I bloomin' love a good ring sling. Truly and honestly a good ring sling is worth it's weight in gold. Why? They can be a perfect sling for a newborn, all tucked up on your front. They are a perfect sling for a 5 month old who wants to see the world but is too small for a back carry. They are a perfect sling for a toddler who has found their independence (wants to carried one minute and then walk the next). They can be the answer to the school run, jumping out of the car and needing something super quick to use.
They are one of the most popular type of slings which we hire month on month and are especially popular over the summer as they only have one layer of fabric over you and baby. There is a learning curve to getting a ring sling on just right to make it super comfy but it's well worth it.
Here is my guide to getting Ring Slings juuuusst right:
1. When I say good...
When I say a "good" ring sling, I mean a ring sling made from woven fabric. The same type that a woven wrap is made from. I like my ring slings to have NO padding along the rails with non-welded sling rings. Wrap manufacturers often sell ring slings too and if not there are very many awesome companies and WAHM's who specialise in ring sling conversions. (you send them a wrap and they convert it into a ring sling)
2. Fabric blend
In the same way as woven wraps, the fabric choice of ring slings is comprehensive. (have a look here for more information about woven wraps).
I especially love:
Combed cotton and bamboo for the softness (in the library: cotton lenny lamb ring slings, cotton Firespiral ring sling)
Linen and hemp for strength - (in the library: Cotton and linen Natibaby ring sling)
Muslin or Gauze for breathability (in the library: Wrapamore Muslin ring sling)
Do you need to spend a lot on a ring sling? I would say yes and no. You can spend a lot on a ring sling, but you can still buy some great ones at a lower price point. (I don't personally rate the cheapest of cheap ones you can buy on eBay). You can pick up some awesome bargains with lenny lamb or little frog. At the moment I have a stunning Oscha ring sling which is a tri-blend, and utter luxury. Go for what fits your budget, and something you like the look of! If in doubt, come along to a sling meet and try the different options out.
A ring sling is one of the very quickest slings to put on, but it is worth the time and effort to thread the sling properly. Check out the video at the bottom of the blog. How to:
We must pay special attention to the seat of the ring sling. When putting it on, it's really important to get a good seat. What we mean is that:
- the bottom of the fabric of the sling is spread from one of baby's knees to the other
- that the fabric allows baby to be in a seated position
- that baby's bottom is lower than the knees
6. Ring placement
When you have got the rings in the perfect position they will be just below your collar bone. When you first place the sling on, before you put baby in, my tip is to move the rings around to your back about in line wit your shoulder blade. This will allow for the rings and the sling to have movement as you tighten the sling and should end with the rings in the right place. The starting position of the rings will need figuring out for you personally.
7. Tight over your back not pulling your shoulder
Because a ring sling is only a one shouldered carry it is especially important to make sure that it is tightened well. By doing this it will mean the sling is comfortable and supportive even as a one shouldered carry. To offer you the most support, you are looking to make sure the sling is tight across baby's back and tight across your back, but not pulling on your shoulder.
Again, in the same way as a woven wrap the rails refer to the hems of the fabric. The top rail of the ring sling is pulled so it tightens the top of the ring sling, along the baby's shoulders. The bottom rail is pulled so it tightens the bottom of the ring sling, along baby's legs and bottom.
9. Left or right handed, gathered or pleated?
Sometimes, when a ring sling is sold it is labelled as being right or left handed. This is to do with the pattern of the fabric. If it has a picture pattern then there will be a right way up, this will then need to be worn on the right or left shoulder depending on the design. If a ring sling has just a repeating pattern or stripes, it won't matter.
There are two main ways a ring sling is sewn. Either with a gathered or a pleated folding along the rings. It is worth trying out both to see which works for you. I personally prefer a gathered ring sling as I find I can spread the fabric out a bit more around the rings and over my shoulder. See the picture above.
10. Newborn tricks
Normally a ring sling is worn as a hip carry. For a newborn though you can centre the ring sling to your middle so a tiny baby can snuggle on your chest. You can also use the tail of the ring sling and tuck it into the top rail around baby's head to provide a sort of bumper cushion to give baby a little bit more head support.
If you fancy trying a ring sling, come along to our next library meet and have a go! If you're already a fan of ring slings, we'd love to see your favourite pics!