. Make a sandwich.

3. Read the sports page.

2. Play at the park with your toddler.

and

1. Cuddle with your baby.