What is Babywearing?
Babywearing is carrying your baby in a sling or carrier. For centuries cultures from all over the world have worn their babies in a wide variety of slings.
When can I start Babywearing?
You can wear your baby from birth. If your baby has special needs you should contact a quailified Babywearing Consultant for advice. Many people discover babywearing when their child is older sometimes over the age of one or two and have really enjoyed their babywearing experience at this stage.
Who can Babywear?
Anyone who wants to keep a baby close: Mums, Dads, Grannies, Grandads, Aunties, Uncles, Siblings, Childminders and Friends.
Is Babywearing Safe?
Please visit our Sling Safety section for information on sling safety
I'm confused about babywearing, I keep hearing loads of names and I don't know what anything is!
There are 5 main types of slings “Stretchy Wrap”, “Ring Sling”, “Meitai”, “Soft Structured Carriers (Buckles)” and “Woven”. All the other names you hear are brands, for example “JPMBB” and “Kari Me” are stretchy wraps.
- Stretchy Wraps are long soft stretchy pieces of material about 5 meters long. They are lovely and soft and can be used from new born. While there is a little bit of learning in how to tie a stretchy wrap correctly, once you master it, it is very easy to use. You can tie it on you and pop your baby in and out as needed throughout the day. We always recommend the Tummy to Tummy hold. Most people choose to move onto another type of sling around 5/6 months even though stretchy wraps can hold much heavier weights.
- Ring Slings are made from material about 2 meters long and are held together by 2 rings sewn into the material. They are suitable from newborn and can be used with an older toddler as long as it is comfortable for the wearer. There is a bit of learning in how to adjust the ring sling but once you learn it, it is so quick and easy to us. As it takes the weight on one shoulder most people use a ring sling for quick journey’s like popping into the shop or for around the house.
- Meitai are made from a panel of material with 2 short straps that tie around your torso and 2 long straps that tie around the shoulders. Most Meitai’s are suitable from birth and go up to preschool size. Mei tai can be used for front and back carries and are very easy to use.
- Soft Structured Carriers (SSC/Buckles) are made with a panel and 2 short straps that you buckle around your torso and 2 shoulder straps that you also buckle. They can be used for front and back carries and some can do hip carries. Some types can be crossed at the back and some go on rucksack style.
- Woven Wraps are long pieces of woven material of varying lengths and they are numbered according to their length (size 2-8). Which size you want depends on what carry you want to do and what size you are. For example a size 2 is approx 270cm and can be used for hip carries. A size 6 is approx 470cm and can be used for front, hip and back carries. It is a good idea to try the sizes to see what size will suit you.
My baby is very heavy, will Babywearing hurt me?
Babywearing should never be uncomfortable for the wearer. If you find it uncomfortable you should get advice from a Babywearing consultant as you may not have the positioning correct, your sling may not suit you or it may be too small for your baby.
Will my baby like being worn?
Some babies take a while to get use to being in a sling. Some tips are to practise your technique with a doll, make sure your baby is happy and content before you put them in the sling and then go for a walk. Once your baby is use to the sling most people find they calm quickly once in the sling.
Can I wear my baby forward facing?
We don’t recommend forward facing for a number of reasons: it doesn’t offer optimum positioning for hips and spine development, babies can get overstimulated and can’t turn into the safety of Mum or Dad when needed. Wearing your baby in a hip carry or on your back can help them see more.
Why are narrow based carriers not recommended?
Narrow based carriers are not recommended as they do not support the hips in the optimum position. Visit our Sling Safety section for further information.
Can I breastfeed my baby in a sling?
We always recommend that you master breastfeeding your new baby and master wearing your sling. Once you have mastered both most people find they can combine the two. We still recommend that your baby stays in the tummy-to-tummy hold. If you loosen your sling to feed make sure you bring your baby up “close enough to kiss” and ensure your sling is tightened once your baby has finished feeding. Visit our Sling Safety section for further information
What does knee to knee mean?
Basically it means that the material of the sling goes from the back of your babies knee to the back of the other knee. If it goes past their knee your babies legs will be pushed out and they will be overspread and uncomfortable.
What does cinch mean?
To cinch means to pull the sling material in using a ribbon or scarf to make the base smaller so that it will fit your baby knee-to-knee.
What does “to break in” mean?
Slings get softer over time and the more they are used. Washing and steam ironing will help soften a woven wrap or ring sling. Usage is the best way to soften your sling.
How should I wash my sling?
All slings should be washed at a low heat using a liquid detergent and NO fabric softener. Soft Structured Carriers (Buckles) should be washed as little as possible and should mostly be cleaned using a wet cloth.