Tips and Tricks: How to choose a baby sling?

If you already know what a sling is and what they are, go directly to site directory for slings and choose slings for your baby.</ p>

What is a sling?

Sling (English sling — sling) is one of the oldest devices for carrying a small child. It is also sometimes referred to as a baby sling or patchwork holder. Slings are made of fabric, they come in different shapes and can serve for different purposes, but the essence of slings is the same - to free the mother's hands so that the mother can simultaneously take care of the child and her own affairs. In a sling, the baby is placed in a natural position, like in the mother's arms, so slings (unlike most kangaroos) can be used from birth. There are a lot of types and names of slings. Three are the most popular and comfortable: a sling with rings, a sling scarf and a mai sling.

When do you need a sling?

Sling can be used in the same cases as a kangaroo. For example, if you need to drop into a store that is inconvenient to enter with a stroller, if you need to go somewhere by public transport, but taking a stroller with you is again difficult if you need to do household chores, but the child does not get away with it.</p >

In a sling, it is easier and more convenient to rock or carry a baby than just in your arms.

How is a sling different from a kangaroo?

From an orthopedic point of view, in vertical positions, a child in a sling has a wide, correct dilution of the legs, which contributes to the prevention of hip dysplasia. The weight of the child in this position is distributed evenly between the hips, booty and back: the booty sags slightly in the sling pocket, the load is distributed on the hips and removed from the lower spine. Whereas in a kangaroo, the child hangs on the crotch and the legs hang down, so that all the load falls on the spine.

A newborn baby in a sling can be worn horizontally, in a "cradle", in the same position it is convenient to breastfeed a baby without taking it out of the sling.

In a sling, babies are carried facing towards themselves, and in kangaroos, very often facing away from themselves. Psychologists are of the opinion that it can be stressful for a baby not to be able to look at his mother at any time, especially in an unsettling unfamiliar environment: on the street, in transport, in a store. A child who is in a sling on his mother’s stomach or thigh sees his mother’s face and her reactions to surrounding situations, and a grown-up baby, if he is carried on his back, also always has the opportunity to bury himself in his mother and even doze off if he is afraid of something or just tired of impressions. Separately, I would like to note that wearing facing away from you violates the psychological contact between the mother and the child, which, in particular, can cause problems with sleep, as well as provoke breast rejection in infants.

From the point of view of wearing comfort, in a kangaroo, the legs of a grown child hang down and hit the mother on the legs, making it difficult to walk, it is especially inconvenient to climb the stairs and get into transport, and just sitting with a kangaroo is uncomfortable. In the sling, the child's legs are spread apart, which is not only orthopedically useful for the child, but also convenient for the mother. In addition, the sling is better adjustable than the best kangaroo, and because of this, it is easier to carry the child in the sling.
and in a sling-scarf, the weight of the child is distributed much better, and I carry my already 13-kilogram son with ease, if the need arises. — Author's note)

Many choose kangaroos at the expense of convenience because they look "more solid". However, recently sling manufacturers have begun to pay more and more attention to the design and materials from which slings are made, so now it is quite possible to choose a stylish, fashionable and beautiful sling to your taste.

I would like to separately note the relatively recent ergonomic backpacks for carrying children (for example, Manduca, Ergo Baby Carrier and others) that have appeared on the market.

They are also sometimes referred to as "backpack slings", although the word "sling" is unlikely to apply to them, since it means a patchwork holder, and not a design with straps and fastexes. Ergonomic backpacks do not have the disadvantages of kangaroos - the child's legs are correctly separated in them, the weight is distributed evenly. By "landing" they resemble a sling in vertical positions. The disadvantage of backpacks is that they cannot carry a child in a horizontal position (and therefore cannot be used from birth), and also that they need to be sized more carefully than slings. However, it is easier to get used to them, especially for dads, due to adjustable straps, like tourist backpacks.

In this article, we will not touch on the features of ergonomic backpacks, since in the strict sense they are not slings.

So, what are slings?

Ring Sling

Sling with rings present It is a strip of fabric about two meters long, about 70 cm wide, at one end of which there is a soft lining for the shoulder and rings, and the other end of the sling is tucked into the rings so that the size of the sling can be adjusted. The baby can be placed in a sling with rings, like in a cradle, or carried vertically on the stomach, on the hip or on the back.

The convenience of slings with rings lies in the fact that you can adjust the position of the child on the go, quickly transfer the child from the abdomen to the thigh or back; a sleeping baby can be easily laid in the “cradle” position without bandaging the sling. You can quickly take the baby out of the sling with rings and put it back in just as quickly. A sleeping baby can be easily transferred to the bed without waking up.

The disadvantage of ring slings is that they are worn on one shoulder (remember that the shoulders must be alternated).

Sling Scarf

Sling scarf is a long strip of fabric, four to six meters long, 50-80 cm wide. With the help of a sling-scarf, a mother can "tie" the child to her in various positions: on the stomach, on the hip, on the back. The sling scarf is usually worn on two shoulders, so that the load is evenly distributed on the mother's back, shoulders and lower back. A newborn baby can be comfortably laid in a sling scarf, like in a cradle. An older child is comfortable to wear on the stomach or on the back.

The advantage of slings-scarves is the even distribution of the load on the shoulders, back and lower back of the mother. Since in the sling-scarf the child is pressed closer to the mother than in the kangaroo, his legs do not dangle, but half-hug the mother around the waist, the weight is distributed better, and it is easier to carry the baby. The sling scarf is perfect for carrying heavy babies.

The disadvantage of scarf slings is that you need to practice tying them in various positions, that tying takes time, and also that the ends of the scarf sling at the beginning of tying will drag on the ground and in bad weather can get dirty.

Mai Sling

My-sling looks like a square or rectangle made of dense fabric, with long straps sewn into the corners. The lower straps are tied at the mother's waist so that the square supports the child's back, after which, with the help of the upper straps, the child is fixed in the chosen position on the mother's stomach, thigh or back.

The advantages of May-slings include their rather "technogenic" appearance; the fact that they, like scarf slings, are worn on two shoulders, as well as the possibility of a greater variety in the choice of fabric for sewing than other types of slings.

The disadvantages of the May-sling include the fact that in the May-sling, although it is possible to put the baby in a horizontal "cradle", not all mothers can breastfeed in a horizontal position, and also the May-sling has the disadvantage of a sling- scarf, namely long straps, which, when tied on the street, get dirty on the ground.
It turns out that on the one hand, each sling can be universal (that is, used from birth up to two or three years), but at the same time ideal no sling. Each sling has its advantages and disadvantages, which compensate each other in different life situations.

How to choose a sling?

Let's figure out which sling is right for you!

The choice of a sling depends on the needs of the mother, as well as the age, weight and nature of the child.

If you plan to use the sling only at home (for example, to rock your baby, or to often take him in your arms while doing household chores), then a sling with rings will suit you. From a sling with rings, it is easiest to shift the baby to bed without waking. It is enough for mom to bend over the bed with the baby in the sling, loosen the sling a little and “emerge” from it. The baby won't even wake up!

However, in a sling with rings, the mother usually only one hand is free, with the other hand it is necessary to support the child. Therefore, if you have a very “tame” child, a sling scarf or may sling is more suitable for household chores.

If you are going to use the sling only outdoors (shopping, traveling on business on public transport, hiking), then a sling scarf or may sling will suit you, because in they best distribute the weight of the child. In the sling-scarf there is also an opportunity to wrap the baby's head under one of the scarf panels if he fell asleep on the way. To sleep in a May-sling, you need a special headrest.

If you are confused by the somewhat "ethnic" look of a sling-scarf, a my-sling will suit you. However, the May Sling's adjustment options are not as wide as those of the Scarf Sling, and it is less convenient to carry a child in it for a long time (for example, if a specific May Sling model does not have a headrest, a sleeping baby will have to support his head with his hand). But the May-sling certainly wins over the scarf-sling due to its appearance. It is also very comfortable in a May-sling. but carry the babyon your back.

For a newborn, the best fit is a sling, which has the ability to use a horizontal position, as well as the ability to quickly transfer the child from a horizontal position to a vertical support. Ring sling for newborns is ideal. For newborns, you can also use a sling scarf, but in order to shift a sleeping child from a sling scarf to bed, you need to unwind almost the entire structure - so shifting the baby without waking up, mothers do not learn right away, but this is not always required : many people are quite satisfied with carrying a sleeping baby on themselves, especially since it is very easy due to the good weight distribution in the sling-scarf.

After 2-3 months the baby becomes harder and harder to carry on one shoulder every day, so it will be more convenient to use a sling scarf or may-sling, in which the weight is distributed on both shoulders, back and lower back.

After a year the child usually likes to walk, but cannot walk much. Therefore, at this age, it is convenient to take a sling with rings, a fast sling or a hipsit with you for walks in order to put the baby on the hip or on the back for a while, and then again easily and quickly take it out and allow it to continue walking with its legs. But if a mother needs to travel with the baby for a long time on business, then a sling scarf is indispensable: it will be easier to carry the baby in it. However, if a mother plans to rock her baby for a daytime sleep during a trip, and then put him out of the sling (for example, when visiting), it makes sense to take a sling with rings “to sleep”. If laying out of the sling is not planned, then again a sling scarf or may-sling will be more convenient, and the baby may well sleep vertically in the sling, resting his head on his mother's chest.

After a year, it also makes more sense to carry the baby on your back. May-sling or a short sling scarf is suitable for this.

Child's personality also matters in choosing a sling. If the child is fidgety, and “jumps” on the handles, then from the handles, then it will be convenient to use a sling with rings, a fast sling or a backpack with him. If the child, on the contrary, is very tame, then he can “ride” on his mother for hours, and, of course, it will be more convenient to wear him in a sling-scarf or my-sling.

Many moms have all three types of slings: sling with rings for home or for safety while hiking, sling-scarf for long trips and May-sling for wearing on the back and "on the way out" '.

For a newborn baby it is better to have two slings: the second in case the first one is in the wash. That is, of course, if you don't have an automatic dryer.

What to look for when choosing a sling manufacturer and how to choose the right sling size?

Slings with rings

When choosing a sling with rings, pay attention to the fact that the rings are large: 6-8 cm in diameter for metal rings and 8-9 cm in diameter for plastic (nylon) rings. If you do not have a centimeter handy, 7 cm is about the width of the palm of your hand.

Rings must be strong. This means that they should not bend in the hand, much less break. Be sure to check this point before buying a sling.

The size of the rings also depends on the material. For coarse calico, linen and other thin materials, the diameter of the rings can be 6-7 cm. For jeans, corduroy, fleece, as well as for two-layer slings - 8-9 cm. That is, the thicker the fabric, the larger the rings should be.</ p>

Rings less than 6 cm in diameter are not suitable for a sling, since a sling with small rings is inconvenient to adjust, and it is almost impossible to tighten the sides separately - and this is the most important thing in a sling with rings.

Pay attention to the left photo. The baby is on the mother's hip, the upper side of the sling is pulled up. The whole body of the baby is tightly pressed against the mother, the baby does not “hang” in the sling, but is in an orthopedically correct position: its weight is evenly distributed on the hips and all parts of the back.
times due to the fact that the rings of the sling are small and do not allow the sides to be adjusted separately). Here the child is already quite large, so this position is rather inconvenient for the mother - she has to lean to the side in order to maintain her balance. And for a baby up to six months in this position, the back will sag, which will entail an unhealthy load on the spine.

In this regard, I would like to note such a variety of slings with rings as slings on carabiners (sling bags), where the fastening element is a belt and a carabiner (or buckle). In such slings, the adjustment of the sides is provided by rubber bands or laces. Outwardly, such slings look more “technogenic” than ordinary slings with rings, but the design itself is not very successful. Adjusting each of the sides with a cord allows you to tighten the side itself, but in the central part the sling will sag, which again It is not good for a child, since there is no uniform back support in all parts of the spine.

It is also important that the ring sling is not too big for you. When trying on a sling with rings, pay attention to the fact that the edges of the sides should not reach the rings: the play should be 3-10 cm, otherwise it will be impossible to tighten the sling so that both you and the baby are comfortable. Manufacturers usually indicate what sizes different sizes of slings are suitable for. If you are a borderline size, it is better to take a smaller size sling. If you want a sling with rings to fit both mom and dad (and mom and dad are of different builds), buy a sling without sides.

As for the material, if you are buying a sling for the first time, it is better for a newborn not to invent anything. No fancy fabrics! Best of all, simple calico. Firstly, 100% cotton will suit the baby, he is not allergic, and secondly, if the mother has no experience in wearing slings, then coarse calico is best for her. The calico sling is soft and skin-friendly, the calico does not slip in the rings (unlike some types of satin), but the sling is easily adjustable.

Scarf Slings

Slings-scarves are non-stretch (woven) and knitted.

For a newborn baby, both a non-stretching scarf made of soft, loose jacquard fabric or diagonal (twill) weaving fabric, as well as a sling scarf made of natural knitwear, are suitable. A knitted sling scarf fits the baby and mother's shoulders softer, but with age the child becomes heavier, and it will be uncomfortable to wear it in a knitted scarf, as the fabric will stretch and sag under the weight of the child. If you do not plan to buy two sling-scarves (one for the newborn period, the other later), it is better to immediately buy a good non-stretch scarf, it is also comfortable for newborns to wear in it.

Pay attention to the fabric. In non-stretching slings-scarves, it is also different. A completely inelastic fabric, such as coarse calico, with a heavy child will cut the mother’s shoulders; she also does not fit well in the “cradle” position for newborns. Good fabrics (for example, with a diagonal weave or soft jacquard) do not stretch at all in length, can stretch slightly in width and stretch well diagonally. Threads in such fabrics easily move relative to each other.

This free movement of the threads guarantees a good and soft fit, the fabric will not cut into the mother's shoulders, but will follow the contours of the body of the mother and child.

The width of the sling-scarf depends on the type of fabric from which it is sewn:

  • stretch fabrics (knitwear, fleece) - 50-60 cm;
  • non-stretch fabrics (twill weave, jacquard) - 60-80 cm.

The size of the sling-scarf is determined by its length:

  • if you wear size 40-44, 400-450 cm will suit you;
  • for sizes 46-50, the optimal length is 450-500 cm;
  • For sizes over 52, a length of 500-600 cm will be required.

If you have a borderline size, it is better to take a sling scarf of a larger size (length). This will allow you to use more different positions, and the ends of the sling-scarf, if they are too long, can be wrapped a second time around the waist, which will give additional support for the lower back.

There is also such a "formula" for determining the length of a sling-scarf. For most women, it works. Attribute 0 to the right of the clothing size (Russian) - it will turn out (surprisingly!) The length of the scarf in centimeters. For example, if you have a size 46, you need a sling scarf 460 cm long, and if you are 52, then 520 cm.

Mai Slings

May sling straps usually come in a standard length of about 2 meters and fit most sizes. If your size is larger than 52, it makes sense to order straps 20-30 cm longer than standard.

The width of the "back" of the May-sling is from 35 to 45 cm. It is not so important when wearing children of different ages, but do not forget that the older the child, the greater the distance from knee to knee, and the wider the may-sling should be. If your child is still small, and the May-sling is too big in width, you can not hang the legs from the knees down, but put them in the circumference of the mother's waist (as African women do when wearing their children in traditional scarves).

The height of the "back" varies between 45-55 cm. If your child prefers to keep his hands outside, then a low may-sling will suit you, but if your child likes to be wrapped in a sling with his hands, then a tall one will suit you. If the May Sling is too tall for your baby, you can easily shorten the back by twisting it around the bottom strap before putting on the May Sling.

If your child is less than six months old or if you plan to use a May-sling for walking and sleeping a child on the street, choose a model with a headrest, it will support the head of a sleeping baby and free your hands.

What to do if the child does not want to sit in the sling?

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the sling is not needed for the child to “sit” there ". And not even at all in order to "carry a child"! Although, of course, this is the most common phrase used in relation to slings ... The main idea is not at all to carry the child in a sling (like in a bag), but to use the sling as support instead of mother's hands or in addition to mother's hands.

Based on this, when putting on the sling, you need to hold the baby in the position in which you usually hold him in your arms, and gradually change the holding hand to the fabric of the sling. Well, and tighten the sling in the process. And of course, it is important not to forget at this moment to walk or at least squat a little, dance - that is, by moving the child away from the fact that something is changing, and instead of your hands, the sling fabric is already holding him. Over time, the baby will get used to the sling, and such tricks will not be required.

Remember: if your baby likes to be held in your arms, then he will like it in a sling too! It's the same thing. With the correct use of the sling, the baby in the sling is located in the same position as the mother in her arms.

Something not working?

Of course, when you first start using a sling, it is good to enlist the help of a sling consultant or an experienced sling user. Maybe such a “slingomom” lives on your street or in a neighboring yard, but you don’t know about it?

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