Imagine this. Your baby is crying for you to hold him or her, yet you have so much housework to do. You only have two arms, so what do you do? Obviously, baby comes first and housework second. Yet, what if you could do both? That’s where a baby sling comes in handy!
Baby slings are like pouches that you can attach to yourself so that you can have your baby snuggled against you while freeing your arms, which allows you to do tasks. Think of them as “hands-free” baby care
So, you decide that a baby sling or wrap is the ideal solution. But what should you be looking for when it comes to getting a baby sling? Which ones are the best? And, more importantly, are there any health risks or dangers with using a baby sling?
Ah…so many questions. Let us take you by the hand (figuratively, of course) and guide you through the world of baby slings and which ones are some of the best available out there.
Ready? Let’s go!
What should I look for when getting a baby sling?
With baby slings and wraps, you want to consider several things when deciding which one to get. It’s all about providing comfort for you and your baby as well as the quality of the material. Those are the main points you should ask about when buying a baby wrap. Let’s break it down further.
You want your baby to be as snug as possible, so look at slings that allows your baby to sit with his or her legs in the “M” position. Also, make sure that your baby can hold their head high if need be. For yourself, if you are going to carry your baby around with you for a long period of time. there are slings and wraps that have shoulder padding and lumbar support. The last thing we want is for you to have sore shoulders and an aching back!
When it comes to looking at the material that your sling is made from you need to think abo it several factors: your local climate, if the material is going to tear easily and if you want to machine wash the sling or wrap.
If you live in warmer climates then you need to look at slings that are made from breathable materials such as cotton or linen. For those in colder climates, cotton again is the fabric to go for as it offers warmth. You want to make sure that the material the wrap is made from isn’t easy for the baby, or you, to tear.
Some slings come with spandex which allows the sling to stretch, which is important as your baby grows.
When it comes to washing the sling or wrap read the manufacturer’s instructions as a lot of the slings can’t be machine washed because doing so will affect the material.
Easy to use
There is nothing more frustrating than struggling to put something on or take it off. You want to have a sling that you can easily wear without having to spend a lot of time fastening it. Equally, you want to be able to remove it with little hassle.
Do you plan on sharing the sling or wrap with other people? We all have different body types and sizes, so make sure that the sling you choose is going to fit you and, if you are sharing it, make sure that it’s going to be right for those you share it with.
Lifespan of the sling
With a sling, you need to think about whether you want one that is only going to last until your baby reaches toddler stage or a sling that extends into that period. If you desire a sling that is going to last you several years then you have to consider one that stretches and will cater for your growing child. Additionally, as your child gets bigger they will start to weigh more, which means more strain on your back as shoulders, Slings made from spandex allows for stretching, but make sure that the wrap will meet the needs of your posture and the distribution and support of the increasing heaviness of your wee one as they get bigger!
The Best Baby Slings
Now you know what to look for when it comes to getting your first baby sling or wrap, here are some of the more popular options on the market. Remember that each one is as individual as you are, so think about what you want. If you are into fashion, you can get slings and wraps that will cater to your tastes.
If you want a wrap that is unisex, then this one is for. The grey colour makes it suitable for both men and women to wear. With woven cotton, you can be confident that this wrap is going to be strong while providing coolness for your baby when the weather gets hot. The design mimics the womb, so your baby can feel comforted and relaxed while resting against you. Also, the front carrying position massages your baby’s tummy which can aid in digestion for your bundle of joy. One more great thing about this wrap is that it is designed for all body sizes…truly a “one-size-fits-all” wrap!
This carrier caters for babies ranging from 8 pounds through to 32 pounds. If you are concerned about baby using your clothes as a napkin to wipe their mouths (as cute as that may seem at the time) this carrier has a built-in bib. You can customise the size of the straps so that you know your baby is going to be snug.
With 10 years of experience in baby products, you know that this is going to be a quality sling. The material is a cotton/lycra blend which means that your baby will have their temperature regulated as well as having a sling that will stretch and support them. You can be secure knowing that as your child grows bigger this sling will cater to the increasing weight (up to 35 pounds). It also caters for hip, hug and kangaroo style holds.
In a hurry to adjust the size of your sling? This one will have the job done in seconds! How’s that for convenience? The Kangaroobaby sling also serves a range of body sizes. Guess what? Some people are even using this sling to carry their dogs around! Talk about versatility.
Acrabros made this sling longer (210 inches in length) so that they could meet the demands of XS-XXL people (that’s quite a range of users there!). The double-sided stitching offers stronger support for your baby and enhances their hip development. When you’ve finished with the sling you can slip it in its own storage bag. There’s even a handy step-by-step instruction on Amazon showing how to tie this carrier.
Ergonomically designed to spread your baby’s weight means that this wrap is a winner for your back! Allowing you to have your baby snuggle into you, they can hear your soothing heartbeat which means a calm, content young one. The shoulder panel can be used to provide head support for those babies that have not yet developed the strength to hold their head up.
This sling allows you to carry your baby in five different positions. That’s just about one position a day if you decide to alternate. Made from a cotton/spandex blend makes this not only stretchy but also provides absorption against any accidental bumps. The ring makes this sling customisable for you and your baby as they get older. Note that this sling only supports weights up to 30 pounds.
With only one way to tie this sling means that the guesswork is gone. That’s simplicity, there! Consisting of 5% spandex, this sling is easily going to wrap around you and your baby to provide a comfortable fit for you both. Being 5.5 yards long ensures that it will fit mums and dads of all sizes.
This sling is an all-rounder with so many options for you to carry your precious one: newborn hold, side carry, back carry, kangaroo carry, hip carry and more! You will know that your baby is safe, secure and happy. Plus, it’s hassle-free to attach the sling…you’ll have baby out of your car and into the wrap in 1 minute. Oh…and a portion of your money goes towards supporting self-sufficient schools in Guatemala. That means you’re helping more children! Go you!!
This award-winning wrap is 5.5 meters in length so you know that it’s going to fit any body size. With different colours and patterns available means that you can make a fashion statement for your baby and you when you are out and about. The Moby Classic Wrap distributes the baby’s weight across the hips, shoulder and waist, so you and baby are comfortable.
One of the most trusted brands on the market, KeaBabies offer you a sling that is made with the main focus of enhancing the bond between baby, mum and dad. The newly improved fabric won’t stretch out after extended use and provides you with great back support.
This is a unique take on the sling in that it looks like a normal shirt! It allows you to have the freedom to go about your daily chores without any tying or knitting. Just slip baby into the secure pocket and you and your wee one are set to go! The signature fabric design led by NuRoo gives you the support and comfort found in traditional slings whilst the “cross and fit” closures adapt to the changes in your body as well as for your baby’s growth.
If you are looking for. a bargain, then Cozitot’s baby sling is the product for you. Being more affordable than other slings on the market doesn’t mean that you will sacrifice quality. The 200-inch long sling (which is longer than most other slings out there) means that any body size is accommodated whilst the cotton/spandex blend supports baby’s from 7.5 pounds through to 35 pounds whilst providing temperature regulation. It also comes with a carry bag that you can use as a baby supplies bag. There is so much this sling offers at a price you won’t believe!
Winner of the 2019 National Parenting Products Aware, Kids N’ Such offer you a versatile sling that you can use with or without rings (it’s all up to you!) which provides you with a wide range of options to carry your bundle of joy safely. Designed to have your baby cradled in a womb-like position ensures that your baby will feel safe and comforted while you get around doing your daily work. It can support baby’s from 8 pounds up to 35 pounds and with the neutral grey colour makes it ideal for dads, too!
Nalakai’s motto is “Inspired by paradise, made with love”. Made from bamboo fibre with a linen blend ensures that you are still getting a lightweight sling that is way on your body while keeping your baby warm in winter as well as cool in summer, plus o those days when the sun is beating down your child is offered UV protection. Plus, when you purchase a sling from Nalakai, 5% of your money is donated to CEPIA which is a charity assisting low-income families in Costa Rica. Brilliant!
Health Issues With Baby Slings
Though baby slings are designed to encourage the healthy development of your baby through supporting their hips in the M position as well as heads for those infants that haven’t gained strength to hold their heads up, there are some health concerns with slings and wraps. We want to highlight these so that you are aware of the potential issues that are associated with these products.
Those most at risk are premature babies, babies with low birth weight and babies that have trouble breathing. There are tragic accounts of some babies suffocating whilst in slings. The CBS ran a report about the safety of slings and wraps, discussing this issue. Also, a similar warning was issued in Australia.
The main area of concern was those babies who didn’t have the strength to hold their heads up and therefore their airways were blocked. Also, though comforting to know that your baby is resting his or her head against you, it can have a detrimental effect on your baby’s breathing.
To avoid a potential tragedy it’s recommended that:
- You keep your baby’s face uncovered at all times.
- Read the sling/wrap manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
- If you have to bend over, make sure that you bend from the knees altar her than lean over as this can obstruct your baby’s breathing.
Follow the TICKS method whilst carrying your baby in the sling or wrap:
T for Tight
Make sure that your baby is firmly supported with her or his head held high and upright. Ensure that your baby’s legs aren’t bunched up which can affect the ability to breathe. Remember the “M” position for your baby’s legs.
I for In View
Whenever you look down at your baby, you should be able to clearly see his or her face clearly at all times. There should be no fabric from the sling or wrap covering your child’s face.
C for Close
Your baby should be positioned in the swing close enough to your chin that you can easily lean over and kiss his or her head.
K for Keep chin away
The sling or wrap should support your baby so that her or his chin is away from the body. If your baby is hunched up in a position where the chin is touching the body, it can restrict their breathing.
S for Support
The baby sling should be able to offer natural back support for your child in a way that his or her stomach and chest are resting against you.
Additionally, you need to be aware of rips and tears in your sling. As well as loosened knots which could become undone. You don’t want your baby falling out of the wrap, so make sure that your sling is made from quality material and if there is a rip, consider purchasing a new sling.
It’s all about carrying your child safely
Baby slings and wraps are great because they have so many benefits such as keeping your precious one close to you while you can do your work, go to the shops or visit friends. That allows closer bonding between baby and parent.
However, there is a major caution surrounding the use of baby slings. You have to make sure that your baby has the ability to breathe freely. Tragedy has struck the industry through infants suffocating whilst being carried in a sling. We don’t want that to happen to you. Be vigilant when your child is in the sling. If you feel her or him wriggling pay attention to their posture.
There are slings that are designed to provide head support for babies that haven’t gained the ability to lift their heads.
Make sure that the material isn’t easy to tear and if you do notice a rip in your sling, it might be time you dispose of it and get a new one. The last thing you want is for your baby to fall out of the sling. Along the same line, when you tie a knot in your sling take care that it is right and won’t become loose.
By taking the proper precautions with baby slings and wraps you will have confidence that your baby is safe and enjoying her or his snuggle time with you!