Like many things about parenting,using a baby sling for the first time can be a bit intimidating. Follow these simple recommendations and soon you will be on your ‘babywearing‘ way!
It sounds of obvious but this is the place to start: read the instruction manual or watch the DVD carefully. If you don’t have one, contact the manufacturer or research on line for babywearing videos for your type of baby sling. The baby carrier manufacturer will usually recommend one carry to start with, just stick to that until you’re comfortable with it.
The easiest is to practice with a doll or a teddy bear. Even a cushion would work, or your bump if you’re pregnant.
Start when your baby is relaxed, fed, burped and changed. Don’t wait until your baby is cranky and tired to remember your brand new sling.
Ask a supportive friend to give you a hand, read the instructions for you or just hold the baby while you’re putting on your baby sling.
It can help to practice in front of a mirror, take a look at the photos in the instructions and see how it looks on you. You can also take a photo (front, back and side) of yourself and compare them with the manufacturer’s photos.
For all types of baby slings, there are a few principles to remember:
- Baby should be held high in the baby carrier. You only need to tilt your head forward to kiss her forehead. Your baby’s bottom should never be below your navel.
- Baby should be sitting in the baby sling, not with her legs dangling down. Her thighs should be wide apart in a frog-like position, her knees flexed and higher than her bottom.
- The fabric of the baby sling or the straps of the baby carrier should be spread wide and not twisted. The baby sling should feel snug in order to keep the centre of gravity inside your body. There should be no need to lean forward, back or sideways.
Once your baby carrier is properly worn, you can carry your child for hours without the baby carrier feeling loose or stretched out.
Are you trying a baby sling for the first time? Did this article help? Do you have more questions? We’d love to hear from you if you have more advice for someone trying a baby sling for the first time.