What’s the best sling?

The world of babywearing can be quite overwhelming, full of weird, wonderful and frankly mind-boggling slings. Confused parents ask me all the time which sling is the best sling and what they should buy. I’m going to let you on a big secret: there is no ‘best’ sling. Nope. It doesn’t exist. Zero, nada! It’s not the sling that your mate gave you or all your NCT mates rave on about, it’s not the one you see everybody else using, the one that the in-laws bought you, that the folks in John Lewis tried to sell you, the one that is heavily marketed to you on Instagram.

And so this is why it’s important to come and try slings on before you buy. And that’s why there are sling libraries with trained and experienced people like me who will guide you. Defo don’t go for a 1 way stretchy wrap as a first wrap, go for a 2 way stretchy that is easier to work with. Defo don’t go for the cheap one in Lidl that looks uncomfortable for the baby, the one every other mum is selling on the marketplace on Facebook, or the 300 quid one some influencers are trying to sell you. Defo come see me, I love to make happy parents and a happy baby!! I will make sure you have a safe, hip-healthy and suitable-for-your needs sling.

There will be 1 or 2 slings that will work best for your family. I say 1 or 2 because couples often find that they don’t like the same sling. Slings are like shoes, they are very personal and not all slings fit all babies and all body types, and even in a couple, both parents won’t like the same sling. So let us guide you on your journey and help you find ‘the’ sling/s.

There are lots of different types of slings, sub-types, hybrid and even unique ones! We can break them down into main categories:

Stretchy wraps are a long piece of cotton jersey that stretches length- and widthwise. You tie them in a manner where you put your baby in and out without having to re-tie. A stretchy wrap offers a gentle bounce that reproduces the uterine environment and most babies like this feeling. Suitable from birth and last a few months.

Stretchy wrap hybrids are slings that are made with stretchy wrap materials and aims to reproduce the same carry and feeling a stretchy wrap offers but is pre-tied and tightened through a ring system, e.g., Close Caboo. Suitable from birth and last a few months.

Buckle Carriers consist of a buckled waistbelt, a front panel and 2 buckled shoulder straps. They are quick and easy to use and require no tying. There are lots of different brands that make buckle carriers and they all offer different types of adjustments and support. Always go for wide-based carrier that will support your baby from knee-to-knee to promote good, supportive positioning in the carrier and promote healthy hip development. Not all carriers fit everybody, so it’s important to try some on with expert support. Most are suitable from birth but not all, most will last into toddlerhood but you will likely have to move to a toddler carrier as your baby grows.

Woven wraps are a long piece of fabric machine or hand woven for the purpose carrying a baby in. They don’t stretch and are a long-lasting carrying option. Most are made of cotton, but the fibres used to weave them vary. They come in lots of different lengths (or ‘sizes’), thicknesses, types of weave to offer different wrapping qualities, colours and patterns. Suitable from birth and last years.

Meh Dais and Podaeghis are Asian-style slings made out of woven wrap fabric or other types of fabric. They are made of a main panel (a rectangle piece of fabric), a set of shoulder straps and a waistband for Meh Dais. You can tie them in different ways to carry your baby. Suitable from birth well into toddlerhood.

Ringslings are essentially a short woven wrap with a pair of steel rings sewn at the end of the wrap. The fabric is secured through the rings to create a pouch where the baby is carried in an upright carry. Suitable from birth well into toddlerhood.

Half Buckle Carriers are very similar to a buckle carrier in terms of their waistbelt but instead of buckled shoulder straps, they have long fabric straps that you tie (just like those on a Meh Dai or Podaeghi) to give a snugglier fit compared to a full buckle carrier. Suitable from birth for most into early toddlerhood.

Pouches are similar to ringslings but are sized and there is no ring tightening systems. They consist of a fabric loop that can be folded in half to make a hammock-like pocket. They are worn on the shoulder across body with baby sitting upright. They are suitable for babies who have good head control all the way through toddlerhood.

Onbuhimos are lightweight, waist-less carriers with a panel that has attached shoulder straps (they look a bit like a rucksack). They are suitable for babies with good head control. They are a great option for quick back carries but also to carry when pregnant as there is not waistbelt.

Always try before you buy! Not all slings fit all babies from birth, and this is particularly true of buckle carriers. Even if your baby is within the lower weight limit, it doesn’t mean it will well.

We have hundreds of slings in the library! We are here to help and just a few clicks away, so get in touch today to book a face-to-face or video consultation. See you soon!

Love, Mel

Help support the sling library! If you have enjoyed this article and would like to support the sling library, we have a GoFundMe campaign. All donations go towards supporting parents in difficult financial situations so that babywearing is accessible to all. Thank you so very much!

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