Ring Slings 101: Wearing and adjusting your sling

A ring sling is an amazing way to keep your baby close and your hands free! Just like most any baby carrier, ring slings have a bit of a learning curve. But once you get used to using the sling, it will be like second nature to both you and your child. Watermarked Image Babywearing 03

These instructions should help you to learn how to wear your sling comfortably and safely. If you feel you need more guidance, the very best way to learn how to wear a sling is to talk to an experienced sling user in person. Please feel free to contact me so we can meet up and work out any kinks you may be experiencing!

Most people prefer the rings on the shoulder of the dominant hand. For example, if you’re right handed, you may prefer to wear the rings on your right shoulder. This will result in your child being held on your left hip.

The shoulder of the sling should spread out over your shoulder. The fabric should not ride up against your neck. Once adjusted, the rings should be resting in front of your shoulder, above your chest (imagine where you would pin a corsage).

With the sling on, loosen the fabric to make room for your child.  Personally, I prefer to have the sling quite loose before I put my child in. Many prefer, however, to pre-adjust the sling. The idea behind pre-adjusting is that there will be less tugging on the sling once the child is inside, which can cause the rings to slide down your torso, away from the “corsage position.”

When your child is in the sling in the desired position, you can adjust the sling as needed. Pulling on the top rail will tighten the fabric around your child’s back. Pulling on the bottom rail will tighten the fabric around your child’s bottom and behind their knees.

The most important rules of sling wearing:

  1. Your child’s face should be clear, so that your baby can easily breathe.
  2. Your child’s knees should be bent and a bit higher than his bottom – this is called the “frog position.”
  3. Your child’s bottom should be well supported by the body of the sling, with a little pocket of fabric formed between his bottom and your body, like a hammock.
  4. The fabric should be tightened around your child’s back so he is snugly held to your body.

Again, the best way to learn how to wear a sling is to meet with an experienced sling user in person. If you’re in Nairobi, feel free to contact me to meet up. Or you can check with mom’s groups in your area for babywearing support.

Other online resources:

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