Choose your sling carefully
The best way to get into years of happy baby wearing is to choose your baby sling carefully.
Take your time
If there is only one thing you should remember from this article, it’s this: take your time. You didn’t learn to care for your baby, change his nappy, or breastfeed in one day. Learning to carry your baby in a sling is a new skill. Some people take to it easily. Others need a bit more time to be comfortable. Be patient, it’s worth it.
Read the instructions
Most slings come with detailed instructions. Read them carefully.
Pay attention to the safety notes, inspect your baby sling. Some slings are best washed before you use them, to soften the fabric and make it easier to tie.
CHECK YOUR SLING regularly for wear and tear.
If you’re unsure about the instructions, check on line to find more ways of using your baby sling.
Most parents find it easier to choose the carrying position that appeals the most and practice until you’re comfortable with it. However, keep in mind that some children have a preference for ONE POSITION or another. Some babies don’t like the hammock carry for example and prefer to be carried upright from birth.
Choose your moment
To try on your new sling, choose a moment when your baby is relaxed, fed, changed and happy. If they get upset, stop and try again later. They might need some time to get used to this new feeling of being held in a sling.
Practice over a soft surface like a bed, or a sofa until you’re comfortable.
Practicing in front of a mirror can also help you see what you’re doing (in addition to keeping the little one entertained!)
Go step by step
Some parents have found it helpful to learn step by step: place the sling and practice with a doll. When you’re comfortable enough, place the baby and take your time adjusting it. If you’re learning back carries, start by placing the baby on your back without the sling.
Get some help
You might want to ask another adult to stand by while you try on your new baby sling, help you support the baby, check that the fabric is spread out and not twisted. It’s particularly important when you learn back carries when you can’t see the baby on your back.
Look up Sling Libraries, Meets & Consultants
Look at our Local page to find a group or Consultant near you. They will be able to help you get a comfortable fit with your sling, adjust the height, spread the fabric, place the baby in the correct position. You’ll be surprised how many parents arrive at a meet or library session thinking they need to buy a new sling because they can’t get comfortable with theirs … and leave with a happy baby!
Question the vendor
Sling vendors and manufacturers are passionate about baby wearing. Don’t hesitate to contact them with any question you might have about your baby sling. They have been using their products for years, testing them in all kinds of situations. Most manufacturers have a team of testers of parents of different sizes with children in a wide age range, they should be able to advise you on how to adjust the sling to be most comfortable.
Once you’ve placed the baby in the sling and adjusted the fabric, take a few photos (front and back). First, compare them with the photos on the sling manufacturer’s site. This can help you answer a few questions: is the baby at the same height? Does it look tight enough? Are the rings at the same height…
You can also send your photos to the vendor. In our experience, it’s the best way to get the seller to help find the perfect fit with your sling. We’ve had very good results in the past.
Keep your baby happy
Some babies settle immediately in the slings. With others, you just need to take a few steps around the house. But for most babies, the easiest way is to go out as soon as you’ve placed them in the sling. The pace of your walk reminds them of the movement when they were in the womb.
When you’re learning to use your sling as a backpack baby carrier, choose a phrase to repeat every time you wrap, to remind your child to lie still on your back. You will be surprised by the result.
And now get started, enjoy your new sling!