April 26 2021
BABYWEARING IS INCREDIBLE.
But why? Well, not only are the benefits of babywearing backed by science, but wearing your baby can also help you confidently handle whatever life is serving. From providing comfort and strengthening the bond between baby/wearer, to allowing caregivers to complete tasks hands free, the list is endless. To us, babywearing is a necessity, as it enables us to navigate through the tough moments in the early years of parenthood. (You know...the long, sleepless nights, tantrums, anxiety and everything in between.) Yes, here at hope&plum, we are pretty passionate about the topic of babywearing and specifically have a fondness for -or better yet- an obsession with ring slings! While we could go on about the benefits of babywearing (and do in this blog post here), we want to talk about why you should choose a ring sling as your baby carrier, over the many other ways to wear your baby. Here are five reasons why ring slings are our baby carrier of choice:
One of the best things about ring slings are how quick they are to use! With practice, threading a ring sling, adjusting it into position, and popping in your baby can take less than a minute. Most of the adjustments for ring slings can be accomplished before you even pick up your baby. (Tip! Whether you’re wearing a tiny newborn or wiggly toddler, keep in mind how much space they'll need in the sling carrier. Starting with a pre-threaded/pre-adjusted pocket on your sling can cut down on time spent slipping baby into the wrap. Minor adjustments can then be made in a matter of seconds, with baby comfortably snuggled inside.) If you’re looking for a baby carrier that is quick and easy to put on and take off, and simple to adjust, a ring sling is the way to go!
A lot of times when people think of a supportive baby carrier the first ones that come to mind are soft structured carriers (SSC) or woven wraps. While these types of carriers definitely have their benefits, ring slings can be just as supportive, while being easier and faster to use. Ring slings are essentially wraps that have rings permanently sewn into the design and also come in different fabrics that provide different levels of support, typically for children up to 35 pounds. (You can learn more about the different textiles we use, here!) . A ring sling wrap is also supportive and versatile, without requiring the use of buckles and the bulky padding that can come with some soft structured carriers. (Tip! Slack is usually the biggest issue when it comes to lack of support in a sling, so as long as you have a correct fit -and pick the fabrics that are best suited for your child's age and weight- then ring slings will provide you with full and comfortable support.) Rest assured that you can wear your newborn or toddler comfortably for hours in the right ring sling and with proper fit!
GREAT FROM NEWBORNS TO TODDLERS
Whether your baby is a few days or a few years old, they can reap the benefits of being held close by their caregiver. Newborns and tiny babies love (and sometimes demand) to be held closely; however, sometimes it’s not realistic to have a baby in your arms, all day. With a sling baby carrier, you can hold baby, hands-free, and still provide that closeness while going about your day and accomplishing errands, chores, or work. On the other hand, there are toddlers...We all know how much energy a toddler can have. They want to be held, then walk on their own, run around, and then need a hug or to regulate from a moment of overwhelming emotions. With a ring sling, you can pop your toddler in and out, quickly, to match their changing moods. (Tip! Hip carry -where you position the child over your hip, instead of directly on your belly or chest- is a great way for toddlers to see the world while staying close to their caregiver.) Whether you have a fresh newborn baby who doesn’t want to be set down, or an active toddler who wants up, then down, then up again, a ring sling is a great way to wear your child at any age!
Whether feeding baby at your chest or from a bottle, one of the best things about ring slings is how easily the wearer can transition from carrying to feeding, and back, in a few, quick adjustments. Since babies are usually worn at chest level, it doesn’t take more than a few seconds to loosen the fabric from the rings and lightly drop baby down to a comfortable feeding position. Both infants and toddlers can have unpredictable feeding schedules and a huge advantage to using a rings sling, unlike some other types of baby carriers, is that you don't have to completely remove it to feed your baby. (Tip! To lower your infant into a comfortable feeding position, gently support their weight in one hand, while the other lifts the rings and releases the fabric. Slowly pull out as much slack as you need and make sure to keep baby supported with your hands, while feeding. When finished, gently guide baby back to an upright position and carry on with whatever task or trip you were on! Slinging is a great gas mover, too, so make sure to keep a burp cloth handy!) Whether you have a newborn or toddler, ring slings are the perfect way to conveniently and efficiently feed them at home, or on the go.
SO MANY WAYS TO USE THE TAIL/EXTRA FABRIC
Ring slings come in multiple sizes and ours were created with size inclusion in mind. The sizes refer to the length of the fabric, as a whole, but are specifically important for determining how much fabric will be left hanging below the rings while wearing your child. Not only does the range in lengths allow for caregivers and children of different sizes to comfortably use ring slings, but the extra fabric (which we call a tail) has its own handy uses! For example, wearing a newborn may seem intimidating and you may worry about the potential for baby's head and neck to flop. In this case, the leftover tail fabric could be rolled up, pulled across, and tucked into the top of the sling -providing support for baby's head and neck- and would allow you to move freely and hands-free, while keeping babe snug and safe. Sun protection is another great way to use the extra fabric. Kids can be sensitive to sunlight and heat, and sunscreen is not always an option, especially for young children; use the tail as a fan, or for keeping both you and baby out of the harsh rays of the sun. Another way to use the extra fabric is as a feeding cover. While not necessary, if you do prefer to cover while feeding your child, the tail is a quick and convenient option. (Tip! For help picking the right length for you, take a peek at our length guide. For more fun, stylish, and practical ways to use your sling tail, watch our tail tricks video, here!) With all of these ways to use the tail of the ring sling, always make sure to keep an eye on baby and ensure that their airway is clear and that they have adequate airflow.
RING SLINGS ARE AN EASY "YES"
Learning about different methods of babywearing and deciding between different carriers can seem overwhelming, but ring slings are an easy "yes", thanks to all of the benefits and straightforward design! If you're searching for a beautiful way to bond with your baby, a way to remain hands-free while keeping your baby close and reaping the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, a way to carry your baby that's similar to how cultures all over the world have been carrying their kids for centuries, and -most importantly- if you're looking for a convenient carrier that can hold your child from birth to toddlerhood, then ring sling wraps are perfect for you. It's no secret that we rank slings as our number one, favorite way to babywear, and between the many beautiful and soft fabrics, health and developmental benefits, and the supportive online community that has formed around our carriers, we are sure that it'll be love at first sling snuggle, and a new obsession for you, too!
(Give our ring slings a try and let us know your thoughts/ask questions/receive support from other babywearing humans on our community page, here! We look forward to welcoming you into the hope&plum family!)