With 21 parents and their accompanying children, we had a great turnout for our June meeting … our first meeting at Shades Valley Community Church. (We love our new location, by the way, which has plenty of room for us to work as well as some diversions for the kids.)
Abundant Shoulder Styles
We took this opportunity to revisit ring slings, the carriers that most people think of when they hear the term “baby sling.” A ring sling is simply a piece of cloth with two rings attached to one end. The variations on this theme are endless. Fabric can be folded, pleated, fanned or gathered where it attaches to the rings, resulting in different “shoulder styles.” Some popular ring slings with different shoulder styles include the new Maya Wrap with a lightly padded shoulder; the classic Maya Wrap with an accordion fold plus a shoulder cap flap; Zolowear, which has a sleek, fixed shoulder; Chicken Scratch, which has a “hotdog” shoulder; Sleeping Baby Productions, which has a pleated shoulder; Sakura Bloom, which has a gathered shoulder; Kalea Baby, which has a cross between a pleated and gathered shoulder; and the UpMama hybrid pouch/sling, which has a pouch fold with “floating rings.” And there are many more!
For Do-It-Yourselfers, Jan at Sleeping Baby Productions has an excellent collection of instructions. For rings, please use strong rings that are made for slings. Do not use craft rings. They can and will break. The rings at Sling Rings are made for use in slings and are weight tested. They are favorites among sling manufacturers as well as DIYers.
Use, Safety, and Positioning
There are lots of excellent instructions for using ring slings. Zolowear has comprehensive instructions, including videos as well as illustrated text. Make sure to see the Dos and Don’ts in the Troubleshooting Guide. For newborns, M’Liss Seltzer has written a must-read article about proper positioning for the safety and comfort of your baby that we highly recommend.
Why We Love Ring Slings
Ring slings are good general-purpose carriers. They are favorites for breastfeeding, because the tail can be draped over the baby for privacy, and are also loved for quick trips, because they are quick to load and unload. Some people find them ideal for toddlers who want up, and then down, and then up, and then down. (Others find that they need a two-shouldered carrier to comfortably carry a heavy toddler, though.) Now that summer is upon us, a Solarveil or other mesh ring sling might be just the ticket.