Why the ring sling is one of my favourite carriers
Different parents have different needs when it comes to selecting a carrier. Some look for versatility and a budget-friendly baby carrier, others for carriers that are suitable for use from a newborn to a toddler. The ring sling (also known as a baby sling) is one of my favourite carriers. Here are a few reasons why:
- fits from newborn to toddler/preschooler,
- breastfeeding friendly,
- fits parents of all shapes and sizes; does not require different sizes,
- packs small, fits in a diaper bag,
- small learning curve,
- great for hot weather and summer time,
- provides optimal support for baby’s hip and spine development.
A ring sling is a long piece of woven fabric with two metal rings (which have been safety tested for weight bearing) sewn into one end of the fabric. The tail of the fabric with no rings attached is then threaded through both rings (watch our tutorial here) and baby is then ready to be put into the sling (watch tutorial here). There are no buckles or tying required and many caregivers leave the sling threaded through the rings so that it can be put on quickly when needed. Putting on a ring sling may look intimidating at first. But with practice, any caregiver can enjoy easily using a ring sling with their baby. As the ring sling is a one-shoulder carry, some may assume that all of baby’s weight is on that shoulder. But when worn correctly, baby’s weight is distributed securely across the wearer’s back and hips.
Using a ring sling with a newborn allows them to be snuggled up close to the wearer and also allows a nursing mother to quickly breastfeed her baby without taking baby out of the sling. The sling can be loosened with baby safely lowered to the feeding position and the mother can breastfeed their baby. When baby has finished feeding, baby is lifted back into the correct position, the sling is tightened securely and they can continue with what they were doing. When seated correctly in a knee-to-knee position, baby’s hips are higher than his/her bum and their spine is curved in its nature C-shape that we see newborns naturally create when we hold them upright in our arms. Upright is the optimal position to monitor baby’s airway and also provides caregivers the ability to respond to their baby’s needs quickly.
A ring sling is also very versatile beyond the newborn stage. It folds up small and can easily fit in a diaper bag. A ring sling can be put on quickly when a walking child is tired and the caregiver can be hands free with a tired child, rather than having to carry them in their arms. The sling can also be an option for naptime so caregivers do not need to rush home when they did not bring a stroller. Another big benefit of a ring sling is that it is very practical for families who have multiple caregivers who may take turns looking after baby. There is no sizing for a ring sling so it allows caregivers of all different shapes and sizes to use it thus reducing the need to buy different sizes of the same carrier to fit more than one person.
With only one layer of fabric draping across baby and caregiver, the ring sling is suitable for babywearing in hot weather. Look for 100% cotton ring slings (such as these), as the fabric will be soft, lightweight, breathable and will soak up sweat thus allowing heat to escape the body. Even when using a 100% cotton ring sling, remember to stay hydrated and if needed wear one less layer of clothing to account for baby’s body heat. If needed, stay in a shaded area, use an umbrella or hand held fan to keep cool and provide a sun hat and other sun gear for baby. Watch for signs of dehydration in babies, as they may not be able to communicate about being overheated. Most importantly baby may cry and fuss from being too hot and may need a break from the carrier to cool off.
These are some of the reasons that a ring sling is one of my favourite carriers, and why I use one all the time with my own children. If you would like more information, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on our Facebook page and I'll be happy to answer any questions you may have.