Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Sling it, Mama! #7 Guest Post: Ring slings

Lovely Ali is joining us today from the other side of the pond to share her insights into the ring sling - thanks Ali! 

I am mother to a 16 month old Myra and a Volunteer Babywearing Educator (VBE) with the South Metro Minneapolis chapter of Babywearing International. Our babywearing journey started when she was just days old. In those early days, we used a stretchy wrap, a soft structured carrier (SSC), and, most often, a Baby K'Tan. I loved the K'Tan because it was quick, simple, and folded up nice and small. As Myra got heavier, we hung onto the SSCs and started exploring woven wraps. I started getting involved with a nearby babywearing group a year ago and tried some Mei Tais from the lending library. I was so determined to get the hang of woven wraps and loved my SSC so much, I never really gave ring slings a chance until Myra was about nine months old.
When I finally gave ring slings a try, Myra was mobile and curious. Similar to the K'Tan I had loved so much, the ring sling was simple and small. I can get Myra in or out of it very quickly, which seems to be important at any stage of babywearing. Newborns need to eat and be changed frequently (I will add, nursing in a ring sling is totally do-able!), crawlers want to get down and explore often, and toddlers just can't make up their minds (up, down, up, down, up). It took me a while to figure out exactly what positioning is most comfortable for us, but now it's a very quick process. With a ring sling, little ones can be worn in front (tummy to tummy), hip, cradle, or even in a back carry. I am not comfortable with a back carry in a ring sling for very long, but it's a great option when I am paying for groceries and need to get Myra's little "helpful" hands out of my way for a minute. I keep a ring sling in each of our vehicles and that is what I primarily use when running errands. I can put her in the sling very quickly, bring groceries into the house, then get her down so she can play. I like that it doesn't take longer to get her into the sling than it does to bring in the groceries. I love using the sling in situations where I wish I just had an extra arm, if only for a few minutes (think weddings, buffet line, shopping, loading the car, airports, assisting another child, etc.)

Another perk of ring slings is the price range. One could get a ring sling for $20, or spend hundreds. I have many friends who have made their own from a piece of linen or even a jacquard weave tablecloth. On the other hand, I have other friends who own professionally made ring slings from hand woven wraps. There are also no-sew versions that just require a short wrap or piece of fabric and the rings. The options are endless!

Although it took me 9 months to find ring sling love, I think it's here to stay. I still have a variety of carriers and love them all for different situations, but ring slings have definitely been my carrier of choice lately. I look forward to using a ring sling with a newborn when another baby joins our family...someday!

Ali blogs over here and tweets here. Please do pay her a visit and show her some love!


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