Which baby sling is best?
Most babies want — and need — to be held for long periods of time, but unless you have a small army, it can be impossible to hold your little one and accomplish all of your tasks for the day. Baby slings allow you to keep your baby close and snuggled up while still using your hands. There are thousands of different slings on the market, so it can be difficult to know where to start. For an eco-friendly sling from a women-owned business, the Nalakai Ring Sling Baby Carrier is a top choice.
How to use a baby sling safely
Many parents and caregivers are nervous about using a sling to hold a baby. Safety is a concern, and there’s a common checklist to go through when making sure your baby is safe. It’s called the TICKS rule:
You want your baby sling to fit tightly around your baby’s body, keeping them from slumping. Within reason, it’s usually better to go a little tighter than you think you should, as the material may loosen once your baby’s weight is in it.
In view at all times
Take care that your baby’s face is always visible when you look down and never covered in material or smooshed up against you.
Close enough to kiss
Position your baby’s head close enough to your chin that you can dip your head down and kiss your little one’s forehead. This ensures proper placement.
Keep chin off chest
Babies aren’t great at keeping their heads up, so it’s important to make sure your sling helps with that. Ensure that your baby’s head is up and not tucked in towards their chest, as this could interfere with breathing.
Your sling should support your baby’s back so that it is in a natural position and not slumped over or pulled backward.
If you follow these steps, you’ll be safely slinging your baby in no time.
Types of baby slings
The two main types of slings are wrap slings and ring slings, though pouch slings are also on the market and enjoyed by many.
A wrap sling is a long strip of soft, slightly stretchy fabric that can be wrapped around your torso in a variety of ways to create a sling for your baby. Wrap slings are extremely versatile and usually inexpensive. However, wrap slings can be a bit trickier to put on and get the hang of, which is a turnoff for some parents.
Ring slings are like wrap slings in that they consist of a long strip of material, but instead of just wrapping and tucking the fabric, ring slings have two metal rings that you use to secure the fabric. A ring sling is worn over one shoulder and puts the baby either in an upright position or a reclined position for nursing. Ring slings are simpler than wrap slings but less versatile.
Pouch slings are less common than the other types, but they are loved by those who use them. They are created with an existing pouch to put your little one in, so all you have to do is put it on. While they are the easiest to use, they can’t be adjusted to accommodate your baby’s size, so you will need to purchase bigger pouches as your baby grows.
What to consider when choosing a baby sling
Age of baby
Some slings are suitable for a variety of babies, while others have very specific age or weight limitations. Not all slings are suitable for newborns, and many that are good for newborns may not work on older babies. Be sure that the sling you’re purchasing corresponds to the age of your little one in order to keep them safe and healthy.
Ease of use
Caring for a baby is hard enough without extra steps. Are you a super-efficient caregiver who can learn anything at a moment’s notice? Then go for whatever sling you like. Otherwise, be sure that you consider ease of use when picking out a sling. Wrap slings are hard to get the hang of, and ring slings are better but still require some practice. Pouch slings are the easiest to use but may not be worth it if you have to buy a new one in a few months.
Adjustability isn’t just important for the baby; you need to make sure the sling will fit the adult wearing it as well. A well-fitting sling will help to ensure that both you and your little one are safe and not putting unnecessary stress on your body.
How much you can expect to spend on a baby sling
On average, you can expect to spend between $20-$80 on a baby sling. For $20-$30, you’ll typically find one-piece wrap slings that may not be very breathable. For $60-$80, you’ll be looking at brand-name products that are made from expensive fabrics or have other special features. For most users, between $30-$60 is a good price, as these slings tend to be quality ring or wrap slings made from breathable materials with varying levels of portability.
Baby sling FAQ
Can I nurse my baby in a sling?
A. Yes, it is certainly possible to nurse your baby in a sling. The majority of slings are designed to accommodate a nursing position, though some caregivers find it cantankerous. If you do nurse your baby in the sling, make sure you return them to an upright position as soon as the feeding is finished.
How long can my baby stay in the sling?
A. As long as your little one is comfortable and in a position that supports their body well, they can be in the sling as long as you want. Of course, you’ll need to take them out for diaper changes and naps, and you’ll want to ensure they get other stimulation as well. But generally, a sling is a comfortable resting place for most babies.
What’s the best baby sling to buy?
Top baby sling
What you need to know: This soft, luxurious sling is produced by a woman-owned company.
What you’ll love: Made from soft linen and bamboo material, this sling is breathable and temperature-regulating to keep your little one from overheating. It can also be worn in a variety of ways and comes in numerous colors. As a bonus, the company behind this sling donates 5% of proceeds to those in need and the fabric is sustainably sourced.
What you should consider: For a sling on the top end of the price range, some customers reported issues with the fabric slipping through the ring.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top baby sling for the money
What you need to know: This budget-friendly sling distributes your baby’s weight evenly.
What you’ll love: Usable from newborn up to 50 pounds, this versatile sling is easy to use, holds weight well and keeps your child’s hips in the proper position for development. It’s made from breathable and sturdy fabric.
What you should consider: This sling may not be suitable for all caregiver body types.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This lightweight sling is easy to take with you wherever you go.
What you’ll love: Cozy but breathable, this ring sling is made from 100% Turkish cotton and the fabric doesn’t go through any chemical processes. It comes in several calming colors and includes a carry bag for extra portability.
What you should consider: It is not dryer friendly.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Colette Bliss writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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