Babywearing is the practice of keeping your child close to you as you engage in daily activities. Two of the main benefits of babywearing are that it allows you to connect with your baby and take your baby where a bulky stroller can’t. Babywearing is generally very safe, but it’s important to take some basic precautions to ensure your safety and that of your baby. Here are seven tips to help you get started.
1. Spread the Fabric Across Your Back and Shoulders
Pull the ring sling fabric so that it spreads widely and smoothly across your back and the balls of your shoulders. This is particularly important if you’re babywearing while pregnant.
2. Keep Your Ring Sling Snug
Pre-tighten your ring sling by placing your elbow in the sling and tightening the fabric around it. This should create a pouch for you to place your baby in. Make sure the pouch is snug enough to hold your baby close to you and prevent your baby from slumping in a slouched position.
3. Position Your Baby Properly
Gently bend your baby’s legs into a squatting position before placing your baby into the pouch of your ring sling. Pull the fabric of your ring sling up and under your baby’s knees. If there’s extra fabric, tuck it under his or her bum and up behind his or her back.
4. Keep Your Baby’s Head Visible
Position your baby so that his or her head is at the level of your upper chest and close enough for you to be able to tilt your head down and kiss his or her forehead. Make sure your baby’s head is visible at all times, and keep at least a finger’s width of space under your baby’s chin to allow your baby to breathe easily.
5. Use the Cradle Position While Nursing
When nursing your baby in a ring sling, place your baby in the cradle position and use one hand to support his or her head and neck. Return your baby to a more upright position as soon as he or she has finished nursing.
6. Perfect Front Carries Before Attempting Back Carries
Practice new carry positions with a spotter, over your couch or bed, or low to the ground until you feel confident. Babywearing International recommends that you attempt back carries only when you feel comfortable with front carries.
Using your ring sling correctly is easier than you might think. By following these tips you can adjust your ring sling and position your child so that it’s safe and comfortable for you both.