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Everything you need to know before buying a baby sling

What is a baby sling/baby carrier?

A baby sling is a piece of soft fabric that wraps around the parent’s chest to support the baby. Prams are a great way of transporting your little one around but sometimes you need something else which allows both of your hands to be free. The baby sling provides comfort for your baby whilst still allowing the parent to keep both of their hands free to complete everyday activities. Not only are they great when you have things to do, they have also been used to make breastfeeding much more comfortable. A baby sling allows you to put the weight of your baby onto the sling and focus on getting your little one fed.

There are a variety of slings available to buy which comes in different fabrics with different ways of using them. This can be quite overwhelming as you may feel unsure as to which one is best for you and your baby. We recommend that the best thing to do in order to find your perfect one is to buy or order a few different types and try them out. You can always return these to the shop after – just make sure you check their return policy before you purchase!

There are many different things to consider when buying a baby sling and you may have may questions that you just can’t find the answer for. In this blog, we will go through some common questions surrounding baby slings as well as how to use them. We hope that once you read this blog and leave our website, you will feel much more confident about baby slings and have a better idea of what you want for your baby.

baby sling

Are baby slings safe for my baby?

Baby slings are safe – but only if you know how to use them properly. It’s important to research how to properly use a baby sling instead of trying to do it all on your own. You can also seek assistance through staff at baby shops as well as Youtube videos if you can’t get to a shop. Unfortunately, there have been injuries and deaths in the past due to baby slings and carriers. These have been caused by dropping and suffocation. This is why it’s so important to make sure you know how to use your baby sling before just putting your baby in and going ahead with your day.

You should only start using a baby sling once your child is 4 months old. At this point, they are slightly more developed and a better size to be able to use a sling. If your baby is bigger, it’s easier for the sling to support them. We have listed out some important things that you should check before you use your baby sling. This is primarily for safety purposes to protect both you and your baby. 

Things to look out for when using a baby sling

  • Tightness. It’s important that when your baby sling is on, it feels tight enough to hug your baby to your chest. There should be no loose fabric as this could give way and offer less support for your little one. If your baby sling is too tight, you will know as it will pull on your back. You should not use the sling if you are feeling like this as it can restrict your baby’s breathing and cause injury or death.
  • Look at their face. If you glance down whilst your baby is in their sling, you should be able to easily see their face. If it is covered by the sling material or is turned inwards towards your chest, this should be changed as soon as possible. It’s important to try out your sling at home before you go out and use it. You can then work out if your baby will move at all whilst you’re walking and potentially fall down into the sling. This means your sling should be slightly tighter and tucked more around your baby’s bottom.
  • Can you kiss them? Your baby should not sit low so that you cannot kiss their head. Make sure they are positioned as close as possible to your chin so that they are full supported. Make sure that it is comfortable for you too – you don’t want to be in discomfort whilst wearing your sling.
  • Make sure it’s not cramped. Your baby’s chin should not touch their chest whilst in their sling. This can restrict their breathing. Instead, make sure there is at least a fingers width underneath your baby’s chin. This will allow them to breath properly and remove any risks to your little one. 
baby sling

Are baby slings and wraps safe for newborns?

Baby slings can be used for all ages but it’s important to be particularly cautious when using them for babies 4 months and under. At this age, there is a higher risk of suffocation due to the baby’s development stage as well as size. When your baby is smaller, you will need to tighten the sling a bit more to support their small body. However, if this isn’t tightened enough, it means your baby can possibly fall down into the sling. 

It’s important that with any age child you have, you follow the safety precautions and do things properly when putting on a baby sling. It’s your decision as to whether you use a baby sling and they are not essential to your baby’s development. If you prefer to just use prams when taking your baby out, this is completely fine and your choice. You shouldn’t feel pressured to use a baby sling if you feel it’s not right for your baby.

baby sling

How to wrap a baby sling

There are many different types of slings that involve different processes when it comes to wrapping them around yourself. For the purpose of this blog, we will focus on a basic sling without rings. You should practice multiple times before you decide to put your baby into the sling. It’s important that you get the wrapping right so that it is comfortable for you but will also be able to support your baby whilst carrying them around.

  • Fold the entire length of the fabric in half so that it isn’t as wide. This will also give you a thicker fabric to work with to support your baby. Make sure you don’t twist the sling at all, it’s important that it’s completely smooth to wrap around yourself.
  • Wrap the middle of the sling around your stomach. Make sure the placement is correct as you want to have the same length fabric on both sides. If it’s shorter or longer on one side, this can make things a little difficult!
  • Bring each end of the fabric around your back in a criss-cross pattern. You should end up with both ends hanging over your shoulders and down to your chest.
  • Take the ends that are hanging near your chest and criss-cross them again to make a low-neckline style. This should leave you with both ends around the sides of your body, ready to tie at the back.
  • If your fabric is longer, repeat the last step again with the remaining fabric. This involves bringing the fabric across your back and over your shoulders again. You can continue doing this as many times as you need to if the fabric is extra-long.
  • Tie the knot at the lower end of your back to secure the sling. Not sure how to tie the know for it to be its most secure? We’ll go through that next. After it is tied, smooth out any part of the sling that may have twisted in the process of putting it on.

These steps can sound complicated, but you can find some great videos that take you through this process slowly in order for you to fully understand it. If you are still struggling, you can get assistance from mother’s that you already know or go along to baby groups to find out if someone there can help you out.

baby sling

How to tie a baby sling after wrap

Knowing how to wrap the baby sling is one thing, but how do you tie it so that it stays secure for the time you carry your baby around? The last thing you want to happen is to have to take your baby out to readjust the sling or re-tie the knot. It’s important that you do everything properly so that you can go about your day without any disruptions – all whilst keeping your baby supported. 

There isn’t any major technique to this, it’s just making sure the knot is tight enough to be able to keep your sling secure for as long as you’re going to be wearing it for. The most important thing is making sure that you always tie a double knot – tie one knot and then tie one again! This will ensure that you secure the first knot you tie and there is no risk of it coming loose.

Pull the knot as tight as you can to make sure there is no way of it coming apart as you walk. By doing this, you will have a secure knot all day long. You can even get your partner or a friend to help you in this process - this ensures that it has been tied properly and has been checked by somebody else.

How to wear a baby sling

There are many ways you can use a baby sling to carry your little one in different ways. You may find there are certain ways which are more comfortable for you and better for your baby. You should practice all of the wraps you want to try before you put your baby into it. You need to ensure that the sling is secure enough to support your baby as well as it being comfortable for you. Some different wraps that you can try including:

  • Front wrap cross carry. This technique is great for those who are first timers. It’s a great wrapping technique that allows your baby to be secure whether you’re standing up or sitting down.
  • Front wrap cross carry tied under bum. This is very similar to the last wrap except for the fact your baby will have much more support as they will be being lifted by the knot that’s tied underneath them.
  • Semi-front wrap cross carry. This is a wrap where your baby’s arms are kept out instead of being wrapped up too. This is ideal for slightly older babies as they will enjoy moving their arms around. It’s also a great wrap for the summer as it prevent you or your baby from getting too warm.
  • Newborn hug hold. As we mentioned earlier, it’s your decision if you choose to put your baby into a sling when they are under 4 months old. It’s just important to make sure you take all precautions to make sure your little one is safe. This wrap is one of the most secure and safest options when carrying a newborn child.
  • Back wrap cross carry. This is something different if you would prefer to have your baby on your back instead of your front. This works better for some parents as it may be more comfortable. This wrap is better for older children as with newborns and young infants, you need to be able to see them at all times. 

There are plenty of other wrap techniques for you to find and try – these are just some of our favourites! It’s important to look for a wrapping technique that you find comfortable. You don’t have to go with the one that everyone else is going for. If you choose one that you feel is safe and comfortable for both you and your baby, that’s all that matters.

baby sling

How long can you use a baby sling or baby carrier?

There’s not really a limit as to when you have to stop using baby slings and wraps. Some parents use them up to 36 months! It really comes down to when your baby starts showing signs that they no longer want to be in the sling or wrap. This will come at a time where they are more on their feet and are more inquisitive about their surroundings. They will no longer want to spend a lot of time in their sling and instead be running around and having fun. 

It’s completely up to you when you decide to stop using your baby sling or wrap. Once you feel that your child is going to be on their feet more than being carried around, it’s probably a good time to start using it less. You can always alternate between a sling and a pram too - using both of these things changes it up and gives you a little bit of a rest when you need it. Both come with advantages. Slings offer you the function to carry around your baby but still use both of your hands whereas a pram or pushchair gives you a storage facility which is great for when you're out and about.

Overall - baby slings, baby carrier and wrap...

It's your choice as a parent to decide whether you would like to use a baby sling or not. Whilst they are perfectly safe if you follow the steps correctly, it's understandable if you don't feel confident putting your baby into one. There are other alternatives like baby carriers that have more structure to them and therefore give your baby more room. You shouldn't feel pressured to use a baby sling just because others are, you have to do whatever you feel is right for your baby and there's no point making yourself feel nervous just because it has been suggested that you use one.

If you do choose to use a baby sling after reading this blog, we're glad that we have helped you feel more confident about them and hopefully given you more information on what you can do with them. We stress that you please check your baby is in a safe position each time you use it and that you follow the steps we mentioned earlier to make sure it's not too tight but is fully supporting your little one.

Please feel free to read some of our other blogs and guides on the website to get more of an insight into other things you can buy for your baby and how they will benefit you.

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