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.
This is just about all the information you will need about wearing your newborn in a ring sling. Of course, if you’ve got further questions, I’d be happy to lend you all the information I’ve got.
Check out this post to read more about stretch wrap baby carriers.
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I love my baby wraps, too! I practiced with a doll before the baby arrived–I’m weird like that. 🙂 Also, I never thought about using it as a sun cover. You are super clever!
In my earlier post about wrap carriers I confessed to that same thing- my husband and I practiced on a teddy bear before our first child was born. Haha. Great minds, right? Thanks for stopping by, Natalie!
Liz K says
and here are the directions for the one exactly like yours 😉 http://www.mayawrap.com/n_sewsling.php
Thanks, Liz! I just used mine an hour ago to make bread with Summer on my hip. Love the sling!
Liz K says
so glad you like and use is so regularly!! I was just in San José yesterday helping a friend find fabric for a wrap or a sling…so hard to find “real” fabric here!!
Allison B says
I rarely used a baby carrier. My oldest hated all three carriers that I tried before I gave up. I always envied the moms who could use them. When I had my twins I didn’t even bother except for when my husband and I went hiking or somewhere that wasn’t conductive to a double stroller. Of course they loved the baby carriers!
Julie @ Don't Lick Your Sister says
I’m past the newborn stage but this is great info! I’m pinning it to my parenting board!
Thank you, Julie, for sharing. As I mentioned in the post, I still use this sling even for my two year-old. It really comes in handy. She loves to help me cook and bake while resting at my hip. Have a great week.
Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook says
Nice post! My first child and I LOVED the Maya Wrap once he was over a month old, but in that first month he got upset in the cradle position because he was so small the fabric would close over him and he couldn’t see out; I was worried about his breathing, too. Now that I’m expecting another baby, I’ve learned that a newborn should be upright, chest-to-chest, and that it’s possible to do this with a ring sling. I’m looking forward to it!
Funny I have 4 kids and never used a sling. I’m now almost due with my 5 boy and I really want to give one a shot. Thanks for posting going to check these out. Visiting from Sits Girls 🙂
Jasmine, I never thought I’d use (or like) a sling, so I stuck loyally by my stretch wrap while my first child was tiny. Now that I’ve got both, I’d really have a hard time giving up the sling. Both have their places and I really do use and love both. Thank you so much for stopping by. Congrats on your pregnancy. Praying you have a smooth and quick delivery!
Jenna @ A Mama Collective says
I love this!! Did you just makeover your blog? It looks amazing! Maybe I just have a really bad memory (totally possible).
This post was awesome and SO informative in a really easy and simple way for me to read and navigate through. This is one of the best posts I’ve seen about ring slings (and baby wearing in general). I find that most times it’s very difficult to understand — and you hit on all wonderful points (pros/cons)!
Great job, lady 🙂 Love it. ~Jenna
Thank you so much, Jenna! What an encouraging comment. I did get a new theme for my site about 2 months ago. I’m pretty much in love with it! So happy you found the ringsling explanation helpful for you and hope that many other parents out there experience the fun of babycarring too!
I love your sling in these pictures- what kind is it?
Thank you, Katie! I love it too. Actually, a friend of mine made it herself. She’s a whole lot better with a sewing machine than I am 😉 If you’d like, you can email me and I can put you in touch with her.