Guest post by Lauren Wayne of Hobo Mama
A ring sling is a highly useful carrier since it’s easy to learn to use (just pop your baby in and tighten the fabric through the rings) and can be used from newborn days (in front carries) up through toddler years (in a hip carry). Plus, it’s a poppable carrier, easy to let children in and out of without a lot of bother.
A ring sling is a length of woven cloth that loops over the wearer’s shoulder and is adjusted by the overlapping rings worn near the shoulder, with the baby sitting in the pocket created by the fabric. Ring slings work for any caregiver because they can be sized big or small and made plain or fancy, with different colors, patterns, and fabric choices: often cotton but also blends, linen, very lightweight mesh or solar-protective fabrics for water and summer use, and brocade and silk for dressier occasions.
Using a ring sling can seem daunting at first, but with a little practice and guidance, you’ll soon find it becomes second nature. I’ll share some pictures here my husband took of my 2-year-old and me showing how it’s done. Front carries work well with any age baby or toddler, and the hip carry is better attempted once a baby has good head and neck support.
I’d like to remind you of a few safety pointers to keep in mind when learning any new carry or carrier:
- Keep your baby supported with your arms until you’re sure the carrier is secure.
- If your baby or you are not feeling well, try again later.
- Enlist another trusted adult. Ask the other adult to keep hands on the baby, or to help you secure the carrier, and be clear about who is doing what.
- Use a mirror. If you’re out, any reflective surface (building windows, car windows) it will help.
- Start low. Sit on the floor as you begin a wrap so you both can have less fear of falling. Later on, try starting from a sofa or bed or the seat or trunk of a car.
- Ensure airways are clear and babies don’t slip deeply into the pocket of fabric.
- Keep young babies tummy to tummy and upright against you. Support unstable heads with fabric behind the head.
- If you need help, request it! If you want someone to confirm that your baby’s in safely, ask away. If you feel uncomfortable with certain carries, that’s totally fine. Find what works for you and your little one, and enjoy your own brand of babywearing!
Front Carry in a Ring Sling
Carrying a baby tummy to tummy in a ring sling is perfect for snuggly newborn days on up. It’s most comfortable with lighter loads and makes for convenient breastfeeding.
Pull the back of the fabric as high up on your baby’s back or the back of the head as needed for support.
Hip Carry in a Ring Sling
Your baby will be sitting on your hipbone, the same way you would naturally carry a young one on your hip.
Breastfeeding in a Ring Sling
Experiment with keeping your nursing bra latched, the extra support can function like a shelf for your breast, potentially letting you nurse hands-free.
Getting Down From a Ring Sling
Learn More About Babywearing!
This 154-page, pictorial ebook is a Babywearing 101 class, giving an introductory overview of babywearing, along with troubleshooting ideas for special circumstances. We’ll talk about the benefits of babywearing, types of common carriers, how to babywear safely, picture how-tos for tying the most popular carriers, tutorials for making your own carrier, and a list of helpful resources for information and support on your babywearing journey.
You can read my review here:
“The Natural Parent’s Guide to Babywearing is a nicely done, easy-to-read, easy-to-follow resource and an essential addition to any parent’s library.”
And this from a reader on Amazon:
I recommend this book to any parent, grandparent, caregiver, or sibling interesting in learning more about babywearing. It’s extremely detailed and is worth five times the price for which she is asking! This book will completely solve any of your babywearing woes. As I’ve read through it, it has already answered all of my questions and more.
About the author
Lauren Wayne lives and writes in the Pacific Northwestern USA, with her husband, Sam, and their two sweet boys: six-year-old Mikko and two-year-old Alrik. Sam and Lauren share both working from home and homeschooling.
Lauren blogs about babywearing and natural parenting at Hobo Mama and gives a behind-the-scenes look at writing at LaurenWayne.com. She co-hosts the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting and is a cofounder of Natural Parents Network, a site that brings together attachment parents interested in a natural lifestyle.
Read more and ask your babywearing questions at Lauren’s babywearing resource page.
Photo Credits: Lauren Wayne