Choosing A Sling For Your Newborn

Carrying your baby in a sling or carrier or, as it is commonly called, babywearing has many advantages. 

Babies love close contact with their parents, so slings are the perfect way to fulfil this need while also giving the parent the advantage of being handsfree.  In fact, most parents find their baby cries a lot less in a sling, because they feel secure and are happy when they’re held close and can hear your heartbeat.  Slings are not just for mothers; they are a great way for dads to bond with their baby too!   

Choosing a sling for your newborn may seem daunting, especially as you may well never have tried one before.  This article will look at the different types of slings and carriers and their suitability specifically for newborns.  Remember, however, that this is a general guide and you should always check age and weight requirements with the manufacturer before using any sling or carrier.

Wraps
Wraps can be stretchy or woven.  Both are suitable for newborns but stretchy wraps tend to be easier, especially for beginners, and they are also cheaper.  Woven wraps provide more support so once the baby is older, you would need to switch from a stretchy to a woven wrap.  Wraps are versatile, providing a wide range of ways to carry your baby and they spread the weight between your shoulders which can be more comfortable for the wearer than one shoulder slings.

Pouches
A pouch is an easy carrier to use because you can just put it on and go.  They are also suitable for babies from newborn to toddlers.  Many pouches are not adjustable and so would not be transferable to another caregiver, although there are some adjustable pouches now on the market.  Like ring slings, they do put all of the weight on one shoulder.

Ring Slings
Ring slings are similar to pouches in that they are worn over one shoulder, but they are far more adjustable.  The fabric creates a pouch for the baby and is held in place by two rings, which also provide the adjustments.  The other main advantage of ring slings is that they are easy to breastfeed discreetly in.  

Soft Carriers
Soft carriers can be structured, like the backpack style front or back carriers or unstructured, like the mei tai carrier, a fabric carrier which originated in Asia.  Although some soft carriers can be adjusted for newborns, they are generally more suited to older babies with head control.

Support and Assistance
Babywearing is very popular, and there are many support forums online, where experienced parents share their knowledge.  If you need help tying your sling or want to check you are carrying your baby correctly, most manufacturers have instructional videos on their websites, or a quick YouTube search will show demonstrations of many different ways to carry a newborn with a sling.  

Sling meets are becoming increasingly popular and there may even be one in your area.  Sling meets are a great way to get face to face help from more experienced users and also try different slings before you buy them.  Try looking on http://www.slingmeet.co.uk/ to find out what’s going on near you.