Wearing Your Baby: Wraps & Ring Slings
Wrap carriers and ring slings are some common favourites for baby wearing, growing in popularity over the past few years! Both baby wearing options have a learning curve but, once you have the technique down, your life will be changed forever. There are a few different options on the market and the choices can be overwhelming when deciding what to try first, but we're here to provide an easy breakdown for you! One thing you should know - studies have shown that wearing your baby for just a couple hours a day can reduce crying by up to 54%! There's nothing more stressful as a new mama than your baby crying and not being able to figure out why!
Safety FirstBefore we start talking about the different uses, let's point out a couple tips on safety and technique:
- You always want your baby to be up high enough that you can easily kiss the top of their head and monitor breathing, etc. As with most baby items, there is a risk of injury if you do not follow proper instructions and care when using a product.
- Baby should be in a seated in an “M” position, with their knees higher than their bottom, and their spine curved. There should be no weight on baby’s knees/legs, but only on their bum.
For demos on how to use some of our most popular carriers, check out our "Babywearing" highlight on our Instagram page here
Babywearing 101: Wrap Carriers & Ring SlingsSince there is a learning curve to wrapping and ring slings, we recommend mom/dad watch a few tutorial videos (like the one below) to practice the wrapping technique with a doll or stuffed animal, getting the technique down pat, before adding their own baby into the equation. This allows you to become more comfortable with the process so you can make sure baby is situated safely and securely. Once you are ready to add a real baby, practice in front of a bed or couch and a mirror, so you have a safe place to put baby down if you get overwhelmed and need a break. One really important thing to keep in mind is this: you will probably not get it perfect on your first few times, and that is OK! If you need to, take a break, come back and try again later. Many of us have been there and have gone on to lead happy wrap-loving lives.
Wrap CarriersWith wraps you have a few different fabric options. Wraps have come a long way over the years as the popularity has increased. You can get a thicker cotton wrap that is great for cooler temperatures or winter babies, or something like a lightweight bamboo or even mesh wraps for babywearing on warm days! Heavier babies sometimes prefer the thicker fabrics because there is less give when they wiggle to get comfy - nothing wrong with trying a few to see what is most comfortable for you and your baby.
Wraps are amazing for babies up to ~30 pounds, but especially for brand new babies who are most comfortable being snuggled close and might be missing the constant movement of being in the womb! Wraps are ONLY meant for a front carry, with baby facing in towards you. They are NOT to be used for back carries, or with baby facing out. Once your little one wants to start seeing the world, it might be time to move to a different style carrier.
Ring SlingsAnother carrying option available is a Ring Sling. Once again, there is a learning curve until you find the sweet spot and learn how to position baby properly in a ring sling. But as recommended above, watch videos and practice with a doll before adding your baby into the mix. A ring sling is a favourite to use with newborns and toddlers because of the ease of use (less fabric to fiddle with). Ring slings come in many different fabric choices and you can also get woven wrap slings. There are lots of different colours and patterns to choose from!
Important pointers when using a ring sling:
- Start with your ring sling properly threaded, with no twists in the fabric.
- Loosen the fabric only wide enough to get your elbow in, that way you have less to tighten and adjust.
- Start with the rings on top of your shoulder so when you tighten it slides down and ends up approximately where a corsage would be placed.
- Baby should be tummy to tummy with you until they are closer to a year old, sometimes older.
- Baby’s head should be high enough that you can easily kiss the top of their head.
Feel free to check out your local Snuggle Bugz store to try out a wrap or ring sling. Call ahead to see that they have the style you are looking for on hand. Take the time to search Facebook for local babywearing groups as these communities are usually happy to help with tips for beginners. Happy babywearing!