To Sling or Not to Sling?

March 15, 2017
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The best gift I received before my first was born was called a Lovey Duds. That’s right, as a new mom, a stretchy baby wrap really, truly, seriously made my day. When I first opened it, I had no way of knowing just how much time I would spend walking around the grocery store, our house, or the neighborhood with my little bundle fully bundled in our LoveydDuds. My Baby, G, did not like the car seat and even put up an impressive protest in the carriage. He wanted to be held. Even as a newborn, he wanted to be higher up to check out his brand new world. It felt natural to hold him when he wanted to be held, but if I was going to hold him for 12 hours a day, I needed my hands free. Little did I know wearing him actually came with a couple benefits besides the obvious style points. Carrying Baby G in the sling counts as tummy time so our time in the sling actually reduces his risk of flat head syndrome.

I will admit that learning how to tie the long piece of fabric took me about a week of tying it on every day before I felt like I could do it alone. I would find a time when G was full and happy, open up Youtube and watch instructional videos, like any modern mom would, right? I’ve compiled a few tips I picked up during my days of research:

  • It needs to be tight. You should always be able to see Baby XYZ’s nose and he/she should be high enough up to kiss the top of their head.
  • Make sure your sling is size appropriate. As Baby G grew we switched from the LoveyDuds to a more structured Ergobaby carrier with a towel rolled underneath to keep G high and tight.
  • Whether you’re an expert at rolling a mama sushi roll with your wrap or worried about strangulation next sling session, there is a carrier for you. My second baby, M, spent her time in a linen ring sling from Ebay. No retying, no wrapping, just slip her in and show her your boobs!

Of course, baby’s are expert shape shifters. By 4 months, Baby M had tripled her birth weight. At that point I switched to a couple other baby-wearing methods.

1. The Mei Tai. No, not the cocktail- but another form of carrier! The Mei Tai was easy to use and distributed her weight to both shoulders (hallelujah!!).

2. Woven Wrap. After chatting with a certified Baby Wearers International instructor, I found an affordable woven wrap and started tying my daughter to my back—cutest backpack ever.

3. Structured baby carrier. My current preferred method of baby/toddler transportation has a little more structure than a sling. Even though G & M are now 50 and 40 pounds, respectively, this carrier keeps me comfortable with my growing wolfpack on my back. I even hiked up a mountain in Costa Rica with Baby G hanging out backpack-style.

To Sling or Not to Sling?

Kate Godly

PA-C, IBCLC, La Leche League Leader

Kate is a proud mom of two breastfeeding children, age 5 and 3. She is passionate about providing parents with the tools they need to meet their breastfeeding goals as well as support parents as they navigate the post-partum world.