Babywearing has been a huge part of my parenting experience and I credit much of my success at still being able to accomplish simple day to day tasks, especially when it comes to leaving the home with a 2.5 year old and 6 month old, to my ring sling.
As someone who only heard of the concept of babywearing from an online community I had to do research while I was pregnant with my first son. I decided on a ring sling since this looked to be easier than a wrap and would work for nursing.
I ordered a cotton ring sling from a Deal of the Day site and was disappointed when I had a very hard time using it. I won’t name brands but it was definitely the sling-not me-because when I was pregnant with my next child I found a linen ring sling for 10.00 (yes, 10.00!) at a consignment shop that worked perfectly! I snatched it up knowing that the people who priced it had no idea what they had!
I started wearing my baby boy in stretchy wraps and ring slings when he was 4 days old. I was able to entertain my toddler son on outings and nurse my baby at the same time. The wonderful thing about a GOOD ring sling is that it is so easy to adjust. You can get your baby in position to nurse with a simple slide of the rails and retighten, then re-adjust once the baby is finished.
I went on to purchase a Pure Linen Sling from Sakura Bloom and let me tell you, you never want to leave home without one. Now that it is warming up in Central New York I never carry a car seat inside. The baby comes out of the seat and is worn in my sling, usually tummy to tummy or on my hip. It is a very quick process. This also frees up my hands to get my 2.5 year old out of his car seat and lets me hold his hand to walk him inside. I honestly don’t understand how mothers can get anything done without a carrier when it comes to grocery shopping or outings with two babies!
Other than being a versatile and relatively inexpensive carrier, ring slings are handy for other things too. The tail provides an extra layer of protection if you are outdoors and the wind picks up. It can be used as an impromptu burp cloth in case your baby decides your milk isn’t sitting well with them (I hate using a gorgeous sling for this but they wash up!). Some mothers might also find having the long tail handy when nursing as a light cover up or to place over themselves while getting the baby latched on. I am not shy about nursing in public but sometimes the baby likes to “romance” my nipple before latching so it leaves me exposed, and the tail gives us some privacy until then.
Ring slings do have their drawbacks. The main one being than it can become uncomfortable to wear larger babies for longer periods of time. Even if your ring sling is on perfectly, meaning the shoulder is spread out like a cap and the fabric on your back is evenly spread, it might still cause soreness. That is why I use ring slings for my shorter shopping trips and save the long hauls for a good SSC. There is also a learning curve for threading the fabric into the rings, but there are plenty of great resources for this on YouTube.
I cannot imagine life without my two favorite ring slings! I hope my story is a lesson that not all carriers are created equal. If you have ever longed for that perfect carrier for storing in your car or diaper bag this might be the one!
– written by contributing blogger, Kim Rosas
Kim Rosas is the mother of a 2.5 year old and her newest baby born 10-20-2010 at home. She runs www.dirtydiaperlaundry.com andwww.clothdiaperfinder.com. Her family resides in Central New York where they are all dreaming of Summer and berry picking.