Ode to the Ring Sling

Here at Matraea Mercantile I get asked about the ring sling and whether it is better than a “Buckle-carry” style carrier or a wrap, and there is no real yes or no answer to this question.  I think the more important factor is always to look at your lifestyle. I had a version of all three with my son when he was young, and in all honesty, I used the ring-sling the most of any of them for four reasons:

  1. I lived in Edmonton, Alberta, at the time, and I didn’t want to be standing in minus 30 degree weather putting on my wrap in the grocery store parking lot. I would often drive with the ring sling on – my son in his car seat of course – when I had one of those days of errands around town.  I’d pop him into the rring sling for the dash to the store.  At minus 30, every moment outside is bitterly cold for an adult, let alone a little one.
  2. Minimal learning curve versus the wrap:  I’m not always a patient individual when it comes to teaching myself, so although I did learn to wrap I only ever got two types of wrap styles down: one front, one for the back–whereas I learnt 5 different ring-sling holds.
  3. Pack-ability: we traveled a lot from Alberta to Vancouver Island to visit family every three months or so, and the buckle carrier was a monster to pack, nor was it comfortable to sit in the plane with it on, and then the wrap was a pain if I had to use the bathroom on the plane to unwrap and then re-wrap– no thank you!
  4. I found the ring sling more breathable than both the wrap and “buckle-style” carrier.

Ring Slings Last A Long Time

The ring sling can be used from birth right through to toddlerhood. Dynamic tension is applied by using a length of cloth, with one end of the cloth sewn to two rings. The cloth wraps around the wearer’s body from shoulder to opposite hip and back up to the shoulder, and the end is threaded through the rings to create a cinch/buckle effect. Ring-slings allow the wearer to carry the baby on the front, hip and on the back, but it is strongly recommended to always carry the baby in an upright position so baby can breathe easily and you can monitor their well-being at all times. The other advantage to the simplicity of the design of ring slings is that it also lends itself to making them on your own—should you have the time and skills.

Purchasing A Ring Sling

When choosing what type of baby wearing you are wanting to invest in, ask yourself the following questions to help determine what will work for you and your partner:

  1. Are you both going to equally share the baby wearing?   If so, are you roughly the same size or does the baby carrier have to be able to adjust to two very different body types?
  2. Are you mostly using the carrier for daily life, or is it for day hiking trips?  If it is for both, then you will likely want two carriers: one that is stable for hiking  and outdoor activities and weather/durability and one for daily life.
  3. How patient are you at learning a new skill?  Do you like to do things “quick and easy” or are you ok with–and patient enough–to regularly take a moment to get organized before you head out the door. Another related question might be–is this your first child, or do you care for other young children or toddlers? It is very likely they won’t be as patient as you might be, and may impact your own patience levels!

For Baby Sling Wearing Instructions checkout http://www.babyslingsandcarriers.com/babysling_carrying_positions

BabySarah Cosman