Babywearing for New Moms: The 411 on Slings
Whether you're a beginner or a pro at baby wearing, you'll appreciate the sling for its minimal, straightforward design. It either comes as a one-piece fabric that loops around you, or as a wide strip of cloth with metal rings on one end.
There's a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the sling. Because it doesn't have the various bits of hardware like a carrier and because it isn't fully customizable like a wrap, the sling's efficiency, comfort, and safety entirely depend on you, and how you use it. Slings have gotten a bad rap for being unsafe and unsupportive for babies, with risks of falls, improper development, and suffocation. But as with all baby products and gear, you need to use a bit of common sense.
Constant adjustment is key when it comes to using the sling— make sure your baby is always in the correct position. That means sitting upright with proper head support, and making sure the airways aren't blocked. You can carry newborns in a cradling position, but we recommend transitioning to the legs-spread hip carrying position once they can hold themselves up to avoid hip dysplasia and other problems. Until you're fully comfortable with it, offer extra support by resting one hand on the sling, underneath your baby.
Once you've mastered the art of the sling, you'll really love the simplicity and ease it offers. While it may take a minute or two (and an extra set of hands) to put on a carrier or wrap, you'll have your slinged baby on you in seconds.
A bit more customizable than a loop sling, ring slings tend to come in a variety of fabrics— think woven cottons, linen, even silk!
Maya slings are made with 100% cotton, hand-loomed fabric. With gorgeous colors such as multicolored "Bright Stripes" or the rich, deep-hued "Plum," these are not only practical, but beautiful as well. They come in multiple lengths depending on your height, and you can use the extra fabric as a nursing cover while carrying your little one. It comes with a convenient, fairly large pocket for diapers and wipes (perfect for ditching the diaper bag!).
Sakura Bloom makes the most luxurious slings in the most sumptuous fabrics. They have slings made with double-layered, crisp Belgian linen which are cool to wear, naturally antibacterial, and get stronger and softer over time. Choose from a hip chambray finish, or a stunning striped gradient.
If you're feeling extra-fancy, splurge on one of their opulent, Indian dupioni silk slings. Cool, lightweight, and breathable, these are made with two layers of silk and can be machine-washed in a cold, gentle cycle. Select a lovely, solid jewel tone, or one with a two-tone, contrasting effect. Each sling is carefully crafted in Massachusetts, USA.
Minimalism at its finest, loop slings go across your body, front to back, shoulder to hip. No complicated maneuvering and tricky knots here!
Karma Baby's line of organic slings are made out of an extremely durable, soft, and breathable cotton twill fabric. They come in a whopping five sizes for ultimate comfort and support. These have no straps, buckles, or rings— simply put your baby in the pouch and voila! It's as easy as it gets. It comes with a useful, large pocket in front, with a little toy ring for baby.
Although these slings aren't as flashy as the modern favorites, New Native slings have been around since 1992 and are a perennial favorite of celebs and moms-in-the-know. Made with responsibly-sourced organic cotton, you can be sure your baby's safe from pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals. These slings are soft, cool, supportive, and versatile, making them the perfect for bonding with your little one.
This is an excellent choice for sling first-timers— The Peanut Shell comes with an adjustable, no-slip safety strap, a buckle closure, nifty outside pockets, and padding by baby's legs to keep them comfortable in a hip carry. This sling offers the features and security of a regular carrier, without the added bulk. It's made with a lovely cotton-spandex blend for supreme comfort and durability. Get it in the floral, light gray "Whisper," or the pale yellow, dandelion-printed "Stella.”
Created by a full time stay-at-home mom of five in Utah, Seven Slings are made to work, with comfort and durability in mind. Thanks to the 3% Lycra, this sling won't lose its shape over time. They come in the boldest graphic prints— check out the geometric, black and white "Milo," and the (literally) fiery “Autumn Blaze”… hot mama indeed! You can even get them personalized with your little one's name embroidered on.
Love slings? Share your favorite with us in the comments below!
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