Some Ring Sling tips and tricks

We often get questions at our meetings or in our local online group about difficulties and tips when using ring slings.  Sometimes it’s just a quick adjustment or two that makes all the difference in the world.

Some or all of the following tips MAY help you if you’re struggling with getting a ring sling on comfortably for you and your babe.   These tips are for a baby being worn legs out (not legs in froggy style) facing in toward the caregiver in a chest to chest or tummy to tummy position, not a cradled position.  These tips also apply for an older child who is in a hip carry position.  We recommend keeping the baby in an upright position unless the baby is actively nursing. 

A younger baby with legs out will be in an even more exaggerated position than you’d see with an older baby or toddler, with knees not as spread out, but higher above the tush (think of keeping the knees up high, not out wide).  The goal is to mimic their natural fetal/ young baby position, or the position that you would naturally carry the child in.  The ring sling is just a tool to help keep babe in their natural position more easily.

.IMG_0190

Some things you can try

Note, some of these tips and tricks say left/right. They were written with the idea of a ring sling with the rings on the right shoulder. If you’re putting the rings on the left side, it’s the opposite.  We’re going to call the baby/child “her” for the sake of consistency.

  1. Before you put her in, set it up- check that it’s loose enough that you can pop her in, but doesn’t have a ton of excess room.

  2. Place the rings on the upper part of your shoulder, near the outside (i.e. not close to your neck, if it’s too close to your neck you may find it rides to your neck when you tighten).

  3. Spread it wide across your back, it will help better distribute her weight.

  4. Tighten it from your back to your elbow (what this does is make it more snug before adjusting… otherwise when you pull the rings they’ll end up at your bellybutton).

  5. When you place her in the sling, pull the material snug across her back towards the rings so the slack is near the rings.

  6. To help get a deep seat, you can take your right hand and reach under the rings, to her belly.  Reach down and grab the material and pull it up as high as you can between you and her- to her bellybutton if possible.  Either now, or as you are tightening, if you lean forward a little and wiggle a bit, you can help get the babies tush into a really deep seat.  You will still need to support the babe while doing this.

  7. When you start to tighten, instead of giving the sling one huge yank, pull it close to the rings- at the top rail (the rail near her neck), middle in 1-3 spots across, and bottom rail (rail near her legs). Repeat as needed. If you give it strong pulls you’re likely to have the material bunch up in the rings and have difficulty tightening.

  8. When tightening, pull the top rail area out to the front and center of your body, and the bottom rail out to the front and to the right of you (if you get the idea).

  9. If it seems like the material is hard to pull through the rings take your left and and very gently lift her up, just a touch, so her weight isn’t working against you tightening the rings.

  10. If you see an area that is still loose (let’s say the top and bottom rails are tight but there is a loose area at her back- find the area of the tail that correlates to that area (i.e. the middle) and just tighten that area.

  11. Goal is to have the rings in the corsage area of your chest. If it ends up higher or lower, that’s fine if it’s comfortable.  If you’re short, there might not seem like a lot of room between baby/rings/your shoulder, and unless you plan to grow, there’s not much you can do about that.

  12. The goal is a deep seat, with her seat lower than her knees.  If she a little older, and has good head and neck control, she can   keep her arms in or out if she is awake.  Try and give the knees/feet an “up and in”.  This is where you can gently push their legs/feet up into a more deep squat position.  It will help give them a better seat and also increase their comfort.  Check to make sure you still have good knee to knee coverage of the sling.  With a nice deep seat, this should not be a problem.

  13. You can use the tail behind her head to make little pillow if she falls asleep by rolling it behind her head in the top rail.

  14. If you find that the rings are a little lower than you like (or your tail is long) you can wrap the tail through/around the rings to make it more comfy if she happens to be close. As long as the rings are laying relatively flat and comfy, it’s fine.

  15. A lot of babes fuss or cry if they don’t have a good seat or the RS isn’t high enough/snug enough. It is a game between figuring out tight enough (to be comfy) and too tight (and having certain brands ride off your shoulder and up your neck or loosing their seat).

  16. If you over-tighten the bottom (bum) rail, there will be less support for her legs and tush, and she may try to straighten her legs or get out.

  17. If you are using a ring sling that has a wider shoulder, and you find you have restricted mobility in your arm (the side that the rings are on) that you don’t like, there are tips for that as well.   You can take the fabric on your arm, and fold it back up into a “cup” position.  You will still have a large spread across your back to help distribute weight, but will have more mobility from that arm.

  18. If you have a babe who just has a onesie on, a pair of baby leg warmers or socks (such as Babylegs or RockaThigh baby socks) can be a great way to keep their legs covered, and also give a little cushion between the back of their knees and the carrier.

ALL OF THESE TIPS AREN’T NECESSARY EVERY TIME.  THESE ARE JUST SOME ITEMS YOU CAN TRY IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS!

Some caregivers find they can just pop their babe in, and are comfy from the start.  And though this list seems long and a bit scary, it’s really just to help troubleshoot if you are having difficulties.

Two week old newborn in a Maya Wrap Ring Sling

Two week old newborn in a Maya Wrap Ring Sling- Note the DEEP seat and that the bottom of the tush is almost at the babies ankles.

Using a ring sling is such a great skill to learn.  It can be a real lifesaver for your back and hip, especially during the toddler years, when your little one wants to get up and down and up and down all day long.  As they get older and you get more experienced, it really takes just a few seconds to get them in and be on your way.

If you have a babe who is fussy even though you feel like the ring sling is on in a comfortable position, some of the general carrying tips we talk about at meetings are also good to keep in mind:

  1. Make sure she isn’t hungry.

  2. Make sure her diaper is clean.

  3. Make sure her clothes are long enough (sometimes with one piece outfits, when they bend their legs, the one piece footed clothes can be too tight on their feet and make them uncomfortable).

  4. Bounce a bit while getting her in.

  5. Take a walk, outside if the weather allows.

  6. Keep trying, even if she only likes it for a few minutes at a time at first.

Good luck on your ring sing journey!  This post contains a lot of information, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be happy you kept trying. 🙂

326973_3159613272302_415702065_o-1

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Some Ring Sling tips and tricks

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s