You know I’m a big fan of babywearing from the beginning! Here is a quote from the government’s Healthy Child Programme from the section Birth – one week (repeated throughout the schedule for the first year)
[Health Care Providers should]
“Promote closeness and sensitive, attuned parenting, by encouraging skin-to-skin care and the use of soft baby carriers”
Babywearing from the beginning can help settle, soothe, comfort and ease both baby and parents through the transition from womb to earthside.
There are so very many slings to choose from and a sling library is a great place to start, try some on and get a feel for them. I really recomend doing this before baby is born. Then you can give yourself some time to practise before baby arrives. This really is so beneficial. To me a sling is as important as the car seat! Familiarising yourself with how it works, how to adjust and be comfortable and most importantly, how to carry safely.
Not all slings are newborn suitable, not all slings will last from birth through to toddlerhood. We must pay very special attention to the positioning of a newborn baby in a sling or carrier. Focusing on airway, back support, hip and leg positioning. I am often asked for our most popular newborn sling. Here are my top picks. But do remember that the *best* sling is the one that fits you and your baby.
1. Stretchy Sling
This is a long piece of jersey (sometimes with bamboo). It is used by pre-tying the sling around the wearer and then popping baby into the cross pockets. It is secure, snug and cosy. Tied correctly it can beautifully support a newborn’s curled up position. Most people find these slings are perfect until baby reaches the age where they are more interested in the world and less sleepy and curled up state. Many sling libraries (ours included) offer a free stretchy hire scheme for those early weeks.
TOP TIP: MAKE SURE THE STRETCHY IS TIGHT ENOUGH, THIS CREATES THE SUPPORT NEEDED FOR BABY’S BACK AND ENSURES A PROTECTED AIRWAY.
Our favourite: Joy and Joe organic bamboo stretchy rrp: £40
Similar to a stretchy it is made from stretchy jersey cotton, but rather than having to tie it yourself, it is a pretied sling that you pop on like a tshirt, put baby in and then secure with an additional panel. These are really easy to use, easy to adjust and very comfortable. The down side for me is that you need to use both parts and I fear loosing one part! We find that parents enjoy using the Caboo for a similar amount of time to a stretchy sling.
TOP TIP: PUT THE RINGS TO YOUR WRISTS WHEN YOU GET READY TO PUT IT ON
Our favourite: Organic Close Caboo rrp £70
From birth 5lbs and up
This is a full buckle carrier made using stretchy, soft jersey cotton. It is adjustable at the base of the carrier (to ensure optimal positioning for hips and legs), it is also adjustable along the height of the panel which is super handy to ensure the length of the sling allows complete view of baby’s face. It is easy to use, and those who prefer buckles rather than a tie on carrier this is a great option. It is also suitable for a bigger baby and even for back carrying when baby reaches approxiently 6 months or when sitting unaided.
TOP TIP: PLACE BABY AGAINST YOUR CHEST, SUPPORT WITH ONE HAND AND USE THE OTHER TO BRING THE PANEL OF THE ZENSLING UP AS YOU SETTLE BABY INTO THE CARRIER.
Our favourite: Black and ocean zensling RRP: £84.99
A GOOD woven ring sling is a wonderful way of carrying a tiny baby and will last all the way until toddler hood. It is a one shoulder carry, quick ups, threading fabric through rings to create a seat for baby to sit against you. For a tiny baby tummy to tummy is ideal. The ring sling has a “knack” to it, so really worth practising.
TOP TIP: BEGIN WITH THE RINGS AT ABOUT THE TOP OF YOUR SHOULDER TO ALLOW THEM TO MOE INTO THE OPTIMAL POSITION A YOU TIGHTEN AROUND BABY
Our favourite: Didymos Lisca (so soft)
Another full buckle carrier, but more structured than the Zensling. It has a wonderful adjustable panel to ensure it provides optimal postion for a small baby’s legs and hips (sutable from 4 weeks plus). This carrier will last a good while and comes in lovely patterns. It has a substantial waist band and with the ability to cross the straps it is very comfortable.
TIP: CREATE A DEEPER SEAT TO MAKE SURE THE PANEL HEIGHT IS CORRECT FOR BABY.
Our favourite: https://sling-spot.co.uk/product/isara-baby-carrier-caribbean-dream/
From 4 weeks old
Finally, this list is not exhaustive but just a selection of what we find is most popular in our little part of the world.
Please do come along to a sling meet where you can try on these and many more.
And do check out the following safety information: