Best Baby Slings
- Why a baby needs a sling?
- Why a mom needs a sling?
- How to choose baby slings and carriers
- Best baby slings picks:
The mobility of a young mother is no longer a luxury, but a necessity in the modern world. There are a lot of things and various gadgets on the market which are harmonious development baby and making life easier for the newly-made parents. So, to ensure close communication with the child and at the same time to carry an active lifestyle for young mothers help universal carry – slings.
Historically, long time ago a baby was carried by his mother in a special wrap or sling. Strollers and prams for kids appeared later. Using a sling for baby carrying by a mommy or a dad is physiological and safe for a child and is suitable even for newborns. It is not comfortable or possible to use a pram everywhere. However, families using a sling are extremely mobile. We can see a mom with a “tied up” baby in the bus, in the shopping mall, in the beach etc. Even at home, a sling or a carrier may become handy. Any moment a mother may take her kid with her: talking by phone, preparing a dinner in the kitchen, feeding another child. Her baby is tied up to her leaving her hands free for various activities.
We do not consider a mom with a baby in a sling as something strange or exotic nowadays. Still it will be useful to count the benefits of sling baby carrying not only for a mother but also for a baby.
1. A baby is growing and developing very rapidly during his first year of life. However, the opportunity to learn more information through his eyes and ears, and perception opportunities are very restricted lying in the baby’s bad or in the pram. When parents take a child along to all their destinations, a child perceive more information and develops quicker.
2. When a mommy fulfils some household job with a baby, there is no need for him to call her crying and being nervous. Babies being in constant physical contact with their mothers are generally calmer, sleep better. Actually, sling mothers have fewer troubles with their toddlers, than moms whose kids are separated from the mothers by a crib side.
3. It is very convenient to breastfeed the baby in the sling and do it almost everywhere. A baby will not feel hungry or thirsty. Besides, such type of bonding may effect colic reduction.
4. Different slings and carries offer various types of wraps. One of the benefits is that the older babies or toddlers may be tied up with their face forward on the back of an adult and perceive the same things and views as their parents. Active parents may talk to their little ones commenting the things on the go. Thus, a baby may be interested, learn more things, and may develop quicker.
We counted the benefits of the sling for a baby. Nevertheless, parents and especially mothers are the main profit makers of slings and wraps comparing to prams and strollers. What are they?
1. Outdoor mobility
- With a baby in a sling, it is much easier to climb the stairs if there is no ramp.
- You will not afraid of narrow doorways or heavy doors.
- Travelling by public transport becomes easier if you make a choice in favor of the sling.
- Having two hands free, a mom may easily pay at the checkout of the store, hold an elder child by the hand or carry a bag.
2. Indoor mobility
The household issues will be quicker done and become easier with two hands. If a kid is with you, he does not cry and you do not need to calm him all the time. Therefore, washing dishes, cleaning or food preparing is ready quicker.
3. Mommy’s beauty
A sling made of fabric and being tied around the waist with its free end, may be used as a postpartum belt. It provides quicker recovery after childbirth for a mother.
4. Breastfeeding nursing cover
Using a special cover, makes breastfeeding in the public place more comfortable and secure. With a sling or wrap, a mommy does not need to carry additional subjects while walking or travelling.
5. Baby’s hygienic procedures
If there is a need to change a diaper on the go, a sling may be used as a swaddle blanket. Just cover available secure surface by a sling and a baby’s changing table is ready.
1. Types of slings
There are various types of carriers for babies. Slings or wraps mean a tissue, which is banded without any fasteners. Ring slings differ from above by a ring fastener availability. There are also backpacks, frame carriers or hip seats; they differ much from slings due to their design and purpose. These items are intended for older kids because a child can be in a sitting position only, which is not permitted for babies under 4 months. There are some in-between devices for kids, so called soft carriers (“mei tai”, “together pull-on” wraps, etc.). These items differ somewhat from usual slings. They are made of fabric, have no frames, have no or few fasters and have strings. A baby may be put in these types of slings in a correct position for newborn carrying and may be used from the birth of a child, though usually their usage is recommended after 4 month.
The natural breathable tissue is preferable. The density of the fabric must be average. So that a child will not get wet due to high temperature and not breathable synthetic material.
These types of fasteners must be metal. Plastic and wood are not so reliable and durable.
It is better to choose a sling for several positions of a child and possibility for adaptation to a grown up kid. Remember, newborns grow up quickly.
5. Brand and price
Choose famous brands, which use high quality materials. Saving the money in this case may be dangerous for a kid.
Avid sling mothers believe that it is convenient to have slings for all occasions. Moreover, such moms have different colored slings matching their clothes. Therefore, with a sling you may not only walk and keep your baby with you, but also impress people around you with unique and stylish image of a modern young mother.
- BY THE AGE OF THE BABY
1. Baby slings for newborns
Physiological carriers such as fabric slings, wraps, ring slings are the ONLY carriers permitted for newborns. Each item differs from the other by putting on method, fixing, position of the child, capacity, stretching. These features should be checked before purchase to suit your baby and your needs. Besides, they are intended for the smallest ones and you will not be able to use the item after 5 – 12 months.
The little creatures’ physiology differs greatly from the adult. This should be taken into account when choosing a sling.
The spine of a newborn is “C”- shape as a fetal posture is the most comfortable for a baby before and just after the birth. Besides, a newborn cannot hold a head himself, and a mom should support it constantly. Using a carrier, this function is entrusted to it. Baby’s legs should be kept in a “frog” position or “M”-shape (with knees slightly up and stretched in 2 opposite sides). Being closely “tied up” to a mom in upright face-to-face position, a newborn feels comfortable and is calm.
Therefore, it is forbidden to use any types of framed carriers or backpacks for newborns, as they do not support a natural position of a baby and may be harmful.
2. Soft carriers for children from 4 months
There are some other soft carriers for children. “Mei tai”, “together pull-on soft carriers” are not simple slings or wraps as they have elements of fixers, fasters or straps. However, they may be used from an early age of a child through the toddler stage depending on characteristics of an item.
These carriers offer numerous variants of baby’s position. Usually a child is sitting in it with his legs stretched on 2 sides that is why it does not suit to newborns.
- PHYSIOLOGY OF A CHILD
A child must confidently hold the head, be able to raise it lying on his belly, that is, the neck muscles must be well developed. A baby should be able to sit without support. The fact is that the backing in this type of carriers is regulated by the straps tension. It is difficult for a mom to regulate the tension correctly; it is either too tight or loose. There is a risk that incorrect tension of the sling makes inadequate load on the baby’s spine while baby’s physical abilities are not ready for it. It may lead to improper formation of vertebral bends, and later to spine curvature.
Thus, we revised which are important features for sling choice. Please be attentive, follow recommendations, consider the weight it can carry and touch the item yourself. Try to find a sling with endorsement obtained from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute (IHDI). Remember that the health of your child depends on your decision.
A ring sling is around 6 ft long, 2 ft wide fabric on one end of which metal rings are attached. Another end of the fabric stipe is free. A free end goes across your torso through the rings and is fixed by them resulting in a closed circle sling shape. A ring sling is put on as “hammock” in front of the body over one shoulder and a baby is carried inside it.
Rings are a very important element of the sling. They should be metal and rather large (about 4 inches in diameter). In such a case, the fabric slides well between them, allowing you to adjust the position easily, and is securely fixed.
For a newborn baby, it is better to choose a sling made of 100% woven cotton fabric. The fabric should not be too stretchy. Its function is to fix well the position of the baby without changing its shape under the weight of a kid.
Moreover, the fabric should not be too slippery. The best option for a newborn is rough woven cotton tissue.
A ring sling is great for use both at home and outside as it is very easy to put on, adjust and take off. However, due to the uneven load distribution, the time of its usage is limited to 1-2 hours.
- A ring sling is very simple, even a beginning sling-mother will be able to master it.
- It is convenient to use it in hot weather, as it does not demand several layers fabric winding.
- The item is easily adjustable and allows changing the position of the child.
- It is possible to take a baby out of the sling and not to disturb him. Just loosen the rings and take a child out.
- The load on the shoulders and the back with this type of slings is distributed unevenly.
- The crossing of the sling on the shoulders must be alternated regularly. However, even in such a case, it is recommended to restrict time of ring sling using by 2 hours.
A baby sling is a tissue with the length of 10-19 ft and width of 1.4-2.3 ft. The variety of options for sling winding allows carrying a child from birth to 2-3 years. The position for tying up a kid numerous including putting it behind the back or on the hip. A newborn may be worn in a sling either in the crib position or vertically, in the fetal position.
Comfortable usage of a sling depends on its material, especially on weaving and elasticity. Pure cotton is the best for newborns. The fabric should slightly stretch in the transverse and diagonal direction. Thus, a sling fits well the baby’s body and properly distributes the load on his mother’s back. The width of the scarf depends on its elasticity. A sling made of the elastic fabric may be 19-23 inches wide, and of non-elastic up to 27 inches. Usually, a producer supplies sizes mapping. If you are using small sizes, so the maximum length of the sling should not exceed 10-12 ft. Otherwise, you have to wound the ends of a sling around the waist, creating extra layers.
After mastering a sling and its wounding, its further usage becomes comfortable. It may be used both at home and outdoors. The time of wrap wearing is not limited for a mom. There are no time restriction of using a sling for a kid as well. Therefore, a baby wrap sling is the most suitable option for a newborn.
- The design and winding mode of a baby sling is very friendly for mother’s physiology. The weight is distributed evenly over the mother’s back.
- A baby sling allows using various winding options, and wearing a baby in different positions.
- A wrap fits better to a kid’s back. It supports an immature spine.
- Certain skills should be obtained before safe sling usage. The health of your little one depends on it. There are many videos with examples of winding a wrap in the Internet. However, a mom will have to spend some time and to apply some efforts to master it.
- Some design features of a baby sling make difficult to use it outdoors, without a mirror. Long sling ends may touch the ground and get dirty.
- Baby wrap is not very convenient in hot weather due to the multi-layer winding.
These are elastic wraps. They are preferably used for the smallest kids, newborns and premature babies. Unlike woven slings, knitted slings are produced by knitting machines. The older and the heavier babies stretch knitted fabric, and it sags under the weight of the baby.
Thus, the tension is lower; a sling fits worse to the back of a child. A baby is put in this wrap after a sling is completely bonded on the mother. If you need to pull out the child, the sling remains on the mother and there is no need to re-bond it. It is better to use a woven breathable sling in summer. It will be stuffy for a baby in a knitted one in hot weather.
Usually Mei Tai slings are used starting from 3-4 months. Still there are some models suitable for newborns.
This type of sling is easy and quick to master and use. Mei Tai slings have similar design to some backpacks and carriers. However, due to their long straps and frameless construction, they are more physiological. Roughly speaking, this is a square or rectangle tissue with 4 long straps. Two bottom straps are wound around the waist of the mother. The upper straps are crossed at the back going around the shoulders, and are fixed at the waist. The position of a baby in the carrier is fetal, with pursed legs.
Be sure to pay attention to the straps width and thickness. The wider the straps (normally, around 5.5 inches), the more comfortable the Mei Tai carrier will be. The straps should have additional fabric layers or should be padded with polyester. It will help to avoid twisting and interfering with the normal tying. Mei Tai sling fabric requirements are not so high. The tissue should be durable and not elastic. Synthetics is allowed in case a kid is not allergic.
A Mei Tai carrier is good for:
- a visit to a doctor in the clinic
- a short walk
Generally, it is recommended for toddlers over 4 months.
- A Mei Tai sling is easy and simple to use, a young mother will master it quicker
- A baby will not be disturbed by putting it on and taking it off
- It looks neat and aesthetic
- A Mei Tai does not require many layers, so it is not hot inside
- The weight of a baby is distributed evenly on mom’s muscles
- A Mei Tai sling supposes only upright position for a kid, which is safe in general, but may be not always convenient for the mother and child.
- Sometimes, Mei Tai sling straps may cause inconvenience by cutting into the shoulders, being narrower than usual wrap.
It is very similar to a Mai Tai sling but differs by its design and fixing method. First, a pull-on soft carrier may have a ready to put on construction, sewn parts or straps. This type of soft carriers may be worn as a part of clothes, a shirt. Its fixing is unusual as well: a soft carrier has short straps and a belt with fasters.
When choosing a soft carrier, it is important to pay attention to fasteners sturdiness. Straps and waistband may be padded with polyester or have some fabric layers.
It is great for mild weather in summer. Soft carrier usage time must be restricted to avoid problems with a back.
- Such an item is very easy to use
- A baby may be put on and taken off without problems
- Together pull-on soft carrier is lightweight and takes up little space
- It has better ventilation, so it is more comfortable to carry the child in it in hot weather
- A kid wearing method is restricted to one position (face-to-face)
- It is not possible to adjust the position of the straps (only crosswise)
- Due to the narrow belt, the back may be overloaded. So it is not recommended to wear a child in a soft carrier for a long time
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