Welcome to Slings

Welcome to the wonderful world of slings! You may be new to carrying and a bit overwhelmed about the choices available. You may be just starting out with your carrier and not sure if it’s the best or most comfortable option and wonder what else there may be. Read on for more information about how to make babywearing work for you, your baby and your family.


New to slings?

Not sure where to start when it comes to using a sling? This is a common concern among parents who have become convinced of the benefits of carrying their baby but feel a bit all at sea about the huge variety of slings and the confusing jargon in the sling community.

  • There are many positive effects of using a sling with a very young baby; there is much evidence to suggest that skin to skin contact between mother and newborn (especially premature) babies can confer great advantages on both. The baby gains assistance with their physiological regulation of breathing and heart rate, temperature control is improved, and the contact helps to establish breastfeeding and promote more rapid growth compared to babies who are not held as close for as long. Furthermore, the baby will feel more secure in his developing relationship with his caregiver, due to the time spent in close contact.
  • The caregiver enjoys positive effects too; he/she may find themselves more able to bond with their baby, due to the increased release of oxytocin, and post-natal depression may be reduced. Being able to be “hands-free” can really make a difference to a family’s ability to get around with their new baby, keeping them active and engaging with normal life.
  • There are also many positive effects for society; such as a reduced burden of mental health and greater fitness.

Firstly, make sure you choose a sling that allows you to carry safely.

This is especially important with young babies who are still small and in need of “fourth trimester” nurturing. In summary, a baby’s airway should be supported with the head well aligned with the spine, thereby avoiding curled-up into ball positions that could impair breathing.

The safest place for a baby is upright, facing his parent, just as they are when carried in arms. His head should be resting against his parent’s upper chest, close enough to kiss, and supported snugly all around to avoid any slumping. Babies naturally adopt a squat position with a slightly curved lower back (you can see this in action when you lay your baby down to change his nappy).

Ergonomic slings will respect this and carry a baby in a seated position, with his knees above his bottom. By bringing knees up, babies’ hips are rotated and do not need to be spread very wide to be resting comfortably, as the image shows. Narrow-based carriers (sold by high-street shops and online) are not unsafe, but they are less ideal and may not be as comfortable for a baby to rest in as one that has a wider seat and encourages the knees to be raised.

Such hip-healthy positioning also helps to stabilise a baby’s back and protects the airway, as it reduces the amount of backward head lolling and uncomfortable straightening of a baby’s curved spine.

Click the link to read more about safe positioning in a sling and click here for information about healthy hip positioning.

This baby has just had her stretchy wrap removed; the sling has held her in the natural "in- arms" position

Safe, anatomically correct and comfortable positioning in arms and in a carrier


Secondly, choose a sling that is comfortable

Many parents find their high-street carriers can be less comfortable than they hoped, especially as their baby grows, and may stop using a sling at all.

Good slings have been designed to mimic in-arms comfortable carrying as much as possible, and many people find they are able to enjoy long walks with their children, up to pre-school age, with such an ergonomic carrier.

Broad weight distribution across the parent’s body matters; a child who is able to snuggle in and shift their weight closer to their parent’s centre of gravity will feel a lot lighter than one who is held in a stiff pocket, or held lower down and facing out (thus pulling away from the parent).

This applies in front, hip and back carries equally. Positioning makes a great deal of difference to your child’s and your experience of the sling, and is the most important factor in how comfortable it is.

You can make your high street carrier more comfortable in a variety of ways, for example by ensuring your baby is higher up on your chest, held snugly, and using a scarf to redistribute the weight. Your baby should be held snugly enough not to swing free when you lean forwards.

Features like the type of shoulder strap (wide or narrow, those that cross over on the back versus those that are more like rucksack straps), the shape and sturdiness of the waistband, and the type of fabric used can also make a considerable difference. It is always worth trying before you buy, and there are many sling libraries around the country that can help you do this. The Sling Pages has a full list for you to check your local resources.

"Scarf hack" for narrow based carriers


Thirdly, think about what kind of sling may suit you and your family best


Stretchy Wrap

If you have a newborn or a baby under six months, most people will start with a stretchy wrap. This is usually a long piece of jersey style elastic fabric that is between 4 and 5 metres long, and can be wrapped around your body to create a snug pocket your baby can nestle into. Depending on the quality of the fabric, the stretchy wrap is usually used up to six months. It is often worth investing a little more for higher quality.

One size (usually) fits all, and it can be tied on and left on all day for convenience, popping baby in and out with ease without needing to take the sling off each time, many parents don’t realise this. It is possible to use the stretchy wrap as a breastfeeding aid, with care and attention to baby’s airway.

You can read more about stretchy wraps here, including how to use it well.

Close Caboo Carrier

This is a slightly more structured and less stretchy variant of a stretchy wrap, with a little less flexibility. It is put on, adjusted carefully, and then baby is popped into each of the cross passes on the front. The fabric can be tightened through the rings to achieve a snug fit. The Close Carrier can be used as a breastfeeding aid if required, with care and attention to baby’s airway, and most people will find it supportive up to three to four months.

Ring Slings

This is a piece of woven fabric which has one end sewn securely into two strong rings. They are worn cuppring one shoulder with the child sitting in a pouch on the opposite side of the parent’s body, with the loose end of the fabric threaded through the rings in such a way that the tension holds the fabric firmly and the weight is distributed across the shoulder and back.
They have the advantage of being lightweight and (once the knack is gained), quick to put on and take off. They can be very useful for those who need to be able to carry their child on the hip, or need something that offers the child a good viewpoint in all directions.

Ring slings made of woven fabric and with no padded rails are usually the best option, and shoulder style (pleated or gathered) is a very personal choice. They can be used from birth to toddlerhood, and it can be easy to breastfeed in a ring sling, with the appropriate attention paid to airway and positioning.

Hip carriers

Pouches are another kind of hip carrier which can be very simple, but need to be fitted to size; they can be a risk for babies under 3months if used badly.

The Scootababy is a buckled hip carrier with a waistband which can be used from approximately four months and up into toddlerhood.

Carrying aids and hip seats can make hip carrying easier but are not hands-free.

You can read more about ring slings and hip carriers here and your local sling library will be able to help too.

Woven Wraps

Woven wraps are excellent choices if you want great comfort and longevity. They can be used from birth to toddlerhood and beyond. Woven wraps are long parallelogram shaped pieces of fabric, anything from 2 to 7m long.

They are woven in a particular way to provide gentle all-around pressure, supportive but still soft and mouldable. Most woven wraps are made of cotton, some may contain other fibres such as linen or hemp, for extra support, and come in many different colours and designs.

Many women around the world use local woven cloths for many purposes as well as for child-carrying. These cloths and woven wraps feel very different from the fabrics you might find in a haberdashery shop; these are more likely to fray and tear.

Many people begin with a 4.6m wrap (known as a size 6) and learn a carry known as the Front Wrap Cross Carry. They can take a little practice but they allow a great degree of adjustability and weight distribution around the body. There are numerous ways to tie the same wrap, so they can be used on the front, hip or back at the appropriate ages. Your local sling and carrier consultant or sling library will be able to get you started!

Upright breastfeeding is possible, if done safely with the appropriate attention paid to airway protection.

You can read more about woven wraps here.

Meh Dai/Bei Dai (formerly known as Mei Tai) Carriers and variants (half buckles, onbuhimos, etc)

These are Asian inspired carriers made of soft fabric, and are popular with those who appreciate the mouldability and support of woven wraps but need something with more structure, or speed of use.

They consist of a fabric panel that has two straps at the base which are tied or buckled securely around the waist, and two straps from the top of the panel which can be wrapped around the parent and baby to ensure a snug and comfortable fit. Baby sits in the pouch created by the panel, and the long straps allow a great degree of adjustability to all shapes and sizes. They can be worn on the front, hip and back at the appropriate ages, and upright breastfeeding is often possible, if done safely with the relevant attention paid to airway protection.

Your local sling library should have a few of these to try out.

You can read more about meh dais and their variants here.

Full Buckle Carriers

If you’re not sure about tying fabric, a good option is a full buckle carrier, which has a buckle on the waistband, and the shoulder straps buckle into the panel at the sides. Baby is seated facing the parent, inside a supportive pouch that supports them widely across the base from one knee to the other.

Waistband types vary, from the minimal to the heavily padded, and people’s preferences vary enormously. Some shoulder straps cross over on the back when baby is on the front, others are fixed into a rucksack style. The shape of adult and baby together is very individual, as is the health of the adult’s back, so what suits one pairing will not suit another. More padding does not automatically mean “better” or more comfortable, and those with back pain will not always need heavily structured slings. Good posture and general back health are important – read more about this here.

Buckle carriers can be very quick and simple to use. Often, a little practice to get the straps and positioning optimally adjusted is well worth it. Most good full buckles fit well from three months upwards; some can be adapted for younger babies by rolling the panel or by using inserts to keep baby snug, high up and visible. Many carriers will last into early toddlerhood, and some beyond that, depending on design.

Many mums find that breastfeeding in the buckle carrier is possible, if done safely with the relevant attention paid to airway protection. Most can be used on the back once babies have grown.

Some buckle carriers will allow baby to face the world. This can be great, when done safely and responsively. It is recommended only from four months upwards, not for sleeping in to protect the airway, and only for short periods of time. This is due to the reduced opportunity baby has to see and interact with his parent and learn about the world based on his parent’s response to it – this is known as social referencing. There is also reduced hip and leg support from the narrow base which can be an issue in some circumstances, as well as less comfortable for child and parent. Carriers that provide hip healthy positions facing out are generally preferred. (read more about facing out here.)

You can read more about buckle carriers here.


Fifthly, enjoy your sling and let the world see it!

Why not share your enjoyment with the parents you meet so they can discover slings too? We all carry our babies, some in arms, some in high street carriers, some in wraps, some in ring slings, some in meh dais, some in buckles. We all learn from each other; encouragement is always more productive than criticism!

 

Here is a lovely article from Ellie at Peekaboo Slings about the importance of no judgment; “We want to normalise babywearing and promote carrying your children close – put bluntly, we don’t care about the rest”.

Fourthly, be aware of the changing needs of your baby

The weather conditions may change how you carry your baby; being aware of the heat and the sun, or the cold and the rain may affect your choice of sling and your clothing.

As your baby grows, her own needs will change. She may want to sleep less and look around more. She may prefer hip carries, or even back carries, so she can see into the world into which she is being carried. As she gets heavier, the carrier you began with may begin to feel less supportive for you and for her; for many this marks a move towards “toddler-worthy” carriers. This may be different ways of tying your woven wrap, learning how to adjust the straps on your meh dai to ensure knee to knee support, or moving up to a bigger, toddler-sized (or even preschooler!) carrier when you need to. Your “baby” sized carrier will often last a lot longer than you think.

You will not spoil your baby or make him clingy by carrying him as he grows. Big kids need cuddles too – loving contact is vital to our emotional health and security, from cradle to grave. You can read more about carrying older children here, and your local sling library or consultant should be able to help you make the most of your carrier.


Choosing a sling

How to Choose a Sling

I have met thousands of parents over the years, wanting help with choosing a sling. It’s fantastic to support them in their desire to carry their child close, with all the great things this will bring the whole family. For many, they can feel utterly overwhelmed by the huge range of options on offer (see here for a quick introduction to carrying, and here for a quick overview of the major types of sling).

Very often, they will ask me what I would recommend.. and this is a very hard question to answer, one that I usually respond to with more questions! Everyone’s choice of carrier is unique for themselves; and their initial choice will often change as they try things out.


Initially, when it comes to choosing a sling,

many people will look for a carrier that isn’t especially expensive, to see “if they get on with carrying.” Others will pick something that has been marketed by a mass-manufacturer in mainstream stores or at trade shows as being the best option available, or will choose something for the specific features listed, such as the ability to carry a baby in multiple positions, or being described as “the best”. Some may have been given carriers by their friends from several years ago (often hardly used “as it just didn’t work for us”), or bagged some ultra-cheap ones on Ebay.

This can sometimes lead to problems, as such carriers may not have been specifically designed to work with parent and child anatomy and can thus often be uncomfortable after only a short time. They may be worn too loose or baby may be too low, causing back pain from the strain of the carrying or the hunching that can ensue (as well as potentially posing an airway risk). This can lead to a belief that that baby is too heavy or that the parent isn’t strong enough (neither is usually true!) and carrying journeys come to a premature end. At this point, those who want to make carrying work for them will often look for support from someone like me to find something that works. Of course, some parents will come straight to us right at the start!

A good carrier should be comfortable for both baby and parent. It should support baby safely, protecting their airway and allowing easy breathing, in just the same way as when you hold them upright on your chest in your arms.

A good carrier should hold baby in the anatomically appropriate spread-squat position that respects infant and child spine physiology. Carrying in this fashion is usually much more comfortable and allows longer duration of sling use than in-arms or in a poorly fitting carrier. (Do remember to build up your carrying muscles day by day. It is exercise and gets easier with repetition, just like training for a race.)


People end up choosing their main carrier for many different reasons – and each individual will have different priorities, which will lead to their own personal choice. When I am asked what I would recommend myself, I often describe a bar chart like the one below, which shows just how variable things can be, and what suits me won’t suit them. Some people will prioritise comfort and longevity over pricing and simplicity; some value customisability and appearance more than pricing or resale value, everyone is different. People may end up choosing alternative carriers that they had originally envisaged, based on their “list of requirements”, due to how the sling feels for baby and parent when it is fitted.


This is why one “size does not fit all” and why many of us in the sling world use an analogy of shoe fitting, jeans or wedding dresses when it comes to trying a carrier. Everyone ends up with something difference. Cheap shoes bought over the internet often don’t fit your feet and can cause blisters. Jimmy Choos, Louboutins or Doc Martens really do not work for everyone, however desirable or pretty or cool they may be. What works for your friend, or for a large number of enthusiastic sling owners on the internet, or an experienced sling professional may not work for you. Current trends or famous brands don’t equate to an instant “perfect fit” and no one carrier can claim to be “the ultimate” or “the best.”

Trying a few things out before you commit yourself to a purchase that can feel expensive is very useful, and it is often worth spending more on a good quality carrier that fits you well, to ensure you and your baby are both comfortable and that it will last for some time. Many people find, however, once they have the right sling, it gets used daily, and the cost per use per day comes down to pence. Don’t be tempted to buy an extremely cheap carrier that may well be a fake (Ergobaby is the best known carrier to have been counterfeited) – always ask for proof of purchase from an authorised retailer when buying second hand. Your child’s safety isn’t worth the risk. Buyer beware!


Once you’ve recognised the benefits of carrying as comfortably as possible, how do you begin to choose?

I highly recommend visiting your local sling library to try out several options; there will be someone there with training and experience to help you navigate the choices. Some people will have a “shopping list” of requirements for their ideal carrier, based on what they have read online or been advocated by a friend or an internet group. Of course, such recommendations can be helpful, but a one-size-fits-all approach rarely works in practice. Every baby-parent dyad is unique, with their own personal stories that influence how they stand, how they carry, how they prefer to be held, for example, and particular features that seemed desirable on paper may not feel quite right in person. If you think your other half is likely to carry too, do bring them along to try things themselves; it is very hard to guess what will work.

For example, some people will love the feel of thicker, more padded waistbands, while others will find them bulky and restrictive. Some will prefer straps that cross over, others find this can ride up to the neck. Some find rucksack style straps hard to do up. Some inserts are simple to use, others more complex, many don’t like inserts at all. Some people find meh dais and woven wraps more comfortable than carriers. It is generally a good idea to have an open mind; you may be surprised to find some things work much better than you had imagined, while others just don’t feel quite right.

Bulky carriers may not necessarily equal greater support or comfort for everyone, and too much bulk can be unhelpful for some. Knowing how to achieve good positioning and how high and tight to have a carrier are very effective tools for successfully distributing weight comfortably.

A good sling librarian or peer supporter will be able to show you how to position your child, as well as tips and tricks that can make things much easier (such as how to put on fiddly straps, or how to make sure your stretchy wrap is tight enough, or how to ensure your ring sling feels secure). Sling libraries are fantastic resources.

Choosing a sling

It is worth being aware that knowledge about sling safety and best practice positioning is improving all the time. Older carriers and older brands may have instructions that are no longer part of current safety guidelines; feeding and sleeping positions in slings are often out of date. Do check with your local sling professional if you have any concerns at all, they will be only too pleased to support you and your child.

Your sling should bring you and your child great enjoyment and should not cause you pain or be uncomfortable. Furthermore, as a family’s familiarity with slings grows and as their baby gets bigger, their choices can change. They may move from things that are especially designed for small babies, or carriers that are as simple as can be, on to things that they find increasingly versatile and comfortable. Babies may wish to change how they are carried, desiring greater visibility, for example. Each parent may have different shapes too, and families may decide to have different carriers for different situations (eg a simple buckled carrier for use on a school run or on a muddy day, or a woven wrap for a long sleep-inducing walk, for example). There are no “perfect” answers, but options that end up being the best choice for the circumstances.


sling safety matters sling safely

Sling Safety Matters - How to Use a Sling Safely

Sling safety matters. Carrying our children in a sling safely can be one of the most precious experiences we ever have as parents or caregivers. There really is something very special about the bond that builds from keeping your child close.

However fantastic it may be, it must be done safely, for your baby’s health and your own. As parents of small babies and bigger ones, one of our greatest priorities is to keep our children safe. A good, correctly fitting sling can be a very helpful tool for this; keeping a child safe while daily life continues.


Sling use for very young babies (birth to four months)

This is becoming increasingly popular around the more developed world; a practice that has in fact been universal for thousands of years. Families that live in extended communities or “villages” are usually able to share well-honed, tried and tested knowledge down the generations and provide easily accessible advice and support. This kind of local support is much harder to come by in our more fragmented societies, which means we often turn to books or the internet to fill the gaps in our knowledge and provide us with reassurance we are doing it right. Unfortunately, sometimes these sources of information are out-of-date, incorrect or even dangerous, and can lead to problems with the use of any kind of baby equipment. Manufacturer instructions can be slow to be updated with new “best-practice” guidelines and YouTube videos not made by professionals can often be misleading and miss out important information.

Many carriers on the market hold babies very low down and loose, which will allow young bodies with little muscle tone (especially during sleep) to slump and end up with nose and mouth pressed against fabric. They often talk about “head support” but use rigid high backed panels that tip baby’s large head and chin forwards onto their chest. This is not wise or responsible.

Very few manufacturers advise about monitoring baby’s temperature in baby carriers; which is important, as overheating is risky.


Why bother with a sling at all if there are any risks?

There are many benefits to using a sling with a very young baby; in fact. many hospitals use them in the practice known as “Kangaroo Care”, and there is much evidence to suggest this skin to skin contact between mother and newborn (especially premature babies) can confer great benefits to both.

The baby gains assistance with their physiological regulation of breathing and heart rates, temperature control is improved, and the contact helps to establish breastfeeding and promote more rapid growth compared to babies who are not held as close for as long. Furthermore, the baby will feel more secure in their developing relationship with his caregiver, due to the time spent in close contact.

The caregiver may find that he/she is able to bond with her baby, due to the increased release of oxytocin, and post-natal depression may be reduced. Being able to be “hands-free” can really make a difference to a family’s ability to get around with their new baby, keeping them active and engaging with normal life.

The key is to know how to use the sling in a safe and secure way, just as you may practise learning to ride a bicycle, or drive a car. Familiarity and practice make perfect. All baby equipment should be used safely, and it is an unfortunate fact that sometimes things are not fit for purpose, or the instructions that come with equipment are inadequate. Babies should be able to breathe easily, be at a comfortable temperature, and held in positions that are healthy and beneficial for them.


How can I ensure I am using my sling safely?

A good sling should mimic the natural, in-arms upright position for carrying babies, ensuring the caregiver can see and sense the baby at all times, and thus able to be quickly aware of and rapidly responsive to any changes.

I see a lot of parents with newborn babies wanting to learn how to use a sling, and the photos and the position diagrams here are the first thing we look at.

in arms M and J shape

Babies grow in tucked positions, and after birth, they tend to maintain this gentle curve to their spines for several months due their lack of muscle tone or strength to their head and neck and upper torso. It is not till they are older that they have the strength to hold their spine in a straightened posture. It is not till they can crawl and stand and are  beginning to walk that their muscles and ligaments hold the spine in the more adult S shape. While babies are young, holding them in their naturally adopted tucked positions is both comfortable for them and also more comfortable for you. As they grow and begin to develop their strength and clinging ability, their needs will change.

Young babies who are seated in the “squat” position or the M shape (looks like a J shape from the side) will have a broader, more stable base to rest on than a narrow perch. This position, with the curve mainly at the base also helps to keep the chest flat against the parent’s body and thus in an expanded position for good airflow.

babywearing safety
10 FAQs

Babies under 3 to 4 months are most at risk of airway compromise when chin can sink onto their chests; so a good carrier will hold baby’s chest snugly against yours to keep the chest cavity uncurled and the chin off the chest. It is important to ensure no slumping and that there is no fabric over the face and there is a good air supply. Babies have a disproportionately large occiput (the back of the skull) and a short neck, along with lower muscle strength and co-ordination compared to adults. Rigid surfaces behind the back of their heads tend to push the skull forwards so chin sinks onto chest and can obstruct airway. This is is why upper back and neck support (no further up than the earlobes) is so important, rather than using headrests which can be risky.

Stabilising a child’s body with a broad base and good upper back and neck support is key in the early months.

This also applies to car seat usage; rigid shells with a hard back holding babies at 40 degree angles can also push a baby’s chin onto their chest and is why it is not recommended for newborns to sleep for long periods in car seats.

Babies should be dressed appropriately to ensure they do not get too warm; people are often surprised how quickly everyone can warm up when in close contact. Please do not use thick, furry or padded snowsuits and dress down. You can always add more layers over the top.

Respectful, anatomically appropriate positioning


ABC is the basic first-aid mnemonic, which can be adapted for safe sling use.

AIRWAY is vital. Babies’ heads are heavy and it takes time for their muscle strength and tone to develop enough to hold up their heads and support their own airways; until then, it is our job as parents to be as caring and careful as we can. A baby’s head should be resting against the caregiver’s chest, with the windpipe straight, not curled over. A good guide is at least two fingers being able to fit between baby’s chin and his chest. Air should be able to circulate freely and the face should not be obscured by fabric, or buried within cleavage. Baby’s cheek can rest against parent’s chest, and hands should be accessible to the mouth for sucking if needed (and not trapped down the side of the sling)

BODY POSITION is important to protect the airway as well. The upper body should be supported against parent’s chest, to ensure no slumping (this is why carriers should be tight, to make sure that babies do not roll up into a ball). The pelvic tuck into the M shape with knees higher than bottom will help support baby’s back as well as being very comfortable. The neck should be supported where possible to avoid backwards lolling but the back of the head should never be tilted forwards (see the image above – babies have a larger occiput, shorter neck and less-strong neck muscles than adults). The pelvic tilt and using a rolled muslin cushion (to rest below the earlobes) can be helpful if babies resist head support. See the diagrams above for the correct shaping.

COMFORT comes last – I would rather see a child in an uncomfortable carrier that was safe, than fast asleep slumped into a tight ball or folded over in a cradle carry, however comfortable it is. However, you and your child are likely to enjoy and appreciate a carrier that is pleasant to use, fits well and does not cause back pain. Here is some advice about how to choose a carrier. Comfort also covers the baby’s temperature; too hot is a problem, so please layer your baby carefully and do not over-dress them.

In summary, the safest position is an upright one that meets the TICKS guidelines – Tight, In View, Close enough to Kiss, Keep Chin off the Chest, Supported Back.

from Babywearing International
from www. babyslingsafety.co.uk

I would never recommend any kind of lying- down position in a carrier, especially where the back of the head is bent forwards to compress the airway and a child is thus not able move its head freely to clear any blockage. Bag slings, ill-fitting pouch slings and other slings used badly can be risky.

Breastfeeding is usually safest done in upright positions for this reason, and a child who falls asleep feeding in a sling should always, always be brought back into this safe upright position, to protect the airway. Babies should never be left to sleep in a cradled position inside a sling; this can be dangerous.

sling safety matters sling safely

What about older babies beyond the early weeks and months when they are developing more control over their bodies?

As babies grow, their needs and abilities change. A baby who can maintain their own airway independently will expect more freedom and will show you this with wriggling and turning. Their wild jerky movements are how they practice muscle control and learn coordination. Movement is important, babies should be given the opportunity to explore their bodies whenever possible. Parents and carers will need to find a happy balance between the need for safe and comfortable transportation, a place to sleep or feed, and their baby’s need to move. It’s worth being aware that prolonged, unchanged positioning isn’t good for anyone and even adults are being encouraged to move every 45 minutes. Children’s bodies are still growing!

Try to change positions, try in arms carrying, swap with other carers, use a buggy, to give children a variety of experiences and positions.

Top Tips

Position matters

  • Your child must be able to breathe safely in the sling. Their chin should not be touching their chest (a good guide is a space two finger-widths or more) or lolling back too far. (Try it yourself! Can you swallow your saliva with your chin too close to your chest or lolling all the way back?)
  • To ensure no slumping, position your child correctly against your body, chest well against yours, and bring the carrier over your baby as you hold them. This video will help you to ensure no slump.
  • A child whose bottom and legs are well supported from knee to knee in a “spread squat” or “M position” is in a more stable position and will be less likely to fold up or slump over.

Know your sling and know your baby

  • Always familiarise yourself with your carrier before you use it for the first time. Ensure you have a good idea how to use it. Some people like to practice with a teddy bear near a bed and with a mirror to see what is happening.
  • Always check your carrier before use for any wear and tear, that all component parts are present and fit for purpose (eg is the chest belt in place? Are any buckles in the right places and not broken, are the seams are intact?)
  • Check your baby is willing to be carried. The only “unsafe” carry is one with an unwilling baby. If baby seems unkeen, can you establish why? For example, is he hungry? Is she wet or dirty? Does he have reflux or does he find certain positions uncomfortable? Does she want to do something else? Is he too hot or cold? Is she in pain? If he or she cries in a sling, read here about some of the many other reasons a baby may express distress.

Dress appropriately

  • Ensure appropriate clothing – the sling may add additional warmth, so layering is a good idea.
  • In cold weather there is a temptation to wrap up extra warm but this needs to be done with care. Too-warm babies are less likely to wake if their breathing slows. Don't be tempted to over-dress!! You can always add more layers over the top if babies really are cold.
  • Many people find baby leggings, gloves on strings, well fitting hats and tie-on warm booties to be especially helpful in the chill. Thin layering is key.
  • Read more about the risks of snowsuits here.
  • Don’t forget to ensure your baby doesn’t get too hot in the summer; protect your baby from sunburn and to keep well hydrated in warm weather.
  • An useful tip, if you dress your baby in a bodysuit with feet, is to choose a larger size than for ordinary wear, as the fabric will ride up a little with the sling and may squash tiny toes.

Keeping Safe in the ColdKeeping Safe in the Sun

Be alert at all times

  • It is important to be aware of your child at all times; if you feel something is different, check! Some people like to carry a small pocket mirror so they can check on children riding on the back.
  • It is wise to consider what physical activity you wish to do while babywearing; will it hinder your awareness of your child in the sling or hamper your ability to deal with any problems? Your baby will be at a height in the sling and may be able to reach for unexpected items – awareness and attention is vital.
  • Be very cautious when engaging in any form of exercise or dance with your baby in the carrier; many manufacturers do not recommend this, and there are risks with young babies and untrained class leaders. Read more about slings and exercise here.
  • Your sling is NOT a substitute for a car seat, and you should not sleep while carrying your baby.
  • Do not carry your baby facing out in a carrier before 3-4months, and avoid letting them sleep facing out. Be responsive to their needs and turn them back to face you when showing signs of weariness. Choose a carrier that will be comfortable for their spines.


Get help and support

There are many, many sling communities in the UK, sling consultants like myself who offer one to one sessions where you can look through the options and practice using a carrier safely, sling libraries with trained peer supporters where you can try out slings and get some advice, and sociable sling meets that will serve a “village” purpose for parents to share their growing knowledge/personal journeys and offer support. Don’t rely on books/pamphlets/the internet – be armed with education and take advantage of the experience you will find in your local resources.
If you are unsure, do find your local sling professional at the Sling Pages – we are always happy to help.


carrying in the heat

Summer Slings and Keeping Safe in The Sun - Carrying in the Heat

Summer slings and keeping safe while carrying in the heat is a hot topic among regular sling users. Carrying in warm weather can be hot and bothersome!

“Can I carry my baby in this heat? We are getting way too hot with our sling!” is a question I am asked many times in the few warmer months we get in the UK. Babies are warm little creatures, and in the summer humidity, they can feel like hot-water bottles on your chest. Many parents worry and stop using their slings in the summer as they don’t enjoy the sweatiness and stickiness that can come with hot-weather babywearing, and then miss the closeness. Sometimes children insist on being carried, so you get hot anyway, or pushchairs aren’t an option.. so what is a parent to do?

First of all, don’t worry. You won’t overheat your baby by carrying him.  Women have been carrying in the heat for generations, in far hotter climes than the UK, they carry their children daily and come to no harm. The body is able to thermoregulate appropriately. However, there are a few things you can do to make the experience more pleasant for you both.

carrying in the heat, summer babywearing

1) You and your baby need to be safe in the increased temperatures.

  • Keep well hydrated. Baby needs to replace all the fluid she is sweating out – don’t underestimate her need to drink or breastfeed in warm weather. Take frequent breaks from your summer activity to check on your child and allow this re-hydration. Breastfeeding mums will need to increase their own fluid intake to compensate for the higher milk demand (breast milk becomes more watery and thirst-quenching in hot weather, amazing!) and everyone will need to drink more. Exclusively breastfed babies can get all their fluid requirements by frequent feeding and are unlikely to need any other fluids if they are feeding well. Bottle fed babies may well need some cool boiled water in addition to their formula. Sweating actually helps to cool the body down, by using the heat beneath the skin to evaporate the moisture. The better hydrated you are, the easier it will be to provide sweat. Adults are better able to thermoregulate than small children, so you can actually help to cool your hot child down by skin to skin.
  • Think about the clothing you’re both wearing. Layers of clothes trap air, and therefore can keep heat in in cold weather.. so in hot weather, wear less layers on yourself, and reduce your child’s clothing too. Natural fabrics tend to be cooler – pure cotton, linen, bamboo allow breathability more than man-made fabrics and tend to cause less stickiness. The sling counts as layers of clothing, so take that into account.
  • Protect your child from sunburn and windburn. Muslins can be draped over exposed legs or heads – but they are very thin and babies may still burn through them if not careful. UV protection covers from Snooze Shade can help for buggies. Hoods can be a mixed blessing in hot weather, as they can trap warm air when closed, thus increasing the temperature inside the carrier and reducing the flow of air around. A light, tie-on broad brimmed hat with neck coverage is often a better option. Clothing can help – lightweight long sleeves can add protection. Some slings provide mechanical protection from the sun, and some have UV protection features as well. Suncreams are an important part of caring for your child’s health (especially if they fall asleep and you are distracted.) Please check your sun cream is appropriate for your baby’s age and skin. Parasols can provide some shade.
  • Cooling aids can be helpful. Some people will place a cool, damp muslin between their bare skin and baby’s, for coolness (others will use dry muslins to wick away sweat). Handheld fans can be very useful to blow cool air around. Sometimes people will use cool-packs to lay against skin every now and again, for brief periods. (I think this is safer than using freezer blocks in carrier pockets next to baby skin. Frozen peas against an ankle begin to hurt after a few moments, and babies may not be able to communicate the source of their discomfort well enough.) Splashing cool water can provide some relief… and regular breaks from the sling in the shade should be part and parcel of ensuring everyone is comfortable.
  • Choose the time of day you use your carrier and consider other means of transport.  It may be useful to just use your carrier in the cool of the morning or for evening strolls rather than carrying in the heat of the midday sun. Parasols may offer some shade as you walk along. Some parents and children may dislike the sweatiness that comes from close contact in slings and may therefore feel cooler with in arms carrying, or in a pushchair. If you use a buggy do make sure that the seat itself isn’t hot from the sun and that you allow plenty of fresh air inside the chair as temperatures can rise very quickly indeed. The sun cover may indeed keep the sun off but can also trap heat and carbon dioxide due to the reduced air circulation, which can be dangerous for children. The Snooze Shade offers a safe way to protect babies in buggies

Such measures may go a long way to making you and your baby feel a lot happier in the sling that you have.

hot weather babywearing and feeding
carrying in the heat warm weather
carrying in the heat

2) Use your current carrier in a way that is more appropriate in hot weather

Please note that each suggestion may not work for every situation. If you are unsure and would appreciate some more help, do get in touch with your local sling consultant/library for some support! The Sling Pages has a comprehensive list of such resources.

Stretchy Wraps

  • When stretchy wraps are used with the classic pre-tied Pocket Wrap Cross Carry, it is best to have three layers across baby. This is because the elastic nature of the sling does not provide enough support with only one layer, and two cross layers can be easily divided by a baby pushing away or arching backwards. If you want to use your pre-tied stretchy in the PWCC or a hybrid stretchy carrier with just two layers, ensure the cross passes are well distributed from knee pit to knee pit and up to the neck on both sides, be well aware of the risks and be vigilant of your baby’s movements, especially if you are likely to be distracted.
  • You could try using a thin gauze scarf in place of the third layer of hybrid stretchy carriers.
  • Front double hammock carries and hip carries (two-layers) are an option. They can be harder to master.
  • Seated sideways carries may reduce the body surface contact.
  • If you are using an old-style stretchy wrap folded in half (six layers), try using it unfolded (three layers).

Woven Wraps

  • Try single layer front carries to reduce the number of layers over baby, such as a kangaroo carry which can have open sides.
  • Try hip carries to reduce the amount of fabric around your body.
  • Try high back carries (this may reduce surface area contact).

Ring Slings/Mesh slings

  • These are often cool anyway. Try a seated sideways position to reduce the amount of surface contact.
  • Try a back carry or a torso carry which may feel cooler.
  • Fold the shoulder fabric that is cupping your shoulder over itself a little to reduce the coverage across your upper back. Flipped shoulders can also help with this.

Meh Dais/Half Buckles

  • Try using your meh dai with the passes unspread across baby’s back (ensure the bunched up passes are not too tight and rubbing into his knee pits) to allow some airflow at the sides.
  • Try a hip or back carry.

Buckle Carriers

  • Try a hip carry, if your carrier has this functionality.
  • Try a back carry if your baby is able to sit unaided (enough upper body strength).

carrying in the heat
carrying in the heat

3) Try a carrier that is more suited to the weather

Your local Sling Library may have a few options you can try out for carrying in the heat – it is always worth investigating to see what works for you and your baby comfort-wise. Sometimes hiring for a holiday may be cheaper than buying a new sling!

Stretchy Wraps

There are several lighter weight stretchy wraps available which will feel cooler than the heavier, thicker brands. Bamboo is breathable and cooler, and look at how thick the fabric is before you buy. Stretchies are wonderful for little babies but need a minimum of two, ideally three layers. Some hybrid carriers have mesh panels which can reduce warmth.

Woven Wraps

Lightweight wraps (usually those with a lower density (the g/m2) are cooler and lighter than thicker and heavier ones) can be very useful. Gauze wraps are thin and cool and good with smaller children. Thin cotton wraps are also an option – but may not be as sturdy for bigger children. There are many supportive, lightweight , breathable cotton wraps around and some brands make special lightweight cotton blends with special fibre types for strength (eg “ice cotton”).

ice cotton wrap

 

There are thick and thin versions of almost every combined blend of woven wrap available,  so it is worth doing some research into the thickness and density. Traditionally, linen, hemp and silk are used to add strength and sturdiness to the softness of cotton, and can be lovely lightweight toddlerworthy wraps, but some blends can be thick and warm. 100% linens are often cool and supportive, and loose weaves can be airier than dense ones. Some people find merino blend wraps cool in warm weather, as the breathable wool wicks moisture to the surface to be carried away.

Learning how to use a shorter wrap may be another way of reducing the amount of fabric wrapped around your body.

There are a few mesh wraps around, such as the Fil’Up, which can be very cool to use.

Ring Slings/Mesh Slings

Ring slings or mesh slings like the MiniSling are a great option in warmer weather, as they can be quick to take on and off and only cover half of your body. They are single layer slings, too. Again, like any woven wrap , the fabric involved can make a difference to its warmth. Lightweight muslin ring slings, 100% linens or thin but strong cotton/blends  are a good option here.  Be cautious about buying thin ring slings from eBay or from non-recognised retailers. There are mesh water ring slings which can be useful in the water, but can also be a little sweaty in dry, hot conditions due to the fabric used. Simple pouches can be a good option as well, if used safely in an upright position, and there are several mesh carrying aids like the Suppori and the Tonga which can help take some of your child’s weight and remain cool. Carrying aids are not hands free, however.

Meh Dais/Half Buckles

Sometimes these can feel warm, if there are multiple layers of fabric in the panel or if the fabric used is thick and dense. Sometimes lighter weight meh dais/half buckles can work well, tied in ways that allow airflow at the sides or with straps not spread across the whole of the parent’s back.

Buckle Carriers

Some buckle carriers are designed for hot weather use, either in the lightness of the fabric they use, the lack of padding, or their design (mesh panels etc). Some people will find rucksack style carriers less warm than cross strap carriers, as there is less padding across the back (when used in front carries). Solarweave fabric is useful and some carriers make a feature of their UV resistant fabric too. Some carriers have lightweight mesh panels or less padded straps, or thin waterproof fabric . Those with thick padded waists may feel just as hot to wear as their standard counterparts.

     

In summary, yes you can carry your baby in hot weather, there are many things you can do to make it more enjoyable for both of you. Be mindful of your baby’s comfort and be careful of both your needs, and you won’t go far wrong!


fuss about facing out

The Fuss about Facing Out

family in spain sunnyOne of the most common “controversies” in the babywearing world is the “fuss about facing out” that is, the issue of babies being carried in facing out positions. This means babies being held with their backs to their carer, facing the world, rather than facing the person who is carrying them. Opinions vary widely among manufacturers and parents and even among professionals. Many babies do very much enjoy being held in positions where they can see the world, so why all the fuss? Is there any need for a fuss at all?

What are the advantages of world-facing?

Babies do enjoy seeing the world, especially once they are a little older and have mastered head control and wish to be more involved with their environment, rather than sleeping or snuggling in as they did when they were very little. Curiosity often coincides with increased motor co-ordination and greater periods of awake and interaction time. This is often the point at which families begin holding their babies in positions that give them greater visibility. Instinctively, they tend to support their little ones in very gentle positions that still ensure good hip and spine support; cradled in arms with chin off chest, or held in semi-seated positions with back curved against parent but hips held in flexion, as if sitting in a bowl.
These positions protect the natural anatomical curve of the immature spine and do not straighten it uncomfortably.

As babies grow, their muscle strength increases and fatiguability decreases, alongside greater coordination and gross motor skills. This allows slowly improving head and neck and upper back control (with less drooping or wild flailing) as their spines gradually begin to uncurl. Furthermore, as their focal length improves and visual acuity rises, the world becomes very interesting! There are stages in baby development when babies seem to arch away in arms a lot; this may be related to a desire to see more, but may also simply be attempts to hone upper back strength, in preparation for turning skills and rolling over. This is very common around ten to twelve weeks. Babies may also arch when they are tired, if they have reflux, if they are frustrated.

In-arms holding is responsive, which is the key issue; if baby makes a protesting movement or noise, the carer responds and moves the baby to help it to become calm again. Also, parental arms get tired and baby is easily moved to another position, this may often be on the shoulder facing parent again for a while. Such reactive carrying in-arms, with changing facing-in and facing-out positions, is of great benefit for honing development and also to encourage learning about the world from a safe and comfortable position.

This all sounds great, so what’s the problem with using a sling for this?

What are the hazards of facing out?

It is important to remember that young babies are not ready for prolonged and intense interaction with a very sensory-overloading environment; they have not yet learned how to process the bombardment of information their brains are receiving. They have not yet discovered how to “filter out” the irrelevant for a more focused look at the world, (a skill that we take for granted) so this can be very tiring. Being able to turn away from the noise and bustle and fall asleep (to process information) is important. A facing-out carrier holds a baby in a fixed position for a prolonged period of time. The duration of this time is entirely dependent on the parent; they are unable to see their baby’s face to pick up early cues of tiredness or distress or breathing difficulties, and they are less able to feel subtle shifts in baby’s body signalling discomfort or a need to change positions. Babies can easily be left in carriers for much longer than they would be held in arms.

Babies are intensely social creatures and learn to regulate and control their emotions from interaction with their parents and watching their faces. Social referencing (also known as triangulation) is very important in the first year and well into the second. A child will often decide how to react to a new experience after it has looked to its carer; it will be less likely to touch something dangerous if the carer reacts in an upset way. Potentially scary experiences can defused by turning the head to see a parent remaining calm, or to receive comfort and reassurance, and vice versa. In a structured carrier worn facing out, it isn’t as easy for a baby to twist around to see the parent’s face for reassurance or to be able to seek comfort.

Many pushchair makers now include parent-facing positions as standard, as this is believed to encourage and improve language skills and bonding. (It is worth noting that there is no formal evidence to suggest that our children are any slower at language acquisition than previous generations who did not use facing-out means of transport, however, anything that promotes bonding and communication is to be encouraged.)Sleeping

Furthermore, the world-facing positions do not provide any safe sleeping positions (all respected manufacturers say babies must be turned around to sleep; this is often missed in the small print) as there is no head support in this carry. A heavy head that is unsupported by a parent’s chest will droop forwards, putting baby’s chest under slight compression and pressing the chin downwards, potentially compromising the airway.

This is why the majority of respected sling manufacturers suggest that babies under 4months should not be carried facing out. Before this, babies simply are not developmentally ready.  Beyond this age, they should not be held in carriers facing the world for longer than twenty minutes to half an hour or so. (Some manufacturers say facing out from 3 months up, some say from 5months up). I think it depends on the child’s personal developmental stage and there should really be no rush.)

There is also the issue of hip and spine positioning in facing out positions. Most facing out in slings is done with “narrow-based” carriers, as very few high street options offer wider, more ergonomic seats that protect the gentle curve of the spine and promote healthy hip development in the world facing position. Most babies find their backs are held in straighter positions than ideal, with their legs hanging straight down from their hip sockets in this narrow shaping. While there is no formal evidence that choosing a narrow-based carrier will cause any harm to a baby who has healthy hips with normal sockets, there is a small percentage of babies who do have developmental hip dysplasia that are missed at their routine checks. These babies will benefit enormously from the ergonomic seated M shape position that allows their joints to be held in the optimum angles for healthy blood vessel growth and nutrient provision, and often this positioning is all that is needed to correct mild cases of hip dysplasia. It is worth weighing up the risks and may be better to choose a carrier that holds a baby more optimally if you decide to face baby out. Additionally, it is more comfortable for a person to be seated on a broad based hammock shaped chair rather than perched astride a narrow padded beam, and babies are no different.

Print

Carrying a baby who is sitting high up against the carer’s body with the centres of gravity closely aligned is much more comfortable than carrying one who is low down, far away, and suspended from the carer’s shoulders. The parent’s body does not form part of the support structure of the carry when facing out, so much of the work of carrying has to be done by the upper body, rather than the core postural muscles. Centres of gravity diverge further when held facing out in narrow based carriers. Put simply, carrying facing out in this style of carrier is often uncomfortable.

Ok, so what can I use to carry my curious child optimally?

It is common among parents who are considering using a sling to look for options that offer world-facing positions. This position is what is often seen in the media and is widely advertised; it may be more pleasing to see happy babies looking directly at the camera rather than away from it, which can be better for marketing purposes. As it is so visible, it becomes the “norm” and carriers that offer this option are often perceived as “better.” 

Pao

Many parents believe that babies need to be given the opportunity to face the world as much as possible for the stimulation, rather than looking at their parent all the time. Sometimes this belief can be be a marker for low self-esteem in a parent; that they just aren’t interesting enough, when in fact, for many well-attached babies, their parent is their most beloved sight. This is especially true if parent and baby are attuned and the parent is responsive and communicative and able to engage happily in play with their baby. Babies are often able to pick up on unhappy or uneasy feelings in parents and can be reflexively resistant to close contact, creating a negative spiral. Lots of in-arms carrying, skin to skin, and just time spent together can be very helpful with this.

Sometimes babies may begin to resist being carried in their parent-facing positions – they may have come to associate the sling with sleeping which they don’t want to do, and they may want to be able to see more. 

JUNOlo-16
To achieve a good view while the child remains parent-facing, and ensure access to the world, try carriers with broadly angled straps that don’t get too close to the face can be very useful, or ones that can be tied carefully for good visibility. As children grow in co-ordination, they need less head support and often enjoy having their arms out of carriers (with the panel reaching up to the armpits for safety and support.) It is surprising how far a child can turn round to see when they can move their shoulders! 
JUNOlo-38Hip carriers and ring slings will hold a child “off-centre” or laterally on the hip, for a great vantage point, and they will still be able to turn towards their parent for conversation or rest. Back carrying can be another very useful way for a curious child to see the world coming towards them. Most structured carrier makers will suggest sitting-up age to be the most appropriate time to begin to think of this option, and it is not hard to do on your own. Your local sling library or consultant (www.slingpages.co.uk) will be able to help you learn.

If you have a baby who is developmentally ready for facing out in a carrier and has stable hips, then I think it is just fine to give it a go! Your local sling library will be able to show you some options and talk you through which may be the most comfortable for you. Trying the carrier out first for a period of time at home is very useful to see if it really does work for you before you buy; advice from the internet is no substitute for real life trials.This period of “fussiness” doesn’t usually last long, as babies grow in co-ordination they are happier and many babies who once resisted facing in are very content a few months later in a carrier that is more comfortable with greater longevity.

In summary, facing out can be a great deal of fun for parent and child, if done sensitively and thoughtfully, with consideration to the child’s anatomical development and comfort; look for those carriers that take your baby’s comfort as seriously as yours. Try to pick a carrier that will hold baby optimally for most of the time, some come with specially designed bucket seats and others will widen for facing in and back carrying.

Age-appropriate facing out for those who enjoy it is great, when done safely! Your local sling library can be found at www.slingpages.co.uk.

 

ten FAQs FFO
ring sling

The Pelvic Tuck

What is the pelvic tuck or scoop?

I am often asked by carers who want to carry their children safely and comfortably “what is a pelvic tuck and how do I do it?”

Babies are born with gently curved spines, and usually prefer to rest in this tucked posture when they are relaxed. Arching the spine and “starfishing” can (for some) be an attempt to communicate discomfort or distress. Sleeping and relaxed babies can usually be found with their knees drawn up into a comfortable “M shape”; this is normal behaviour, and it is how most babies rest on their parents, perching on the broad secure base of the carer’s forearm. From this broad base, babies’ chests can be properly supported against the parent’s body, thereby avoiding slumping over and restricting airways.

This “squat” positioning also helps to encourage healthy hip development. Studies have shown that the rates of hip dysplasia are lower in communities that carry children on the hip or back frequently, as the posture adopted for this promotes optimum growth of the hip joint. (see here for more information on hip dysplasia and slings).

The pelvic tuck/scoop technique of encouraging a child to sit in a position that creates a “J shape” (from the side) or an “M shape” (from the front) in a carrier is therefore very helpful. Such positioning is more comfortable, more respectful of anatomy, and also helps preserve open airways. The aim is to raise the knees up, allowing the bottom to settle downwards into the classic “M shape”.

pelvic tuck and m shape

When demonstrating, I suggest that carers imagine they are scooping two curls of ice-cream towards themselves with both hands; and then repeat this action as they hold their child’s thighs gently between thumb and fingers. Another way of thinking about it is to imagine they are holding two glasses of water in front of themselves, and then pour the water out away from them.

This rotates baby’s femoral head in the socket. The photos and videos below show this in action.

Creating this broader base seat for a younger child will also help to make a narrow base carrier more comfy and feel more stable and supportive. A simple scarf can be used to support the legs in this “M shape” once the pelvis has been tilted and knees raised above bottom.

sling faq pelvic tuck professionals training

The pelvic tuck is less important for older babies and toddlers; as children get older, the ability to actively move around in the sling becomes more important while they are awake. The key thing is to ensure they are comfortable and their legs are not dragging down or tiring them; the carrier no longer needs to be knee to knee for older children.


Stretchy wrap photo tutorials

Stretchy wrap photo tutorial guide (two way stretchy wrap)

A step by step stretchy wrap photo tutorial guide; this is a two-way stretchy wrap. Two-way stretchy wraps stretch along their width and their length.

The key to success is in preparation; getting the tension right before baby goes in, and ensuring their position is right before spreading any fabric. This helps to avoid slumping or slipping. It gets easier with practice! Click on the images to make them larger for easier viewing.

If you have a very small or premature baby, or one who is keeping themselves very tightly tucked and isn’t opening their hips at all, please see your local sling professional for some extra support for using your stretchy wrap.

Below is a video for how to take baby out without needing to untie the wrap each time, making it very convenient.

Here is a video of the same technique, with the shoulders being flipped afterwards.

Here is a short video of the pre-flipped shoulder.

How to take a baby out of a stretchy wrap simply, without retying. This makes it very easy to leave on and just pop baby back in later.

If your baby seems to slump over or is deeply asleep, here is how to “unfurl” them so their chest rests safely against yours.


You can find information about other types of carriers in our Guide to Slings (with photo tutorials for a woven wrap front carry and a ring sling carry).


Front carry with an Integra Baby Carrier tutorial

Front carry with an Integra Baby Carrier tutorial (cross straps)

Our front carry with an Integra Baby Carrier tutorial (cross straps) with an older baby will help you feel confident, safe and secure.

With a newborn to about four months, please use the included accessory strap to cinch the panel at the base. (This will have the effect of making the panel narrower and shorter so it fits around your baby's body.)

This method applies to any waistbandless carrier where the panel hangs straight down from the webbing like an apron.


photo tutorial sleepy nico front carry cross straps

Sleepy Nico front carry with cross straps photo tutorial

Sleepy Nico Front Carry with cross straps photo tutorial; a step by step guide to give you confidence!

The Sleepy Nico carrier can be used from 10-12 weeks to toddlerhood. It can be used for rucksack straps too, and back carries from about six months. This carrier is the Crush (duuuude!) fabric from Sling Spot.