A baby sling is a convenient device that allows young mothers to engage in household chores while keeping the baby near at the same time. For a short time, it had time to get a lot of fans. However, there is another point of view, according to which, slings are not safe for children’s health. In this article, we will try to highlight both positions.
Types of Baby Slings
In general, a baby sling is a very simple device. It is a long piece of fabric, tied in such a way as to keep the baby near the mother’s body. There are a lot of kinds of slings, and it’s hard to list them all. But there are three most popular types: a sling with a ring, a sling scarf, and a May-sling.
The first one is a strip of fabric with a soft lining under the mother’s shoulder. As you already guessed, the ends are woven into the rings so that you can adjust the size of this baby sling and change the position of the baby in it. Sling-scarf is also regulated due to the fact that it is much longer, and the mother herself bandages it as she wants. This model is worn on two shoulders, which reduces the load and allows you to hold a big baby.
Finally, a May-sling looks like a square or rectangular canvas with long shoulder straps that are tied around the mother’s shoulders. In such a sling, the position of the child is vertical, and from the side, it seems that the baby is sitting in a breast backpack.
Tips on Choosing a Baby Sling
When choosing a sling, pay attention to not only its appearance but also its quality. It is best to choose cotton, silk, or bamboo fabrics. And in winter, cashmere or wool will do as well. In any case, the fabric must be natural.
If you are going to carry a newborn baby in a sling, you need to do it carefully. It is advisable to support the child with hands in a sling, to ensure that the baby is close to your body. Passing doors and turning over, make sure not to hurt the baby. Do not bend forward sharply, and in general, do it carefully while holding the baby.
Each mother chooses what will be most comfortable for her and the baby. So try different options. Most likely, you will have to use both the stroller and the sling, and this is totally fine.
Baby Sling Advantages
- The main advantage of the sling is that the child can be close to his mother and, accordingly, feel calmer and more comfortable. The mother at the same time is able to do ordinary things, because her hands are free. In addition, outside the home stroller is not always a convenient option. It might be difficult to walk in the store and is almost impossible in public transport. A baby sling easily solves this problem of mobility.
- Of course, the sling gives the load on the shoulders and back of the mother. However, its degree cannot be compared with carrying the baby in the arms. So, physically, for a woman with a sling it is much easier not to part with the child.
- The young mother, thanks to the baby sling, will be able to do various chores without leaving the child. But, please, keep in mind that you should be careful. After all, while cooking, the baby can be hurt by steam or splashes. But vacuuming, folding things, chopping vegetables and much more can be done without problems.
- Sling is also useful for mental development. Since the baby is often close to the mother, he quickly masters the speech. Since it is possible to travel far away in a sling, the little baby will get to know the world around him much better.
- Another big plus of the baby sling is the opportunity to breastfeed the baby in a public place without embarrassment. People around will not see this process. The edge of the sling is easy to lift and completely close the breast.
Disadvantages of Baby Sling
- Opponents of the sling take their position mainly because of fears for the child’s spine. With the wrong position of the baby, when the child lies in the shape of the letter C, pressure on the lower part of the spine occurs. This, in turn, can lead to curvature and affect the posture, as well as adversely affect muscle tissue.
- In addition, if the baby is too tightly pressed to the mother’s body, he can partially or completely block access to oxygen, turning his chin to his mother’s breast. Another danger is the risk for the child to fall out of the sling. Also there is a risk of trauma if the mother accidentally falls down.
- Another disadvantage is that not everyone succeeds in quickly and correctly placing a child in a sling, especially at first. It would seem that managing a piece of cloth is not so difficult, but in fact, it is easy to get confused.
- On hot summer days a baby sling may not be a good option, because the child sweats from constant contact with the mother.
- Also, there are babies who do not like slings. And there are children who respond well to a sling only while they are awake, and during sleep they need a bed. Since small children can quickly go to sleep, it is not worth moving for long distances, otherwise, the baby may become naughty if he wants to sleep.
- Sometimes a baby sleeps in a sling only if the mother walks. If she sits down, the baby immediately wakes up and begins to be capricious.
- Another disadvantage – the older the baby is, the harder it is to carry the baby. And if the young mother has back problems, it is better not to experiment and choose a stroller.
Tips for Those Who Love Slings
Use a sling that perfectly fits your baby in size to prevent falling. Children under the age of 5 months should be carried in a May-sling: this way the child will be pressed tightly to the mother’s body vertically, and his legs will be spread to the sides.
Before becoming an active sling user, it is better to practice on a big doll or a soft toy in order to acquire the skills of putting and pulling a child out of a sling. Thus, you can avoid accidents by inexperience.
Increase the time of carrying your baby in a sling gradually. Do not leave your child in the sling for several hours on the first day. In addition, if you choose a sling on the rings, periodically change the shoulder on which the main weight of the child is carried.
Although the sling is designed to “untie the hands” of the mother, you should not completely trust this device and take up activities that are potentially dangerous for the baby. For example, do not cook at the stove and do not ride a bicycle while keeping the baby in the sling.
Born in Belarus, 1985, a pedagogue and family psychologist, mother. Taking part in procedures of social adaptation of the foster children in new families. Since 2015 is a chief editor of the motherhow.com project, selecting the best and up-to-date material for those, who are planning, expecting, and already having babies.