When you’re new to baby wearing, it’s hard to choose a baby carrier for your newborn. You want to ensure baby’s safety and comfort but don’t even know where to start. Most forums speak foreign crunchy mama lingo and Google displays more options than you have time to investigate.
I was in those shoes just over two years ago, a new mom with no baby wearing friends and physically isolated from the baby wearing loop since baby wearing wasn’t popular in Costa Rica. Now I’ve got two kids’ worth of experience, a wrap carrier and a ring sling.
I couldn’t parent without a baby carrier.
If you’re looking for the best newborn baby carrier, you won’t find it. Every mom has different needs. A baby carrier that suits your needs might be different from the one that suits mine. Nevertheless, we’ll talk all about how the ring sling carrier works with newborns today to help you make the best choice for your baby and your family’s situation.
Mom’s (and Dad’s) Comfort
Depending the on make of the sling, shoulder straps may or may not dig in and cause discomfort. Most straps are padded or made so that you can spread the fabric wide across the shoulder, like mine. Your hands aren’t quite as freed up as when wearing baby in a stretch wrap carrier. Until your baby has good head-control, it is often necessary to support the newborn’s head with one hand when wearing him in a sling. This makes doing housework while wearing baby more of a chore than a help.
It took three YouTube videos and a personal instructions session from a babywearing friend of mine to learn how to properly insert my newborn into a sling. My husband still has trouble with this and almost never wears our baby in a sling because he’s concerned that he can’t get baby into a comfortable and safe position. Here’s a great demo that walks you through the steps.
While you may have to fiddle to adjust the rails (inner and outer panels) of the sling, it is easy to adjust with baby inside. Once you learn to properly thread the sling (insert the fabric through the loop), adjusting it becomes a piece of cake.
The ring sling’s design reduces sag. If baby starts to ride a little low, tugging gently at the fabric tail quickly brings him back up again.
Nursing your baby while wearing the sling is a piece of cake. Jiggle baby’s legs to one side and adjust him to your breast and you’ve got a discreet and comfortable place to nurse. If you’re more comfortable removing baby from the sling to breastfeed, you can always tighten the sling up snug to your body and use the fabric tail as a nursing cover to allow baby to feed in private.
Depending on the fabric of the sling, this can be a much cooler option than wearing baby in a stretch wrap with lots of fabric, like the popular Moby Wrap. Most slings come in cotton gauze or other cotton linen blends. In chilly weather you may have to dress baby in warm clothing before inserting him into the sling, but for summertime it is the ideal baby wearing solution.
Ease of Use
The sling is very easy to use, but comes with a little bit of a learning curve. Try watching an instructional video to help you learn to thread the fabric through the rings and adjust to suit your baby. If you have a baby wearing friend, ask her to show you the ropes.
Baby is quite comfortable in a ring sling when properly positioned. As you wear baby in the sling, you may need to readjust from time to time, especially if he’s sleeping and his head tilts to the side or toward the rings.
My son falls asleep fast in the sling if we go for a walk. When he’s worn around the house it’s a hit or miss, depending on if it’s his typical nap time or not.
Slings provide 100% sun cover for newborns due to their small size. You can easily adjust the back of the sling to cover up to the top of baby’s head or toss the extra fabric tail over your shoulder, covering baby’s delicate head. To be extra cautious, I sometimes just put a bucket hat on my son when he’s in the wrap before using the fabric tail to cover him. Babies look cute in hats.
Ring slings can run from $30 to $100+. The Maya Wrap sling is very popular option. If you’re good with a sewing machine, you can easily make your own ring sling carrier for a fraction of the cost. This ring sling tutorial makes one very similar to mine.
Depending on the fabric of the sling, these should last a long time. Mine is made from a thin cotton weave and though the fabric is airy and light, perfect for our hot climate, it is extremely durable and strong. I use it for my toddler and my baby.
Ring slings can be washed with similar colors in any normal laundry cycle and line dried.
Check out this post to read more about stretch wrap baby carriers.