This is a guest post written by Anne Ferris from Pura Vida Slings.
My babywearing journey began last year when our son Kai was born. I read The Baby Book by Dr. Sears and it resonated with me. The basic principles of attachment parenting seemed natural. The idea is to keep your infant close to you as much as you can, and from that feeling of safety and security with the mother, the baby develops self-confidence and independence.
Co-sleeping and babywearing are the two main components of attachment parenting. Kai slept with us while he was nursing, and that worked really well for our family. I found it more difficult to get into the groove of wearing Kai.
I just couldn’t find the right carrier that was comfortable to use around the house. The ErgoBaby backpack-style carrier was ok outside, but too hot and bulky to wear inside. The stretchy wraps felt awkward for me. We live in a beach town in Costa Rica and wrapping a bunch of fabric around me made both me and Kai sweat profusely!
I gave up trying to wear him and when we were home I would struggle to put Kai down in a bouncy chair or swing after nursing without him waking and crying. I spent a LOT of time on the couch, unable to move while Kai slept in my arms.
One day walking through town I saw a woman happily walking down the street wearing a ring sling. Her baby was fast asleep in the sling, snuggled up on her chest. I instantly went home and ordered a 100% linen sling on the internet.
When it arrived, I was underwhelmed because the linen was thick, hot and scratchy. However, I loved the natural carry position of the sling. The front carry for newborns is just like being in the womb and will put any baby to sleep quickly. My daughter Nala has never been awake for more than 5 minutes in the sling.
The hip carry is amazing after your baby passes the 6 month mark; it’s just like how you would carry your child in your arms. In this position, your baby can look out and see the world, but still be cuddled up to you. The hip carry is also much more convenient than any other carry because you can easily use both hands and the front of your body is not being used by baby. I personally love it when we’re out shopping and I need to be grabbing items and reading labels.
It can take a bit of time to get used to wearing a ring sling. But once you get the hang of it, slings are really easy to use and quick to put on. Plus, the sling weighs less than a pound, so you can easily throw it in your diaper bag to wear whenever you need. They look great and wont wrinkle your clothes like a wrap. I definitely feel ring slings are the most stylish type of baby carrier.
Here are my top tips on how to wear a ring sling:
Practice threading sling
I find it’s easiest to do this standing in front of the mirror. To thread your ring sling, start with the rings just below your shoulder on the opposite side from where you want to carry your baby. Pull the fabric (called the tail) around you, making sure it isn’t twisted behind your back. Accordion the fabric at the end of the sling (away from the rings) and pull it through both rings, then down through one ring, like a belt. The most important part of getting the threading right is to then loosen the fabric in the rings and finger-walk along the fabric to make sure there are no twists. You want the edges of the fabric coming out at either side of the ring.
Watch this video tutorial I made all about how to thread and adjust ring slings:
Adjusting a ring sling
A common mistake is to pull down on the whole piece of tail fabric at once, this will pull the rings too far down towards your chest. The correct way to adjust a sling is to pull the side piece of the fabric (the rail) in the direction of the fabric. The rail by your shoulder tightens the bottom of the sling, the middle fabric tightens the middle and pulling the rail by your chest will tighten the top fabric.
Positioning and adjusting the ring sling
Make sure the rings are just below your collar bone with the fabric capped over your shoulder. This is the most comfortable position and will give you the best back support.
Before you put your baby in the sling, you don’t want your ring sling to be too lose or else you’ll have to tighten it so much that your rings will be too low.
Tighten the ring sling so you have just enough room to put baby in in. An easy way to do is is to tighten the sling around your elbow. This will help keep the rings in position when you carry your baby.
Make sure you have a deep seat
You want to have a deep seat with your baby’s legs in an M position, so their bum is below their knees. Put your baby on your shoulder in burping position, when you gently lower her down, pull the bottom fabric up between her legs, so the fabric is up almost to her belly button. The you tighten the bottom rail, the middle and the top and you are ready to go!
The picture below sets out the safety checks you always want to tick off when you wear your baby in the sling.
This video tutorial shows you everything I mention above from threading to the best position for wearing your baby safely and comfortably!
How Pura Vida slings was born
When I got pregnant with my daughter, I knew that with 2 kids under 2 years old, I would need a great baby carrier for my infant, so I could be hands free to play with my toddler Kai. That’s when I decided to design my own line of ring slings.
I wanted a super-soft and lightweight fabric that would work well in the hot Costa Rican weather. I decided to add bamboo to the linen because bamboo fabric is very strong and incredibly soft at the same time. It is also eco-friendly, bamboo grows naturally without the need for fertilizer and pesticides.
I founded Pura Vida Slings, and from the day my daughter Nala was born, I have been carrying her in my bamboo and linen sling. Pura Vida is the national motto in Costa Rica, it means pure life. As a mom of two, my mission is to help families around the world enjoy pure and peaceful lives, growing closer through babywearing.
– Anna Ferris
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