I got into babywearing when my daughter was about a month or so old. We started with wraps and the obsession went from there! I discovered the ring sling and while they weren’t perfect for my little newborn, I am a huge fan of babywearing for toddlers!
One of the things that I love about the ring sling is the speed. It is so fast! When I use a regular wrap, it takes a little bit of time to get everything set. I have to put it on, get my daughter in it, and tighten everything up. Then depending on what type of wrap, it’s another process to let her get down.
For certain situations, the wrap or another carrier is the way to go. It all depends on the situation and there are days when wraps are totally worth it. But for days where my daughter wants to get up and down, and I need something quick, the ring sling is perfect. At this point, I’m able to wear my daughter on both my hip and my back. It is very quick and easy for me.
Ring slings don’t take long to set up. In no time at all, she’s in or out. Imagine being able to do easy up and downs, and still having extra support, all while being hands-free! With less fabric, it’s also perfect to fit in a diaper bag and easy to take with you.
There are instances where a ring sling isn’t the best carrier for the job. If you have a large baby or will be wearing them for an extended amount of time, you may want to investigate other types of carriers. Your
How to put on a ring sling
I have picked up a few tricks when it comes to ring slings that make my life a lot easier.
First, set your sling up. Thread your rings (video below) and put your rings on your shoulder (placement should be on top of your shoulder for a front carry and will move back for hip or back carries).
Next, start by tightening things up a bit. You don’t have to go crazy with tightening up because you still need to be able to fit your baby in your sling. Your goal here is to create a pocket to slide your baby into. Good babywearing practices create an “M” shape with a baby’s legs. Their knees should be higher than there bum. Having a deep pocket (also called a “seat”) is essential for this!
I create a pocket by placing my arm inside of the sling where my baby is going to rest. You would do this with the arm that doesn’t have the ring on it. I then tighten everything up while putting pressure on the sling using my arm. After tightening up the edges, also called “rails”, I’ve got a nice pocket ready to go!
Practice makes perfect!
The more you practice this, the faster you will get. Having a wrap that is broken in will help as well. I used to practice making a pocket without my daughter because the last thing I wanted was to struggle to get my ring sling on when my daughter was crying or stressed. Plus, it helps to break in the sling!
Now that you have a nice pocket that’s loose enough you can put your baby through the sling but tight enough that you won’t have to make serious adjustments, it’s time to add your baby to the mix!
Put your baby or toddler high on your opposite shoulder. If you have the ring on your right shoulder, the baby goes on your left. Next, guide their feet through the sling. Once you have them in a good position, pull the sling up over their back and spread it out. At this point, your arm should be around your child because the sling has not been tightened yet.
To tighten the sling, pull the bottom rail straight down to start. You want your baby’s bum to be lower than their knees, so this is how you do it. Make sure they get a good seat and it’s comfortable. Next, work your way up the sling and make sure everything is tightened comfortably. Don’t over tighten the middle or your baby might lose that nice seat you created!
If I’m moving her to a different part of my body (like my back or my hip), I’ll swing her over when things are still just a touch loose, but mostly tightened.
Finally, tighten the top rail. I pull all the extra fabric over to the ring and then pull the top rail straight across my body. Once that’s tight, I double check to make sure the position is correct and everything is safe.
Now we’re going to make sure everything is as comfortable as possible for both of you. First, the fabric should be spread wide across your back (or front for a back carry). The wider it is, the more support you’ll have. You also should spread the fabric down over your shoulder so that the pressure is spread out and not all on your neck.
For a newborn baby or baby without head control, you can take the tail and use it as a head support, or you can roll a small towel under the top rail.
Removing your child
When it’s time to remove your child, pull up on the bottom ring. It’s amazing how this works and your wrap will quickly loosen up. Make sure if your baby is on your back or hip that you’ve swung them back around to the front where you can support them. Once things are nice and loose, you work backward. Pull the fabric down their back and then lift them up on your shoulder. As you pull them up, pull the fabric down and over their feet. Practice makes perfect and you’ll be a professional in no time!
Sometimes it’s easiest to view a video, so here’s one that I’ve used in the past to learn:
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