How To Choose a Baby Sling

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Baby carriers or baby slings have been around as long as babies and moms have been around.  All over the world, moms in different regions have developed unique carriers with characteristics that fit their area and needs.  With the internet making the world a smaller place every day, you can now find baby carriers of all shapes, forms and fashions.  Here are some tips on how to choose a baby sling.

Finding the best baby sling is a personal journey.  Every baby will have different needs and every mother will have different requirements.  One child may do wonderfully in a pouch and the second child (from the same parents) may refuse to stay put.  Time can also be a factor.  If you are only going to be using the sling for a few minutes, then something that takes lots of straps or wrapping may not be justified. The weight of your child and your size is also a factor. Even the weight of the fabric will play a role.

The Ring Sling is one that is great for giving you a free hand around the house, and is mostly used with newborn babies.  It consists of a length of cloth that is attached to two rings on one side.  The other end of the cloth is threaded through the two rings, forming a pouch for baby.  When the baby is in the pouch, the weight of the baby causes the threaded fabric to lock into place. An example of this is the Maya Wrap Baby Sling.

Pouches are similar in use to the Ring Sling, only without the rings.  They consist of one solid tube of cloth that is draped over the mother’s shoulders and creates a pouch for the baby.  These can be bought or made by hand if you’re the crafty type (just avoid slippery material if you do make your own). The New Native is a pouch sling.

Wraps are several yards of fabric that are wrapped around the baby and the wearer and then tied.  It allows almost any piece of sturdy cloth to be turned into a sling or wrap (even bed sheets can be used for this purpose).  The only limit to how you can secure the baby on the carrier is the length of the fabric that is being used.  These are great for hands-free carrying – in the front or in the back.  They can also be used to carry toddlers. The Moby Wrap is a wrap sling.

Backpack Carriers (or Mei Tai) is traditionally a square piece of cloth with straps coming out of each corner.  It is secured by bringing all the straps around the person doing the carrying to be tied all together.  It can act as a front or back carrier and can be used with toddlers or infants that can hold up their head well.

The best baby carrier is one that is comfortable and convenient for you and for your baby.  Ideally, before you buy a carrier you should try it out for yourself. Maybe you can attend a babywearing support group meeting to try out different styles. Some online baby sling sellers will also help you choose the best sling. Have fun choosing!