Baby slings – A natural cradle for your infant
Parents have been carrying their babies in slings for thousands of years, and there are many reasons why you should too. From the intimacy of holding your newborn close to your body to the convenience of keeping your hands free to go about doing your daily tasks, a sling is a wonderful baby carrier and can be used right from birth. The tight swaddling, the warmth, and the immediacy of the caregiver gives baby a sense of security and closeness.
Slings aren’t just convenient for moms and dads on the go – they also help in baby’s growth. Premature babies grow faster while nestled in a sling (it mimics the womb), and infants, being so close to other humans, develop stronger emotional bonds. Instead of being isolated in a stroller or a mechanical swing, your baby can feel your heartbeat, your movements and your breathing. The transition from womb to the outside world is a lot easier, more secure and more comfortable.
Types of Slings
|Wrap around – Basically, a strip of cloth that is wrapped around the body and tied in a knot. They are extremely versatile, and you can tie it in different positions, such as on your front, your back, or your hip. They are more difficult to master, but are extremely comfortable, and you can position baby any way you want. They can be worn from birth to about age 3. This wide range is possible because of the versatility and comfort in the way you can hold baby. Popular examples include:|
|Unpadded sling – The most popular type of baby carrier, this sling consists of a sheet with adjustable straps or rings. Versatile and easy to pack, baby can be cradled in a hammock position, wrapped on the front, the hip or the back. The “tail” of the fabric, threaded through the strap or ring to the front, can also be used as a privacy blanket while nursing. Some types also have pockets for diapers or other small accessories. Popular examples include:|
|Padded sling and pouches – Padded slings (also known as pouches) are structured and have special padding in the fabric, usually on the shoulder straps and sides. Because of padding in certain areas, it is more stable and comfortable, and the learning curve is a lot less. You can conveniently slip on and off the carrier without readjustng anything. The drawback is that the versatility may be limited, though many manufacturers have designed slings with a balance between comfortable padding and flexibility. A great example is the Hotslings Pouch, which also features an attachable pocket (sold separately). Popular pouch-style padded slings include:|
How Safe are Baby Slings?
Slings act as a hammock for baby, which is not only very secure and stable, it mimics the position in the womb. Rings lock the fabric, or the proper knotting techniques prevent unraveling. In the beginning you will most likely support baby with your arms, but as you become accustomed to your sling, you will feel more confident, and your day will be worry-free and comfortable with baby safe and content on you body.
If you are unsure which type of sling to try, go for a pouch first, such as a carrier from Hotslings. Pouches are the easiest of all baby carriers to use, and there’s certainly no reason why this couldn’t be your primary carrier. There’s no “advanced” baby techniques, it is all whatever is most comfortable for you and your little one.
How to Wrap Baby in a sling
If you haven’t yet bought a sling, learn some general instructions on how to wear one around your body.
A Guide to Baby Carrier Types
A pouch, ring sling, hip carrier or structured baby backpack? This comprehensive guide gives you all the information you need to get you moving.