“Have you tried a ring sling?” is a very common phrase you will hear at one of our meetings. These versatile carriers can are a wonderful option for newborn to preschooler.
What is exactly is ring sling? What makes it so wonderful? I am glad you asked!
BWI defines a ring sling as:
“A more-or-less rectangular piece of cloth with two rings sewn to one end, used as a baby carrier by threading the “free” end through the rings and wearing the sling looped around the wearer, generally from shoulder to hip.”
It’s pretty much a piece of fabric with rings sewn into one end.
What make it so special? Let’s find out....
They are easy to pop baby in and out. “Pop” means remove baby from and carrier and place them back in the carrier easily, without having to undo the entire carrier. Imagine you are out grocery shopping and baby poops. You can take them out in the bathroom, change the diaper, and put them back in sling without ever taking it off.
They are more easily shared between users. The fabric molds to individual body shapes. So if the carrier is shared between wearers, they will probably find the sling comfortable even if they have different body shapes.
That being said, you do need to keep individual body shapes in mind. The “shoulder” of the ring sling---the spot where the fabric is sewn around the rings---can come in different styles. Certain styles fit certain body types better. Check out this post for a great visual.
However, “standard” lengths may not fit some plus size wearers. Some manufacturers are making longer length ring slings to be more inclusive. Likewise, petite wearers may have too long of tails with “standard” lengths. Many manufacturers make shorter length ring slings as well.
Ring Slings are simple. Just one piece of fabric over baby. There are a few variations you can try for comfort, but they are fairly simple. No need to memorize sequences and pass types like with wraps.
They can be prepared beforehand. You can easily put the sling on your body before you leave the house and pop baby in when needed. For example, you walk to the park with your toddler. They play hard at the park and then are exhausted for the walk home. You can easily pop them in the ring sling without fuss and walk home with a happy kiddo.
As awesome as ring slings can be, threading can be difficult to learn. Learning how to thread a ring sling can be a major turn off for some wearers. Once you master this skill, I promise you will find the ring sling love! Think of them as a giant D-ring belt (remember those from the 80s and 90s?) around your shoulder holding your baby. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, most “expert” babywearers struggled learning to thread, too! We would be happy to show you how to use your ring sling at our meetings or playdates.
In the meantime, here are some tutorials to help you learn:
Ring slings also might not be the best option for wearers with back or shoulder issues. When tightened properly, the ring sling should even distribute baby’s weight over the wearer’s upper body, focusing on more on one shoulder. This could aggravate an already existing injury or illness. So you may not be able to wear a ring sling for a long time if this is the case. Or you may be just fine with some variations. Give it a try and ask for advice before you brush this carrier type off completely.
Your ring sling should never be completely, unbearably uncomfortable. If this is the case, please contact us for some advice or come to a meeting for help. With some minor tweaks, most of the time we can help you find that ring sling love.
Whether it is some kangaroo care with your newborn....
Rocking your baby down for a nap....
Helping your toddler calm down from a tantrum....
Or, exploring the world with your preschooler....
Ring slings are a wonderful carrier option.
Show us your ring sling adventures with #bwiofpdx!
Samantha Reddy, ABE