Baby Slings

Susie McGee
baby sling

Baby slings aren't new, although they have made a resurgence in popularity in the past few years. Slings have actually been used for centuries in many cultures, although they have only recently gained popularity in the United States. If you haven't already discovered the convenience and comfort that a sling can offer your baby, you might just want to check them out!

What Is a Baby Sling?

Slings are typically made of a cotton or cotton-blend fabric, baby slings pretty much epitomize their name. Using the same concept as a sling for an injured arm, a baby sling is designed to hold baby comfortably and securely close to mom.

Baby Sling Features

Although there are other types of baby carriers, such as back packs, front backs, and strollers, slings have proven to be one of the most convenient. There are actually several different features that can be found in baby slings.

  • Short Wrap -These slings are usually two to three feet in length and can be made in a variety of materials, although cotton is the most popular. They are typically wrapped around the front and back of mom and then draped across one shoulder. Baby can be securely carried on mom's hip or cradled across her front. The ends are usually tied at the top of mom's shoulder.
  • Long Wrap - These slings are approximately three yards long. The ends can be draped over both shoulders and tied, or the long wrap can be draped just like a short wrap, with the excess material used to hide baby...a convenient way to [[Breastfeeding In Public|breastfeed] in public. A long wrap allows moms to carry their babies in a cradle position, on their hips, or even on their backs.
  • Ring Slings- Although many cultures probably didn't use this type of sling, this has become a more modern adaption of the slings of the past. Instead of knotting the ends together, double rings are sewn into one end of the long piece of material. As the material is draped across the mother's body, the opposite end is pulled through both rings one time and then back through one ring, locking the material in place over one shoulder. Any excess material can still be used to cover a sleeping or breastfeeding baby or to protect her from the sun or inclement weather.
  • Asian Slings- The idea for this sling was taken from the Chinese. Instead of a long piece of material, however, the Asian sling material is shaped into a triangle, so that a larger width of material supports baby. This sling can also be arranged to carry baby on a hip, across the front, or on the back of mom.

Where To Buy

You may be wondering where to purchase these slings for your baby. You can find some versions in regular department stores and baby specialty shops. You can also hunt for slings at the following Internet Websites:

Wearing Tips

You may have to experiment before you find the best way to use your baby sling comfortably.

  • Adjust the sling so that baby's bottom sits comfortably in the sling.
  • Be sure the sling isn't tied so tightly that it pinches baby's legs.
  • Spread the fabric across your back for more support.
  • Place the rings towards the back of your shoulders.
  • Let the fabric cup your shoulder for more comfort.
  • Don't wrestle with the sling and your baby. Take a break, and try again later!
Baby Slings